I know you were all salivating for this week’s episode of “Barry’s Cherries: Behind The Scenes!” yesterday. I’m sure the delay has only intensified your hunger. So I figured I’d give you something pretty meaty today:
The origin of the story.
That’s right. This is how it all came about. The completely true story.
In the fall of 2004, my friend Ben broke both of his heels in an Ultimate Fighting cage match with a petit 70-year old Japanese man named Mr. Deadly-san.1 Ben had a long recuperation ahead of him. He had to cancel his long-planned pilgrimage to Saskatoon.2 He was crestfallen.3 To lighten his spirits, I sent him B-movies that the amazing people at EI Cinema sent me.
Ben likes the horror movies — the campy and corny ones with plenty of lesbian encounters. I too love some exploitation films but my tastes run more towards the blatant T&A escapades and away from horror. Nonetheless, there’s plenty of crossover. During that time, I started a weblog where Ben and I wrote about the movies we liked and even interviewed actresses and aspiring actresses in the genre. (The site was eventually folded into Popshot where you can find some of the film reviews and interviews.)
Naturally, perhaps, we began discussing making our own film. We had a title (“The Barn”) and even sequel titles (“Son of Barn”) and several key sequences planned out. I remember there was some sort of homage to Julie Strain’s appeareance in The Bare Wench Project. And of course, there was a rock ‘n’ roll montage.
We never got around to writing a script but we talked enough about specifics that I was thinking about b-movies all the time. Especially all the ones I used to watch when I worked at Blockbuster. I began to consider how funny it would be to have a lesser Roger Corman or Russ Meyer or Gregory Hippolyte living in Nashville. The hijinks he and his starlets would get into. The attitude of Nashvillians towards him. The crazy cross-overs between all the entertainment worlds here: film, music, pro-wrestling, tv news.
I started making notes on a novel about this lesser Roger Corman, this minor Russ Meyer, who’d left Hollywood behind and moved to Nashville to escape the craziness of the movie industry only to find he was dragged into more craziness here in Nashville. This character became Barry Cherry, a man who’d relegated himself to making soft-core porn with aspiring actresses and models, while trying to find balance in a new life in a new city.
I couldn’t leave Ben out of the story of course. He appears in the novel only slightly4 exaggerated. And he and I still talk about “The Barn.”
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank him publically for his unintentional role in helping me write the novel. Thanks, Ben! Below is his “take” on Barry’s Cherries.
1 Ben actually fell off a ladder when he was frightened by a spider.
2 He never had any such thing planned.
3 He was pretty bummed out.
4 Okay, completely.