Thursday, October 29, 2020
Arts + Culture Movies Drive-in Dragsploitation! 'Sh*t & Champagne' to make splashy debut

Drive-in Dragsploitation! ‘Sh*t & Champagne’ to make splashy debut

D'Arcy Drollinger's sparkling paean to '70s action flicks, fabulous looks will pop your cork.

-

One night only! (But surely also streaming near you sometime soon.) A whirlwind dragsploitation flick that will grab you by the seat of your booty shorts and pull you deep into the bowels of a seedy underworld, all topped off with feathered wigs and fake bazooms to die for.

It’s Shit & Champagne, drag auteur D’Arcy Drollinger’s side- (and seam-) splitting romp that opens this year’s delayed Frameline Film Fest. Drollinger wrote, directed, and stars in the film, based on her long-running stage show, which started out at NYC’s Slipper Room more than a decade ago, and most recently played her club Oasis.

But here’s the biggest gag—this tribute to ’70s action shows and strong female leads is debuting on an appropriately retro big screen: the West Wind Solano Drive-In (Thu/17, 7:30pm).

The gist of the flick is this: “Champagne Horowitz Jones Dickerson White is a charismatic stripper who finds herself in danger after her fiancĂ© and half-sister are both murdered. When the cops refuse to investigate, Champagne takes matters into her own perfectly manicured hands to find answers.The movie is full of sky-high hair, hilarious disguises, somewhat accurate karate kicks… oh, a poop jokes. Lots of poop jokes.

“I grew up as a hardcore fan of Charlie’s Angels, Wonder Woman, the Bionic Woman, all of those great ’70s ladies,” Drollinger tells me of Champagne’s genesis. “I had watched Foxy Brown and had an idea about a character—who she is, what she is. There’s an episode of ‘Police Woman’ where Angie Dickinson goes undercover as a stripper which also gave me ideas.

“So many of those shows follow plots of sexloitation and vigilante justice. If they kill or maim your brother and sister, you have to take into your own hands. Champagne starts off as exploitation, then adds sitcom wacky hijinks, undercover disguises, all the elements. It’s more of an homage to those shows, it’s super-slapstick-y and hyper-violent and gory, over the top in a Taratino-meets-John-Waters type of way.

“In coming up with a plot, in movies like Foxy Brown and Koffee there’s usually a drug ring that gets women addicted to heroin then forces them into prostitution. But the heroine of these stories was always serious, she was never funny! I wanted to create something where the star could really shine in a comic way.”

The diabolical Matthew martin (center) in ‘Shit & Champagne.’ Photo by Mr. Means

Drollinger tells me how one clubland incident in particular was flush with inspiration for her project, whose plot hinges around a devastatingly addictive and deadly backdoor means of administering drugs: booty bumps.

“I was reading the Village Voice in the 1990s, and Michael Musto mentioned in his nightlife column that the downtown clubs were having plumbing problems—because people were doing booty bumps, shitting their pants, and flushing their underwear down the toilet. That really snapped things into place for me. I should write Michael a little thank you note.”

The movie is full of familiar faces from the local scene, most of which came directly from the stage show. Matthew Martin plays the scheming villain, Steven LeMay the ditzy-genius half-sister/roommate, Nancy French the blowsy showgirl. All are absolutely perfect for their roles, as is Drollinger. But what was it like directing his first movie?

Steven leMay (center) in ‘Shit & Champagne.’ Photo by Mr. Means

“Many things in a stage show don’t work the same way in a movie, but I felt in certain ways like I did my homework, and had a very succinct script,” Drollinger told me. “Of course it was a tremendous learning experience. I was so fortunate to have an expert assistant director who really knows the ropes, a cinematographer who knew how to frame every shot, and an incredible technical staff. Our sets and lighting are terrific. And of course, the wonderful actors. We filmed almost everything in the city, except for a few bits in Livermore. The San Francisco Film Commission was incredibly generous to us.

“We tried to get as close as we could. And luckily, I am dedicated to filming sequels. So if something didn’t work right, I could just say ‘save it for the sequel,'” Drollinger laughed.

But although it may seem like a whirlwind transfer from stage to screen, Shit & Champagne didn’t just land on its fishbowl platforms from nowhere. “This has been such a long time coming!” Drollinger laughed. “From a nine-month, sold-out run in a tiny, ragtag theater in New York after everyone had rejected it—through to multiple sequels on the Oasis stage.

“At one point we were performing at the old Rebel on Market Street and sharing a dressing room with smoked meats! We staged the show at Oasis when it was a freezing construction site. Making this film itself has been a four-year journey,” Drollinger said. “I felt like I had to do it now—at 51, I better get moving!”

“I’m stoked that will happen at a drive-in. It’s really perfect in a way, and we are going to have fun. We’re planning a pre-show and all kinds of live surprises. I always intended this movie to be a ‘live’ kind of event, a cult movie experience like Rocky Horror. Come out and join us.”

 Shit & Champagne plays Thu/17, 7:30pm at the West Wind Solano Drive-In. More info here.

Marke B.
Marke Bieschke is the publisher and arts and culture editor of 48 Hills. He co-owns the Stud bar in SoMa. Reach him at marke (at) 48hills.org, follow @supermarke on Twitter.

More by this author

Fall head over heels for Criibaby’s gender-inclusive ‘love songs for everyone’

During LGBT History Month, the local artist releases music for all letters of the rainbow.

Best of the Bay 2020: Food and Drink winners

Best Burger, Best Sushi, Best Burrito, Best Dive Bar, Best BBQ, more in our 2020 Readers' Poll

[UPDATED] Arts festival sues city in push for safe live performances—before rain comes

City revokes SF International Arts Festival permit for weekend program as arts languish amid reopenings

[UPDATED] 48 Hills Variety Gala: Honey Mahogany, Marga Gomez, Rev. Norman Fong, more to appear!

Join us Thursday, October 22 at 7pm for our free online all-star celebration, and find out who won Best of the Bay 2020!

You’re invited! Join us October 22 online for our ALL-STAR VARIETY GALA

Honey Mahogany, Marga Gomez, Peaches Christ, Davey D, Rose Aguilar, and more help us celebrate seven years!

Most read

The deep problem with the new Supreme Court

The 'original' Constitution is all about individual liberty, and not about any collective responsibility for our common humanity.

For Puerto Rican freedom, MaJo Montijo summons a bomba ‘Huracán’

Oakland musician fights "continuous colonial disaster," including Hurricane MarĂ­a aftermath, with gale-force release.

Screen Grabs: San Francisco’s real royal family, still glittering onward

'50 Years of Fabulous' comes a courtin'. Plus: a record of the 1972 National Black Political Convention, angsty Hungarians, more

The biased coverage and real story around Lowell High and school renaming

Attention Chronicle: A lottery for the 'elite' school is neither new nor a radical idea -- and neither is discussing changing the names of schools celebrating racists and colonialists.

The end of Shahid Buttar’s campaign — and the lessons

Shahid Buttar’s campaign against Rep. Nancy Pelosi was always a longshot. He was challenging the person most responsible for challenging Donald Trump, and while...

Examined Life: Being human at a time like this

The future of our country may hang in the balance, but our humanity need not

The sleaze reaches high tide in D5

Bizarre attack on Dean Preston defies facts, logic, and reality -- but that doesn't stop Big Real Estate and Big Tech.

Big Money’s racist attacks in D7

Plus: School Board members of color get threatening online messages. Is this really San Francisco in 2020?

Best of the Bay 2020: Food and Drink winners

Best Burger, Best Sushi, Best Burrito, Best Dive Bar, Best BBQ, more in our 2020 Readers' Poll

A very haunted Arts Forecast: Halloween undead!

Howl through your mask at this year's stream 'n (socially distant) scream spooktaculars

You might also likeRELATED