I'm so excited to be involved in helping out with a big, sexy pop-up dungeon party in Brooklyn (please come!) to raise cash for the movie project Cubby. Cubby is a coming-of-age story for the young, young at heart and leather-obsessed.
Here's the scoop on this low-budget, high-concept film:
“Mark takes care of children. But when he embarks on an unlikely friendship with a stranger, he loses track of who’s taking care of whom.
“This neurotic gay babysitter is Cubby's anti-hero. He sleeps on a mattress on the floor, shares a room with a stranger, and thinks he can survive on electrolytes from sugary energy drinks. With Type 1 diabetes and a habit of shoving money in his socks, you could say he is a complicated guy. As Mark is constantly mistaken as a father and takes advantage of this unwarranted attention, his personality & confidence overflow with the children he watches.
“When Mark is saved by the mysterious leather-clad Diego after a diabetic spell in a park, he discovers his rescuer's line of fetish & bondage work. Diego eventually confesses his current situation, and Mark offers up his dilapidated abode. Diego's recent altercation with his sugar daddy has Mark consumed with fascination. Both the babysitter and the leatherman will be changed - but will they also start to unravel?”
Support Cubby on Kickstarter immediately, and keep reading for my exclusive interview with the movie's writer/star, Mark Blane, and his co-star, Christian Patrick—you'll know him as one of Kink's most famous and most famously stern fetish performers...
Boy Culture: How did you guys meet?
Mark Blane: I was volunteering at the NewFest LGBT film festival in NYC. They were screening the James Franco/Travis Mathews film Interior. Leather Bar. I think we were backstage when we started talking?
Christian Patrick: Yeah, I was wearing full leather at a non-leather event and Mark was one of those people who was cool with me being in leather and just started talking to me…he kept appearing out of nowhere.
MB: I do that.
CP: In the green room, it was like the inner circle of the film with James and Travis and the producers and I was thinking, “Who is this kid?”
MB: Haha! I was bored in the lobby, and I helped set up the green room, so I decided to go and see how everything was.
CP: That’s very much Mark. He has fucking tenacity and that is what is making this film happen. [To Mark] You make a list of things every day and you fuckin’ do it ASAP.
BC: What was your first impression of each other?
MB: That I made a lifelong friend. Cheesey. But true. We were on the subway after the screening, and talking. Him in all leather, and me, not. I was also trying to keep some mysterious distance so Christian could be my muse and I could try to dig and find out more about his life experiences and knowledge of BDSM culture…We ended hanging out one night in Union Square with a dominatrix. I was trying to act cool during that interview, but in a way, I was enamored because I had never met anyone like Christian before. I also admired how healthy he was eating.
CP: What was I eating?
MB: I don’t know…you were biting into root vegetables like they were chocolate bars…Turmeric, I think.
CP: Oh yeah, I do that.
BC: What inspired the film?
MB: So I’ve been a babysitter for like 4 years now while I supplement my ‘artist life’ writing plays, and working for some agencies on commercials and fashion videos. I started in Chicago with 2 little boys as my first babysitting gig ever. They were 2 and 3 years old and the three of us together were hilarious. I drove them around on adventures and picked them up from school. One time, I was in a grocery store, and this old white lady was so confused by me, my nails were painted, and I was wearing some cut-off shorts, I don’t know…she didn’t know how to place me but she couldn’t believe I, a white man, had these two kids who were half-Laotian and half-Puerto Rican (as if gays adopting doesn’t happen). I think it was when one of the boys started crying…The old lady started berating me with questions. She called me a gay kidnapper! I was like, “I’m a babysitter! I’m their babysitter.”
CP: A gay kidnapper?
MB: Yup. Little ol’ me, with my purple nail polish….Being a male caretaker is weird. Being gay and doing it gets even weirder and more hilarious. But I love working with kids. They are very free and exciting, and say everything they feel. I love encouraging creativity and imagination with them.
BC: Why is it called Cubby?
MB: The character of the babysitter I wrote is a pathetic, neurotic 25-year-old who is always rushing everywhere. Oh yeah, and he’s diabetic, and eats like a teenager…it’s not all me. But there’s a lot of me in it. The story was supposed to be about his unlikely connection with a 4 year old and how much they learn from one another…there’s lots of color and toys and motifs about growing up in the script, about periods of change & adaptation, compartmentalizing. I love the concept of the cubby where children put their lunch and backpacks before school. It’s like a locker, except completely exposed. When I met Christian, I knew he was the missing link to my story. It needed to be about 3 different generations of men, and them learning from one another. Christian’s knowledge about BDSM and fetish culture inspired me to create this sex worker role, and I kept trying to think of labels for the babysitter, he wants to fit in and be something…he gets labeled a ‘Cubby’ which is not quite a Cub (which graduates to bear) yet…he’s like a cub-in-training.
BC: Since it's a film with mature themes, is there any issue with getting a child actor?
MB: We’re not worried about it. We’re working with a casting director. We do not support or endorse exposing children to inappropriate subject matter. Child actors appear in crazy films all the time. If you read the script, Cubby’s barely PG-13 in today’s world. The film is so much about friendship, and understanding differences, other perspectives. Accepting yourself. Also, I mean…have you heard of ‘stage moms’? We’re going to be fine.
BC: Do you think it's almost a taboo for adult gay men to be friends with children? Will that be part of what the film addresses, that cultural bias?
MB: The cultural bias will for sure be in there. Also, I’m just happy to explore this story in not such an obvious way. It’s not a movie about a gay couple and their struggle to adopt or get married. If I calculated the perfect script of what the gay film genre is being defined as, it wouldn’t be me. It wouldn’t be genuine and layered and truthful. I just want indie cinema that is more surprising and risky…and this film will be relatable to a wider audience. Not just gay men and babysitters. Haha.
CP: He’s on it, and I’m excited to have the kinky perspective be a big part of this mix. The fetish and kink world really promotes a healthy practice of expressing yourself and understanding consent.
MB: Yeah consent is such a hot topic right now. It’s such a buzz word. I’ve been interviewing people in the community…and that’s weird to say ‘the community’…because I think a lot more people are doing these things but just not talking about it or being public. Regardless, I think the sex-positive community of advocates and participants understands consent more than anyone else.
BC: The party on Friday will help diagnose fetishes (!) in guests. For each of you, what's a fetish you have that isn't already obvious?
MB: Well diagnose is a funny word. It’s associated with medical, and even in the past several years, there is still a lot of debating in the psychological community and in some states, but they are finally recognizing that it’s not a mental disease to be…like, I don’t know, interested in sucking someone’s earlobe. When I read about it, it reminds me of the journey of homosexuality as a disease and the APA’s understanding that gay isn’t a disorder.
CP: Mark, what’s your fetish?
MB: Uhhh, I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out. Food play? And I’m a little embarrassed, because my mom will read this. I’m going to embrace it, I guess. I definitely wouldn’t turn down a naked food fight with Jake Gyllenhaal.
CP: Mark, are you into food?
MB: I’m not attracted-attracted to food. Well duh, yah I am. I mean who isn’t?
CP: Enough said.
MB: Now you.
CP: I really enjoy when people trust me with their lives. I think it comes from my father being a commercial pilot. He would fly 100’s of people…It’s really exciting when people come sailing with me. It’s scary. But it’s a turn on. And flying airplanes…when people fly with me.
BC: What else will happen at the party and who's coming?
MB: The party is in essence a fundraiser with a theme. It’s all about the “unlikely.” We’re going to tease our Kickstarter rewards (which span from a picnic with me to rope-bondage courses with Christian to going on a sailing trip with us next year or visiting us on set, or dinner with Christian!) We have a silent auction: prizes are being bound & gagged in front of the crowd, or you can bid on me to eat a cupcake (no hands!) off your chest. Also, movie posters, and small-batch bottles of whiskey. We will create a dungeon feel to the bar. A wall of whips, and chains, and you name it. There’s also DJing by Don Christian who is a queer black rapper. He’s brilliant and Vogue just dropped an article on his new single. Nick Sterling, from Randy Blue will be there as a special guest. A photo booth & fetish consulting. A few local dominatrices are going to come that inspired the film’s content too. The bar is beautiful and has an awesome backyard. I want more Manhattanites to come out to the bar [One Last Shag.] The best dance parties I’ve ever been to have been there.
BC: How much money do you need to raise, why that amount and when, in a perfect world, would the film be completed and viewable?
MB: We need to raise $90,000 on Kickstarter (and it’s all or nothing!) to get closer to our bigger budget. There are producers/investors, and we have to do the Kickstarter path to move forward. Also we have an incredibly talented director, Sam B. Jones, who is working hard on a film in London right now. He’s known here in the states for his music video work. But yeah, Kickstarter is the best of the best crowdsourcing platforms. I’ve done it before and reached donations from countries around the world, it’s a special community. People are loyal and really believe.
CP: If the world can help us fund this, we will share it with the world. That’s the power of this thing.
MB: It’s so true. We’re so connected to the internet…so the film is set for shooting this spring 2015. It’ll take about 3-6 months to edit and then we can enter festivals by the end of next year. Goal is to have it on Netflix sometime in 2016. But our Kickstarter pledgers will have access way earlier. 300 people will get an exclusive copy of the film before anyone else.
CP: The time will fly.
MB: It will. So log on to Kickstarter, and decide whether you want to have a picnic with me or have dinner with Christian!
CP: Are you going to have food fights on your picnic?
MB: I want to tease and say yes, but I don’t want to be that crazy guy on the cover of the New York Post who was food-fighting naked in Central Park. Or maybe I do…