2007 Verve Awards

2006 Verve Awards

Best Arts and Culture Blog 2005 Queer Day Awards

Best Gay Blog Nominee 2004 Weblog Awards

Best Arts and Culture Blog Nominee

Friday, April 13, 2007


ModFab On...Boy Culture

Starring: Derek Magyar, Darryl Stephens, Jonathon Trent and Patrick Bauchau

Written by Q. Allan Brocka and Philip Pierce
Directed by
Q. Allan Brocka
R for sexuality, nudity, language and some violence

I know this is late, but I've just seen Boy Culture; since it's currently making its way into theatres across the country, I felt it was still important to crow about. I don't want to overpraise this fraught love story -- Brokeback it isn't -- but it is easily the best gay-themed movie since Ang Lee's western ode and Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin revitalized gay cinema two years ago.

Even more surprising, this nuanced and compelling work signals the maturation of its co-writer and director Q. Allan Brocka (Eating Out), whose previous efforts often mired in sophmoric subject matter and thin storytelling. In Boy Culture -- which in 2006 won best-of awards at four major film festivals, an impressive accomplishment -- Brocka leaps into the small circle of leading queer filmmakers of our time, sculpting an unpredictable romance that is complex, sophisticated and thoughtful. Perhaps not coincidentally, Brocka makes those strides with a story that explores the postmodern maturation of four men into fully-realized selves, transcending the subcultural traps that keep too many gay men infantilized as boys.

Case in point: X (Derek Magyar), a Portland hustler whose idea of maturity is keeping his roster of clients exclusive, monitored, and at arm's length. X, who hasn't had sex for free since his early teenage years, disdains the gay community's flirtations, casual romances, and circular lust. Hypocritical? Yes, but not without a point...it's the messy emotionality and adolescent indulgences that get under his skin. X's life becomes infinitely more difficult when he falls in love with his roommate Andrew (Darryl Stephens)...a predicament that has interesting ramifications for 18-year-old Joey (Jonathon Trent) and X's mysterious older client, Gregory (Patrick Bauchau).

The elegant cinematography and locations make Boy Culture look and feel much more expensive than most independent cinema, but the real treat is the depth of the storytelling. Often, the choice for gay audiences at the cineplex these days is to be insulted (I Now Pronounce You Larry and Chuck, Blades of Glory) or intellect-free (Hellbent, Another Gay Movie). Even with its hackneyed premise of the reformed hustler (a staple of modern gay theatre), Boy Culture finds a way to tap into the austere pain of the emotionally disconnected, offering a fascinating glimpse into the struggles of intimacy and connection in modern life. While gay politics have lately focused on the rights afforded by marriage, one wonders if we shouldn't spend equal time finding ways to celebrate, strengthen, and enhance our practice of love itself. As Boy Culture shows, it is really the only way to ensure a healthy future in our eternally boyish environment.

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