Writer, actor and Playbill On-Line columnist David Drake will be honored by Anthology Film Archives on March 27.
Drake, who is the subject of this month's Anthology Film Archives' New Filmmakers series, captured the public's attention in his autobiographical one-man show, "The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me," which received, critical praise, an Obie Award and was subsequently turned into a feature film. The March 27 evening, which is titled "Drake's Cake: A Night of Movies Starring David Drake," will feature four shorts that Drake starred in as well as his full-length turn in "Larry Kramer."
The short-film program begins at 7 PM with the titles "Black Oolong" (David Grotell, director), "The Trey Billings Show" (David Briggs, director), "Cater Waiter" (Eric Lane, director) and "Cruise Control" (Lawrence Feber, director), which also stars former Renter Anthony Rapp. When asked about his roles in these shorts, Drake recently told Playbill On-Line, "With the exception of 'Cruise Control,' in which I have a supporting role, I am actually the lead in all of the other shorts programmed at Anthology. This whole event is kind of ironic, because I used to joke that, even at the ripe old age of 30-something, I'd acted in so many short films [over 15] that one day someone was doing to do the 'David Drake Mini-Film Fest.' And now, someone has! I guess it's another instance of 'be careful what you pray for.'"
Perhaps his favorite of the short films is "The Trey Billings Show," which Drake co-wrote with David Briggs and Carl Capatorto and in which he also stars. "[I play] both the title character — a public access celebrity chat show host — and his guest, a Lucy-like legend named Dodie Day. Kind of 'Patty Duke Show' meets 'Barry Z.' I'm proud of this one because I was so involved with creating it." Drake also received an "Outstanding Performance" award from the Tisch School of the Arts when the short was screened at NYU's First Run Film Festival in 2000.
The 85-minute "The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me" will be presented at 8 PM. Written by and starring Drake, it is his most personal and most successful project, one which opened Off-Broadway in 1992. Since that time, he has performed the show nearly 500 times all around the world. "Audiences just kept coming, and so I just kept performing," Drake jokes. "Putting it on film was a whole other journey," he says. "It took a long time to find the right director to film it, as well as the funding. Like Spalding Gray's 'Swimming to Cambodia,' my monologue-play is a live performance film. But Tim Kirkman did a beautiful interpretation. We worked thousands of hours in pre production to understand the way to bridge the worlds of live theatre and cinema." Asked how he feels when he watches the film, he replies, "When I watch the film, [I'm not seeing] my performance, but rather the bridge that we built connecting these two wonderful and utterly different entertainment mediums. I love both. And it's a pleasure to introduce them to each other and have them get along so well." Queerfilmmakers 2002 presents "Drake's Cafe: A Night of Movies Starring David Drake" will be held March 27 at the Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Avenue (at 2nd Street), N.Y.C. Admission is $5 for the whole evening. Call (212) 505-5181 for reservations. The evening will also include appearances by Drake and many of his films' directors, creators and featured actors who will be on hand for introductions and discussions.
—By Andrew Gans