Cowgirl: tattoos and Gus Van Sant’s cult movie

The female counterpart of the cowboy brings to mind an old movie that came out in 1993 with Uma Thurman as an utterly unforgettable cowgirl

Our new tattoo gallery dedicated to the best tattoos of sultry, sensual Traditional cowgirls gives us the chance to talk to you about a cult movie which came out 25 years ago and was never really understood by the movie-going public.

Jess Swaffer, Chapel Tattoo, Prahrah, Australia Michele Ruvolo, The Good Fellas Tattoo Parlour, Palermo, Italy

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, directed by the offbeat American director Gus Van Sant, stars his muse Uma Thurman (just twenty-two years old at the time), and was based on the book of the same name written by Tom Robbins in 1976.

Like in every Van Sant movie, the plot is paradoxical but also introspective and deals with social issues. Here the main character Sissy Hankshaw (Thurman) is a cowgirl with abnormally long, phallic thumbs (even though she refuses to see them as an imperfection) and she makes the most of them by hitchhiking her way around the USA.

Piew Choquette, Tatouage Electric Ave, Montreal, Canada
Piew Choquette, Tatouage Electric Ave, Montreal, Canada

Sissy ends up working as a testimonial for a cosmetics company, Yoni Yum, founded by the likeable transvestite The Countess and at a certain point finds love with cowgirl Bonanza Jellybean, (Rain Phoenix, sister of River to whom the movie is dedicated), wo together with a bunch of other girls runs the Rubber Rose Ranch which belongs to the Countess.

As you’ve probably guessed, the film is an ode to the lesbian way of life. Meanwhile, at the Rubber Rose, there is a standoff over some migratory cranes who have stopped off at the pond on the ranch. The government wants the girls to hand them over to the authorities, but what follows is a series of absurd events which we’re not going to reveal here in order to avoid spoilers.

Gianni Orlandini, Luxury Tattoo, Grosseto, Italy
Gianni Orlandini, Luxury Tattoo, Grosseto, Italy

This Van Sant movie (filmed entirely in Oregon) didn’t exactly have an easy time of it when it first came out. Previewed at the Toronto Film Festival in autumn 1993, it failed to get distribution till spring of the following year, and even though it had only cost a few million dollars, it made next to nothing at the box office. The critics, scenting a flop, tore it to pieces.

Rich Hardy, On The Road, Sydney, Australia
Rich Hardy, On The Road, Sydney, Australia

But all the same, once it came out on DVD, over the years Even The Cowgirls Get The Bllues became a minor cult movie as well as launching the career of Uma Thurman who would hit the big time working with Quentin Tarantino.

The soundtrack of Even The Cowgirls Get The Blues by Canadian singer songwriter k.d. lang (in collaboration with Ben Mink) is simply marvellous.

Paul Dobleman, Spider Murphy's Tattoo, San Rafael, USA Alessandro Lemme, Psycho Tattoo, Roma, Italy

The post Cowgirl: tattoos and Gus Van Sant’s cult movie appeared first on Tattoo Life.

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