Star Quality. That's the first thing you notice about Uncle Alice.
I am lucky to count her as not only my longtime collaborator and superstar, but also as my best friend.
I recognized her shining stardom when I first met her (ok, maybe not immediately, as our first couple of meetings when we were both teenagers contained a lot of apprehension toward one another). She was a young filmmaker, with way-out visions. I had only done films with neighbor kids and family members. We went to see “Airplane!” in its first run at the Gateway Theatre, and we laughed a lot and found that our sensibilities and quirky senses of humor were right in line with one another.
A few years later, I called her up and asked if she wanted to be in a movie I was working on. The film was THE DERANGED DAUGHTER OF DAPHNE DICKENSEN AND THE LEFTOVERS FROM HELL (yes, the longest title in the world). She would be playing Daphne, the mother of a teenage girl, even though she was barely out of her teens herself. She seemed initially offended by the suggestion, but went on to play the role with great panache and a star was born.
Over the years, Uncle Alice has become my most trusted and most frequent collaborator, in front of the camera and behind the scenes as well. We will meet up and go over ideas for screenplays, brainstorm and finesse until the story and dialogue goes places neither of us were expecting. And then of course she plops a wig on her head, smears some lipstick on her face, changes from combat boots to high heels and steps in front of the camera and the magic really happens.
People have called her Divine to my John Waters... and although we both balk at the comparison (for different reasons), I understand what they mean. We bring magic out of one another, we inspire one another, and we have such an ease with one another as friends that pretty much nothing is off limits.
She has brought to life such indelible characters as Mitzi, Millie Graham, Aunt Viv, Naomi the crass landlady, Doreena and Cora the somewhat inefficient maid (and many more) with tremendous creativity and always a delightful take that I never could have anticipated. She has had some roles in independent films that aren’t mine, bringing her unque sparkle to those projects as well. She has done a little live stage work with Chicago Actors Studio, turning in a heartbreaking performance in “Portrait of a Madonna,” performing with a broken foot, unbeknownst to the audience. More recently, our Uncle has turned back to another love, music, collaborating with Jilly Idle on a string of songs which bear her soul and her punk rock heart.
Uncle Alice is definitely my muse. She brings out the best in me, and hopefully I bring out the best in her as well. Star. Quality.
THE DERANGED DAUGHTER OF DAPHNE
DICKENSEN AND THE LEFTOVERS FROM HELL
HOUSE OF SIN
HAGS TO RICHES
LIVING IN SIN
THE ROSEMARY HALL SHOW
THE FOREIGN FILM
THE GINGERBREAD MAN
JAMIE AND JESSE ARE NOT TOGETHER
A headshot from a few years ago
Aunt Viv in HOUSE OF SIN
Naomi in HAGS TO RICHES
Shirley Prundlepot in PROBLEM CHILD
Millicent Graham in GRAHAM CRACKERS
Ditzy Mitzi in LOST
Noami returns in METER GIRLS
Doreena in DOOR MAT
Shifty maid Cora in NUT CRACKER N25
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