“The world's first and only all Weird Al themed burlesque troupe” Tight & Nerdy was founded here in San Francisco, and after a slew of sold-out shows, they’re crowdfunding a full-length feature documentary about their troupe called Showgals.
The legend of accordion-slinging parody pop-star “Weird Al” Yankovic has aroused more curiosity in the wake of November’s wildly inaccurate Daniel Radcliffe biopic Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. But here in the Bay Area, the film that may prove more arousing is the possibly upcoming documentary Showgals, which follows the polka-faced antics of the San Francisco-based burlesque troupe Tight and Nerdy. That film is wrapping up its crowdfunding campaign, which ends Friday night.
This “Weird Al”-themed burlesque troupe dates back to 2012. “I had pitched the show to a few local producers and no one was interested,” the group’s founder Pickles Kintaro tells SFist. “Jim [Sweeney of Hubba Hubba Revue] saw the opportunity and gave us a chance to takeover a Monday night at the Uptown in Oakland.”
That show was originally called “Al-stravaganza.” Troupe member Odessa Lil tells us “It was one of those moments when you know that something is either going to be a raging success or a complete and utter flop. No middle ground.”
It would in fact be a raging success, in no small part because “Weird Al” himself retweeted an announcement about the show.The tweet still exists online (but the TwitPic plug-in no longer works or displays.)
And “Weird Al” himself is interviewed in the documentary. “We've all been lucky enough to meet Al,” according to Kintaro. “Mistress Marla Spanx was with me the first time I got to meet Al at the Marin County Fair and it was a most magical evening. Every time I have met him since, I remind him I am the ‘Weird Al’ stripper and the reactions are always hilarious. I've had everything from recognition, confusion, and concern.”
It helps that they’ve brought in directors Jonathan Runae (co-producer on the feature documentary, Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry) and Jeff Nucera (producer of MTV’s The Osbournes and Showtime’s Gigolos, who adds, "I’m perhaps best known for sorting Weird Al’s fan mail since 2001.")
“After working for decades in television production, there are very few things that rattle me,” Nucera says. “But sitting down to interview Weird Al was definitely one of the most intense days of my career."
“It is more than just a story of Weird Al-themed Burlesque — it is also a story of people who had to learn how to love their inner weirdness, and the role Weird Al played in their self-acceptance,” he adds. “By proudly calling himself Weird,' Al became a beacon for all of us who ever struggled to fit in.”
The crowdfunding campaign is making big ask of $115,000, though in the final stretch, they’re already close to $100,000. Why so much money? “Al doesn't own the rights to a lot of his early parodies so it really complicates the matter,” Kintaro explains.
“The story can't be told without the music of ‘Weird Al’ and music rights are expensive. He doesn't own the rights to his early songs,” according to Odessa Lil. “The Kickstarter is to help fund that process and finish off the movie so it can be considered for distribution or streaming."
“Without Al's music, this documentary would be a terribly confusing silent film that no one wants,” Runae says. “Once we finish the documentary, we plan to submit it to film festivals, and from there, we hope to partner with a distributor so that every ‘Weird Al’ fan on Earth can see the finished film. The fans that contribute to our Kickstarter at a certain level will be sent a digital copy of the film. And if you are into that sort of thing, even a Showgals Blu-ray.”
The SHOWGALS: The Movie (A Documentary) kickstarter campaign runs through Friday, March 10 and 10 p.m. PT.
Image: Illume Allure Imagery