It’s crazy recapping a trip days later, but here goes.
We went to L.A. on the 22nd in order to attend the premiere festivities around Boy Culture, two years after it was shot, 15 months after I first saw it and a year after its popular screening at TriBeCa. Time flies except for when it’s independently filmed, in which case it’s in no rush.
I pretend to approach L.A. as a vacation every time I go there on biz, which frustrates José to no end. He’s dreaming of poolside appletinis, massage splurges and Melrose Avenue finds, while I’m scheduling photo-shoot drop-ins and lunch meetings. This time, it was a happy marriage since my business involved a promo party at Tiger Heat and a premiere bash at East/West. He still squeezed in all those other things, though he had to squint while buying discount jackets at Express Men in the Hollywood & Highland Center and pretend he was finding 20-year-old T-shirts several blocks over.
I had stayed up wicked-late blogging my Barracuda experience (here's a bonus pic of me with Jesse Archer and Rentboy.com's Tom Weise), getting only an hour’s sleep before working out. How’s working out working out for me? So far, so good—I was not losing an ounce for a couple of months until I decided it had to be the Lipitor I was taking for cholesterol. I went off it and BOOM lost 12 pounds via cardio and Weight Watchers, which I’d been doing while on it. Don’t take a statin just because your doctor hands it to you. I’d rather have a bypass than balloon up more. My work-out helped me doze (aka pass out) on the plane, so reading Farley Granger’s somewhat disappointingly matter-of-fact autobio (still, buy it!) was something I saved for the return trip.
We spent our evening in L.A. shopping and enjoying the Hollywood Roosevelt, which one of Boy Culture’s producers—Stephen Israel—insists is the Rue-zuh-velt since it’s named for Teddy and not Roh-zuh-velt. I always said Teddy’s name the latter way, too, but then I wasn't spending much time thinking of that while feeling my way through the pitch-black lobby past chattering partytards and European wannabes. I like the Roosevelt. I stayed there pre-reno, enjoying being in the place where the first Oscars were held. Now, it’s considered somewhat chic, and I’m brand-loyal.
That night, reviews were pouring in, which was more exciting than the Rue-zuh-velt-provided "Shag Bag" that came with condoms and a clitoral stimulating gel. I was one of the first of the Boy Culture gang to spot the New York Times valentine by Jeannette Catsoulis, to whom I’m officially proposing marriage. I was in delighted shock that it was so positive—in fact, 100% positive—because the first mainstream review I’d seen since Variety way back in the day was an absolutely opaque pan by Tom Beer, who must have been drunk in order to give the movie one out of six stars. Like it or like it not so much, there are elements in the film that can not be dismissed out of hand—one out of six should be reserved for films that are appalling beginning to end. He didn’t even have specific criticisms, just a complaint that it was narcotic. Yo, I am willing to bet the guy fell asleep watching it on a DVD screener. At least give it a two for being short.
Oops, caring too much about neg and not enough about poz.
So I got a call from Phil Lobel, co-producer, and told him the Times was the best review the film had gotten yet (he in turn told me the L.A. Times was also terrific). Phil handed the phone to the director, Q. Allan Brocka, and I read him every word. He was at a loss for how to respond. I don’t think even Allan himself would give his own movie such an unqualified rave. He was speechless, and I think there was a sense as the night wore on that the biggest critical hurdles were behind us and they’d been leapt. (In fact, the movie has continued to draw far more positive than negative reviews, including some great notices from TV Guide, The Bay Area Reporter, Gay City News, Film Threat, Film Jerk, Next and even from hard-to-please blogs like The Mad Professah, on top of other reviews I’ve cited previously.)
That night was Tiger Heat, a night promoted for 18- to 21-year old gaybies that was featuring Boy Culture. I never, ever go to clubs, and here I was hitting two in a row...on opposite coasts! I didn’t know how to dress for younguns, so I went casual and still felt like I was in a tux. The club is impressively massive, reminding me of Club USA from Times Square back in the early ’90s, except packed with sexually viable young men who could not only pass for, but could easily, physically, be my progeny.
The area we were in was lowkey early on, but then got crowded. The movie’s posters were here, there and everywhere. The Ginch Gonch Boys had shown up to the previous night’s Micky’s bash (and the pictures looked like porn stills...see embedded here courtesy of Allan and following this paragraph), so I was hopeful I’d spot them. No such luck. But the producers were there as was Allan, and I managed a great group shot despite his concern about being banned for life—they have a strict no-photography clause that was cheerfully ignored by Brandon of Rentboy.com, who got scores of great photos.
I felt old and I reacted to Tiger Heat the way I react to any shiny, distracting gizmo available to legendary children today that was not yet invented when I was in my queer infancy.
BOY CULTURE opening 3/23/07...watch, then read!
The following day, Boy Culture opened at the Quad in NYC, the Castro Theatre in San Francisco and most importantly (since I was there!) the Laemmle Sunset 5 in L.A. The plan was that the film’s stars—Derek Magyar, Darryl Stephens and Jonathon Trent—its producers and myself would show up at the evening performance of the film to support Allan in introducing it. This would be followed by a shindig at East/West on Santa Monica.
I had work stuff all day and had barely thought about what to wear, so I wound up Mr. New York in a black jacket and dark shirt. Everyone in L.A. seems to wear trendy, no-fuss beachwear to big-deal events and look effortlessly stylish doing so. That, along with incessant drug talk and the distinct feeling that no one is eating, is one reason why I feel slightly out of place there. But as far as NYC vs. L.A. goes, I’ve come to appreciate the Left Coast. If I could chop myself in half, I’d probably love it.
Arriving at the theater was fun. Seeing Boy Culture on the marquee was a rush. Eyeing (g)A-(y)list celebs like Robert Gant, the men of Here! TV’s Dante's Cove, Dame Bruce Vilanch, Eating Out 2’s sexy boys Andrew Ley (he just booked an Apple campaign—I see him being as good at moving apples as the snake in the Garden Of Eden) and James Michael Bobby (see him on DVD in Cowboy Junction) and so many others was a trip. Most of all, I loved seeing the film’s actors looking so dapper and so happy. I was crushed to hear Jonathon is no longer with his GF Katrina (I had just blogged about their adorability, too) but thrilled to see that the film’s pivotal “Blondie”—George Jonson—had flown in (pictured). Looking chiseled and as stare-worthy as his character, George informed me he’s making the move to L.A. from Seattle, where he currently cuts elaborate designs into people’s heads in an urbancentric salon. Good ol' Oliver Carnay was on hand to capture us all on film.