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[whitespace] J'emmerde l'art: Werepad resident and Whitesploitation maven Jacques Boyreau, poised for a museum screening of his cinematic shrapnel.

Rhinoceros Visions

In the mind's eye of an exploitation auteur

By Jacques Boyreau

Jacques Boyreau's notes on his newest film project are printed here as a critical companion to his upcoming screening at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' Bay Area Now 2 local film series. His previous feature, Planet Manson, as well as several other chunks of Boyreau-curated pop flotsam, will screen there on Jan. 22 at 7pm.

What follows is a chronicle of the latest production of Massacre at Central Hi. This film is called I Do, I Die. It was filmed between March and November 1999, in the Lord of our Year.

A script has been written. The head shots are arriving in fat bundles. Most of the faces are uninteresting and I will tell you that the most gainfully employed of all the applicants is also the ugliest mutherfucker in the bunch. This is one of those strange advantages men hold in reserve. A ladies' stack is slowly building, however. I am searching the streets and the clubs for Baby Right. ...

Club Sixxteen is a place that gets your goat, shaves the goat's ass so it can be munched and kissed upon that breech region and offers its scene on Sunday night, thus the extra push of its unholy vibe. The crowd there knows why rock & roll rhymes with hell hole. And in the smoky-skinned din I see her. A blonde buoy from another dimension wearing a space-age zoot mini-skirt. She combos Liquid Sky with Barbarella. "Tell me about your outfit?" asks I. ...

Now that Sheila has been cast I am still looking for the pivotal thespian who must play ExWife. In the script none of the characters have name-names. Like in The Driver, they are known archetypally: The ExHusband, the Artist, the Shopkeeper, etc., with the exception of Fabulous Freddy, which may be an archetype, too.

Luck gives me Tiffany. I sense she has the marital chops as well as the ocean bone to float my boat. We do a cold reading. She delivers the line, "I wish someone would kill you." I laugh and look down at the script, noticing that my direction requests a similar deep chuckle. Silently in my mind I offer her the part. Later, when she accepts, I test-savor the kick of casting a happily married woman.

A teeming shitload of tasks to do: sets must be built, morale lifted, crew assembled, equipment fixed, and personalities must be soothed and kept ready for combustion. Sex scenes, vans blowing up, wild cabarets, skateboard kung fu fisticuffs, medieval murder and Henry Miller's papyrus and scrotum--this movie is soaking! I feel the energy tinkling about like a saint's chain whimsying on a cold concrete stage.

The nest of weirdos swirling into the picture is an impressive lot. If there is a common denominator to this group mind, it strongly suggests Abstract Individualism which calls attention to the Fascist Unknown and of course Renaissance Monsterism and the Happy Entrepreneur. It's a mess, I admit. But chaos is cozy if that's what you like. This means a number of things, including Fuck Sundance, Fuck Art Bureaucracies, Fuck L.A., Fuck Political Filmmakers (they are as bad as politicians) and Fuck Anyone Who's Not Curious About Exploitation (for now let's say it might be the Alpha and Omega of all Film Genres).

Back to the nest. For starters there's my partner, Moffett. A strange dude with the presence of a shadowy lotus bloom. He takes over for me the morning I go to the hospital. They remove a shilling of glass from the rump of my thumb. The cut is subcutaneous. The previous night saw us smashing display cabinets with burnt nail-tipped ax handles and creating huge clouds of free glass in Das Pussycat, the vintage threadshop where a goodly and groovy percentage of the story occurs. After the stuntwork, a hydrant-like bouncer at the Kilowatt buys me a drink.

Dealing with actors is an acquired taste, like cheese, beer, pussy, like anything that's steeped in milk, malt and taboo. That's why I try to deprofessionalize them. I try not to talk about craft. As for providing motivation, the most effective means I've found comes from stropping down a sort of beat, like a benevolent prayer to "do good" and be so empty that the zone of clarity just comes and grabs you AND the tone you rode in on. All direction is mumbo-jumbo. Voodoo filler between takes.

Sluggo and Left Field are hammering in shims in the fake van door they are installing. The new door also boasts a silver-dollar hole, perfect for the incognito street filming that we are about to perpetrate. Up front, Sluggo and Left Field run radar--i.e., "Get ready. Sketchy dude at 9 o'clock." I try to impart steadiness and spontaneous pitch into the camera as we hit the Loin, corkscrew up Sixth Street and generally maraud through the central abattoir of San Francisco. Reality stripteases into a vision. Shapes erupt into the night. Starsky and Hutch chase Antonioni. Together they help us beat the rap. We plunge into the tunnel at the end of the light.

Alyssa, who plays the Shopkeeper, is asking me what color lingerie she should wear. The purple is vivid but the basic black prevails as always. She is to be beheld. Foxy and silly. Dark and fragile. Moffett and I have spent hours lighting the scarlet chamber. DJ Kneel has lent his erotic canvases of wine-colored fro-mamas and blonde trios. They look good in tight formation on the wall. It's a closed set.

Sharon Stone zips past us in a black convertible and waves. Absurd. But no more absurd than what we are doing that day. Moffett is dressed as the Red Death in a long lipstick gown, shaking martinis for the skate-homies that "come to the rescue" of the ExWife. Most people seem to thrill slightly that we are making a film in plain sight without a support truck full of frat boys to kiss our ass. I mention this because Nash Bridges often films in our neighborhood.

A few weeks later in a taco bar I see Don Johnson and Cheech walk by. They go to the lavatory. Without so much as a nod, Don takes the boy-door and Cheech takes the girl-door. It is an understanding. Their suits are rabid with shine. I want to tell Johnson that the Werepad has just shown a print of A Boy and His Dog, wondering perhaps if he has heavy memories of his '70s contributions before his whoredom's deluge (although Dead Bang is good). Anyway, Don is unprepared for my report. He zags away. Still in midsentence, I heel after him. He zigs this time. Then one of his droogs comes over and sticks his finger into my shoulder. I sigh. Don's not a look-me-in-the-eye type of guy. At the condiment bar without looking at each other, he says something like, "That sounds like quite a show." "Yes, it played well," says I.

Baby Huey--the prima donna flamer I've cast in the big cabaret scene--for some top-secret fag reason has decided to stiff me on his appearance, for which the whole evening has been prepared. The extras, the crew, the go-go dancers--they wonder what we're going to do now. I scrub my temper into ratty, fatalistic flakes. I promote Aerin from buck go-go chick to five-star general go-go chick. I start placing the extras for the dolly shot. Then Chuck arrives. I am so happy to see the big gorilla that it hits me. Of course! The Artist was meant to be in this scene! The idea of improv unnerves Chuck, a newcomer to lead roles. I ask him if he remembers "Bad Playhouse" from Saturday Night Live. He beams when I conjure Belushi. He strips off his shirt. The rugged magnitude of his tattooed body gongs the room. I give him a silver hardhat. I say to get up there and "turn the wheel like Conan." Turn and turn he does amidst the Dancer and Red Death.

Later, all the electricity vanishes. We go from several thousand watts barrage to cave darkness. The shots have already been gathered so my reaction is loose, accepting. I sense and feel those around me. I feel the group mind, the songbird that can be the wrong bird or the bong bird or the strong bird. The weird quiet that strides over everything. Someone lights a candle. The weight of the flame presses against our faces but there is really nothing more to see.

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From the January 3, 2000 issue of the Metropolitan.

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