In July 2007, after a 16-month run, KRCL’s Now Queer This was forever silenced … well, except for the indelible voices of Sister Dottie S. Dixon (who picked up her own KRCL spot, as well as a live performance scheduled in April-May 2009) and the five-minute satirical repartee of Skylar and PJ, aka the Vapid Lovelies.
In their first short film simply titled Vapid Lovelies, Skylar (David Luna) and PJ (Chris Lemon) steal a fur coat, compete over a sexy new neighbor (Cameron Jones), cock block Alexis Baigue and call upon a pyschic drag queen (Dan Beecher) when their "in" to the Sundance Film Festival who’s-who is threatened.
There are so many good things about this film, but what stands out most is the colorful lampoonery of Skylar and PJ, all the while living the mockery that was early ’80s fashion.
David and Chris rise to the challenge of being "two despicable gay boys" with comic ingenuity, similar to the ladies of Absolutely Fabulous … and yet are so huggable.
(Writer’s Note: If you’ve ever seen Chris on the softball field, this would not come as such a great surprise.)
Some small independent films — in which everyone involved is not only working pro bono but also with a budget the size of a small independent newspaper — are a huge gamble for audiences and the filmmakers. So just before viewing the Vapid Lovelies screener with director Frank Feldman, production designer/manager Andrea Morrison, and cast members Dan Beecher and Chris Lemon, some trepidation bobbed on the surface. Phrases like "better quality," "deep and rich" and "fraction of the budget" hung in the room as opening credits rolled.
Then about 25 minutes later the trepidation was completely replaced with elation. There was this enormous satisfaction and content in the room that it’s surprising no one immediately lit up a cigarette.
The film incorporates many genres: intrigue, romance, comedy, horror (again … ’80s fashion) and of course, drama. And as Beecher professed before the screening, the film quality does surpass many others. The actors are cued and believeable, and the story, with content much like that of a Seinfeld episode, is highly entertaining.
It’s quite possible that what makes this film as good as it is, is the fact that the production team have been longtime friends — their level of friendship was apparent during the screening when Chris casually and comfortably lifted his arms and checked his B.O. level — the expression on his face turned on a ‘Warning: Toxic Waste’ electronic LED sign. Chris, always the charmer!
Feldman, who also co-wrote and co-produced the film, has a B.A. in Film Studies from the University of Utah, has directed and produced several documentary shorts including Protest and SLOC’ed, has taught at SpyHop Productions (a youth multimedia group) and is wrapping up another documentary with Troy Williams called Natural Family Values, a film about Kanab, Utah’s anti-gay family resolution.
The Vapid Lovelies team agrees that the journey — since last December when they first started writing the script — has been long (post production being the most time consuming), but also very exciting. Their goal now is to market the film as best they can — the Web site vapidlovelies.com is not currently up-and-running, but is of high priority. With their apparent tenacity, this should not be difficult.
Vapid Lovelies will also be introduced to the Sundance film committee in contention for screening during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. With its artistic strength, this too should not be difficult.