There’s a party thrown every Wednesday night in Provincetown called Fag Bash. I popped in late last night. It’s perhaps the best $5 you can spend in this little town. It seems that everyone (crammed in the tiny dark basement) takes hours applying meticulous makeup and dressing in gorgeous goth/romantic costume. Thick black eye liner, masks and glittering lipstick. Organza capes, knitted horns for devilish girls and boys, a carnival of creative wonder.
This procession begins weaving its way up Commercial Street at 10 o’clock and back again, disheveled and drunken, after the decadent party in the wee hours. It’s so heartening and invigorating to see. Inspiring! I’m going to dress up next week. Count me in. She’ll make an appearance. I promise you.
Thank God for Fag Bash! Earlier, yesterday evening, I had to sit through perhaps the worst gay themed film… ever. Tom Dolby and Tom Williams’s co-directed travesty: Last Weekend.
Billionaire, Tom Dolby is the Dolby sound system heir. In lieu of any real talent he has bought himself a free pass into the film industry. Last Weekend is his debut film made after the crashing disaster of his first novel… I’m assuming another vanity project? Tom embraces the ‘right to fail’. Why not? Tom and his husband and their two surrogate daughters have nothing to worry about. It really doesn’t matter how miserable their artistic endeavors… because money is no object.
Co-Directors Tom and Tom arrived at the opening night screening wearing their crisp navy/cream linen suits, their Hollywood team in tow… their ‘award winning’ producers, their manager; my old friend Danny Halstead and their leading lady Patricia Clarkson. Tom introduces the film with a sullen one liner and so it began… the dirge.
After a confusing opening moment… Clarkson gazing wistfully, maybe perplexed (perhaps she has cataracts) over Lake Tahoe, family members arrive for Memorial Day Weekend. They are served by a phalanx of miserable latino staff. There are bad jokes about celebrity, alcoholism and how ‘crazy’ Clarkson’s character is. The pace is languorous and indulgent, the characters are clichéd and increasingly… unwatchable.
After twenty minutes the roof of The Provincetown Town Hall begins to sag with disappointment. Members of the audience leave. Feet shuffle, somebody drops their change.
Patricia Clarkson is an accomplished actress, yet in Last Weekend she is left flailing, undirected, spewing appalling lines in badly constructed scenes. Left to her own devices… she resorts to pleading hand gestures (elephant’s testicles) and shrill, post menopausal delivery. The director of photography does her no favors with unflattering close-ups and clumsy framing. I felt so sorry for the actors. Trapped in trite scene after trite scene. Forced to act out the life of the writer/director… was it shot in the Dolby family lake house?
Heartless, bereft of emotion, contrived.
My friend, the talented actor Zachary Booth plays a screen writer… obviously Dolby. Yes, another film about a conflicted writer. Why can’t these people have real jobs? Lazy writing by rich, entitled, white gay men. Neither director seems to have any compassion for their characters, just as they had no compassion for the Provincetown audience. This film is terrible and no amount of Dolby gay millions could save it.
These two local events (Fag Bash and The Provincetown Film Festival) serve as a metaphor for gay life in the USA. On the streets and in the bars the club kids are brimming with creative genius, embracing modernity. Wearing their extraordinary costumes they stand in opposition to mediocrity. Last Weekend is what affluent, heteronormative, white gays serve up as ‘gay culture’. My fear is that the obscenely rich and bourgeois Tom Dolby and his terrible film will be used as evidence for what queer life is like now rather than the vibrant party thrown by the disenfranchised in the dingy Fag Bash basement.