"Peterson's Restaurant": From 1994 to 1995 I lived in rural Ontario in a place called the "Funny Farm". In January, 1995, I gave my 1st 2 presentations in Pittsburgh at the invitation of Orgone Cinema. Not long thereafter, the Orgone folks (Michael Johnsen, Greg Pierce, Alisa Dix) & a friend (Sharyn Lee Frederick) came to visit me at the Funny Farm, probably for a weekend. I was extremely impoverished at the time, hypothetically living off of the sale of my part of a business I'd started but my former partners didn't seem to living up to our agreement. As such, I had $20 Canadian (about $12 US) to live off of - & I was going to entertain 4 visitors? Story of my life.
I recruited Orgone into making "Peterson's Restaurant" with me. It's a testimonial to how nice the people were around there that we went to 5 restaurants in the area (where I wasn't known because I couldn't ordinarily afford to eat in them) & told them about the movie, explained that we weren't actually going to buy anything (except at the last one), & asked if they minded if we shot the movie there & used the actual wait-staff as actors. THEY ACTUALLY COOPERATED. Amazing. The $20 bill that appears in the scenes was my ONLY $20 bill which I had to keep reusing.
Michael had brought an Auricon 16mm camera that could record sound directly on the film. Alas, he didn't know whether the audio part worked. It DIDN'T so we had to later overdub the sound - making the whole thing even sillier. Alisa was intended to be the 1st character to faint after leaving a restaurant but she couldn't stop laughing so we had to switch it so that Greg collapsed instead because he could keep a straight face. At one restaurant there were 2 bikers who asked me not to film them because they "would ruin the movie". Given that I was wearing a full-body black leather motorcycle suit at the time I don't know whether they thought I was another biker. I waited until they left before we shot.
If I remember correctly (I'm writing these notes 27 years later), at the last restaurant where we actually ordered food they gave me a discount because we were making a movie. I promised all of the restaurants a VHS copy of the finished product & delivered on that promise as soon as the movie was made. I can't really imagine what they thought of it, perhaps they thought it was the worst thing they'd ever seen.
I screened the film when I went on tour in 1998 & I remember Craig Baldwin telling me, after the San Francisco screening, that I should never show it again. I didn't agree with him then & I still don't. Rewatching it I had a few LOL moments, almost in awe at how outrageously absurd it all is. It's hard to get much lower budget than this in film. It may've even been hand-processed, possibly by Mike.
For more detailed information about this movie, including the script, go here: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/Petersons.html .
- April 16, 2022 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE