While cleaning out my computer I found the original script for our ridiculous short “Black Lace Chronicles”. The thinly-veiled “homage” to what everyone grew up trying to masturbate to: Showcase’s “Fridays Without Borders”.
You see, back in the days before pumpkin spices and youtubes, there was a thing called “Cable”. Cable was like an amazing gateway, allowing you to see what your imagination would be like if you were smart or cared enough to write anything down. When my parents first got cable I remember the whispers around the school yard: “Channel 60 has boobs and butts”. Could this grey sigma box really contain my great sexual becoming?
The Sigma Box was like a sexual spaceship. It’s 3 month mission: Make me a man, and be returned by my dad in good working order for the full deposit. The design was sleek for it’s time: large and grey, the plastic was unfinished and had long indented curved lines on the top, which I assumed was for speed. The number pad felt like an expensive calculator or a well made remote control. The digital read out glowed red, and it went past your precious channel 25. It went all the way up to 70. Looking over the TV listings it was pretty easy to find what I was looking for; Names of movies like “Lady On The Bus” “Wild Orchid” and “Scorpio Nights II”. Running my finger from the movies to find the corresponding channel was like stepping out of one part of life and into another. Channel 60. Showcase. “Fridays Without Borders”
Friday nights became a ritual: Stay up late, quietly shut my parents door and sneak into the living room and fire up the sigma box. “Oh yeah” I’d tell myself “Sex is gonna happen”. I should probably mention now that no masturbation was actually occurring at this time in my life. It was all a pointless exercise in titillation. To say I was on the sexual sidelines doesn’t really make sense; I had no idea what sex really was. I guess I was just a fan of it. Like someone watching a foreign sport, completely unaware of the rules. Imagine watching cricket with a boner and you get the idea.
The movies were always terrible: sexual thrillers with thin plots and terrible acting. They showed real nudity, but they amount of endlessly terrible dialogue and contrived plot twists rarely made your time investment worth it. But the TV shows. The TV shows were the bread and butter: Sin Cities, Webdreams and the crown jewel of softcore porn: “Red Shoe Diaries”.While the other shows were like well made sedans, not the flashiest but it’ll get you where you need to go, Red Shoe always felt like an elegant sexual experience, or at least what I thought my entire life was going to be once I became an adult. While nudity was only ever implied, the constraints of a half hour format guaranteed the first soft core sex scene usually happened in the first 10 minutes and who knows how many you’d get after that.
Is it possible for something to be hopelessly dated before you even shoot it? That had to be the intention with Red Shoe Diaries: The look, the music, the genre, eye glass frames that are round; none of these trends had any hope of lasting and yet still they managed to pump out 5 seasons and 20 “movies” in this inexplicable style. David Duchovny, who plays the narrator, must have been blackmailed because that is the only reasonable explanation as to why he did this show for so long after he found success with The X Files. Whenever it’s brought up he must cringe so hard he shits in his pants. I’m sure that one of the main reasons it was cancelled was due to the rising cost of renting lofts in Manhattan or simply the creators saw the breadth of their domain and wept for there were no more soft core, pre-cum stained worlds to conquer.
Eventually the Sigma’s 3 month promotion came to an end and we would bid it ado for another year. Scott White would hook up the coax cable into the back of the TV and that was it for my Sigma sexual revolution. It was like going from the swinging 60’s to the AIDs fueled paranoia of the mid 80’s with one trip to cable Regina. The grey glorious beast would come and go out of our household and eventually it would be replaced with a more generic cable box. The personality was sucked out: the sleek curves flattened, keypad removed and the size was reduced considerably. It went from being an event to just being a dinky box that sat on top of the TV. Truly the end of an era. Before the Sigma box I was boy, and after Friday Without Borders I was a man. Sleep well sweet cable.
Anyways, here is the original script for “Black Lace Chronicles” written by Nathan White.
A man walks along a barren stretch of railroad track, his wispy unkempt hair and loose partially buttoned white silk shirt dancing in the wind. He tosses a rock he has been turning in his hand.
The man, Donovan Knight, now sits in a prairie field, elbows on his knees, train tracks just behind him. He is holding a letter with both hands, studying it intently.
Donovan Knight (V.O.)
Dear red shoe diaries… I am an artist, a photographer… I have been known to become consumed by my work. Until I met Emilio, that is. Now when I fall into the passionate trance in which my creative energy crests, Emilio is there at my side… almost taunting me. Daring me to go further, with his sharp blue gaze and boyish smile. At every turn, he is there- though, not as a hindrance… as a muse. Yes, I have my photography- once of frameless pictures set on lonely beaches, now mostly of him. The synergy of our bodies and of our hearts beat out the rhythm of a 1000 bound dancers. We sway, as one.
INT. DAY (UNDER V.O.)
A sparsely decorated condo; Light spills in from between partially drawn curtains. A man, Emilio, is dressed in tight black pants with a loose fitting and carelessly buttoned silk shirt. He stands before a large canvas upon an easel. He is laughing, carelessly flicking globs of brightly colored paint toward the canvas.
A second man, Kaleb, observes from several feet away. He is also similarly dressed, and lying on his side on the floor. He has a 35mm SLR camera with a large flash. He is holding the camera at an obtuse angle, photographing Emilio.
Emilio is now splashing paint onto the canvas with careless intent, as Kaleb inches closer, still taking pictures while manipulating the camera into every conceivable position.
Suddenly, Emilio abandons his art and pulls a while sheet from a sea of blankets spread carelessly about the furniture, the room’s order displaced by a morning of intense love-making.
Now shirtless, Emilio first pulls the sheet around himself, and then holds it above his head and twirls across the room, letting the crisp sheet flow behind him.
Kaleb’s eyes peek up from behind the camera, as if to assure himself that the spectacle before him actually exists, and not just in his view finder. However, his eyes quickly dart back to the view finder, almost in panic, as if he narrowly missed something that his soul needed captured on film.