GLR September-October 2022

for being gay but for getting involved with a married man—with dire consequences. “I just took off,” he explains. Once in Sydney, Casey doesn’t seem to have much of a plan, at first surviving by petty theft, crash ing parties, and sleeping on the beach. Grindr to the rescue! He soon meets a guy named Tib who does odd jobs and worries about his immigration status. Tib is an ethnically mixed, street-smart twenty-something who’s immersed in Sydney’s gay culture, while Casey is so white that he’s in constant danger of sunburn. Casey moves into Tib’s flat (it turns out he’s squat ting); they shop together at the market; Tib brings Casey to his gig working as a gardener for a lonely middle-aged woman. Things are going too well to last, of course, and they don’t. The break comes when Tib brings home another guy and jealousy enters the room, and then violence, and soon Casey is back on the street. He turns to hustling to survive, but when things head south very rapidly on this front, he reaches out to Tib, who seems to have vanished. The structure of Lonesome has elements of “Boy meets boy, boy loses boy…,” but it’s such a strange twist on this motif that it remains a highly original and compelling story in the hands of director Craig Boreham. Casey is far from a wide-eyed neo phyte in search of love. He is in fact damaged goods, an outcast who’s haunted by the past. Tib, too, is an exile in a foreign land, but his enemies are external ones (Australian Immigration) rather than inner demons of guilt and rejection.

Daniel Gabriel (as Tib) and Josh Lavery (Casey) in Lonesome .

And yet, it would be glib to suggest that their status as “ex iles” is what binds Casey and Tib as a couple. What brought them together initially was a compulsive physical attraction that manifests itself in some pretty explicit sex scenes. What sus tains the relationship after the sexual intensity drops a notch is something they haven’t quite figured out. Typically this is where “love” comes in: Can Casey and Tib take the big leap? D ESCRIBED by writer-director Todd Flaherty, who stars in the film, as a labor of love, Chrissy Judy begins as the stereotypical show biz movie in which we watch some performers onstage singing or acting their hearts out—in this case a lip-syncing drag act— and then we meet them in their dressing room bitching about the small audience and lousy tips. But once Chrissy and Judy take off their makeup and wigs, we realize that these are not your stan dard aging performers whose act has seen better days but instead two young, good-looking guys who are best friends (but not boyfriends) and who take their drag act seriously. They live to gether in New York City and occasionally travel out to Fire Is land, supporting each other in their erotic escapades. The fragility of this arrangement becomes apparent when Chrissy starts to get serious about another man. The rest of the film is mostly about Judy’s efforts to come to terms with Chrissy’s departure and to reinvent himself as a solo act. (Both guys use their drag names in everyday life.) Chrissy moves to Philadelphia to be with his new beau; Judy, already a three-mar tini kind of gal, visits Philly, gets drunk, and makes a terrible scene. He loses his NewYork apartment and heads to Province town for the summer, where he does a turn in Ryan Landry’s Showgirls revue while working as a houseboy. In the end, this is a film about friendship—specifically gay friendship, which includes a dimension that’s largely absent from straight buds’ bonds. The latter may banter about women and even go out on the prowl together, but if one of them starts dating someone, the other guy is unlikely to be jealous of the girlfriend or to try to sabotage the relationship (as Judy does). Judy and Chrissy may not be boyfriends, but they could be, after all, and it seems unlikely that they never fooled around at some point (they are gay men, after all). Indeed I suspect many view ers are secretly hoping that the two will get together and end the misery. On second thought, given their shared preference for one sexual position over another (or under another), that probably wouldn’t work out either.

The G & LR


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