The Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
By Nevin Jefferson
Production: Lightfoot Prods.
Cast: Eric Debets, Chad Allen, Diarra Kilpatrick, Michael Airington, Jonathan Blanc, Scott Romstadt.
Director-screenwriter: Jason Bushman
Producer: Charles Herman-Wurmfeld
Director of photography: Alison Kelly
Production designer: Michael Fitzgerald
Music: Timo Chen
Costume designer: Kari Cassellius
Editor: Phillip J. Bartell
No MPAA rating, 95 minutes
Devastated by a love affair gone to hell , Jerome (Eric Debets) journeys from Paris to Los Angeles over Christmas, longing for a change of scenery and dreaming of a career in the movies. The opening scenes in Paris are in Black and White. When Jerome hits Hollywood, the film changes to bright candy colors like the Wizard of Oz. Jerome checks into a seedy Hollywood hostel when he gets to L.A. Once in Hollywood, Jerome tries his best to enjoy the city, making endearing first-timer mistakes. He pisses of the cab driver and bartender by not tipping them. Later when he goes back to the bar the bartender rips him a new one for not tipping him. Jerome slides a quarter from his change to the bartender who get’s totally pissed behind this. The bus ride to the beach takes all day and he finds that the beach is cold. While suffering at the beach Jerome hits it off with a gay pot dealer (Chad Allen), who drives him halfway home. A taco-stand tranny named Kaleesha (Diarra Kilpatrick) escorts him the rest of the way, introducing him to Norma Desire (Michael Airington), a “shabby chic” Silverlake drag queen who takes Jerome under her wing. One of the movie’s jokes is that Jerome travels everywhere in car-crazed Los Angeles by bus. Somehow he survives. The drug dealer introduces Jerome to a commercial agent, who sends him out on a couple of interviews. The scenes showing the audition process are the comic highlights of the movie. One audition is for a dancer in a video where Jerome fumbles on hitting the mark and saying his name then giving a profile. When its time for him to dance he just stands there looking lost. The Pizza commercial audition has him walking down the street with his girlfriend then sitting down and eating pizza. He gets the job after imagining that the woman is Giles and gets into the role. Bushman’s shrewd firsthand knowledge of the less glamorous side of the Hollywood merry-go-round gives a nice ride. Jerome also has a few romantic flirtations, including a sexually explicit encounter with a waiter he meets at a bath house. After finding it all in Hollywood Jerome leaves for Paris because he’s still in love with Giles and returns to his apartment. The winning formula for this film is the characters ;the sad-eyed Frenchman who ends up surrounded by an exquisite cast of Hollywood’s colorful, flamboyant detritus, the people who cause polite society to look the other way. They are acted out with care and detail, ensuring that each is a fully formed person, not a cardboard sterotype. Drag queen Norma (Michael Airington) is absolutely fabulous, in every form of the word. She could have so easily have become a stereotype, based on either her lifestyle or her age. But Airington and the script make her brassy yet fragile, obnoxious but loveable, and bitchy while desperately loyal. She also gets some of the film’s funniest lines (laughs and cheers erupted from the festival audience at her screaming ‘Good eyes’ at a homophobic youth who quite astutely observes that, yes, she and her friends are indeed gay) and many of its most tender moments. Chad Allen as the gay pot dealer and Kaleesha (Diarra Kilpatrick)the taco-stand tranny are characters who you care about.
Saga Notes: Support the Arts by becoming a member of the Three Dollar Bill Cinema and enter to win a trip to London. The Post Screening Reception was held at Barrio where the food is really good!