Lesbian surfer chick flick makes the tour of queer film festivals
“Aging, body image, and not being alone is what we laugh about all the time,” out comedian Georgia Ragsdale said about her motivation in making “Wave Babes,” a hilarious new comedy now available on video, DVD, and the film festival circuit.
“My job is to make fun of everything. I get my material from painful, uncomfortable, and vulnerable situations, and turn them into some kind of win,” the comedienne continued. “I like to create a high relate-ability factor and point out the silliness in every kind of behavior.”
“Wave Babes” is a parody of those You Go, Girl! movies, as well as the surf-girl film “Blue Crush”—but with 40-year-olds. “Babes” features Christina Carlisi as Val, a newly divorced woman who reunites with her gal pals Sam (Ragsdale), a frisky lesbian, and Maureen (Carolyn Hennesy), a tough-talking lawyer, to share a reckless weekend at the beach.
The film, which was shot in four days for $15,000 has been well received on the gay and lesbian festival circuit—it won Best Comedy Feature at the New York International Film and Video Festival—and inaugurates what Ragsdale hopes will be a series of “Babes” films.
“We are trying to contribute to and create more comedies that have women in them. Gay men are known for their sense of humor. Lesbians are stuck with social causes and saving the world. We wanted to be silly and have fun,” the screenwriter/ actress said, getting serious for a moment. “We really wanted to keep the campy, cheesy factor going through the whole thing,”
From song spoofs of Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to My Window,” to a gag involving a character slipping in a hot tub, and cheesy sound and special effects, the film will keep audiences laughing.
Ragsdale herself even tried hard to suppress a laugh when she has to say the line “I could eat her for lunch” in one scene.
Then there is “The Shoulder Master,” Sam’s exercise device that was inspired, Ragsdale said, by “Suzanne Somers squeezing a paper clip between her legs.”
“One of my private fantasies is infomercials,” Ragsdale confessed. “I’m always trying to create an invention that is a complete parody to me, but people in the Midwest will buy.”
Adding to the film’s fun are Sam’s numerous smooch scenes, which defy the Hollywood stereotype of the gay best friend not getting any. The comedienne joked that viewers could have a great drinking game if they imbibed whenever Sam is in a lip lock with another woman in “Babes.”
The love scene between Sam and another character “had to be shot three times to get it right,” Ragsdale explained. “There were lighting issues, wardrobe issues, and hitting the right tone was hard. The scene needed to be tender, and in the cute, appealing genre. It was not meant to be hot, sexy love scene. We had to drink a lot of beer to get the scene to work properly.”
Beach noise also hindered filmmaking.
“We shared the beach permit with “Charlie’s Angel’s 2,” and even in that film there was overly loud ocean noise to mask the beach noise,” Ragsdale explained.” Our sound editor called and said, ‘See, even they couldn’t get it right!’”
At least the weather was consistently reliable.
“By luck, we had gorgeous sunsets. There was no fog on the beach for the four days we were shooting. It was a miracle,” Ragsdale said.
Ironically, actress Carolyn Hennesy—who steals the film and channels Eve Arden in the role—hates the beach and the water.
“She has not been in the sun more than two minutes in the last twenty years,” Ragsdale confided. “She had full body make-up on, but still looks very pale.”
Director Lisa Knox-Nervig and Ragsdale invited their friends (and family) to participate in making the film and found Hennesy through a friend of a friend. Her character has received such an enthusiastic response that Maureen is likely to be prominently featured in “Babes Go West.”
Ragsdale is excited at the prospect of another project.
“We’ve got lots of great western locations and props,” she gushed. “It’s a natural fit for us. And besides, there is so much to make fun of in the West.“
Hopefully that film will be complete in time for next year’s festival circuit. After audiences get a look at “Wave Babes,” they will no doubt be eager for more.