Chop Suey. (Film Review) (Now, Voyeur: Pinups, Poodles, and Frances Faye Are Just a Few of the Obsessions Bruce Weber Explores in Chop Suey)

Article excerpt

Chop Suey * Directed by Bruce Weber * Zeitgeist Films

Whatever they are payingBruce Weber to shoot those soft-core Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs, it's not enough. The streets of America are suddenly crawling with willowy hunks in Abercrombie-logo sweatshirts that seem to announce, "I'm not really a supermarket bag boy, I'm the next Jeff Aquilon."

Stranger things have happened. In his autobiographical potpourri Chop Suey, Weber shows us how he plucked a heartbreak-handsome teen from a Wisconsin wrestling team and turned him into a superstar model. Pinup boy Peter Johnson easily trounces raindrops on roses in Weber's scorecard of favorite things, a list that also extols late lesbian cabaret storm trooper Frances Faye, world explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, and queen fashionista Diana Vreeland. Yeah, but guess which one we get to see butt-naked?

Chop Suey is a scattershot indulgence: a personal notebook in which homoerotica, camp showbiz, and family values bump up against one another with an ease you have to schlepp to Province-town to find. Fluidly edited to demonstrate the connectedness between each of Weber's passions, Chap Suey manages to fix on a craggy, warbling Robert Mitchum and a nubile Jan-Michael Vincent in the same visual breath.

Weber riffs on everyone from jujitsu master Rickson Gracie to a rock-and-roll surfing family who lived next to the Nixons. …