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[whitespace] Skin and Bone
Street-Corner Blues: Life is hard for hired stud b. Wyatt in 'Skin and Bone.'

'Skin and Bone' hustles its way to bathos

By Richard von Busack

DIRECTOR/WRITER Everett Lewis' amateurish, long and overreaching Skin and Bone paints a fictional profile of gay male hustlers in L.A. The moral of the story unfolds just the way mom told us: it's all fun and games at first, and then somebody gets hurt. Nicole Dillenberg plays Ghislaine, a Heidi Fleiss-style madam who orders the murders of disobedient studs. Her group of novices (b. Wyatt, Alan Boyce and Garret Scullin) all meet horrible fates as a result of her assignments.

Skin and Bone offers a variety of middle-core bondage porn, with lots of vignettes of tricks, many of them eroticized. In the sex scenes, Lewis suggests--correctly, I think--that one can learn a lot about human psychology from sex work. These scenes succeed somewhat better than the other, serious moments: "hesitant telephone-booth phone call to alienated homophobic parents in Omaha," complete with the famous "I'm sorry, I forgot about the time zone" line; "knocking some sense into a mirror"; and "monologue about how I was raped in jail." (The last dramatic reading, by Boyce, is undercut by an ice cream truck off-camera tinkling "Pop Goes the Weasel").

Probably the crowning moment of bathos is a scene of a hustler being buggered, casting-couch-wise, as a vision of his girlfriend arrives to console him. The girl turns up at the end, showing how bravely she's taken the news that her live-in was turning tricks: "So, how do ya like being gay?" she asks with a smile.

Skin and Bone (Unrated; 10 min.), directed and written by Everett Lewis, photographed by Fernando Argüelles and starring b. Wyatt, Alan Boyce and Nicole Dillenberg, opens Friday at the Towne Theater in San Jose.

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From the May 20-26, 1999 issue of Metro.

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