J.B.Ghuman is an artistic native of Miami Beach, who began his journey through the arts in high school. He has a background ripe with diverse influences, not limited to his North Carolina-born mother and India-born father.
In our interview, he described himself as a “gay, closeted, break dancer.” Ghuman used to attend with his African-American girl friends—and perform at—the Cameo Theater. Like a gay Eminem, it seems he tried to be the “rad-est white boy.” When he was not break dancing he was hamming it up as a class clown, or writing poetry while listening to Enya. Quite diverse.
“I never won but they applauded and pointed, ‘Oh look, at the white boy spinning on his head.’ I was also an artist in high school and a huge theater geek,” said Ghuman from LA where he is fine-tuning his new film Spork. “Imagine how popular I was. After high school I went to FIU for a while but decided I wanted to be an installation artist. So, I dropped out and headed to New York City to be a street artist.”
In the New York City of 1999 Ghuman did not feel quite at home. Miming in Central Park, he says, was not for him. At that time, during the last days of the Clintons, he felt out of place as he was neither a “rich kid, nor a druggie.”
He decided to go back to his theater geek days and perform. He headed west, to LA, where he says he got to perform in Grease “over and over again.” However, playing in the show on a recurring basis must have paid off. He was soon picked up by the WB in the 2004-05 season. He played the boyfriend of a character on The O’Keefe’s, which only ran for 5 episodes.
Rather than being disillusioned by the show’s cancellation he found the famed “silver lining.”
“I felt stifled—not allowed to create my own world—which as a visual artist, I was able to do. As an actor your canvas is your body and using it to interpret someone else’s story was really not for me.”
Ghuman then penned Spork as a short film. The response he got from it however caused him to redraft it as a feature. Spork chronicles the life of a social outcast who—in addition to living on the poor side of the tracks—has a very special secret. She’s a hermaphrodite.
“We all have a phase [in adolescence] where we hide a dirty secret, something we keep inside. What better to keep in your pants,” metaphorically and literally, “than 2 parts. I liked the dual role of pink and blue in Spork.”
The hermaphroditic identity of the film’s title character is definitely a parallel for Ghuman. He knew his sexuality early on and thought it wasn’t appropriate for the break dance scene. His high school influences certainly come alive on screen, taking much musical influence from his time as the only “white boy” in his break dance crew. Music from Lady Tigra, Gucci Crew II, and JJ Fad are all 1980/90s groups from Miami or with a similar sound. Ghuman promises tons of choreographed musical sequences, and even some new tracks by Lady Tigra and Cazwell.
Cazwell—it should be noted—is also a reflection of Ghuman’s experience. He is a NYC based gay rapper, a presence in an art form often accused of anti-gay sentiments.
Spork is not his only credit. Ghuman has appeared in Proposition 8—The Musical, a parody he was asked to appear in, currently an SFGN featured video. His YouTube site has about a dozen videos in which several of the gay characters he has developed come out to play as well as a delightful gay parody of Grease, called “Lube.” Ghuman has also done videos for Perez Hilton, and music videos for Dirty Sanchez.
While Spork is still being perfected for the Tribeca Film Festival and SFGN was unable to view what promises to be a delightful film, we predict it will garner much acclaim.
“In Tribeca my goal is to have some decent houses and distributors look at the film. People keep asking me if it’s set in the 80s or 90s,” Ghuman said. “I tell them it’s the world I came from, my influences, so it’s definitely circa 19JB.”
Clearly this film and Ghuman’s work are for anyone who grew up in an urban, multi-cultural environment, who didn’t quite fit in, or for anyone who loves to dance.