“YouTube and Blu-ray didn’t exist when I started the book, and at first, they seemed like they might make what I was doing irrelevant,” he says. “I decided the project had to be historical because I couldn’t predict what would happen, and anything that was current would be out of date by the time the book was in print. What was striking was that, instead, all the new developments recycled the same issue from the ’70s and ’80s—the anxieties about piracy, about the industry, about finding new business models, about allowing audiences new modes of access.”
Speaking of audiences, Hilderbrand writes in Inherent Vice of doing an informal e-mail poll among friends and colleagues and being shocked at how many people had seen, loved and owned bootleg copies of Superstar. Later asked about this, he conceded that his e-mail list is fairly specialized and most other people have never heard of the film, let alone have the patience to watch it online. But he was “pleasantly surprised” at what happened when he showed Superstar to undergrads a few years ago.
Lucas Hilderbrand, associate professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Irvine, is really into videotape
Director Todd Haynes made Superstar to honor an artist he truly admired and pitied