Mario Banana

Andy Warhol’s Mario Banana (Nos. 1 and 2), 1964.
Two 16-mm film starring Mario Montez

The two films are less than 3 minutes each and are similar enough to appear to have been filmed on the same day. It’s another close-up of a face, this one a bit tighter. The faces position suggests that Mario Montez, the film star is prone. Mario wears a low-cut gown, a gaudy necklace, and his Jean Harlow wig. As the reel begins, Mario looks directly at the camera, then a banana enters the frame and catches Marios’eyes. Mario slowly peels the banana while. He holds the fruit up, eyes it, lick it, sucks it. The mock fellatio is underway.

Originally this video was in black and white … this way, the obvious male presence was confusing, not clear … it only gave the impression of his presence! Andy wanted to play on the ambiguity of eroticism … the fact that males could also be turned on because they were unaware that the framed subject was a male … is in its own way, brilliant.

Mario Montez (born René Rivera  July 20, 1935 – September 26, 2013), cross dresser and drag queen, was one of the Warhol superstars, appearing in thirteen of Andy Warhol’s underground films from 1964 to 1966

Mario Montez and Andy Warhol


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