Reporting From Glendale, California.
Since I was stuck in San Francisco working on The Fabulous Adventures of Captain Queer and spending my days making demands of the design team like, "We need an Orange-Flavored Cocksicle! Where's the Orange-Flavored Cocksicle! The script calls for an Orange-Flavored Cocksicle!," I was not able to attend any rehearsals or even opening night of Mysterious Skin at Rude Guerrilla Theater Company in Santa Ana. In fact, Loren saw the production before I did, and the first thing he reported was that the guys in it were hot. So much for deep analysis. I'm beginning to think that I not only have a certain reputation in my own home, but also in the theater community in general. When the director of the production cast the show, he sent me an e-mail to tell me that I would be "VERY PLEASED" (in capital letters just like that). I'm now suspect that people think that my desire for actors who can act is secondary to actors who are hot—hence, the quite suggestive "VERY PLEASED" in caps. To set the record straight, I enjoy the slap-slap of dick from hot guys as much as the next Thai-American queer playwright, but that is secondary to actors who are phenomenal performers. The slap-slap of dick from hot guys is just icing on the proverbial cake that I would proverbially lick, chew, and swallow. (By the way, will someone from the Captain Queer production please take a photo of the Cocksicle and e-mail it to me so that I can post it?)
Skin novelist Scott Heim hit town this past weekend, and we made plans to go see the play together last Saturday. As we walked the streets of downtown Glendale, Scott kept thinking that he had been to Glendale before. I assured him that this was not true because people from out of town never end up in Glendale for any reason whatsoever——there's no point. But he insisted. After beer, he shut up about it, and we were on our way.
We carpooled with my filmmaker friend Gabriel Fleming, who was celebrating his birthday, and Scott's actor friend Brady Corbet, who was in the film version of Mysterious Skin and did several episodes of 24 (my favorite show of all time).
Brady has an encyclopedic knowledge of independent and foreign film, and I would describe him as an 80-year-old version of Scott Heim trapped inside the body of a 17-year-old. (By the way, is Brady in that Bright Eyes video? Does anyone know? Is that him?)
Anyway, the production is pretty great. There's a level of precision that the director and actors bring to the text. Isn't it wonderful when actors actually understand the lines they are saying? It then gives them room to play and discover nuance and depth. I cried three times.
Scott and I knew that the actors were nervous that we were in the audience, so we had the idea to play a really mean practical joke. Scott was going to stand up at the end of the play and scream, "You decimated my vision!" And I was going to yell, "This is a travesty of justice!" But we couldn't bring ourselves to do it, and we both really did love the show. I'm going back this weekend. (Don't tell the actors.)
There was a post-play discussion scheduled with the director and actors, and, since Scott and I were around, we were pulled onto stage as well. The word "fisting" was thrown around so many times and so casually out of seemingly demure mouths that both Scott and I were squirming in our seats. Brady later mentioned that we should've started a drinking game, where you would have to take a swig every time someone said "fisting." The whole place would've been drunk. And I would've been on my ninth Shirley Temple.