Sometimes a man's gotta know his limitations.
For Charleston writer and poet Devin Dukes, that moment came when too many people told him his material wasn't good enough to make a movie.
Looking back, it's hard to imagine why anyone would turn down his premise: a short film about a man who makes merkins, otherwise known as pubic hair wigs.
Before you gag, here's a bit of history.
A merkin was worn in the 18th century by women who had lost their hair due to venereal disease. More than likely, they were prostitutes. Or, maybe, they were politicians.
Anyway, Dukes' movie has nothing to do with prostitutes. It has nothing to do with their pubic hair or anyone else's pubes. Instead, it's a spoof on "human interest" TV news programs.
A news crew ventures off to Johns Island to interview an entrepreneur named Justice, who has identified a market for Spanish moss wigs. Tourists will love them, he said. And — who knows? — maybe balding whores will benefit, too.
"It's absurd," Dukes says. "Trust me."
Eventually, the reporter and her crew accept the notion of Spanish moss wigs, even though anyone who's spent any time at all in the Lowcountry knows that stuff's chock full of nasty, biting things. Nevertheless, they buy it.
"He legitimizes himself as an honest businessman," Dukes says. "Or a huckster, whichever way you look at it."
Dukes is finishing sound production this week. He hopes to have a DVD of the film available in December. In the meantime, you can find out more about the so-called Merkin Man at www.themerkinman.com. —John Stoehr
Down in the S-A-V
The Savannah Film Festival wraps up this weekend. Stars a-plenty have been strolling through the city's historic squares for the past week, including Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, the Redgrave sisters and directors Milos Forman and John Sayles. Stars aren't the only thing going for the film fest. The annual event has a history of screening movies that later on end up winning a slew of Golden Globe and Academy Awards. On tap this weekend are The Savages, starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes, and the much-anticipated film, The Kite Runner. Use the website to buy your tickets. It's the fastest way to purchase. Log on at www.scad.edu/filmfest. —John Stoehr