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Thursday nights spent chowing down at Bottom Line Saloon and gettin’ your game on at Tom Tom’s—one too many pitchers after that rugby win—and you’re waking up to, “What happened last night and who’s Roxanna?” Oh, to be young again.
James L. Brooks is not the only one with a set in Adams Morgan: “Adams Morgan: The Movie,” an independent film written and directed by Paul DeVeaux and produced by Robert Epstein, dotes on the love affairs of 20-somethings portrayed against the backdrop of the neighborhood over a Halloween weekend—yes, there are drag queen races, one of DeVeaux’s fondest memories. “We were at a rooftop party some 15 or 20 years ago, and you see these guys in high heels sprinting down the street—one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen,” DeVeaux says.
The romantic comedy, reminiscent of DeVeaux’s weekend debauchery in Adams Morgan back in the day (the early ’90s), revolves around three couples. Richard and Shelby are settled, happily married, and tragically boring—the sex is lackluster. After nine months together, Tonya and Lance are at the make-it-or-break-it point—he’s too immature. And after hooking up—hey, you gotta test out the goods first—John and Audrey are out to see if their personalities mesh.
Of course, Adams Morgan, in all its glory, is a character too. Nowadays DeVeaux’s a family man, but in his 20s he spent countless weekends hanging out in bars and restaurants up and down the strip. “It’s a tiny little area but you’ve got El Salvadoran food, Indian food, drag queens—you can do that—it depends on what kind of mood you’re in,” he says.
DeVeaux’s day job—he is an attorney—makes him a filmmaker by night (“Adams Morgan” is his first). After months of work, DeVeaux showed his script to film producer and Oscar winner Russell Williams, whom he met through Epstein. “He read my script and he pretty much cut it to shreds,” DeVeaux says. Which gave him the impetus to dive on with the project.
Bottom Line Saloon, one on-set location that was once an infamous hangout for rugby players in DeVeaux’s days, is now home to a bunch of kickball kids. In his ode, DeVeaux fills the set with rugby players, long gone out of style. “Bottom Line was where you always went after practice on Thursdays and after games on Saturdays. Nothing better after winning a rugby game like having a cold beer or 6 or 7,” DeVeaux says. Especially a rugby game where your current girlfriend, your ex, and the new girl you would prefer to date all show up. Now there’s a situation.
“Adams Morgan” premiered in front of a small audience at Bottom Line in January and will be shown at the 2010 DC Shorts Film Festival in September. It’s currently being submitted to various independent film festivals. A red carpet premiere is expected in D.C. in the spring.
Image by Hatton Slayden