‘Baloney’ Queer Male Burlesque Doc Streams June 7

Baloney Takes an Under the Covers Look
At Queer Male Burlesque
New Documentary Offers Humor & Insight into 21st Century Struggles of Coming Out, Dating, Masculinity, Sex Work and Mental Health
Available on Cable VOD and Digital HD June 7
“celebrates queerness, sex work, inclusivity, and showcases the dire need for queer safe spaces” — World of Wonder

13th Gen and Gravitas Ventures are proud to present Baloney, Joshua Guerci’s no-holds-barred documentary chronicling 18 months in the life of Baloney, a mostly male, mostly naked, very erotic San Francisco burlesque troupe. The clothing optional documentary made its world premiere at Frameline and went on to inspire audiences at Outfest Los Angeles, Seattle Queer Film Festival, Cinema Diverse Palm Springs, Winnipeg Reel Pride Film Festival, TLVFest: Tel Aviv LGBT Film Festival, Boston Wicked Queer LGBTQ+ Film Festival, and Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. At RuPaul’s DragCon Los Angeles, the film is nominated for Best Documentary.

Baloney debuts June 7 across North America and will be available on a number of digital and cable platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Spectrum, and inDemand.

Baloney was directed, produced and shot by Joshua Guerci in his feature debut. Marc Smolowitz (Being BeBe, Transfinite) produced.

Queer artist Michael Phillis realized that “his worst day as an artist was still better than his best day as a tech manager.” So, he quit his day job, not just to create art, but to connect with other artists, many of whom work in jobs similar just to cover the cost of living in America’s expensive queer mecca.

Thus, Baloney, the performance troupe, was born — a classic variety show combined with burlesque, using theater, dance, and strip tease to explore and celebrate queer sexuality and life experience. Michael, together with his life partner Rory Davis, have been delighting and surprising audiences for years, and this documentary offers up an under-the-covers look at the real life people who create and perform the show, and a behind the scenes view into all of the hard work that goes into putting on this powerful and beautifully produced professional theatrical production.

Baloney follows San Francisco’s wildly popular Gay All-Male Burlesque show over 18 months as the group rehearses for New Year’s Eve 2020. Told through the eyes of the group’s co-founders, as well as the larger ensemble, the film contemplates the struggles that come with being a performing artist in San Francisco, the most expensive city in North America. Through a mix of interviews, rehearsal footage, and filmed performances, Baloney captures the group’s unique combination of humor, confession, and sex positivity in ways that directly reflect the private fantasies of people who come to the show. It’s also a story of the people who choose to perform in Baloney who, like their audience, find themselves in a world that constantly silences kinky, queer, and gender non-conforming people. Finally, it spotlights that real failure in life is often not doing that thing you know you need to do or being the person you know you need to be. Even if that thing is daring to be an artist!

With Baloney about to be released to the world, co-creators Michael Phillis and Rory Davis shared, “After doing the show live onstage for the past 8 years, it’s thrilling to see Baloney reach an international audience through Joshua’s documentary. Our hope is that young queer adults will see the movie, connect to the show, and know that they’re not alone. There’s a wonderful world of underground queer performance out there and your chosen family is waiting for you.”
Ahead of Baloney’s VOD debut, director Joshua Guerci shared what Baloney means to him as a filmmaker and a human. “Looking at the world today, I’m proud of Baloney because it challenges the prevailing narrative that sexuality is something to be ashamed of. Opponents to equality want to push LGBTQ identities back into the closet and this film demonstrates how queer identity is the entire lived experience of a person beyond what people do behind closed doors. I hope when people watch the film, it sparks a conversation about how we learn to be more like our authentic selves. I made Baloney to look beyond the coming out and the process. The Baloney journey explores not just who you love but how we love each other and ourselves.”
While moderating the screening at Outfest Los Angeles, Drag Race star BenDeLaCreme enthused, “Baloney feels very much related to drag. There really is a relationship between Baloney, drag, and indie filmmaking that’s all about being scrappy and making everything happen yourself and being all hands on deck to make the art be what it needs to be. That’s something really beautiful and relatable and exciting and I love that it’s uniquely San Francisco.”
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