Because I tell this story all the time: Five or six years ago I wrote a blog post about who I thought would be good in a Stone Butch Blues film adaptation, if anyone ever got around to filming it. It wasn’t a very good post; Rain Dove was in it. Later that week I got an angry email from the author, Leslie Feinberg, saying that I did not have the rights to produce this film and demanding I cease claiming that I was on the verge of producing this film (I wasn’t). Before I could explain, Leslie died. This is 100% true, and I feel bad every time I think about it.
Biloxi Blues premiered in 1984, another gentle sitcom scenario from Neil Simon, America’s dampest playwright, which asked the question, What if a man had to do a lot of pushups, and did them? A few years later, it was released as a movie starring Matthew Broderick, who does the full amount of pushups at the end (200).
Stone Butch Blues was published in 1993 and has very little to do with Matthew Broderick, unless you count his then-boyish good looks as a general commentary on white transmasculinity, which I don’t. But if one squints just a little, one can imagine a context wherein the Coney-Island midcentury universe of Neil Simon and the earnest, slightly po-faced universe of Stone Butch Blues are the same, where a young Matthew Broderick, fresh off of Ladyhawke, has to say lines like “I’ve been going to the library, looking up our history. There’s a ton of it in anthropology books, a ton of it, Ruth. We haven’t always been hated. Why didn’t we grow up knowing that?” and “There’s a butch I once put down because I couldn’t deal with the fact that she got turned on by other butches. I thought being butch automatically meant being attracted to femmes, just like I assumed transvestism meant gay.” And come on! Neil Simon presents Stone Butch Blues – you’d watch that, wouldn’t you? You can hear the Odd Couple theme music drifting over the credits even now.
Perhaps you’re simply a better man than I am, but I can’t resist the idea of hearing Broderick say: “I can’t believe I rejected a butch friend because she took a butch lover.” Yes, with the day-bow-bow music in the background, too. You’re not better than me. And if you’re listening, Leslie Feinberg, wherever you are, I’m sorry for saying Rain Dove would make a good Jess, and for not making it clearer that I’m not a director.