meeting joe gage
I've got like 7 million things I need to get done today, so this might be brief. A week or two ago, Joe Gage emailed me that he'd be in town, and we should do coffee. As I previously mentioned, we have only recently been corresponding, and that alone was a big thrill for me. So of course, I was terribly excited about meeting him. Tuesday he emailed again, to confirm and set up a time, and gave me his phone number. Immediately I'm practicing making the call. "Hello, Joe?" straight out of his 1981 film HANDsome is what popped into my head, and wouldn't leave. Of course, you'd have to be familiar with the film (you mean you aren't?) to know it's basically the lead-in line for each scene, apparently a friend calling and telling im about some hot jack-off scene, or an idea for his next film. Blah blah blah, I call, we set up a time, and he suggests I just come up to his apartment. Woo-Hoo!
All that night I kept thinking do I approach this as like an interviewer, do I need to bring a notebook and pen? But it just felt forced - his invitation was pretty much "you seem to 'get' my work, so let's meet and hang out" so I pedalled up there yesterday with that in mind - let's just hang out. So the elevator door opens, there he is with a dog who wants to greet me first. I am quickly instructed to feed the dog a carrot, which I do, and apparently that's supposed to make the dog like me. It works. I'm escorted into the kitchen and offered coffee.
I'd been up for hours, couldn't sleep past 8 am (which is incredibly weird for me, I usually get my best sleep between 7-10 am, but I digress) and I've had several cups of coffee already, so I accept one of the alternate offers (no, not a role in his next sexpic), water. He pours himself a refill of coffee, and, smiling, says "boy, this is exciting, getting to finally meet." YES - this is an OHMIGOD OHMIGOD moment - him being excited about this - but I try to hide it and smile back as he pulls up a chair. There's no way I can lay out for you what specifically we talked about - but pretty much what you'd expect - me asking about the old films, his new stuff, him revealing little tidbits - sometimes prefacing with "you can't tell anyone this" - when talking about who wrote the score for the "Trilogy", or the soap opera star who did the voice-overs for the Trilogy trailers - stuff like that. Even some tidbits about the next release (which, alas, some of my friends in the Southern states won't be able to mail order, unless some of the material is edited and put on some special bonus disc). Even pointing when I ask about a specific scene from one of the films - "Oh, we shot the whole thing over there; yes, Casey Donovan was great." And he asked me stuff about the web - told me some ideas he has for his site - laughed about typing his name into Google and my site comes up first. We talked about my recently discovering I have videotapes with the watersports scenes in tact - he's not even sure if he has them, and sternly told me to hang on to them (like I needed telling!) There was this one wonderful moment, I can't even remember what the specific story was, but he let out a big laugh, his heading falling back, and I'm sitting in his kitchen thinking, "this isn't an amazing OHMIGOD I'm with someone famous moment - this is the much better wow I like this guy and we're enjoying each other's company can't wait to do it again moment."
I knew he had a plane to catch, and asked about the time again. He had earlier mentioned how I had to see Tulsa County Line and in an email said he'd have one for me - so he went into the next room to fetch it while I went to his bathroom to take a piss (No, I didnt check for cameras, like that would've stopped me!) When I came out, there it was, Jason Branch's little smirk looking up at me from Joe Gage's kitchen table, and he said - "Do you want an autograph?" Of course, right!? Then he said "Do you want me to make it out to you, or would you want to try to sell it?" We both laughed, as he was well aware I make a few extra bucks on eBay , and of course assured him it would be staying with me. He even mentioned that after finishing up production on Tulsa, Jason Branch pulled out some old Gage videos and asked for autographs - but for Blake Harper. Gage even questioned this, having heard that they had broken up. But Branch assured him that he and Blake were still very close, and that Harper was a huge fan (and was subsequently in Gage's Closed Set: The New Crew). How sweet, eh? (Or, in Jason Branchese - "sweeeeeeet.") Anyway, by this time I had been there well over an hour, and started packing up. We promised we'd see each other again soon, as he's in town frequently. As we're standing in the hallway, waiting for the elevator, he catches me looking in the direction of one of the other rooms, and he proudly tells me which of his old films was filmed in that little room.
Can't wait to go back!