The 2009 musical comedy Fruit Fly introduces audiences to Bethesda (played by L. A. Renigan), a Filipina adoptee living in San Francisco’s gay hub of Castro neighbourhood. Inspired by her own search for her biological parents, Bethesda expresses herself by becoming an avante-garde performance artist and starts playing the many gay clubs throughout San Francisco. Bethesda soon takes up refuge in a gay artists commune, run by her new best friend Windham (played by Mike Curtis.). Bethesda and Windham cruise the raucous bar and club scene with a motley band of friends, which includes reckless runaway Jacob (played by Aaron Zaragoza), and lesbian couple Sharon and Karen (played by Theresa Navarro and E. S. Park, respectively).
A musical film at its core, the director, writer and songwriter H. P. Mendoza wields his creative chops in storytelling through songwriting. Drawing upon the banality of everyday gay life in San Francsico, many of Bethesda’s musical numbers express confidence and self-love, while at the same time openly embracing a common slur for straight women who spend their time with gay men, as is the case for Bethesda. As Bethesda continues the search for her birth mother, there is no shortage of musical detours along the way.
“A sort of musical riff on Armistead Maupin’s Tales Of The City, Fruit Fly focuses on Bethesda, a performance artist newly back from the Philippines, who moves into a room in a San Francisco artsy commune.”
— Big Gay Picture Show
“Fruit Fly draws much mileage from its setting, with song sequences shot on streets, in parks and on Bay Area Rapid Transit trains. It has confidence, exuberance and certainly attitude.”
— The New York Times
Did You Know?
The general concept of Fruit Fly was actually born from writer, director, actor, and songwriter H. P. Mendoza’s previous work, Colma: the Musical, a film in which Fruit Fly lead actress L. A. Renigen had a role. While touring LGBT film festivals with Colma, several gay audience members would approach L. A. Renigen and express how she reminds them so much of actress and comedienne, Margaret Cho. Mendoza also recognized Cho as the queen of “fag hagdom.” Having always put music to even the most mundane moments in life, Mendoza was struck with Fruit Fly’s signature track. Review our Gay Themed Films Here