Take it sleazy

Pub date October 3, 2007
SectionArts & CultureSectionTrash

CULT FILM Erstwhile cofounder of San Francisco’s late, lamented Werepad — a "beatnik space lounge" (among other things) — Jacques Boyreau, also a filmmaker (Candy Von Dewd), lives in Portland, Ore., these days. But he’s dropping into town again with a characteristic surprise package in the form of the Supertrash Peepshow at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. We’re promised a slide show and lecture revealing the "secret schools of design" in vintage exploitation movie posters and other pop ephemera, as showcased in Boyreau’s new coffee-table tome, Supertrash, a sequel to 2002’s eye-popping volume Trash. Then, to dive more deeply into the cinematic sleaze of yore, he’ll present a true rarity: the fragrantly named Fleshpot on 42nd Street, the final sexploitation epic of notorious grade-Z Staten Island auteur Andy Milligan. It was one of his few real hits — if only on the 1973 downtown grindhouse circuit — but has since become one of the least-remembered titles in an already obscure oeuvre (The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves are Here!, The Ghastly Ones), since only a single print survives.

Fleshpot juggles Milligan’s usual hysteria, misanthropy, crude technique, and ripe dialogue with more restrained, realistic aspects in line with mainstream counterculture downers of the period like The Panic in Needle Park and Go Ask Alice. Heroine Dusty (Laura Cannon, a.k.a. Diane Lewis) is a morally lax looker who splits when her latest sugar daddy asks her to, like, pick up after herself. She thus goes from "playing house with some guy in Queens" to playing house with a real queen: blond-fright-wigged Cherry (Neil Flanagan), a tranny hooker pal who says, "Why don’t we join forces? We could both turn quite a few each night if we play our cards right!"

Swapping abusive, money-pinching tricks, these two indelicate souls are well matched: she’s a petty thief who hates sex but would rather trick than work a regular job, and he’s an even crasser soul who sobs, "I’m no prize package: a cocksucker — not even a good one. Too weird to be called a man, too old to try and look like one!" It’s a shock when Dusty meets a guy who’s nice, employed, and genuinely likes her — Bob, played by no less than Deep Throat porn legend Harry Reems. Of course, in the Milligan universe this rare glimpse of happiness (let alone good, consensual intercourse) is doomed to end tragically. Lurid, lively, and cheap as a back-alley BJ, Fleshpot embodies a particular brand of movie entertainment that you can’t get anymore in a public space. When it’s over, you’ll want to be hosed off.


Thurs/4, 7:30 p.m., $6–$8

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission, SF

(415) 978-2787