Saturday, December 16th, 2017

Trying to get close to a go-go boy by making a documentary about him

A few weeks short of graduation from Columbia University “Doc” (Tanner Cohen, who played the lead in the 2008 “Were The World Mine”) concocts the idea of shooting a documentary in order to make contact with a NYC go-go dancer, called “Go” (Matthew Camp, a real-life go-go boy) in “Getting Go: The Go Project” (2013). Go is remarkably grounded not only for a go-go boy but for an aspiring artist (Doc, btw, is NOT a film student, though it seems he is going off to the University of Iowa Writer’s Program the next fall, so wants to be a kind of artist.)

Go is willing to co-operate, after negotiating an agreement to get 5% of any royalties (Doc had offered him 3%). Though Go seems aware that making a documentary was just an excuse, he goes along and somewhat turns the tables, that is interviews and films Doc and makes Doc remove his shirt (Doc protests that Go does that for a living, whereas Doc only removes his clothes to go to the shower or on physician demand) and eventually beds him. That is, Go takes on filming Doc, not just eliciting autobiographical information from him, but also filming him having sex. Go seizes agency and Doc uncomfortably becomes an object for inquiry and a kind of sex performer.

Doc is more than a little neurotic about sex and his own body (though I find his body more attractive than I find Go’s) and remarkably committed to gay assimilation to the mainstream (which, I guess, includes masturbating to online porn in his view). Both young men in some ways get hurt in their budding but doomed (by the shortness of time Doc is remaining in the city) relationship.

I was sort of surprised by the standard “This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance blah blah blah” disclaimed at the end, having felt a realness to the emotions that I was not sure had been scripted (by writer/producer/director Cory Kruekeberg. Then I wondered what Tanner Cohen had done during the five years before “Getting Go” and after Were The World Mine.” (cowritten and coproduced by Kruekeberg). Moreover, Camp was a go-go boy and sometimes artist who agreed to appear in an ultra-low-budget (“guerilla”) movie shot on his home turf (including his apartment, where much of the movie takes place as the young men explore each other’s ideas as well as bodies). And it seems that Cohen has been trying to write novels.

Go knew a lot about Andy Warhol and Doc took an online crash course to be able to hold up an end of discussion about whether Warhol was a gay assimilationist. Having watched “Sleep” and “The Kiss” online, unfortunately, Doc replicates some of each (not at the length of boringness of the originals, fortunately), the parts of the movie I liked least.

I question some editorial decisions, but readily acknowledge that the soundtrack has some interesting and fitting songs.

©23 September 2014, Stephen O. Murray

About The Author

Stephen O. Murray grew up in rural southern Minnesota, earned a B.A. from James Madison College (within Michigan State University), an M.A. from the University of Arizona, a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto (both in sociology), and was a postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley (in anthropology). He is the author of American Gay, Homosexualities, etc. and lives in San Francisco.

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