Win an autographed Shadowlands paperback by following two easy steps at the bottom of this post!
Introducing an experimental film from first time feature director Charlie David – SHADOWLANDS. Shadowlands will premiere as one of the Centerpiece films at qFLIX Film Festival in Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 21st at 7:15pm. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, come out and meet some of the cast and crew including Charlie David, Nico Stagias, David Robert Moore, Nicolas James Wilson, Vasilios Filippakis, Sean C. Dwyer and Natasha Balakrishnan. You can get tickets here.
The film which is made up of three unique stories was inspired by the short story anthology of the same title. All the stories have a homoerotic nature as well as diving into elements that are supernatural, suspenseful and eerie. We’ve shared one of the short stories from the Shadowlands paperback previously in this post with the story titled October 13th.
Shadowlands explores love in three stories – a narcissist grasping to comprehend it, a couple renegotiating a relationship, and star-crossed lovers mourning its loss.
The film begins in 1928 with Alex, a plastic surgeon hell-bent on perfection, hosting a house party with an assortment of colorful guests. Amid romantic misfires it becomes apparent that the only person Alex is interested in is himself.
Fast forward to 1951 and a gay military couple exploring the idea of opening their relationship while on a remote camping trip when they encounter a mysterious stranger.
The stories conclude in 2018 with a painter who in mourning the loss of his lover, becomes obsessed with creating a realistic painting of him. The resulting piece is so beautiful and life like that he is drawn under its spell.
You can learn more about the painter’s story in this post about the film of Pygmalion Revisited.
Enter a draw to win an autographed Shadowlands paperback by writing a review for Charlie David’s books Boy Midflight and Mulligans on Amazon or an online bookseller of your choice. Take a screen shot of your reviews and email then with your name and mailing address by Friday, March 23rd to [email protected]
My Buddy is featured on the soundtrack for the Mating Season episode of the TV series SHADOWLANDS. The song features vocalists Marc Devigne and Michael Daniel Murphy in the first male duet recording of the classic song that was popular during WWII.
Producer Charlie David, music director Michael Daniel Murphy and singer Marc Devigne share their thoughts below during the recording session for the classic 1922 song ‘My Buddy’ which was recorded at Trouble Maker Studios in Montreal in December 2017.
CHARLIE DAVID: The Mating Season episode of Shadowlands takes place right after the second World War, so I was looking for music that really evoked that era. So we have some early Rockabilly, but when I came across this song called “My Buddy,” I was really excited. “My Buddy” was originally written in 1922, and it’s been covered by many, many famous artists, from Frank Sinatra, his daughter, Nancy Sinatra, Doris Day, Chet Baker, Bobby Darin, et cetera.
It’s a very unique song because it’s a love song and yet the term of endearment is “my buddy,” which is kind of a unique term to use from a man to a woman or a woman to a man, so to me there was an immediate gay undertone to it.
MARC DEVIGNE: It’s actually pretty special. This song is quite special due to the history that it has. I think it kind of had a resurgence in the ’50s but actually was written quite some time before that.
And now to be bringing it back today, it’s kind of interesting, and that’s why we wanted to take this song and, yes, kind of pay homage to the time period when it was first written and when it was relevant, but bring it back, still paying homage to that, but with a bit of a twist and our own maybe current take on it.
CHARLIE DAVID: Michael Daniel Murphy is the music director for the song, and so he’s really pulled together this team of artists and musicians and the engineer to create the song today. To me, it’s so exciting to come into the studio and record music live.
Generally, for music in film and television, we often license tracks from musicians because that’s just a more inexpensive way to do it, but there’s something that’s very magical about bring artists together and creating something live.
MICHAEL DANIEL MURPHY: When we arrived in the studio, I knew we were going to do the piano and the bass together at the same time because they play well together and we thought it would save time, and especially if there’s no metronome or a drum, it’s just nicer to have that kind of feel as a rhythm session of piano and base together, but to have the vocals at the same time today, and together, was a really nice surprise.
I thought it would be more complicated to organize, but actually, our sound engineer Fred, said it would be really straight forward. But I’m glad to have done it because I think it’s going to be hard to go back now and record in other ways because it’s so real. I miss that aspect, actually. That’s what I love about old recordings. There’s life to them, you know.
I listened to a lot of versions, first of all, and the approach to arranging song is Charlie also sent us an idea of what the scene was about, so that was really important to me, and yeah, I just thought simplicity in terms of even our scheduling, our time. So we were like, “Okay, let’s simplify.” I play the piano. So let’s do piano. We’ll figure out the arrangement with the voices.
The first time I actually heard this song was Chet Baker playing the trumpet, and I just felt like I wanted something like that … Especially with the war theme, and the romance between these men, or this whole duet aspect, I thought it would be nice to bring a trumpet into it, because I think it really creates kind of a classic vintage feel, but also specific to that era, and it’s a beautiful instrument.
So we used the flugelhorn, piano, and upright bass. Without having a full percussion ensemble or little drum kit, we’d have a bass to give it some life there, because I think there’s a slow dance that happens at this moment, so we wanted the rhythm to be right for this kind of romantic scene.
CHARLIE DAVID: In terms of the lyrics of the song, they are unique in that this was written in 1922, and we have lines like, “Nights are long since you went away, I think about you all through the day, my buddy.”
To me, hearing those words today, it’s hard to imagine them as not being some type of relationship. Certainly a very special friendship.
MARC DEVIGNE: Well, strangely enough for me, I had never heard this song, so when I first heard it when Charlie gave me the song to listen to, I thought it was quite clear … I mean possibly, because today listening to these lyrics of a man saying “my buddy,” it came off a bit strange. I remember even getting on the phone with him, and being like, “Was this clear to everyone else?”
It really does sound, again, taking it in our modern day, that it’s words of affection towards someone else. Now, there are a lot of artists that have covered it. Doris Day has covered it. And coming from a woman, it was just a different feel. So it is interesting. I don’t quite know the answer to that, whether some people sang it … Millions and millions of people have heard this song, and whatever way they interpreted it … I’m curious, actually, whether their interpretation was back then as it is now, because I played this song for quite a few people and they were like, “Well, sounds pretty clear to me what it means now.”
But again, back then where possibly being gay and stuff like that was very taboo, and not something you would hear on radio and media and stuff like that, so whether there was an undercurrent of that or whether it just went right over people’s heads and it wasn’t even the message, I’m not quite sure. But the relevance of today I think, for me, when it first hit me, it really sounded quite clear, especially when a man sang it, so, yeah.
CHARLIE DAVID: “My Buddy” was originally written in 1922, which is almost 100 years ago, so I think it’s pretty cool what we’re doing today, to be in Montreal, in a recording studio, a bunch of artists coming together to bring this story back to life, one more time. I mean, it’s been recorded over and over because it is a classic.
There’s something special about this song that rings true for people, that touches people, and so I can only imagine what the original writers would think if they knew that a century later, in Montreal, a bunch of Canadians have gotten together to record this song for a TV show. I’m excited to share the history and music with our friends and audience for Shadowlands.
Gay Tango may not be at the top of the list for most tourists to visit Argentina but when I learned that the seductive dance was first practiced and perfected by men dancing together in the streets of Buenos Aires, it was reason enough for me to go.
I can speak-sing out the praises of Argentina with the best of them but unlike Madge my love doesn’t stop in Buenos Aires. Exploring outside the ‘Paris of South America’ has proved very fruitful, like my trip to Mendoza. (As a disclaimer I’d like to mention that no sensuous meal, breathtaking view or exhilarating experience described in this article will rival the pure bliss of simply men-watching in Argentina.)
Unfortunately I did not arrive and simply stumble into men dancing the gay tango on every corner under a street lamp as I would have hoped. I had to go searching for a partner to practice with and find out if the gay tango was a myth or real!
First things first – I met a tall, dark and devastatingly handsome guy and we hit it off immediately with so much to say to each other we couldn’t express it. Marcello spoke no English and I managed to croak out, “no hablo español.”
Armed with the fanciful ideas of all the innuendo we would be serving each other if our tongues permitted we took off on bicycles for an afternoon of wine tasting. Two of the main industries of Mendoza are olive oil production and wine making. Greater Mendoza is the largest wine producing area in Latin America and one of nine cities worldwide named the Great Capitals of Wine, providing honeymooners, I mean interlopers like Marcello and I hundreds of wineries in the region to explore.
Our day didn’t end getting drunk but it certainly started that way. Marcello suggested detox was in order and he knew just the spot – Cacheuta Hot Water Spring Spa. The spa has a beautifully appointed view of the surrounding riverbed canyon and the mud from its banks has healing properties for the skin. What are two dudes to do? We slathered each other up of course like dirty little piggies and then sun baked on lounge chairs until we were hard as clay pots. Marcello coaxed me with his midnight eyes to lift my palms to the sun and receive its energy, “like the ancients.” It felt amazing to bask in the heat of my new Latin lover. Sun power. Man Power. I’ll take both please.
Dining out is a major part of Mendoza’s nightlife and I do mean nightlife. No one breaks bread before ten pm. Los Chocos proved to be the most unique experience. It’s a gay-owned and operated restaurant serving a gourmet eight course dinner in a private home similar to the Paladares in Havana, Cuba.
Special local Mendoza cuisine was complemented with perfect Malbec wines, wonderful company and amazingly creative food with mouthwatering flavors. After dinner a leisurely stroll, perhaps some refreshingly cool crema helada –ice cream- and a visit to a local gay bar will be the perfect end to a fun-filled day. Either Queen or La Reserva Pub – the major LGBT bars in town – located in the heart of downtown Mendoza will be open and waiting to entertain you until dawn, or perhaps even later.
Join Marcello and me on a zip line over a canyon and some white water rafting in this video.
No visit to Mendoza would be complete without my elusive Gay Tango. Marcello pulled me into his arms and I began to understand why South Americans think Argentines are stuck up… it’s easy for a cock to crow when there’s so much to be proud of.
Want to learn more about the history of gay tango? Well, wouldn’t you know, I made a little video for you!
Okay, you guessed it. Although Marcello was an awesome sport and willing to practice the gay tango with me, he is actually… straight. Yeah, I can’t help but get along with straight dudes and have the occasional bromance. You can explore more bromance stories in Forces, the October 13th story in Shadowlands, and Mulligans.