By Chuck Strouse
By Chris Joseph
By Chris Joseph
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Allie Conti
By Chris Joseph
By Kyle Swenson
Jillian Kurtzberg is trying to catch eggs between her ample breasts. With a little help from Gi Gi Cruz, that is. As Kurtzberg stands at the ready, statuesque in an army-green string bikini and high-heeled thongs, Cruz positions herself behind her, holding her friend's mammaries like a pair of catcher's mitts and keeping a steady bead on Ken LeSaint.
LeSaint everybody calls him White Bread is Kurtzberg's designated pitcher. From ten feet away, he underhands the egg, which sails gracefully through the air, end over end. Miraculously, it sticks, with a satisfying little thunk, right in Kurtzberg's cleavage.
The crowd gathered in Liza Trainer's two-story Fort Lauderdale studio, fueled by copious amounts of Miller Lite, goes crazy. It's a regular night at the studio for Trainer and her collaborators, who are operating at the wild and woolly end of the entertainment industry, providing do-it-yourself content for the Internet and, they hope, the DVD market.
The plan on this recent Thursday night is to test Trainer's idea for a kind of collaborative Howard Stern-meets-Girls Gone Wild, lesbian-style, for her seat-of-the-pants show, Chi Chi TV. Trainer thinks of it as "Benny Hill with boobs," correctly suggesting a similar emphasis on unusual camera angles and crude special effects a must for Chi Chi, because it has literally no budget.
The action tonight is, for want of a better term, a dry run. In actuality, the second egg thuds off of Kurtzberg's chest and splatters on the lime-green floor, to the continuing amusement of Trainer's crowd. By the time White Bread has tossed the last of two dozen eggs, the floor is a sticky swamp of yolk and egg white. This was not entirely unexpected. In fact, at one point, Kurtzberg picks up a mannequin leg just one of many props Trainer has accumulated and ruthlessly bats a thrown egg into oblivion. Then she grabs a mannequin arm and smokes a cigarette through its fingers before ramming the artificial hand down her bathing suit and pretending to masturbate.
"I'm the only Jewish nasty little slut on the planet," she says in a raspy voice.
By then, Kurtzberg has also flashed her melons and hairless crotch while rolling on the floor and hidden an egg in her butt, asking everyone to guess where it is, then inexpertly "laying" it on the wood floor.
Chi Chi TV is a prime example of how savvy technologists are bypassing all the usual stops for breaking into the entertainment industry. All you need is a modicum of equipment, some spare time, and a raunchy idea. Trainer thinks she's found a damned sexy one.
She summarizes the concept: "An adorable little Latino lesbian goes out and gets girls to do things."
The dry run has been deemed successful an egg actually can be caught between a pair of breasts so Trainer and Cruz plan to take the stunt to Fort Lauderdale bars. It's just a matter of asking women gay or straight to pull off their tops and allow the proceedings to be filmed. This, they say, is one of the tamer ideas they've been talking about.
Why would anyone agree to a tasteless public display of spurious athleticism? Well, that's Cruz's department. Let's just say she's got a way of getting girls to do things.
Trainer says she got the idea for the show while interviewing Cruz, who happened to be at the studio auditioning for a documentary. (Trainer rents the studio out to other producers.) After Trainer and Cruz got to talking, it became clear that Cruz's quiet charm, impressive comic timing, and sneaky nature could be put to good use. Maybe they could even make some money.
Trainer, a stocky 44-year-old with close-cropped hair and a rambunctious demeanor, didn't used to think too much about turning a profit on her wild side projects. (She's an airplane refinisher by day.) Back in 2004, when she was making Ted-E Adventures, a stop-motion production that involved microwaving, decapitating, boiling, and otherwise brutalizing a fluffy white teddy bear, it was all just fun and pretend assassinations. Then came Hurricane Wilma.
Trainer's original studio and all her equipment were destroyed 11 monitors and televisions, six computers, all her editing software, all the backups of shows on her hard drives, and all of her video footage. She remembers finding leaves caught in the keyboards and messy puddles on the floor. Trainer had invested three years and thousands of dollars in her studio, but FEMA offered her just $800 to get up and running again. Nearly broke but not defeated, Trainer rented a new studio on Second Avenue, near Croissant Park, and put herself on a mayonnaise sandwich diet.
The studio is now packed with elaborate movie props, all of which Trainer has constructed herself. A dyslexic who never passed the eighth grade to say nothing of what has been diagnosed as attention deficit disorder Trainer is a prodigy when it comes to building shockingly realistic props out of household materials.
A striped cat man made out of Styrofoam crawls up the side wall, and opposite it, a realistic-looking dead man (he reeks of death) made of newspapers, wood, clothes, and expanding foam hangs on a cross. In the corner, there's a golden Egyptian casket that looks fit for Tutankhamen; Trainer made it out of Legos and paint in no time flat, her friends say.
On Trainer's website, www.sticktowhatyouknow.com, hundreds of people she has never met congregate to generate ideas and comment on her latest endeavors, which she posts religiously. The making of the dead man and the cat man are both detailed in photos and descriptions on the site, and many fans have praised them.
The site has been up for about three years, though Trainer turned it over to a guy from Minnesota while she was retooling after Wilma. Like many collaborative Internet projects, Trainer gets help from virtual strangers. Some, like veterinarian Vanessa Rolfe, make contributions and come to the studio every now and then.
Rolfe, who was present on the egg toss night, plans to become an investor in Chi Chi TV. Others have stumbled in accidentally (or maybe driven by fate). White Bread, who met Trainer while studying at the Fort Lauderdale Art Institute, stopped by to help fix a glitch in a computer that he ended up exacerbating, according to Trainer. He said he didn't understand the point of Chi Chi but agreed to toss eggs anyway. Mike Klockowski, a pilot Trainer knows from her day job, came to take pictures. And then there's Kurtzberg, who works for a bank but likes to take her clothes off. Cruz, of course, is there to help her do it.
Kurtzberg has a starring role in a Chi Chi TV skit that involves her being naked and buried in 600 pounds of sand. A toy helicopter descends on her, blowing the sand first off her right breast, then her left, eventually disrobing her. She also makes an appearance with host Cruz, who holds a red Chi Chi microphone. Again in her bikini, Kurtzberg tackles Cruz in the sand. Kurtzberg says she's not a lesbian, though she believes "all straight girls are two drinks away."
In Cruz's experience, that's certainly been the case. The petite, dark-haired minx has been hitting on women, straight and gay, in bars for more than a decade. She's found that it's fairly easy to talk girls out of their clothes. Her cell phone proves how easy it is, with about 50 pictures of breasts, all taken in bar bathrooms.
"I go straight to the girl I like and I say, 'Hey, are those double D's?' I say, 'They're beautiful. Can I see them?' Or 'Can I have your bra?'" Cruz says she rarely gets rejected. That might be because she's well-put-together and seemingly harmless. She dresses in tight designer jeans, always with a catchy buckle. On a recent evening, she wore a silver profile of the Virgin Mary. She also wears pointy shoes and fancy watches, at the moment sporting a silver Cartier.
Cruz, who runs her own investment business, says she has taken more than 400 women's phone numbers over the past several years, and she keeps them in a wooden box in her apartment. She's attracted to "that really feminine slutty look," and maybe that's why she usually winds up dating strippers, she says. Although she's 38, she looks about 21, which is the age of her current girlfriend a stripper.
Cruz grew up in a Catholic South American family, and her parents don't know she's lesbian. She won't even grant New Times permission to publish the country she's from or her real last name, in fear that somehow it will get back to her parents.
Parental disapproval or not, though, Cruz says she's doing the work of the angels. "I think women are beautiful, and they have to show what they got," she says, her hands outstretched as if to trace a full-bodied figure. "I like women so much. I really enjoy their bodies and their expressions and everything. Just looking at their eyes. It's something I enjoy."
Clearly, if anyone can pull off the next stunt finding two large-breasted women willing to joust, naked, in shopping carts pushed by midgets it's Cruz.