Despite a torrential downpour, plenty of people braved the rain in New York City last night to head to The Anthology Film Archives for a screening of director Chuck Vincent’s Misbehavin’, a ridiculously entertaining sex comedy made in 1978 starring Leslie Bovee, Arcadia Lake, Sonny Landham, Eric Edwards and the late Gloria Leonard, the women to whom this night was meant to serve as a tribute. The screening was the first of three taking place this weekend as part of the ongoing In The Flesh series. (Chuck Vincent’s Roommates will be playing tonight and the Amero Brothers’ Blonde Ambition on Sunday night).
The evening began with a slideshow comprised of all manner of archival photographs and stills as well as many personal photographs supplied by some of her friends and co-stars. After that a quick introduction by curator Casey Scott took place, followed by trailers for All About Gloria Leonard and then Vincent’s Roommates (which will be screening tonight at 8pm) before the main feature unspooled from a rare 35mm print. Though the film played in its soft edit, it was still a blast seeing this one on the big screen, the print damage and color fading on the image somehow adding to the movie’s screwy charms. It’s also an excellent showcase for the talents of Gloria Leonard. Though the beautiful Bovee is technically the ‘star’ of the picture, Leonard gets plenty of screen time in the film and definitely has some of the best lines, giving her a chance to show off not only her carnal skills, but her comedic timing and wit as well.
When the movie finished, Scott hosted a Q&A session with four of Leonard’s friends and fellow performers – Candida Royalle, Jane Hamilton (a.k.a. Veronica Hart), Veronica Vera and Kelly Nichols. All four women shared some memories of a woman they knew intimately but to many fans really seemed like a truly larger than life personality. They discussed not only her talents on screen (that sense of humor coming up more than once, and rightly so) but shared their memories of the late actress, publisher and free speech advocate. Nichols noted that she learned from Leonard the importance of being yourself while Vera told an amusing story about how Gloria helped her maximize the sale of some photos she’d posed for by dressing up her apartment to make it look more eccentric to the buyer.
There was a fair bit of discussion of ‘Club 90’ which was essentially a support group made up of Leonard, Royalle, Hart, Vera and Annie Sprinkle formed after a casual get together at Hart’s baby shower. Nichols and Sue Nero were also early members. This turned into a regular occurrence after that, the women getting together frequently to discuss not only their careers with one another but their lives, well aware that not everyone outside of their scene would necessarily understand the ups and downs that they were experiencing. Memories were also shared about how Gloria liked everything ‘big,’ her bold personality and assertive nature helping to establish her as one of the true female powerhouses of the golden age.
As the night was also a celebration of straight films made by gay directors, there was also some talk of Chuck Vincent, with Royalle sharing an amusing story about accidently ‘outing’ him in an interview and some discussion of what he was like to work with as a director and how he tended to work often with some of the same actresses, his favorites. All in all it was quite an interesting evening, a rare chance to take in a 35mm projection of a genuine classic of adult cinema and to enjoy some anecdotes and stories from four women who were obviously quite touched by Leonard’s friendship. Quite a fitting tribute, and a great job was done by Scott and the series’ sponsor, Steven Morowitz of Distribpix.
A few pictures from the evening are below.