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Boy Culture, Seattle, and the actors and models of LA
Mar 22, 2007 by Scott Gatz
Allan’s interview is part of our Guest Reviewers series
Boy Culture, the film adaptation of the novel of the same name, opens in San Francisco, New York and LA this weekend (and comes to a theatre near you in April and May). Boy Culture is racking up great reviews for its portrayal of love, sex and the complicated story of gay escort ‘X’ (played by hottie Derek Magyar). While it has plenty of eye candy and sex it’s not your typical bubble-gum gay film. X has fallen for Andrew, his roommate (Noah’s Arc’s Darryl Stephens), X’s other roommate–young horny Joey (Jonathon Trent)–has a crush on him and X develops a relationship with an older potential client. All of these stories show how X struggles with commitment, love, and living a modern gay life.
Director and Writer Q. Allan Brocka (Eating Out, Rick and Steve) delivers what Instinct Magazine called “a better than book adaption” and FilmCritic.com calls “One of the more literate and substantial gay-themed movies to come along in a while”. We caught up with Allan from his home in West Hollywood to talk about the film, his coming of age in Seattle and where the good stuff is in LA.
Instinct called your film a “better than the book adaptation”, what about it attracted you?
Wow. I like the book a lot. The producer Philip Pierce read it and wanted to turn it into a film, so I was hired on to write it. I really responded to the book. I thought it would make a great movie because the main character was someone who was a lot like me. He has a dark and cynical view of love and of the gay community. He saw all the flaws in it, but he loved it for that and wouldn’t change it for the world. And that’s exactly how I feel. I hadn’t really seen that in a character before or in a portrayal of the gay community. I’ve only seen it as a dark and scary place or a wonderful, magical place. In reality, it’s kind of a mixture of the two, and I really like the way he saw it.
You mention that you relate to the character…what resonates with you?.
His views of sex and sexuality. He’s very judgmental, not just about other people, but about himself and he’s earned a right to be because he questions everything, including his own judgments. His internal monologue in his own head is so much like what’s going on in mine. There’s one scene where he’s watching two boys in a club as they circle each other, then meet and then come together. He loves watching that, he loves it. Yet, he also recognizes this cycle of destruction and rejection that can happen with that, and the hopes of finding love.
The film was shot entirely on location in your hometown of Seattle, why Seattle?
Seattle is where I came of age as a gay man. It is where I learned the ups and downs and the ins and outs about the community. As I wrote the adaptation, in my head I was just putting Seattle places in–like Chicago’s Hyde Park I imagined like Volunteer Park–so when I got to go back and rewrite it and put all the Seattle places back in, it just fit perfectly. And the theme of the rain and the fall just worked so well with the story, I was just excited to go back and shoot there.
How would you explain Seattle to someone who has never been there before?
The best way to sum up Seattle is what I hear everyone say...it’s beautiful, except for the rain. It rains a lot there, but it is a beautiful city. And on those two non-consecutive weeks of summer that you get, it is so beautiful that it’s easy to forget what the rest of the year is like.
You live in Los Angeles now, how would you describe the LA gay scene?
LA, I think, is the toughest gay scene I’ve encountered anywhere in the world. Imagine that the most beautiful boys of every high school all across America who are constantly told their entire life that they are so hot, and that they should be a model or an actor. Imagine if they all moved into one neighborhood and they gave up everything in their lives to go away and become famous. That’s my neighborhood and it’s really intimidating. When you have someplace like New York, there’s such a huge mix of careers there, there’s definitely a pretty boy culture there but you are just as likely to run into someone who is a doctor or a lawyer a vet or in a rock band than you are an actor. Here they are actors.
Imagine that the most beautiful boys of every high school all across America all moved into one neighborhood. That’s my neighborhood
If you had a friend coming to LA for the weekend, where would you go?
I would take them to the beach definitely, to Venice. I’d take them to West Hollywood, we’d go to The Abbey which you just have to do. Various and sundry clubs and we’d do plenty of driving. We’d probably go for a hike in Runyon Canyon, that’s a very cool thing to do, there are a lot of gay people around and a little bit different than going to a club. It’s this great little park that’s in the Hollywood Hills in the middle of the city. You just hike up to the top of the Hollywood Hills and you have this amazing view of Los Angeles and if there’s not a lot of smog you can see downtown and the beach in Santa Monica and on the other side you can see the San Fernando Valley. It’s pretty amazing. It’s also a dog park a lot of gay men with dogs there. There’s husband material there–rather than just drunk guys–you know that they are healthy and actually appreciate nature. It’s a nice way to get out of the city without having to go through the trouble of driving.
What’s the latest hotspot in LA that you can’t get enough of? Any places visitors ought to check out?
I went to this place called Area last month that was really awesome. That only happens once a month on a Sunday. There really hasn’t been anything like this in LA in a while. It feels upscale but there’s dancing, which is a really hard mix to find in the gay clubs around here.
My favorite bar right now is the East West Lounge on Larabee and Santa Monica. It’s on my street; I just walk to the corner and get drunk. It’s a really nice bar right down to the music and the crowd. It’s never too crowded that you can’t move, but it’s never empty.
Club TigerheatI would definitely go to tigerheat because it’s quite a scene. It’s like the underage thing and it will definitely make you feel old if you are over twenty…two. But it is so much fun. Everyone is just there to have fun and there’s an upper level for us seniors to go up to have a drink and watch the petting zoo below.
I also really like Hot Dog, its kind of a little bit punk–punk for West Hollywood. It has a little bit of trashiness. It’s a little crazy I guess. The music is really good.
What is the biggest misconception of LA? Something that people don’t know about LA that you just think is wonderful?
It can’t just be the weather, it can’t. But it is really nice and it is always nice. You know right now its gorgeous and sunny and I’m driving around with my top down. You can always find a nice calmness and center anywhere you are in the city because it is so spread out. It is also laid back. You don’t need to ever own a tie unless you get nominated for an Oscar. I like that.
Thanks for taking time with us Allan, before we let you go, tell us a bit about your next project, the LOGO series Rick and Steve.
“Rick and Steve the Happiest Gay Couple in All the World” was the first thing I made when I came to LA. Its actually kind of based in the Seattle scene but I just stuck some Palm Trees in there. It was a short film and a homework assignment. It was all made out of lego and shot in stop motion animation. The assignment was to make a film about relationships, so I made a film about a gay couple and a lesbian couple who hate each other but decide to have a baby together. It hit the film festival circuit and made it into the festival of animation. The best thing I ever did was–just on a whim–I put “Episode One” in the title, not even thinking of making more, just to make it feel like a TV show. Because of that, everyone asked when other episodes would be coming out. I made more short films until lego sued me to stop. And so the concept of the show I kept and tried to sell as a regular TV show and then LOGO came along and they got behind it almost immediately. I got some amazing cast that I only ever dreamed of working with: Peter Paige, Wilson Cruz, Alan Cumming, Margaret Cho are all doing voices in it. It premieres in June on LOGO as a half hour TV show.