“BETWEEN SOMETHING AND NOTHING”— “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”

“Between Something and Nothing”

 “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”

 Amos Lassen

 Todd Verow is one of the most prolific gay filmmakers working today and he consistently turns out admirable work. Due out soon from Waterbearer is his latest film, “Between Something and Nothing”, a semi-autobiographical look at a young art student at a prestigious art school turns to hustling in order to pay for his college fees. The film concentrates on the valuable lessons he learns in the process of selling his body.

       Tiri Swain plays Joe, a small town kid now on his own and pursuing an education. He teams up with fellow student, Jennifer (Julia Frey). They both struggle to pay their bills and their tuition but they soon resort to petty larceny so they can keep their heads above water. Joe meets a friendly hustler named Ramon (Gil Bar-Sela {a good Israeli name}) and the idea of giving male prostitution enters his head. As he becomes involved in the sex-for-sale world, Joe begins to understand things about himself that had he not left his small town to go to college, he never would have known.

       Both Joe and Jennifer try to finance their college careers honestly by taking work/stuffy jobs but they soon discover that more money can be had by shoplifting and the flesh trade. The two are determined to succeed on their campus which has an over abundance of very rich students who have trust funds to finance their abortions and drug habits.

       When Joe falls for Ramon, his life is turned upside down and when Jennifer gets involved in a bad drug deal and is caught by mistake, the two friends lose control of their world. They discover that the education that they receive on the streets is every bit as valuable as what they learn in their ivy covered classrooms—if not even more so. Jennifer and Joe get themselves involved in what seem to be endless schemes as well as ridiculous art assignments as they explore the world of seedy sex and drugs.

       Joe seems to be quite innocent but in secret he pursues Ramon because Ramon represents liberation and inspiration to him. For Ramon, the pleasure of hot, unbridled sex is the end all and working the streets is not only a job for him but a pleasure and a way to achieve his goal of extreme pleasure. When Joe joins him on the streets the true artist emerges.

       Once again Todd Verow looks to his own life for inspiration and it is his own past that we see here. Perhaps this is why this film is so well done. Verow did not have to look far for ideas and his cast is perfect.

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