A sordid soirée

Sordid Lives DVD cover Sordid Lives: A Black Comedy About White Trash. Starring: Olivia Newton-John, Beau Bridges, Delta Burke, Bonnie Bedelia, Beth Grant, and Leslie Jordan

Tuna casserole with Lays potato chips

At dinner last Sunday night, it developed in the conversation that Jim and Angela had not yet seen the movie Sordid Lives. Such cultural deprivation could not be tolerated. "Let's have a Sordid Lives movie night," I said. "I'll make tuna noodle casserole with Lays potato chips." This offer was enthusiastically accepted by everyone at the table, save Zona and Nancy who had to go back the next morning to whence they came.

Sordid Lives 1st anniversary cast party at the Camelot theatre Sordid Lives 1st anniversary cast party at the Camelot Theatre

Sordid Lives the movie started out as Sordid Lives the play in Los Angeles' equivalent of Off-Off-Broadway. Although the movie opened and quickly closed in other major cities, here in Palm Springs it developed something of a cult following and played at the Camelot Theatre for two years to wildly appreciative audiences. The one-year anniversary was marked by an appearance of the cast at the Camelot, the release of the DVD was heralded by the appearance of the director Del Shores and several stars at Sidewinders in Cathedral City, and the second anniversary celebration at the Camelot featured appearances and live performances of scenes from another of Shores' plays.

Sordid buffet

So, on Monday I prepared the tuna casserole with Lays potato chips on top and made a run to KFC to get some fried chicken and coleslaw. Alan and Dale showed up with potato salad and apple pie with ice cream to round out the sordid menu. The menu was not accidental; afficionados of the movie will immediately understand. Although it wasn't strictly in conformance, I served martinis and provided a bottle of screw-top wine.

Label on plate

True to form, Alan and Dale made sure to label their serving dishes and pie plate. This, too, was dictated by the cultural norms of the movie.

I suppose I should give some idea what the movie is about: Peggy, the matriarch of a totally dysfunctional Southern family, dies in a tragic and tawdry accident when she trips over G.W. Nethercott's two wooden legs, left carelessly on the floor of a seedy motel where he and Peggy had gone for an illicit tryst. The family assembles for the funeral, and the fireworks begin.


Left-to-right: Dale, Alan, Angela, Jim. Sprawled: Paul