Nip/Tuck: San Francisco
(And no I’m not gonna trot out the tired “close-up” line…) On Friday, Frameline removed the bandages for “Lulu Gets a Facelift” at The Mission’s Victoria Theatre. Directed by festival co-founder, Marc Huestis, the film chronicles local drag performer – and “mid-life crisis in action” – Lulu – as she prepares go under the knife. Knowing its money shot, it climaxes with her literally cheeky “reveal” performance at Trannyshack. (Think ‘Nautical Cher’. But with a face that is actually still mobile.) While dishy flamboyance is to be gleefully expected, the film isn’t just a pretty face. Along with the froth, it recognizes the conflicted and often contradictory emotions at the heart of personal insecurity and the aging process. In a society seemingly fixated on youth and appearance, it can be doubly cruel in the gay community.
[More tautly pulled commentary after the jump.]
San Francisco loves to pride itself as being “The Anti-L.A.”, but she is not immune to bouts of vanity and superficiality. (Like “duh…and stuff…”) A 3 day shoot of old school guerrilla film-making, it’s a gas to watch familiar landmarks, neighborhood pluck and oh so resonant vulnerability flit by. Screened to a packed house, it was endearingly and refreshingly ‘local’ in perspective. The Q&A session in particular, post-film, was sassy yet sobering. Lulu and Marc freely embraced – and celebrated – the notion of featuring gay men in a hospital setting – and not it being about KS tragedy, but elective surgery. The after-party at Pink (a venue I hadn’t set foot in since its Liquid days) was homo homey and, again, disarmingly neighborhoody. Heart-warming case in point: Lulu herself literally racing to the locked front door of the club to make sure the spinach dip was appropriately presented for the noshy crowd.
While binging at the buffet, I got the chance to briefly chat with (out of ‘face’ and stubbly) Peaches Christ. A girl fiercely working a line up that will ensure you’re sleeping in the following less-than-flatteringly-lit morning. Kicking off with goth-cleavage icon Elvira, it only gets better throughout the dreadfully foggy summer. (Open secret: the imminent return of flawed sidekick, Martiny!) Like Lulu, Peaches is emblematic of yet another queen who is certainly not in it for the (non-existent) money. Surveying the scene from my unexpectedly free cocktail, I saw: art fags, a realistically representative crowd, generously poured booze, and grungy locale: it all coalesced to be one of those very San Francisco moments. Organic, clear-eyed, yet irrepressibly still singing in front of that bedroom mirror with a hairbrush, it was one of those displays of vivid exuberance that reinforced why I live here.
To voyeuristically rubberneck at Lulu’s potential accident-in-progress, check out the trailer here.