in the middle of making Go Fish? Did it affect the story line?
No it didn’t affect the story line, but our relationship was fucked.
Are you friends now?
Yes, thank god, we are family. But to leap ahead with you, what I want to do next is a story about a gay family and a lesbian family. How we are not necessarily good to each other but we are forever together. And Rose is one of those people for me. We have been through it. We started out as these ridiculous little baby dykes trying to make a movie.
It’s hard to think of you guys as ridiculous little baby dykes. You are the luminaries of the dyke cinema movement.
[Smiling]…If you could have seen our sorry little asses…
Okay, so back to London. You said you were somewhere in London?
So there was Christine and Mary. And Mary was like, “Oh, you look like Bettie Page.” And I was like, “Who was Bettie Page?” And then we started talking and writing.
So it was 12 years ago that the seeds of the Bettie Page story happened?
Tell me about Bettie Page.
Bettie Page was a young Nashville girl, the oldest of 10, who found a talent for performing and decided when she was 18 to move to New York to become a model. She became a model for the camera clubs at the time, which was basically a group of pervy men who would get girls to model under the auspices of a camera club.
Was it the soft-core porn of the day?
[Initially] it was nothing like soft-core porn. It was just she in her little bathing suit posing in a house, and she was really good at it. In her mind, because she was just this girl from Nashville, Tennessee—she was just like “this is good.”
So it was just an underground thing? How did her images filter into the mainstream?
Well, she went to Miami and met this photographer Buddy Yeager. Over time, Bettie discovered that she liked to be naked. So then there are all these photographs of her on boats, completely naked—just gorgeous. [Smirking] And on the beach….
Was she being paid for this? Where were the prints going?
Bettie was being paid. [The prints] were going into army magazines, as nude bathing. It was just such an amazing time. That’s a lot what the movie is about…the 1950s and that time, right on the border of the ‘60s.
Then what happened, what was the controversial part?
There was this whole thing about juvenile delinquency and how it was related to pornography. And Bettie Paige had become pornography. There was a senator who was running for president who made this an issue.
And where does your movie follow her?
Our movie basically concludes focusing on that time.
So, she became notorious because she was just the ‘bad girl’…
She was never notorious in her life. She was known for that moment because of the hearings. The whole centerpiece of this movie is the hearings and this man who talks about his son, who strangled himself and died.
Because he was whacking off.
But the thing is it’s the ‘50s. It’s so obvious to you and me that this is what happened. [In the film] they bring a photo of Bettie Page [into the court room]. When this man comes in to talk, we put exactly what he really said into the movie because it was so upsetting—“I don’t even know my son, this would never happen.” Meanwhile, we [the audience] are all like…
Yeah, it’s autoerotic...
And they said when Bettie saw [the movie] she was fine and when she saw [the portrayal of the hearings] she just cried and said that never ever happened. The thing is she was never in the courtroom, so she never knew that happened.
Okay so why is the [Bettie Page] story important to you? Sexuality is a theme in your other works. Sexuality is definitely one of the elements…
What do you mean? I think you’re bringing a little bit of YOU into me!! [Laughs]
Velvetpark Magazine, Issue 11 (Summer 2006), 6-7.