The man from camp

Pub date June 17, 2009
SectionFilm FeaturesSectionFilm Review

If I had to choose a true SF son of the Kuchar brothers, it might be Gary Gregerson. Unlike a number of great local filmmakers, Gregerson — as far as I know — has never taken a class from George Kuchar. When it comes to wild B-movie imagination, he was born that way. A madcap mainstay whose zines (Fembot), music (with Sta-Prest in the 1990s, and Puce Moment, featuring Jon Nikki, today), DJing (at the Clap) and DIY filmmaking (Mondo Bottomless) make this city lively, Gregerson is currently at work on a movie titled AIDS Camp. I recently jumped on my pogo stick and caught up with him to discuss fashion, the perils of directing, the last days of a landmark, and his role in a film at this year’s Frameline festival.

SFBG What are you wearing?

GARY GREGERSON One of my favorite shirts from the ’60s, baby blue cords, and a button that says, "Tennis is a ball."

SFBG AIDS Camp: please break down the title in all its potential meaning.

GG Originally I wanted it to be set in a place a sci-fi wasteland but outdoors. There’d be a discussion about breaking out and someone would say, "But there’re no walls here," and someone else would say, "Look around, it’s camp! Everywhere you look it’s camp, camp, camp!" Oh, and I have HIV.

SFBG This movie is more of a group effort, with a large cast that needed to be wrangled. How was the experience different?

GG Continuity was a challenge. It was a challenge getting the same people to spend all day in the "internment" area and then another day in Glen Canyon Park for the "liberation" scenes. I didn’t have any problem finding "untrainables" (sex radicals) but it was hard to find "trainables" (straight-laced gays).

SFBG You appear in The Lollipop Generation, which is playing at this year’s Frameline fest. What was that experience like, and what have you learned from the film’s director, G.B. Jones?

GG I was supposed to be flagging tricks from in front of DeGrassi Junior High — that’s the actual location. I had one car honk at me. I learned that Super 8 looks even better when it’s been sitting around for 15 years, maybe in a fridge somewhere. The condensation gives it a neat effect.

SFBG What is your favorite dance?

GG The Hip-o-crite.

SFBG You are a known Sid Krofft admirer. What is your stance on the current film "remake" of Land of the Lost? What are your views on Sleestaks in general?

GG Maybe a "serious" remake would actually be more enjoyable, but we’ll see. I wanted to do a short with Alvin Orloff called H.R. Buff-n-stuff. I can’t weigh in on Sleestaks, but I like guys with Chaka hair.

SFBG If you paid no heed to the words of the Flirts and put another dime in the jukebox right now, what three songs would you choose to play?

GG A jukebox?! How quaint. Let’s see … maybe "Goin’ Cruisin’" by Malibu (another Bobby O group), "Cruising" by Hunx and his Punx, and "Just Like the Leaves" by my friends the Bippies.

SFBG As a host of many events there, tell the people: What is great about Aunt Charlie’s?

GG The scents and sensuality. And Joe and the gang are really awesome for letting me film there.

SFBG What are your thoughts on the closing of the Central YMCA?

GG It’s only two blocks from my house, so I’m ridin’ a bummer. I need a tile from the steam room for a memento.

SFBG Gary Gregerson, is that what you call sockin’ it to me?

GG Well, it is my happening and it’s freaking me out.

AIDS CAMP premieres in August at Homo A Go Go in Olympia, Wash. Puce Moment plays Club Club You’re Dead at the Stud in July.