FAQ's with David
How did the show come to be?
I had written a film about my weird double life in NY in the mid 90s when I was doing high profile off-Broadway plays like Party and the musical When Pigs Fly while also working as a male escort. I was literally a musical comedy whore, and I thought it was a pretty extraordinary story, not only the actual events, but the emotional remnants of the experience and how it all played out. The film almost got made a few times, but I let it go after a while, until I did a charity reading of my first one man musical To Bitter and Back and I realized how much I loved talking and singing directly to an audience, telling a great story. I had thought about turning the film into another one man musical, but I was still shy about sharing that info about myself. Writing a narrative film is one thing…you can claim it’s “just a story”…but standing on a stage and telling the world I was a hooker is a whole other thing. When I acknowledged that this wasn’t just a “Hey look what I did!” kind of thing, that there was a touching and universal set of messages to the piece...that’s when I not only got the guts but felt it was imperative that I tell this story directly. The film script that I wrote was not a musical per se, but it had a backdrop of a long running off Broadway show a la When Pigs Fly. I had intended to use songs from that show in the film, but I realized that since my original songs all came out of my true-life stories, they fit in perfectly and I was able to incorporate them into the storytelling. I did a bunch of readings and eventually, I hit the right balance of humor, drama, music, heart, and explicitness. I love doing the show and I’m so grateful that my audiences “get” it and respond so enthusiastically.
Where have you performed it?
I opened in Palm Springs and over the years, I’ve played various theatres in LA, Chicago, and Ft. Lauderdale. Patrick Schaller, who produced this film, saw it in Chicago and asked if I had ever thought about filming the show, which I had been dying to do. Boom.
What does an audience take away from the show?
The main message of the film is that every choice you’ve made, good and bad, makes you the person you are today and you can’t pick and choose your history. No regrets. It’s there. Own it. And no matter who you are and what you’ve done, you can’t let the judgies make you feel like shit about yourself because they usually have their own crap…everyone does. It’s easy to judge people on their actions, but if you look beyond the surface, eyes wide open, everyone has issues, struggles, and a story to tell that can surprise you.
Your show is pretty explicit in its language and events in your life. Did it ever feel like you were sharing TMI?
No. I felt that everything, even the most extreme stuff, was necessary to the story telling. I could have done a nice, safe show, or I could be honest and open my guts and let you see the truth. And not only will the truth set you free, but it also frees the audience to look at themselves and their own lives. A friend brought her husband to the show and after seeing it, he realized he needed to be honest about his issues and got himself into rehab. Of course, I don’t want my show sending everyone into rehab, but if it makes you look in the mirror with a little more love for yourself, than mission accomplished. I believe it also makes for some pretty compelling theatre.
What do your friends and family think of the story?
It’s funny. No one in my family knew the story. I never let them read the screenplay, and when I turned it into a show, I never expected anyone to come. Even when I played in Chicago, my hometown, I didn’t think my folks would want to see it and my sister didn’t want to see a show “about my sex life.” I totally understood, but in a way, the show is a valentine to my family and the people I love. There’s a song at the end called “Coming Clean” where I realize that I have to be honest with my loved ones about who I am…and I especially have to be honest with myself. No one in my immediate family saw the show until my brother-in-law came when I did it in Florida. He was kind of testing the waters for my other sister who was reticent about it. He loved it and was very moved by it. I lost both my folks over the last few years, so they’ll never see it, but I hope my sisters see the film. They’re wonderful and I think they’ll like it.
Did you enjoy being an escort?
Up until I became a personal organizer on top of an actor and writer, it was the best job I ever had outside of show biz. And I have done EVERYTHING to make money…the worst being Christmas decorating. Oh lord, I hated that job, nice and wonderful as my boss was. Not this Jew’s thing at all. Anyhoo, as I say in the film, “I like sex and I’m good at it and if you do something well, you should get paid for it!” But truly, I’m a caretaker, a sex pig, and a romantic, and thus I was utterly qualified. Plus, I was making more money per hour than I would anywhere else at the time. I learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. The only hesitations I had were what my folks would have done had they found out. But I never take experiences for what’s on the surface…there was so much resonance to that job that I’m so glad I had the guts to jump in.
There’s a lot of stuff about NY in the 80s…what was that time like for you?
It was a magical time to be in NY…magical and scary. I got there just as the AIDS epidemic was beginning, and I was an idealistic kid, coming out and trying to make it in show biz. But that fear was always there, so we had to live our lives fully and embrace each other and our art. It was fantastic.
Are you still as open about your sex life?
More so. In the show, I touch on being an erotic model for photographers, but over the last year, I’ve expanded into videos that, as I say in the film, “some say art, some say porn.” I have a mission…anti-body shame, anti-agesim, pro-sexuality and nudity…and the show lays the groundwork for what I’ve become and the message I want to send. I’m just so over how this country perceives sex and nudity…that right wing, evangelical, small-minded judgment that I think is actually really dangerous in that it has screwed up so many of us on our way to being our authentic selves. No more. Grow up, America.
Where are you now and what are you doing?
I’ve been living in Los Angeles now for over 20 years. After 16 years in NYC, I wanted to get into TV and film, plus I needed to shed some of the New York Neurotic and I needed to chill. I miss it, but I know it’s not the same city I left. So now I act, write, sing, organize, make little sex films, and just try to stay healthy and sane. Still single, so if anyone wants to join me on that journey called love, call me. This means you, Matt Bomer. I know you’re taken, but a girl can dream.