Wednesday, November 10, 2010

4PLAY: Chasing the big "R"

Thoughts for the day, and in general, how I feel about what we are trying to accomplish with FOURPLAY that perhaps is out of step with the times, but hopefully speaks to some eternal truths that remain constant. The last of the short films that make up the series has wrapped, so now just in post-production land for 2011. Happy Holidaze! - Kyle

Romanticism is precisely situated neither
in choice of subject nor exact truth,
but in the way of feeling.


The moment of desire ! the moment of desire ! the
That pines for man shall awaken her womb to
enormous joys
In the secret shadows of her chamber : the youth
shut up from
The lustful joy shall forget to generate and create an
amorous image
In the shadows of his curtains and in the folds of his
silent pillow.
Are not these the places of religion, the rewards of
The self-enjoyings of self-denial ? Why dost thou
seek religion ?
Is it because acts are not lovely that thou seekest
Where the horrible darkness is impressed with
reflections of desire?


Sunday, November 7, 2010

4PLAY: SF - BUTT Interview PT 5

Part five of art critic/educator Andy Campbell's (bold) interview with Paul Soileau, Aliya in 4PLAY: SF, and Chloe, consultant and inspiration for Aliya. Photo above from Paul's performance as "Christeene" in Los Angeles this summer during OUTFEST at the "Bears In Space" party. I love the mash up of high-and-low with the McDonald's signage in the background... although I don't know which is high or which is low? - Kyle

When you were at Folsom, Paul, you did something really genius, that I wish I had been there for. Your drag performance persona Christeene Vale does this balloon dance and for this particular performance you attached the balloons to a butt plug, right? And you inserted the butt plug and then let it fly after dancing with it. Did it actually fly? Was there enough helium in it to lift the butt plug?

Paul: Yeah, one of my dancers, T. Gravel, he was involved in a situation where he had to lift his dick with balloons for a performance and it took twelve large balloons to lift it. So we figured…

And does that mean he has a big dick?

Paul: A big ol’ dick. Oh, I don’t know. It was flaccid when he had to lift it, and he just said it took twelve for him. And his partner, who was doing it too, took a couple more. So they were always fighting about that.

"I’m two balloons more than you!"

Paul: Men! Men! But we knew we were going to need twelve, but we wound up with fifteen helium balloons, and we just tied them to this red jelly butt plug and I did my dance. And then at the end – it was outdoors – and I pulled it out at the end of the little intro dance and let go, and it flew right over a church and it disappeared.

Did you feel the pull of the balloons while you were dancing?

Paul: No, actually it kept…I needed some lubrication, and my friend, all he had was this fancy French lotion, which was so damn silky, and that thing kept wanting to fly out of my butt the whole time. Damn French lotion, it was angel silky.

Paul: Another thing on this trip to Folsom was that it was the first time I had ever met Chloe. And I was dressed up as skanky Christeene, who is just trash, and then the most elegant woman in the world, Chloe, came out.

Scott: Well, when I first saw Christeene, I had to go downstairs and let her in my building. So I had to descend the stairs, and there’s Christeene at the bottom of the stairs –

- where she belongs –

Scott: - where she belongs. I had to convince myself to open the door. And I looked at her, and I was like, okay wait, I do know this person. And I open the door and all of a sudden I realized I spent two-and-a-half hours getting dressed and this bitch is wearing a pillowcase. I’m not shitting you. And looked gorgeous, I have to say. I wasn’t quite sure what was make-up and what wasn’t. It was lots of brown stains everywhere, and I was a little bit scared to give her a hug, but I was so happy to see lovely Christeene.

Paul: It really was like sushi going out with chicken fried steak. It was just tragic.

Scott: But the best part was being in public with you at a bar and people looking at us, trying to figure out, how the fuck do those two know each other? Where did they meet?

It was Folsom, so were those bears all over you?

Scott: The bears were all over us. Paul: The bears loved us. It was amazing.

Scott: The bears loved Christeene… A lot of them were really familiar with Christeene's music and videos. A lot of them were major fans. They knew all the words to her songs. It was this wonderful experience of, I think, people being fascinated and repulsed at the same time, which is a fun place to be, if you think about it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

4PLAY: SF - BUTT Interview PT 4

Part 4 of art critic/theorist Andy Campbell's interview w/ Paul Soileau (aka Aliya) and Chloe, cross-dressing sex-worker script consultant, regarding their work together on FOURPLAY: SAN FRANCISCO. - Kyle

Have you ever faked a kink, Paul?

Paul: Have I ever what? What do you mean a kink?

It can be anything – like being into micro-penises, I don’t know.

Paul: Not in my personal life. No, no, I don’t think so. Unh-unh.

Would you like to?

Scott: You’re not a faker, Paul!
Paul: No, it’s not like work for me. If I were doing what Scott does, I’d fake the kinks for sure, but personally, no.

That’s so selfish.

Scott: Does it always have to be your way, Paul?

I think the answer is yes, a big yes.

Scott: What a selfish kind of lover you are!
Paul: I know. I am. I’ll try any kink, though, but I won’t act like I enjoy it if I don’t. But I’ll sure as hell try them out.
Scott: You’ll try anything once!
Paul: My sex-life is like a Piccadilly buffet.

I want you to go into that more.

Paul: Well, my favorite is chicken fried steak.

Does everything have to be fried, Paul?

Paul: No, no…I’ll eat some broiled chicken… But you won’t like it.
Scott: And he’ll let you know.

He’ll let you know. He’ll tell you.

Scott (imitating Paul): No, I’ll try it, but I didn’t like that.
Paul: You have to try it, dammit!

What did you eat today, Scott?

Scott: I had a beautiful smoothie. It made me very happy. Oh, and sushi, I had sushi for lunch.

Is that it? You need to eat more!

Scott: It’s only 7:30 here, honey.

Oh, that’s right. That was the Jewish mom coming out in me…

Scott: And I had two clients this afternoon, and trust me, I ain’t gonna eat no fucking chicken fried steak before I have to work.

No shit.

Scott: Literally, no shit. Literally, it doesn’t happen. We keep it nice and light.
Paul: Yeah, Scott’s very elegant with everything he does.

And you are not, obviously.

Paul: No, I try, but I’m a poser. I try to be all elegant, but once you get into it, you’ll be able to find out.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

4PLAY: SF - Info re Montreal + Stanford scrnings - Oct 29th

Vous parlez Français? Oui? Then here's a link for tickets to FOURPLAY: SAN FRANCISCO at Montreal's Image+Nation Festival on Fri, Oct 29th, 9 PM at Theater Hall Concordia (see link for directions to theater).

And more info on a new FREE screening in San Francisco's bay area at Stanford in Palo Alto on Fri, Oct 29th from 6-9:30PM. I'll be participating in the Q&A via Skype and possibly Chloe might be in attendance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

4PLAY: SF - BUTT Interview PT 3

Pt 3 of Andy Campbell's interview w/ Paul Soileau (Aliya) and Chloe, 4PLAY:SF's project consultant. Click here to see Pt 1 or Pt 2. - Kyle

Now I want to know about this film that you two collaborated on, FOURPLAY: SAN FRANCISCO. In it, Paul, you play a fictionalized version of Scott's sex-worker tranny persona Chloe and, well, you toe-fuck a quadriplegic. What was it like seeing Paul play you?

Scott: Surreal, a bit surreal, and incredibly flattering in one sense, and bit nerve-racking. We actually did some of the filming in my actual apartment here, which is where the character – instead of calling her Chloe, she’s named Aliya in the film –lived. And we did some of the filming in San Francisco, but the actual scene of the session between Aliya and the quadriplegic gentlemen was actually filmed in Austin, Texas and I wasn’t there for that. But it was remarkable how accurate it was and how incredible Paul was. The subtleties and the sensitivities, you know, he really got it. And that has to do with all different levels, starting on working on the script with the screenwriter and director to make sure the sensitivity level was there.

I’ve read some of your writings about your work and one of the things I’m really interested in is this idea of empathy that you talk about, and this idea of coming to your work from a place of non-judgment. And I’m actually wondering if in that process of empathy and non-judgment you feel like there’s a way that you can connect to those that you’re working with.

Scott: Absolutely. I mean, I feel like in any kind of therapeutic situation – and that is how I view it – that there is going to be transference and counter-transference. What that means is that, if the client comes in and he typically is a depressed or lonely person, and he’s trying to sort of scab that situation over with sex, I feel that. I feel that sadness. I see people who are really, really lonely and desperate for that touch of human skin and to have their own skin touched. And that’s sort of a sad situation, and I definitely feel that. I think anyone who is sort of present in that situation and goes through it multiple times after a course of years is going to feel that.

And do you feel like it works the other way, too?

Scott: Absolutely. I feel like I have the power… well, typically, if I’m not in the best of moods, I don’t work. I try to make sure that I’m in the right frame of mind to give people what they’re really coming for, to be open to that. And if I’m having a bad day or something like that, or I’m tired, I would just rather not work, ‘cause that’s just not fair to them. It’s one of the ways that I safeguard against that kind of counter-transference to them, by not working when my head isn’t in the right place.

I was wondering if their kinks become your kinks?

Scott: Oh, interesting. Yeah, um, Paul – I think this is where you and I might connect, ‘cause there’s a lot of acting that goes on. Even if I’m not particularly into a certain situation – if I’m not into rimming, if I’m not into fisting, if I’m not into S&M spanking or whatever – I can pretend like I am. I feel like that’s part of the job. That’s what they’re paying for. I’m not saying I lie to the client, necessarily, but I feel like I can throw myself into the role. As soon as I get in the role of Chloe, I’m ready to be that sexual dynamo and the fantasy that the client has when they arrive at my apartment.

Paul: You really want to make that person feel amazing, right? Verbally, you don’t have to go there, you don’t have to shove your fist up their ass, but you sure as hell can make them think you would, because they’ve brought it up and you’re turned on by it.

Scott: Exactly. You’re absolutely right, Paul. And interestingly enough, the dynamic in most of my sessions is that they’ve come to please me, actually. You know, the whole tranny/chick with a dick thing is about all these men being able to be submissive. So it really puts me into this perfect kind of place to really control the situation. Oftentimes, it’s not really about what turns them on. Occasionally it is, but usually it’s about me sort of guiding a situation and having them sort of figure out what turns me on. Or me telling them, “Let’s do this. This really gets me hot. That’s good.” Because they’re there to please me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

4PLAY: SF - BUTT interview PT 2

Part two of the BUTT interview btwn Chloe and Paul Soileau and Andy Campbell. See part one to get up to speed. - Kyle

Do you put pictures of yourself on the interwebs, Paul?

Paul: On the interwebs? Yes, there's a lot of Christeene floating around on the interwebs. A lot of video of her, because she's a musician.

In what sense is she a musician?

Paul: Well I see her as this poor little piece of shit who has found one little gold nugget in her life. So she's going all the way with it. She's like Mike Tyson: an animal on stage and a baby when you talk to her.

So I hear you're an art collector, Chloe…

Chloe: Yes, I am.

Is that it? Is that all I get?

Chloe: (Laughs) Yes, the answer is yes. I collect lots of things: shoes, clothing from specific periods like space-age pop, vintage movie posters, and also art. I collect the posters because very shortly the cinema will die, and we won't actually go to the theater anymore. It's already happened to the porn theaters I used to love in this country. So I started collecting vintage porn movie posters. I have quite a collection.

Do you collect anything, Paul?

Paul: I was gonna ask Chloe real quick – where do you keep your posters? ‘Cause they’re not up at your house.

Chloe: No, they’re not. I want to have them framed. So I have them in tubes in one of my closets.

In tubes! In the closet! Where they belong! Are you a collector, Paul?

Paul: No. I like shit art. I just love, I get really inspired, by art I find on streets, in garbage cans, or by friends of mine who are trying hard.

Too hard?

Paul: Too hard. Oh, much too hard. ‘Cause if it’s hanging on my wall, they know that it’s there for a reason. That I like to giggle at it, you know. I just like innocent, innocent, crappy art that makes me giggle a lot and taps into that rascal baby in me, you know.
Chloe: Maybe you should collect those little Precious Moments figurines.

Paul: Oh, my Mam-maw does that she has a lot of those. She had the magnets. She had the figurines, but her refrigerator was like the Mecca of Precious Moments.

What kind of things would they say again? I know I’ve seen them, but I can’t remember what they would say. Like “Today Is the Pits”? Or what would they say?

Chloe: I’m sure they were more positive than that…

Paul: No, they weren’t tongue-in-cheek…

I guess that’s what I want them to say.

Chloe: That’s what they should say!

Paul: They were really strange. They were like these creepy, naked doll babies holding hands and it would read “Love is a gift…Don’t Waste It.”

And those just make you uncomfortable.

Paul: Yeah, those just make me like…I don’t wanna go over to someone’s house and have Precious Moments lying around. You know, or I’m out the door. Only Mam-maw gets to have the Precious Moments. But I am painting. I have this dream of having a room in my home that’s covered in paintings of my most favorite women in the world. I mean, I’m sure a couple of men will slip in there… But, I don’t just pick on shitty art – I make it myself.

You’re a practitioner?

Paul: Yes, I practice the art of crap.

Friday, September 24, 2010

4PLAY: SF - BUTT interview PT 1

To keep us warm on the festival circuit this fall, posting a series of interviews that Andy Campbell, queer art historian and writer for the Austin Chronicle, did with Paul Soileau (star of 4PLAY: SF) and Chloe, the film's inspiration. Originally intended for publication in BUTT... but the pink-paged fools turned it down because they were "confused" (FYI - I love BUTT magazine, seriously!). Maybe something was lost in translation? Who knows, I think it's pretty funny and as always, informative. - Kyle

Paul Soileau a Louisiana-born performance artist living in Austin, Texas who is best known these days for his performances as Christeene Vale, was recently hired to play the part of a tranny sex-worker who works over a quadriplegic gentleman caller in the first of an omnibus of shorts about deviant sex called FOURPLAY. The film, which premiered at this year’s Outfest Film Festival, is based on the real-life experiences of a cross-dressing sex worker in the Bay Area who goes by the name of Chloe during the working evening hours. Getting Paul and Chloe together is a study in opposites played out through personae: The classy Chloe and the equally trashy Christeene. A teleconference was clearly in order…

Andy: You guys are settling in for the night?

Chloe: Right!

Paul: I’m laying in my bed.

Let’s have some pillow talk. How would you two describe “The Ladies” in your life?

Chloe: The ladies, as in our ladies?


Chloe: Ok I thought you meant my grandmother…

I’ll ask about her later. So prepare.

Chloe: Oh no… uh oh…

Paul: Well, I'm a little horse today because of my ladies. I have two ladies: Rebecca Havemeyer, a burnt out 1930s starlet, and Christeene, the number one cum-dump of Austin, Texas. They're polar opposites.

Well what would they have to say about you, Paul?

Paul: Rebecca would probably think I was real sweet - a nice young man. And Christeene would probably just want to fuck me. A lot. Can I say that?

No, please self censor.

Paul: Are you serious?

No! Don't censor. Give it all. What about Chloe?

Chloe: Chloe's my main lady - she's my only lady, in fact. It's interesting… I'm a little jealous of drag queens because they get to change their looks, but because my lady is a working lady who has actual pictures out there online to seduce potential clients I have to be the same lady over and over.

But you change your looks a little bit - I've seen the photos.

Chloe: Sure! The persona has to be pretty consistent, though. I also feel that whatever look I have up on the ad has to be consistent with what they see when they open the door. You never know what people fetishize. There have been situations where I've had my ad up featuring pictures of Chloe with long hair, and then I decide because it's hot outside to slap a short wig on my head, and so when the client opens the door I get "Oh, I thought you had long hair."

And so do you run home and get a different wig?

Chloe: No, no, no, no, no, not at all. No, I say "Oh, I got it cut! Ha ha!" and just play it off. I mean, these guys, not always the sharpest tools in the shed. They don't even know it's a wig half the time.

Paul: Yeah, because it's real!

Bless them!

Chloe: Right?! Bless them!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

4PLAY: SF - Fall 2010 screenings...

Here's the fall festival line up for FOURPLAY: SAN FRANCISCO screenings, click through for more info on fest websites:

10/6 - Atlanta, GA - Out on Film Fest - 5:30 PM - Landmark Theater (931 Monroe Dr.)

10/18 - Seattle, WA - Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Fest - 9:45 PM - NW Film Forum (
1515 12th Ave)

11/20-12/1 - Hong Kong, China - Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Saturday, September 4, 2010


SAN FRANCISCO will play at the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival (AGLIFF) next Saturday, Sept 11th at 7PM at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. The film was chosen as the festival's centerpiece short, so it will play in front of Rob Epstein's new feature HOWL, about poet Allen Ginsberg.

Also, AGLIFF nominated SAN FRANCISCO for the prestigious Iris Prize, the most coveted and lucrative international prize for queer short films, with cash prize of £30,000! Thank you AGLIFF! - Kyle

For Tickets:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

4PLAY: SF - Playing soon in Seattle and Austin!

I'll post more info later, but just a quick shout that 4PLAY: SAN FRANCISCO will screen at both Austin and Seattle's GLBT film festivals this fall! Austin's aGLIFF runs Sept 7-12th and Seattle's Lesbian and Gay Film Festival runs Oct 15-24th. Have exciting news about aGLIFF, but it's a secret ... for now. - Kyle

Friday, July 16, 2010

4PLAY: SF @ OUTFEST... World of Wonder

Andy said "15 minutes of fame" and we hope that's cumulative! Another short blip on the red-carpet radar with WORLD OF WONDER's Damiana around 8:50. Blink and you'll miss us! - Kyle

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Amazing first screening at Outfest last night! A sold out crowd laughed in all the right places and several new fans came up and thanked us afterward for treating with sensitive grace the coupling of Tom, a quadriplegic, and Aliya without belittling them or turning them into "advocacy" role models. We had a great interview w/ Steve Pride of IMRU show on KPFK who told us the same thing and how during his recovery from a recent stroke he gained new insight into the world of the disabled and continual desire we all have that the film honors. I teared up on several occasions yesterday. It's what Carlos and I see in the work, it's what we hope audiences will see, just the wonderful comedy, drama and romance of two individuals finding each other in the dark. THANK YOU OUTFEST FOR GIVING US OUR AUDIENCE!

Above are some pics from the opening night red carpet. Star struck by Jane Lynch, new Emmy Award nominee and someone I've loved as a performer ever since I saw "Best In Show". And the crazed Paul Soileau performing at Mario Diaz' BIG FAT DICK party. I have no idea what those West Hollywood guys were thinking, but Christeene laid an Austin drag terrorist bomb on the place. A third were amazed, a third were amused and I think a third were appalled.

We had a grand time!

- Kyle

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4PLAY: SF in LA ... Bears in Space @ Akbar on Sunday!!!

Another party for your social calendar during OUTFEST: Paul Soileau aka Aliya in 4PLAY: SF will be performing as Christeene at the BEARS IN SPACE one year anniversary party. Rumor has it that one of his boys will be appearing with him, and I'm a BIG fan of C-Baby!!! - Kyle!/event.php?eid=130357410329447&ref=mf

Thursday, July 1, 2010

4PLAY: SF Outfest parties!!!

After the gala opening night of OUTFEST, hustle it over to an unofficial after party hosted by Paul Soileau, star of FOURPLAY: SAN FRANCISCO, as he terrorizes and entertains the crowd as his alter ego, Christeene. We'll be there for all the action, so please come join us to celebrate FOURPLAY's launch and don't forget to tell your Los Angeles friends about our screenings (see ticket link below). - Kyle

Thurs, July 8th - 11PM: Mario Diaz's Big Fat Dick party

Fourplay: San Francisco Outfest Tickets!

Friday, June 11, 2010

4PLAY: SF to premiere at LA's OUTFEST - July 9th!

Exciting news: FOURPLAY: SAN FRANCISCO will premiere as part of LA's OUTFEST film festival on July 9th at 7pm at the Directors Guild of America theater on the "Flesh 4 Fantasy" program. We're the last short in the line-up which will be followed by a reception for all ticket holders in the DGA atrium at 9PM.

Below is a link to the film's OUTFEST page if you'd like to purchase an advance ticket or if you want to forward this announcement onto a friend in Los Angeles.

Also, click the Facebook badge on this page to become a fan and get further announcements as the launch approaches (e.g. info on a special party event on Monday, July 11th will be announced there)!

- Kyle

Saturday, May 29, 2010

4PLAY: TAMPA ... a few stills PT01

Crazy, crazy, crazy! And yes, all the penises (in these pictures) are fake. Photography courtesy of Otis Ike! - Kyle

Monday, May 17, 2010

4PLAY: TAMPA - Multihyphenate Heyd ... pt2 of 2

Pictured above are stills from the in-progress set for 4PLAY: TAMPA, designed and constructed by Heyd Fontenot. Intrepid and versatile producer Jason Wehling, also multi-hyphenated, picture above working as a construction assistant! Below is the second installment of my interview w/ Heyd concerning sex and its filmic representation. In the first installment, I asked Heyd how he thought 4PLAY: TAMPA differs from both "mainstream" cinema and pornography's representation of the "act". For me, bathroom sex (aka known as "tea rooms" in the queer community) has been going on since the dawn of time, especially in repressive communities where queers have to find furtive, anonymous places to act out their desire. I wonder if the repression were eliminated, if queers were integrated fully into the body politic, would tea rooms still exist? - Kyle

4) You've worked for many years now on films in various art department positions, what advice would you give to anyone interested in a career doing that kind of work? Any tips on how to creatively around budgetary limitations on low budget films?

Filmmaking exists on so many different scales. Everyone has budgetary limits, even James Cameron. Of course, having the proper funding makes things so much easier to produce. But if you have a challenging budget, you really have to communicate with your production team. You have to answer as honestly as you can, what can you achieve within your given budget? And eventually, it does have to add up. You have to deliver. Suggest alternative ways of doing something, if you don't have the budget to spend freely. I think these negotiations can save you a lot of heartache and wasted resources. It's difficult sometimes, because you're put in a position to either pull something out of your ass or to say "No, you can't have that." And if you're a designer, that's really a difficult thing to tell a director - and they generally don't want to hear it. You're supposed to perform miracles - that's your job. But I think a really important part of your job too, is to reflect the reality of accomplishing a request. Generally, you're in store for a lot of stress and hand-wringing and trying to figure it out.Consider your assets. If they are insufficient, ask yourself "What can I trade, what can I borrow, what can I get for free?" The idea of creativity and what it means to "be creative" is sometimes confused with drawing skills or singing ability. Creativity is problem-solving and navigating around obstacles.

5) Any question you'd like to answer that I haven't asked?

I wear a size 11, and I need arch-support.

Friday, May 7, 2010

4PLAY: TAMPA Kickstarted!!!!

Pre-production is underway on 4PLAY: TAMPA, thanks to generous donations to our Kickstarter drive. I can't recommend Kickstarter enough, especially if you have only a relatively low amount of money (under $5K) you need for a specific project and broad enough base of supporters to aggregate with the drive. Also, if you're working with a community of artists, as we are on 4PLAY, having the whole community involved with the drive certainly helps too! Thanks to screenwriter Carlos Treviño, producer Jason Wehling, and cinematographer PJ Raval's extended family of friends, as well as generous donations on the part of artists Ivan Lozano and Heyd Fontenot, who also designed the 4PLAY: TAMPA set, we made our goal and are busily building the set as I type this entry! - Kyle

PS - And thank you Rebecca Havemeyer, wherever you are!

Friday, April 30, 2010

FOURPLAY: Flaming creatures...

Is it wrong to say that even though I've never seen one of his films, I'm inspired by the legend of Jack Smith? I have seen many a Guy Maddin film, and Maddin has made a lovely homage to both Smith and Kenneth Anger's films (THE LITTLE WHITE CLOUD THAT CRIED), available via one of my favorite art commentary web-sites, GLASSTIRE, founded by the shrewd connoisseur Rainey Knudson. Although what we are up to w/ FOURPLAY is quite different, I think it is some sort of second-cousin to Maddin's works, which are highly subversive yet playful with their representation of gender roles and sexual expression, disguised as they are in a veil of camp. Anyway, just a toss off thought (and video) for the day. - Kyle

The Little White Cloud That Cried (Guy Maddin, KINOTE) from jeanne dielman on Vimeo.

Monday, April 26, 2010

FOURPLAY: Jason is productive... (pt 2 of 2)

Second part of my interview w/ FOURPLAY producer Jason Wehling (pictured above on the set of AUSTIN). Forgot to mention last week that we are both Rice University graduates. There aren't that many of us in the entertainment biz! - Kyle

3) Having now worked as a producer/director on many low-budget shorts, commercials and several features (e.g. AUGUST EVENING), what advice/tips would you give to budding producers who are producing their first films?

I think something that’s really helped me grow is keeping a humble spirit, and I’d push this on anyone who’s interested in working in this world. Ego is important - making a low budget film is a huge undertaking, and it you don’t believe in the project and in yourself, you’ll never stick with it long enough to finish. That said, the same ego that gives you that drive can be the thing that keeps the project from succeeding. Don’t just go forward believing that you know how to make the perfect film by yourself, because you most likely do not. But if you surround yourself with talented people and stay humble enough to really listen to their advice on your script, your schedule, your edit, etc..., you’ll be amazed at how much better your film will turn out.

4) A particular story or moment you'd like to share from the production of AUSTIN last summer?

I think one of the key elements in AUSTIN is the scene that takes place in a porn store, and one of the most difficult parts of the project was finding the right store. We figured this could be problematic, especially given the nature of our story, so I took a broad approach and called or walked into almost every single store in Austin. I’ll say now that I hadn’t been into many of these places, so I was quite curious. Obviously, some were quite tame and more oriented towards sexing things up for couples, but we were looking for something that could conceivably have video booths in the back, and the only places in town that really have booths wanted nothing to do with us. In my search though, I found myself in a AAA News shop, and it had a terrific look – like a clean, well-lit drug store full to the brim with aisles and aisles of porn videos. I knew it was perfect, and when I showed my stealthily gathered location photos to Kyle, he agreed. Unfortunately, getting permission wasn’t easy, so we came really close to faking the location with our own weak substitute. I wouldn’t give up though, and must have made at least 20 calls and talked with 10 different employees before I finally got through to the owner - when I did, he was amazingly generous, and his trust in us helped make the film!

Also, I got to stick my finger in a fleshlight - wow!

5) Any question you'd like to answer that I haven't asked?

Not really...I do want to say that I’m super excited about TAMPA. A lot of my friends shake their heads when I describe Carlo’s story about a lonely man seeking companionship in a public restroom, but I think it’s completely touching, and totally hilarious, and I can’t wait to show it to everyone of those head-shakers!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

FOURPLAY: Jason is productive (pt 1 of 2)

Directing/producing for Arts + Labor, a production co-operative in North Austin, as well as writing/directing his second feature film, the animated Jesus zombie flick THE THIRD DAY, Jason Wehling is known as the producer of such films as Indie Spirit Award winner AUGUST EVENING and associate producer on the 2010 SXSW hit THE HAPPY POET. He's pictured above on a VERY hot set (as in over 100 degrees) for AUSTIN last summer waiting to hold up a bounce board while dripping in sweat. That's the kind of producer he is, ready to pitch in where needed at a moment's notice.

1) Why did you become involved in FOURPLAY as a producer?

I’ve been a fan of Kyle’s for a long time. We both went to the same small university (though Kyle graduated just before I started), and he was an example I wanted to follow – both his early docs (AMERICAN COWBOY and UNIVERISTY, INC.) were quite inspiring in both their technique and their ambition. I finally met Kyle 10 years later, after spending time working in commercial production in LA and for PBS in DC, when I moved back to Austin in 2005 to produce AUGUST EVENING. I made it a point to look him up, and after getting together a few times to talk about both indie film and corporate video, he asked me to get work with him on FOURPLAY.

I have to admit, when I read the script for the first short, SAN FRANCISCO, I was a little surprised by my own enthusiasm. Obviously, I wanted the chance to work with and learn from Kyle (and Carlos, PJ, Caroline and the rest of amazing crew), but the material itself was what sunk the hook. Part of the reason I fell in love with film is that it gives me a chance to do wildly different things, and this material presented exactly the sort of challenge that intrigues me.

2) What personal connection, if any, do you have with the shorts?

I’ve found myself connecting with each of the projects more intensely as we’ve worked on them. Except for AUSTIN, they’re each way outside my normal realm (sexually speaking), but all of the shorts are guided by a clear emotional journey that I can really relate to. The characters in FOURPLAY, like most of us, I think, struggle with issues of belonging and acceptance, and while I may not seek out the exact same situations as them, I identify completely.

I mentioned AUSTIN before, because I do have a very personal connection there. Lily, the main character in AUSTIN, is unhappy with her life’s lack of direction, and she deals with her insecurities by making a giant decision that could really set her on a track (getting pregnant). I’m not saying I’ve had the same process as Lily, but when you work in indie film, it’s tough to have a lot of stability. My wife and I dated for 9 years before we finally got married, I think it’s partially because we both were putting career building ahead of family building. At some point, that got a bit ridiculous, and we both decided to make family a goal too. We’ve since gotten married and just had our first child (last week!), and what we’ve found is that it hasn’t hurt our careers at all...Instead, I think it’s focused us and given even more reason to do important things with the time we have.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

4PLAY: TAMPA sneak peak!

Check out the FOURPLAY: TAMPA Kickstarter page for a sneak peak of our gang-bang bathroom sex farce! Great cast, great script, pushing the boundaries forward one more time... to break your heart. - Kyle

Thursday, April 8, 2010

4PLAY: SF Kisses on the way...

Kickstarter rewards on the way: kisses, photos, graphic novels and especially lots of love. Thank you! - Kyle

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


O.K., we made our Kickstarter goal, so we can finish SAN FRANCISCO. Yaaaaaa! Celebrating by posting the trailer to the blog, please enjoy. - Kyle

Sunday, March 21, 2010

FOURPLAY: Caroline designs ... (PT 2 of 2)

A workshopping of the third FOURPLAY short, TAMPA, our gang-bang bathroom farce, has left me a little busted. Caroline was left a little raw too, but what a trooper and pro, coming in for the last workshop day with the left overs of the SXSW croup and still keeping it together enough to tell me, "Kyle, we really need to have some sort of flowchart of all the strap on penises we are going to be using in TAMPA, and we have to separate the ones actors are going to be sucking versus the ones I'd like to doctor up with make-up, cause they can't be sucking on make-up, that's just gross." I'm paraphrasing, but that tells ya a lot about how Caroline keeps her head together even under the most ridiculous of circumstances. She's also having to come up w/ bucket loads of fake sperm for the over-the-top climax, turning her kitchen into a chemistry set and sending me shots of various concoctions via iPhone snap shots. TAMPA is going to be messy! - Kyle

3) How do you approach your work when you are asked to do A LOT on a VERY LOW budget? What tips could you pass along to budding dp's or production designers?

Don't be afraid to ask for anything. The best thing I've found about working cheaply (especially in Austin) has been that people genuinely want to help you out, and are often happy to be included in the movie-making process, even if it's something as simple as giving you a free can of paint or loaning you a plastic lawn ornament.

4) Any interesting/memorable moments you'd like to tell us about from the SAN FRANCISCO or AUSTIN shoots?

My favorite moment so far happened while we were shooting SAN FRANCISCO.

We were shooting in a rented house in a remote part of Wimberly, far away from a shopping center or mall. I realized I'd forgotten a neck tie that was essential to the character's wardrobe and we were hours away from Austin. I asked the producer to just get in his car and DRIVE. We passed a few houses on this country road, and suddenly I just told him to stop. I jumped out, knocked on the door, and an old couple answered. I asked if I could borrow a tie. The husband said "of course" without asking why, and came back a minute later with a few dozen to choose from. I explained we were shooting a movie up the road and needed it for the next scene. They laughed and said they were "used to show business people" because they own the Bazaar, a make-up and costume house in Austin, where I had bought all the special effects make-up the day before.

Monday, March 15, 2010

4PLAY: Not our Chloe...

O.K., a link below to a what looks like the type of dumb-ass Hollywood fear-mongering claptrap involving sexuality that I've railed about before on this blog ... and why the world needs FOURPLAY. Yet again, another killer sex-worker psycho-maniac on the loose. Oh lord, how Atom Egoyan has fallen from the days of SPEAKING PARTS and CALENDAR. Then again, the trailer could all be a ruse ... but I don't think so. Apologies to our Chloe, whose not out to blackmail or threaten anyone. - Kyle

Monday, March 8, 2010

4PLAY: SAN FRANCISCO trailer on Kickstarter!

Want to see the trailer for SAN FRANCISCO, the first FOURPLAY short? Then check out our Kickstarter page.

Kickstarter is the equivalent of a PBS fund drive for individual art projects. We're looking to raise the final $2.5K (for sound mix, color correction and music rights) in as little as $10 increments by March 29th. Have some fun rewards available for your donation including signed copies of Shirtlifter, nude etchings by Louis Russomano, signed photos of Chloe, and lip-stick "Thank You" card kisses from Aliya!

Brother, can you spare a dime for transformational art!?

- Kyle

Saturday, March 6, 2010

FOURPLAY: Caroline designs ... (PT 1 of 2)

Caroline Karlen is a consummate professional production designer, even when having to prep a sweaty actor decked out in a thong, wig, spiked heels and a continually malfunctioning garter belt. Inventive with limited resources, the picture of grace under fire, she recently debuted her first feature at Sundance, Bryan Poyser's LOVERS OF HATE. First of a two part interview below. - Kyle

1) You've worked on a lot of films, commercials, music-videos, et al. What makes working on these FOURPLAY shorts unique for you?

The most unique part of working on 4-PLAY has been the communal aspect of pre-production. Kyle has a very inclusive style, and involved the principle crew as much as possible in choosing locations, color scheme, lighting, even down to things like whether or not clothing would work in a specific scene. It's a great way to work when you are on a low budget because you get a global picture of the project and can better communicate your choices and concerns when everyone's working with the same information.

2) Do you have any personal connection to the material in the scripts? How did any of the material in AUSTIN or SAN FRANCISCO speak to you?

Honestly, I didn't have a personal connection to AUSTIN or SAN FRANCISCO in the literal sense: neither of the stories reflected choices I've made or conflicts I've had in my personal life. However, from a design standpoint, I was excited to dress those characters and create the environments they lived in. Kyle and Carlos' ability to flesh out their visions of the characters during story meetings made the finished product really satisfying, and I feel like I've known a lot of people who resemble these characters throughout my life.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

AUSTIN: Danielle Rene is Lily (Pt 2)

One thing I have to say is that Danielle and I have had an open line of communication since she was initially considered for the role of Lily. Because the film deals with an explicit act of sex, I think every actress has the obligation, to herself and to a film, to consider how they will be portrayed and to what purpose (other than cheap thrills) their image will be put.

The history of cinema, unfortunately, is the also the history of exploitation of women and their bodies by men with ogling cameras. On one hand, they are worshiped and put on pedestals for their physical beauty, normally also stripped bare of all of their other personal characteristics (e.g. wit, intelligence, humor, et al), or on the other hand they are punished for their beauty by covetous "geek" boy directors taking their sexual frustration out on all women-kind (e.g. all those horrible "torture" porn movies like WOLF CREEK, or SAW, where we are invited to laugh at a woman's subjugation and murder, dehumanizing us and them in the process). Danielle has had many questions from the beginning about Carlos and I's intentions, and I believe the film is stronger because of her probing mind.

Film is a collaborative process, and when you have someone like Danielle on board, you better have done your homework as a director. Her participation has changed the film and its meanings. How the final sex-scene is imaged, how I wanted to make sure that the camera did not violate her (or Atticus) and become part of that long history of abuse (e.g. no close ups of heaving breast, et al), and how their final act of sex stands in stark contrast to that most exploitative all imaging, pornography (which is present in the arcade booth itself where they embrace), is a testament to how each member of a film team keeps each other honest and focused. Directors are not gods, and a film is not a transmission from heaven to the faithful, it is a negotiated process of co-creation. It's also the responsibility of a director to their intentions over and over again, so no whining please from inarticulate directors about how people "just don't understand me"! It's your job to make them understand, and if they don't, listen to what they are saying and be willing to change what you are doing so your intentions are more clear!

The "meaning" of Lily and Kai's journey is the final stage of co-creation between the film and its audience, and from what we have gleaned from test screenings, there will be a wide spectrum of readings from audience members about why Lily and Kai do what they do in the end. That for me is the most I can hope for from a film, a highly charged open text, like a dream that startles you awake at 3AM and forces you to come to terms with its many meanings.


4) During the process of making the film, was there anything you learned about the world or yourself that you feel like sharing?

D: For me, although I am not in the same place as Lily I really connected with her desire for that ultimate act of love and commitment. We have all had moments where we have daydreamed what our future would look like.

5) Finally, anything extra you'd like to share about the process and experience of making this film?

D: Kyle and Atticus are both talented and gifted artist that challenged and pushed me in such a positive way. Everyone involved in this film made it such a safe environment to work and create in. I'm really grateful to have worked with each one of them.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

AUSTIN: Danielle Rene is Lily (Pt 1)

We've always referred to AUSTIN as our "heterosexual" short, but as with the other films, I think putting it into this kind of box limits the connections we all will have, gay or straight or trans or whatever, to the universal struggles it unearths.

For one, AUSTIN presents the challenges every human being faces as they get older to find a meaningful place for sex in their lives. For heterosexual couples, procreating can become a prime way that meaning is created for sex. And at the same time, there is the struggle in all long term relationships to still honor the animal and unknowable that nine times out of ten drew the couple together in the first place. It's a rare couple that gets together because they want to make great babies together!

Danielle Rene, one of the stars of AUSTIN, is one of those rare kinds of actors who can embody these contradictions with seeming ease, transforming from a vulnerable and all-too-human puddle of emotions into a powerful and confident sex-goddess over the course of the film. She has the range and depth of someone well beyond her years and, as many of the people have confessed after recent rough cut screenings, you literally can't take your eyes off her.

Today begins a two part interview with her on her 4PLAY experience. - Kyle

1) What were your first feelings about being approached to play your role in AUSTIN? First thoughts after reading the script?

D: I was intrigued with the characters and the relationship between them. I myself have, as many of us have experienced the joys and the frustrations in a partnership. How sometimes the way we grow as people can cause a bit of a struggle to be on the same page. I felt it would be challenging and rewarding.

2) What, if anything, helped you prepare to play your role?

D: I use relaxation and active imagination exercises to really get plugged in when preparing to step into a character, but I must say that I felt a kinship and real understanding of Lili from the beginning. She felt very familiar.

3) What particular challenges did you face playing your role? Any fears you had to overcome?

D: I think if anything so often love and sex are not shown in such a real and raw way. I think each one of us on this project wanted it to be portrayed and received in the way it was intended.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

FOURPLAY: Paul Soileau gets gigantic!

Paul Soileau, star of SAN FRANCISCO, blows up like Godzilla on uranium into "The Three Faces of Paul" on the cover of this week's Austin Chronicle. Check out the article and the hilarious interviews with his alter egos Christeene and Rebecca Havermeyer, too!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

4PLAY: DP PJ Raval... (PT 02)

The second part of my interview w/ DP PJ Raval. He and Paul (star of SF) have a big week ahead of them w/ the launch of Christeene's EP at Elysium on Friday (1/29). If you are in Austin, check it out, it's gonna be something else... entirely. - Kyle

3) How do you approach your work when you are asked to do A LOT on a VERY LOW budget? What tips could you pass along to budding dp's?

I think it's important to recognize high budget doesn't make a good film. Good ideas, good use of resources, good storytelling makes a good film. So for low budget work one always has to keep that in mind first. Be resourceful, be creative, use everything and anything that can help you accomplish this. With that said be flexible and spontaneous. On a practical level it's helpful to have lots of conversations w/ the director of course about the visual approach. Maybe you can't do sweeping crane shots but maybe that same concept can be told with the tools you do have available. Also have lots of conversations w/ the production designer especially since their color pallette and choice of set pieces really influences what you can do (i.e. lamps for lighting, colors for contrast, etc) and definitely use the location itself as the inspiration for blocking and shots. Maybe you can't remove a wall for a shot but maybe you can hopefully find a space and location that naturally allows for your visual approach. also when in doubt simply refer back to the original ideas and concepts of the film - do the visuals fit? if not come up w/ another option right then and there - nothing is ever set in stone...

4) Any interesting/memorable moments you'd like to tell us about from the SAN FRANCISCO or AUSTIN shoots?

A memorable moment for me shooting SAN FRANCISCO was definitely the bedroom scene. Enough said there. Also the AUSTIN porn arcade portion was a challenge - I mean lighting an ALL BLACK space that needs to be dark? Thank god for red lights and semi satin paint!

Monday, January 25, 2010

4PLAY: Enter the writer... (pt 2)

Part two of a three part interview w/ SAN FRANCISCO writer Carlos Treviño:

Q. How did you make this story your own?

A. I changed the mother-and-son dynamic to wife-and-husband to intensify the relationship a bit more: to twang the triangle. There's more at stake for all three characters when two of them are married, and seemingly somewhat happily. The story can then act as a window into the couple's relationship. The wife is the primary caretaker and calls Aliya on behalf of her husband. I didn't make too much of this in the script, and you played it off with even less exposition in the cut. Though Aliya is the main character, questions about the couple are still around: What is their marriage like? How did they get to this point? I also wanted to create the feeling that this was the first time the husband had ever asked for this. If the wife had been somewhat blasé about the whole thing, the story would be about something else entirely. Though willing, the wife is clearly nervous about the situation.

Q. What are your views on marriage?

A. Are you proposing?

Q. We live in Texas, sweetie. I don't think it would do us much good.

A. Presents!

Q. Presents!!!!

A. Right, marriage. Like anything, it can be great in the right hands. Intimacy, trust, and love may be more important than any idea of security or sanctity that marriage usually connotes. I think it makes sense if you're bringing up children, but then, successful, loving families can exist outside the institution of marriage, so... Each couple has to make its own meaning. When the participants stop making meaning, they endanger the marriage.

Q. Is our sex worker a marital aid?

A. Maybe. Presumably, the husband's paraplegic condition changed the marriage a lot already; we hint that it was caused by some accident. Maybe the wife was tired of being nursemaid and sex toy; like--what, I have to wipe your ass AND kiss your feet? Fuck this, let's hire a tranny!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

4PLAY: DP PJ Raval... (PT 01)

The first of a two part interview w/ DP PJ Raval, who recently shot the Academy Award nominated doc TROUBLE THE WATER and my first feature, ROOM. He's an accomplished director in his own right and his feature doc TRINIDAD can be seen in regular rotation on SHOWTIME. - KH

1) You've worked on a lot of films, commercials, music-videos, et al. What makes working on these FOURPLAY shorts unique for you?

FOURPLAY is a unique experience for me in that the individual stories really push the boundaries of current independent cinema. Rarely do you see films today that explore the territory of sexual intimacy in an emotional non-sensationalized way. Films in the 60's and 70's were brave in certain ways that only arthouse films continue to explore - so shooting a film like FOURPLAY can be a rare opportunity for a cinematographer such as myself. With sexual and sometimes graphic content it can be a challenge to keep the images EMOTIONALLY GROUNDED and play against the sexual sensationalized images currently seen in more mainstream media. I always think good cinematography creates AND captures images that push the story and concept forward so it's good to be aware of what those elements are. Sexual intimacy doesn't have to be visually explicit or pornographic.

2) Do you have any personal connection to the material in the scripts? How did any of the material in AUSTIN or SAN FRANCISCO speak to you?

Didn't I tell you I used to be a transvestite sex-worker? Kkay no really, what's most interesting to me is the characters of AUSTIN and SAN FRANCISCO are metaphorically people I know. Characters close to my age, characters similar to people I know and emotions and events they experience. I think everyone including myself has an ongoing personal investment and exploration of sexual intimacy. Being a queer/gay man I've spent a lot of my life exploring my relationship to sex and how it shapes my identity and relationships with others. My life might not be as similar to most stories seen in mainstream filmmaking right now but we all experience the same emotions of desire, despair, longing, discovery... I'm also attracted to stories that explore gender and role-playing so both stories definitely resonate w/ me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

4PLAY: Enter the writer... (pt 1)

Carlos Treviño is the best screenwriter in Austin, TX. I would hire him at the drop of a hat to write anything that takes honesty, courage, emotional depth, piercing insight, wit, and love. I'm also lucky enough to live with him and to have been his boyfriend for almost 12 years. Am I biased? Maybe!

Austinites may know Carlos as writer, director, and actor who worked for over a decade with Physical Plant Theater. His biggest writing/directing hit with the company, co-written with Steve Moore, was NOT CLOWN, which enjoyed a sold-out run at NYC's Soho Repertory and was published last year by Yale's prestigious "Theater Magazine." He co-directed the lauded US premiere of Wallace Shawn's A THOUGHT IN THREE PARTS and performed in the wildly inventive Rockefeller MAP-funded CASKET OF PASSING FANCY, both produced by Rubber Repertory.

I interviewed Carlos by email, two rooms away.


Q. You ready?

A. Yep. I guess our DSL is working today.

Q. What or who inspired SAN FRANCISCO?

A. Hm. The framework of FOURPLAY came first: a collection of short stories, based on sexual experiences of people we know. The idea would be that in each short, a transgressive sexual act becomes personally transcendent—even transforming—for at least one of the participants.

The project had a potential confessional quality that appealed to me. I LOVE discovering secrets. Writing FOURPLAY gave me the chance of looking at myself and my friends in a different way. As for the SF section, you had spent some time with our friend who's a transvestite sex worker (Chloe, featured on the blog) who had told you a version of the story that inspired the SF plot.

Q. He hadn't told you the story before?

A. No, you told me the story first. In fact, I found out only later that you had combined two of her stories into one story, so she cleared the record.

Q. What's his version?

A. *Her* version!!
Early in Chloe's career, a woman called on behalf of her young adult son. He had lost use of his physical faculties in a motorcycle accident only 2 years earlier. His mother was his primary caretaker. She recognized that even though her son wasn't sexually functioning, he nonetheless had feelings that needed an outlet. She had called other girls to help; but they inevitably declined after learning that the kid was paraplegic. Chloe was up for it. She made sure the mother realized she was talking to a TV and not a girl-girl; the mom understood; the kid was straight, she said, but this was what he wanted; she said her son was open to someone open to being with him. So they set up an appointment.

It would turn out to be one of Chloe's most emotional sessions. She could see in the kid's eyes that he felt trapped in his body: a sensation much like transexuals describe when talking about their pre-op lives. For Chloe, the usual challenge of embodying a fantasy was intensified by working with someone who was unable to move or talk. The young man was obviously in need, but how to discern it? How to supply what he needed?

Chloe was struck by the painstaking love with which the mother sought out this gift. Handing her son over, even for a few hours, to an unknown person. The kind of faith and goodwill that would take seemed immense.