by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
Waxie Moon and Wes Hurley go together like peanut butter and jelly. Each is quite different on their own, but mix them together and you've got a combination loved by millions.
Waxie and Wes, creative partners in crime, cannot be stopped, and I'm not mad about that! The two cohorts have been hard at work - alongside a large cast of actors, extras, and dancers - filming their latest piece of cinema, Waxie Moon in Fallen Jewel.
I spoke with Hurley over coffee about his muse, Moon, the movie, and how Waxie Moon in Fallen Jewel - a movie he describes as a 'crazy epic art film slash comedy musical' - got its start. The young director and CEO of I Ate My Eye Films was happy to oblige and what transpired was an afternoon of diving into the gender-blending raw yet refined world of Moon and Hurley.
In 2009, while working on a documentary aimed at exploring gender and sexuality in the underground of neo-burlesque, Hurley and Marc Kenison - the man behind the glitter and legs that is Waxie Moon - started talking about building a fictional narrative around the outrageous bigger-than-life burlesque character.
Wes said the two men realized that like Moon herself (the character adopts the female pronoun in the film), the film would have to straddle multiple planes of being; high art and pedestrian, male and female, ridiculous and sublime.
'In February 2010 we checked into the famed Edgewater hotel,' said Wes. 'In less than two days, in the room and at the bar, we wrote the screenplay.'
They drew inspiration from writers, artists, and pop-culture television that would seem to go together like oil and water - Wes said they were inspired by everyone from Fellini and Tennessee Williams to Sex in the City, John Waters, and '70s exploitation films
'In the script, the genre and era of the film became fluid to fit Waxie's ever-changing place in the world and her emotional states, which meant hundreds of costume changes for a huge cast, plus musical numbers, special effects, and dozens of locations,' said Wes.
'This film was shot in such a way that it is very 'Seattle,' he added. 'We shot on location in many easily recognizable Seattle locales. I want people to watch this film and fall in love with Seattle like you would watch a movie and fall in love with New York or Paris.'
Wes shot the film like a painting. 'I'm a painter, so in almost every scene, I became obsessed with color and composition. Each shot could be a separate painting.'
With an impossibly modest budget of $10,000, Wes and Waxie watched in awe and admiration as Seattle's artistic community rallied behind the film.
'Co-producer and award-winning designer Jennifer Zeyl brought on board acclaimed costume designer Harmony Arnold, who took on an unprecedented task of making a micro-budget film look like a million bucks,' said Wes. 'Within a month some of the city's best actors, performance artists, musicians, designers, dancers, and choreographers eagerly joined the cast and crew.'
The movie contains original songs by Eric Lane Barnes, Gretta Harley, Jose Bold, We Are Golden, Brendan Patrick Hogan, Campfire OK, and The Little Penguins.
The film stars over 200 actors, including Jackie Hell, Fuchsia FoXXX, Sarah Rudinoff, Nick Garrison, Inga Ingenue, and Ricki Mason.
The film asks, 'Can Seattle's gender-blending celebrity find love in the Emerald City? Join Waxie Moon in an epic journey (spanning three decades) as she learns the value of friendship, family, and fashion.'
The film should be everything audiences have come to expect from Waxie and Wes. While watching Waxie Moon in Fallen Angel you can expect to be intrigued, laugh a little, feel uncomfortable, feel excited, and ask yourself, 'Where has this movie been all my life?' Think Pink Flamingos meets Sex in the City, only instead of Sarah Jessica Parker you get Waxie Moon. Yes, please!
Their first go-round together, Waxie Moon (2009), received critical and film festival success. The hilarious yet thought-provoking portrait of the classically trained dancer turned boylesque star featured footage of Waxie's daring live performances, as well as interviews with a vivid assortment of international burlesque stars, theater artists, and fans. The documentary struck a chord with audiences around the nation as it explored the ways Waxie could both entertain his audience and challenge their notions of gender, sexuality, and performance art.
Wes is currently shopping Waxie Moon in Fallen Jewel to various film festivals but confirms that it will appear in local film festivals this year.
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