Atlanta actor and director Gerald McCullouch gives a behind the scenes look at gay Atlanta strip club Swinging Richards with his new documentary, appropriately titled “All Male, All Nude,” which gets its world premiere this Saturday, April 1 at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. We spoke to McCulloch, best known for playing Bobby Dawson on “CSI” as well as for the “BearCity” trilogy, about how the project came together as the days dwindle to the premiere.
This is an official event put on by Atlanta LGBT film festival Out On Film. General admission tickets will be available for the screening as well as VIP tickets that include a post-screening reception with McCullouch and subjects from the film/Swinging Richards employees as well as free admission to Swinging Richards that evening. Tickets can be purchased at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema box office or at www.landmarktheatres.com or at www.outonfilm.org.
Tell us how the idea for the documentary came about. And why Swinging Richard’s?
Around my third season of “CSI,” I directed my first film – a short called “The Moment After” – which the Atlanta Film Festival programmed. I started my career in Atlanta as an actor many, many years ago and it was a fun homecoming to be back in Atlanta as a filmmaker. Some of my North Springs High School gal pals and I went to Swinging Richard’s after the screening to celebrate. That night I met one of the entertainers, my friend Steven, whom people get to know in the film, and the closer Steven and I got, the more I was intrigued.
Was there much difficulty in getting the club to give you the kind of access you needed to make it?
Luckily, a few of the guys recognized me from “CSI,” which was still on the air at the time, so that was certainly an icebreaker but the relationship that had formed between Steven and myself played a huge factor. He had been working at Swinging Richards for quite a few years so knew all the employees well and he facilitated things immensely.
How long did filming take place and how many nights did you spend at the club?
I was shooting in Atlanta during the time I was auditioning for the first “BearCity” film in New York City. That film, and the franchise it generated, was actually the reason I put “All Male, All Nude” on the back burner years ago. I was traveling between Atlanta and NYC weekly for about a month shooting content. I then came back to Atlanta on two separate follow-up trips and immediately started filming the first “BearCity” film when I got back to NYC from that second trip.
After completing production on the third installment of the “BearCity” franchise while traveling with the promotional tour of my feature film “DADDY” (which actually won a snazzy award here when it screened at Out On Film), I moved back to Atlanta last July. The opportunity to get back to Atlanta and finally wrap up the project presented itself and I jumped on it. I’ve been filming B-roll and pick-ups sporadically since July so it’s been a five-year process overall.
What surprised you or what new thing did you learn about the club or the dancers in the course of filming?
I was intrigued with the relationship many of the straight entertainers had with their gay regular customers. It’s a uniquely symbiotic relationship to witness and experience night after night. There is so much common respect and appreciation.
What’s next for the film?
It was very important for me to have the premiere in Atlanta and for the premiere to be connected to Out On Film. I wanted a screening to manifest as soon as I got out of post production and luckily Jim Farmer and his amazing staff and volunteers were able to make that happen. What a premiere it’s gonna be, too! My crew, a bunch of the entertainers and employees of Swinging Richard’s, in my home town, the weekend after my birthday, screening the movie for its very first audience ever. What could be a better way to spend April Fools’ Day 2017?
After it’s premiere this Saturday, the film will be available to stream from it’s website AllMaleAllNude.com. People can sign up on the website to receive a notification when it’s available. I love the film festival circuit and have been a part of it since my first film all those years ago, so fingers are crossed this movie enjoys a healthy worldwide festival life. Whatever the film’s life is, I am so happy that it all starts in Atlanta!