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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Groovy Reader of the Month: Glenn Gaylord

As a way to thank my readers for their support, I feature a new groovy guy or gal each month - and the winner of this prestigious title for February is writer/producer/director Glenn Gaylord of Los Angeles, who made me laugh out loud with his 2009 feature film directorial debut, Eating Out 3: All You Can Eat. In my review of the movie, I described it as "a delicious lip-smacking meal of hot guys and raunchy humor" - and Glenn certainly showed off the best assets of his gorgeous stars Chris Salvatore and Michael E.R. Walker as well as the comedic brilliance of the delightful Rebekah Kochan. He has also written and directed two award-winning short films, Lost Cause and Boychick, as well as a sitcom pilot called Lez Be Friends.

Although I admire Glenn's talent as a filmmaker, the man has also impressed me with his knowledge of pop culture by winning many of my Tuesday Trivia quizzes. He knows what actress directed Can't Stop the Music (Nancy Walker) and how many children Debra Winger has in Terms of Endearment (three) - it's this kind of silly stuff that makes me like someone. And it's real easy to like Mr. Gaylord, who's one of the nicest movie directors I've ever met. I'm honored to feature him here on the Dish, and I've asked him to get Deeper with us by answering a few questions about pop culture and his career, including his new movie musical, Leave It On The Floor.

Tell us all about Leave It On The Floor. What inspired you to write and produce the film?
About 4½ years ago, a friend of mine put me together with a director, Sheldon Larry, who was looking for a writer for a project he wanted to do about the Ball Scene. After the success of Paris Is Burning, he had this crazy idea that the subject matter would lend itself to a narrative musical. I thought that whole scene of people walking and voguing in various runway categories had died out when, in fact, it is still going strong to this day. So we immersed ourselves in the scene, attending balls, hanging out with the kids and really enjoying this unsung, underground culture. From there, I wrote the script, including the lyrics to 11 musical numbers. I’ve had this beef for years about musicals that are afraid to be musicals. You know, the kind where every number has to be on a stage because they’re afraid to show people singing anywhere else. Personally, I always loved the escapism and fantasy of that, so we went old school here and let our characters break out in song and dance in the strangest places.

Leave It On The Floor is the story of a young man, Brad, who after his mother kicks him out of his home for being gay, stumbles into the Ball Culture, where he finds his true “family” - but not before turning everyone’s lives upside down. You’ll see three different balls, an incredible cast of fresh, emerging talents, some amazing dancing choreographed by Frank Gatson Jr., who did Beyonce’s unforgettable "Single Ladies" video, and a very current soundtrack by Kim Burse, who has worked as Beyonce’s Music Director. Every song is a different genre, from pop rock to hip hop, rap, gospel, drum corps, club and some “bring-the-house down, watch your back Jennifer Hudson” power ballads! I recorded an early demo of the music that was in my head before turning it over to Kim, and was thrilled that a couple of my melodies made it in there, too. After pushing and pushing and pushing some more, we finally shot the film this past summer and here we are on the verge of getting it out there in the world. It’s been a long but truly joyous haul, and I’m so proud of the work Sheldon and everyone has done on the film. I hope it’ll make you laugh, cry and feel inspired.

How did you end up directing Eating Out 3?
I met Q. Allan Brocka over 10 years ago on the film festival circuit when we were both getting started. We’d always work on each other’s films along the way, so I found myself helping out on and enjoying his first feature, Eating Out. Here was this raunchy but truly sweet film with a pop sensibility and a renegade gay style I hadn’t seen since early John Waters. When it became obvious that a franchise was born, Allan and producer Michael Shoel were looking for other directors to work on the sequels. After our mutual friend, Phillip Bartell, directed the second one, my name came up next when it was time for a third. I’ve joked that it’s the first gay trilogy, unless you count The Lord of the Rings saga! Well, watch out, because Allan is back in the helm for parts 4 and 5, which are shooting back-to-back this spring.

What was the most memorable and/or funniest moment you had while making Eating Out 3?
Most Memorable: Although I loved working with everyone - including the great Leslie Jordan and my dear friend, the blazingly brilliant Rebekah Kochan - as a longtime John Waters fan, I will always cherish the memories of working with Mink Stole. Who knew that one of my idols, whose rant from the phone call scene in Desperate Living was once my answering machine’s outgoing message, would be in one of my movies? AND, she is such a wonderful woman - charming, down-to-earth, prepared, and comes to the set with tons of great ideas. When we screened the film in Chicago, we went out to dinner afterwards with my brother and his family, and they bonded so quickly, they shared a cab ride home. I bet Angelina Jolie didn’t do that with Doug Liman’s siblings!

Funniest Moment: I don’t even know where to start here, so I’ll just randomly pick something gross. As a director, people on sets are always asking you a gazillion questions a day. They’ll present you with an array of clothing options, for example, and ask you to pick one. Well, when it came time to shoot Rebekah’s Brazilian scene, I had our Production Designer show me a bunch of waxing strips with different amounts and colors of pubic hair. Since Rebekah is blonde, I wanted the hair on the strip to be black so that the carpet in no way, shape or form matched the drapes. AND I wanted a sickeningly large amount of it! When it comes to pubic hair sight gags, go big or go home, right? We were snorting through our noses as Justin, our designer, kept bringing me more and more hair. I loved hearing the collective gasps and laughs whenever we’d screen that scene. Aside from that, Rebekah Kochan is herself one truly funny moment after another, and I could go on all day about every sick, twisted and hilarious thing that comes out of her dirty dirty mouth!

Five movies that I think everyone should be required to watch are:
Paper Moon – a perfectly realized gem of a road movie that made me want to become a poor little Depression-era, cigarette-smoking, con-artist tomboy when I grew up.

Sunrise – this way ahead-of-its-time silent masterpiece predated The Postman Always Rings Twice and does it with some of the most evocative, German expressionistic cinema of all time.

The King of Comedy – one of Martin Scorsese’s least seen films is a Master’s Class in one of my favorite movie genre’s: Comedy That Makes You Feel Uncomfortable.

Colma: The Musical - this inventive, ultra-low-budget musical is what inspired Sheldon and I to make Leave It On The Floor on our own. Seek it out.

The Reincarnation of Peter Proud - a terrible '70s thriller, but there’s a hot naked guy in it, so Deep Dish fans will appreciate it for that!

My five favorite TV shows of all time are:
There are so many, I’ll break these up into genres -

South Park: as long as our world is as batpoo insane as it is, they will never run out of great ideas.

Absolutely Fabulous: so witty and so so wrong. Life would be meaningless had I never heard the line, “You only work in a shop, you know, you can drop the attitude.”

Strangers with Candy: I like the “pole and the hole” because of Jerri Blank.

I also love Summer Heights High, Little Britain, Portlandia, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mary Hartman, All in the Family, The Office and Parks and Recreation.

Breaking Bad: It’s like a great mini-Coen Brothers movie every week. I also love Southland, Lost and Mad Men.

Survivor: Because it’s a proven fact that people always look hotter when they willingly starve themselves for a while.

Rich Man, Poor Man, Roots and Holocaust (because it brought us Meryl Streep).

TV Movie
A Killing in a Small Town: Barbara Hershey’s performance is one of the best I have ever seen on a big screen or little.

Also, give me some great, bad '70s schlockfests like Go Ask Alice, Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway, Born Innocent, Trilogy of Terror, The Stranger Within, How Awful About Allan, The Girl Most Likely to... (actually really good), and one great one from 1993, The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom.

If I was asked to choose the Sexiest Man Alive, it would be:
God, this changes daily for me. Right now, I’m pretty hung up on Grant from Survivor and Paul McDonald from American Idol (I’ve been predicting his win since they first showed a 20-second snippet of his audition). Ask me in 10 minutes and I’ll have a new answer for you!

If I could have anyone in the world - living or dead - be a guest at my dinner party, I would invite the following three people:
John Waters – because he cuts through the crap so tastelessly.
Harvey Milk – because he cut through the crap so succinctly.
My late mother – because she cut through the crap so gracefully.

All photos by Suzanne Seagrave-Houchin

What's next for Glenn Gaylord?
I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeves. I’ve got a pile of scripts I’d love to get made including a biopic I co-wrote with Chris Russo about the life of the groundbreaking but forgotten lesbian filmmaker, Dorothy Arzner, a new short I’m about to start shooting with the wonderfully talented Nadya Ginsburg and Dennis Hensley called If We Took A Holiday, and I’d love to see Leave It On The Floor get made into a Broadway musical. I’d love to get an agent and a writing and/or directing gig on TV or film. I’ve done pretty well all on my own, but could use that boost - so help a starving artist out, will ya?

Thank you, Glenn, for being one of my grooviest readers! For more information on Leave It On The Floor, go to You can also become a Facebook fan of the movie by clicking here.


becca said...

well done as always

Marc said...

Thanks, Becca!