By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
WHILE THE FILM WAS BEING COMPLETED, I LOOKED on skeptically. Some mornings Laura, normally a pretty, slender 36-year-old and a tidy if eccentric dresser, would emerge from her apartment in her sweats looking as though someone had slugged her -- in each eye, with equal force, nine or 10 times. I'd ask her how she was; she'd roll her eyes and shoo me away with a wave of her arms. U-Haul trucks monopolized the driveway so aggressively I sometimes could not squeeze past them with my groceries. Solemn strangers hovered at all hours around our doors. Laura smiled only fleetingly at the end of the day, when she'd act out for me the story of some triumph: The people at Kodak who discovered she hailed from Rochester, New York, and granted her 12 rolls of free film; the color-correction lab, Company 3, which did several thousand dollars' worth of work for $400 just because they liked the picture. Then there was the "genius" hair lady, Stacey Bergman, the stylist on The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, a lead she snagged with a pleading call to the hair-and-makeup department at Warner Bros., who showed up at Laura's door slinging curling irons and blow dryers at 10 on a Thursday morning.ä
When Laura first explained the problem to Bergman, the genius hair lady was circumspect. Selverstone, who plays a blond named Una in the movie, had let her hair grow back to its natural dark color and didn't want to dye it. Horrocks, who plays Una's lover B., has a dark, spiky cut onscreen, but now wanted to preserve her longer, lighter hairstyle for the print work she was getting. According to the performance Laura gave on the porch impersonating Bergman, the stylist had barked over the phone, in a tough, slightly New Yorky accent: "You're crazy! You need wig work! Do you realize that? That takes days to figure out. When's the shoot?"
"That was Wednesday," said Laura. "I told her the shoot was Saturday."
And Bergman said, "Do you know how much it costs to rent wigs? $400 a day! Do you realize that? What are you thinking?"
And Laura said: "You are right. I don't know my ass from my elbow. All I know is that if I don't get their hair fixed, it's not even worth it to do these reshoots. Please help me to live."
As Laura remembers it, Bergman took a deep breath and said, "You know, I just got off the phone with a gig that was paid for this weekend, and I turned them down. And I'm on the phone with you for some goddamned freebie and telling you yes. I have no idea why. But I'm going to help you, because you need help. You need a lotof help."
Bergman, said Laura, convinced Selverstone to dye her hair.
"Stacey Bergman," Laura whispered, reverentially, an inch from my face. "Genius."
EXACTLY TWO MONTHS TO THE DAY later -- in fact, the veryday Laura has to go to New York, leaving me with her house key and instructions to feed her cat, and abandoning her car parked behind mine in the driveway, goddammit -- The Politics of Furcomes back from Woodholly, a post-production facility, synched and QC'd and ready to go. Laura has delayed her trip a day to make sure it's done. The film festival gave a reviewer for The Village Voicea rough cut, and "she ripped me a new one," says Laura. "I told them not to give the rough cut to the media!" But a critic on GayWire.com has heralded the movie as "the pinnacle of queer film." At home in Los Angeles, I bury The Politics of Furunder a pile of books. Only after Laura leaves do I, in a fit of bitchy curiosity about those hairdos, decide to scour it for continuity flaws.
I find none. After the first 15 minutes, I forget I'm looking. In Una, a glamorous and controlling impresario ("I make people," she tells B.), I recognize a classic figure from so many love affairs, the one who believes she has all the remedies and none of the problems -- until her obdurately independent lover, a rock star on the rise, rebels. The sex is nervy and hot: In one scene, the young gay man, Dick (T. Jerram Young), who attends to Una's yoga asanas and appointments, fucks a boyfriend Una has bought for him as Una tousles his hair and reminds him to brush his teeth before he goes to bed. I even like B.'s song. It's a good song. The Politics of Furis a good movie. It's funny, steamy and, I think -- at least on the video print on my small television set -- beautiful. I'm relieved. I'm amazed.
Laura returned from New York happy. The question-and-answer sessions were smart, the audiences laughed in the right places. Her parents saw it: "Good job, kid," said Dad, "that looked like a lot of work." Mom: "Oh, honey, it was so multilayered!" A few weeks later, she came home from San Francisco on a cloud. She and her cast had been escorted from the airport to the Westin St. Francis by a friendly man with a blue mohawk, and then advised to schedule their massages for the afternoon. At one point, it occurred to her: "Oh my God. They're treating me like this movie meanssomething." Lumpkin introduced her as "one of the high points of this year's festival." A critic from Varietycompared the film favorably to Fassbinder's The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant.Laura copied the review and marked it in big black Sharpie: "Yay." I found it in my mailbox.