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Patrik-Ian Polk On Being 'The Gay Tyler Perry' + His Latest Film, 'The Skinny,' Now On DVD

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by Tambay A. Obenson
July 18, 2012 1:13 PM
4 Comments
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Those are his words ('The Gay Tyler Perry'), not mine; so don't toss tomatoes at me. 

Although there's probably a Tyler Perry joke in there somewhere that I won't even touch.

Just check out Patrik-Ian Polk's Twitter page, and you'll see that decription right after his name, which I only just learned about after reading THIS Village Voice profile of the writer/director, posted earlier this morning, with a headline that includes "The Gay Filmmaking Love Child of Spike Lee and Tyler Perry."

Oh gosh. Labels :)

Here are 2 paragraphs from the piece that address that specific decription of Polk:

The influence of both filmmakers can clearly be seen in The Skinny, Polk's third feature film which just concluded a run at the Quad and premiered on Logo this month. In a similar way that Lee put black (hetero) sexuality on the screen in a raw, in-your-face manner completely unlike how it had ever been seen before with She's Gotta Have It, Polk puts black homosexuality up there in a way rarely seen in narrative movies from the opening minutes of the film. Like Lee's early films (and, actually, from early dispatches we've heard about Red Hook Summer), Polk is wearing many hats behind the camera on The Skinny, a project he largely financed himself.

But Perry's influence on Polk's career is very apparent in another way. Perry notoriously realized early in his career that there was money to be had from working "the chitlin' circuit," the theater circuit for black, urban audience which hosted musical plays (often with melodramatic, religious and -- too commonly -- homophobic themes). Perry saw this huge market of middle-class black Americans with disposable income for entertainment and realized that no one was making movies for them. Lee's films, Perry defenders often say, were too elitist for this mass market (and aimed towards white people anyway). Meet the Browns on TBS and Madea's Witness Protection are just the latest examples of the empire Perry has built catering to such a market. In a similar way, Polk looked around at a a black LGBT event in Los Angeles years ago and remembers thinking to himself, "These people have money. This is a market -- and no one is making movies for them." 

You can read the rest of the revealing piece HERE, which goes into Polk's beginnings in the industry, whether his homosexuality was at all a hinderance to his progress, his politics, and of course his latest film, The Skinny, which we've profiled here on S&A.

The third feature film from the director of LGBT-themed indie films like Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom and Punks, and creator of the Noah's Arc series for the Logo network, The Skinny tells the story of "a group of four young, black, gay men, Magnus, Sebastian, Kyle, Joey and their lesbian best friend, Langston. They arrange to meet up in New York City one year after their graduation from Brown University. Their plans for a weekend of fun start off well, relaxed in each other’s company, as only old friends can be. But old tensions quickly resurface."

The project also features original music written and performed by Polk, which you can sample on the film's website.

The Skinny began its nationwide theatrical travels in April, and is now available on DVD. I've yet to see it, but will certainly check it out.

You can purchase your copy of the film on DVD HERE, for $25, and support this indie filmmaker love child of Spike Lee and Tyler Perry.

Trailer below:

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4 Comments

  • Miles Ellison | July 20, 2012 10:05 PMReply

    Too easy.

  • David Aronzo | July 20, 2012 9:07 PMReply

    I liked the film and loved Jussie Smollett (Jurnee Smollett's brother) who played the lead. he was intense and emotional but made me care about him. Another Smollett doing great in film.

  • Micah | July 18, 2012 5:40 PMReply

    When jokes write themselves. Thanks for the title of this piece.

  • turner | July 18, 2012 6:22 PM

    Oh...this is about somebody else...

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