Surviving the circuit: Brandon Del Campo of the circuit party documentary When Boys Fly insists you can dance all night without tweaking your brains out. (video).
He would have done the telecom company proud in this documentary about a quartet of very different gay men and their experiences at Miami's infamous White Party. For while most of his fellow Fly boys drift in and out of coherency and consciousness--one even has a GHB overdose on-camera while his two attending buddies reminisce about their own trips to the ER--Del Campo remains sober, articulate, and remarkably self-possessed throughout. "It was easy to interview him because he's so forthright and opinionated," says codirector Stewart Halpern, who learned of Del Campo through photographer Klaus Gerhardt, who had recently snapped some shots of the athlete. "He had a lot to say about pretty much any subject you could think of."
"He also had a lot of anxieties and apprehensions about that world," adds coproducer Kevin Weiler, "and since he had never been to a circuit party before, we decided he would function as the audience's eyes."
When Boys Fly "started out as a project called Hopes, Dreams, and Abs about the apprehensions of the gay community at the dawn of the new millennium," says Weiler, but it turned into a portrait of the circuit because "this important message kept popping up that there's this young community of gay men who go to these parties in search of community. We didn't set out for it to be some big message and for us to be preachers at all. We just sort of tapped into this world, and it seemed important to explore."
Though Del Campo stayed true to his pledge to survive the weekend without any illegal mood boosters, he empathizes with gay men who long for the escape that party drugs can provide. "It wasn't touched on in the film, but I'm just as messed up as anyone when it comes to issues of shame and self-esteem and depression," he admits. "I just don't express it in that way. For me, taking all those drugs would just make it worse."
Still, Del Campo allows that he knows scores of men who seem to successfully enjoy the scene without suffering the life-threatening overdoses and postparty depressions documented in the film. "I've got older friends who go out, get high, have a good time, and then go back to reality," he says. "Some of them were kind of upset about the movie, saying, `Where's that aspect of it?' but no one in those positions wants to be seen on camera. I said to them, `Well, if you're so proud of it, why are you being secretive?'"
Although Del Campo is far from being a circuit booster--"I see all the hot bodies and stuff, but it just looks like loneliness to me"--he claims that he had more fun and made more friends than he ever thought he would going in. "I danced for, like, 13 hours straight," recalls Del Campo, who is currently single, having recently split up with the boyfriend shown in the film. "I don't even need a drug. The music is my drug. Life is my drug."
For now, that life includes training for the Gay Games in Sydney, starting acting classes, and living down his least favorite moments of When Boys Fly: The shopping montage seems particularly troubling to him. "You were not seeing me; you were seeing my representative," says a laughing Del Campo, who recently cohosted a pilot for a gay travel series. "Still, I hope people like the movie and walk away thinking, This is one aspect of that world."
He also wouldn't mind it if they played along at home. "I think there should be When Boys Fly action figures," he muses. "When you pull the string, they pop a pill and start twitching."