Baby Jane? Scouting Billy Clift's San Francisco Food Stops

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Billy Clift

Guess who's coming for din din? William "Billy" Clift is the director of the upcoming drag-parody film, Baby Jane?, which is scheduled to premiere on Tuesday, June 22, at the Castro Theater. Baby Jane? is a definite wink and nod to the original 1962 cult classic with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford starring as a pair of miserable sisters. Davis, playing Baby Jane, even serves up her dear Sis a cold-hearted lunch dish of rat in one of the most memorable scenes:

San Francisco's Frameline LGBT Film Festival will be the platform for Clift's Baby Jane premiere, with Matthew Martin and J. Conrad Frank in the lead roles. Frameline's festival site saucily sums up the film as:

"Bette and Joan, eat your hearts out! This drag-studded recreation of the 1962 classic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? drops us back into the depths of sisterly detestation. Baby Jane has seen better days, but her paralyzed sister Blanche is still oh-so-perfect. The two has-been movie stars have turned into recluses with axes to grind --literally -- over their sordid pasts."

Ethel Merman and Heklina also show up in the black and white Baby Jane? film. Ejector is a local electro-pop band that wrote an original title song for the movie. BAB will feature the food loves of band members Ben Holder and Ricky Terry in an upcoming post.


Clift shot Baby Jane? locally, and is a Noe Valley resident. He is also a writer-producer who styled hair and make-up in L.A. for twenty years. Yes, he's second cousin to that Montgomery Clift, and remained close friends with Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery after the two bonded on a photo shoot. Montgomery passed away in 1995.

"She was my dearest friend," Clift told Bay Area Bites via phone interview. From that long lasting friendship, Clift decided to develop a "big budget" biopic film of Montgomery starring Christina Applegate. Pending financing, Clift plans to shoot in Canada next summer.

Bay Area Bites caught up with Clift via phone interview to get his favorite San Francisco food-centric picks.


Le Zinc
4063 24th Street (between Noe Street and Castro Street) Map
(415) 647-9400
Hours: Tues-Fri 11am to 10pm
Sat-Sun 9:30am to 10pm

"I know I'll be happy at Le Zinc. It's typical French food. Clean and normal. I stick to the French onion soup."

400 Dewey Boulevard (at Laguna Honda Boulevard) Map
(415) 242-0960
Hours: Monday - Saturday 5:30pm to 10pm
Sun 10am to 2:30pm and 5pm to 9:30pm

"The owner Nick treats everyone like a long lost best friend. The duck (dish) is so tender and amazing."

Thai House Express
599 Castro Street (between 18th Street and 19th Street) Map
(415) 864-5000
Hours: Monday - Sunday 11:30am to 10:30pm

"Their take-out Thai is the most consistent I've had."

Cha Cha Cha
2327 Mission Street (at 19th Street) Map
(415) 648-0504
Hours: Monday - Thursday 5pm to 11pm
Friday-Saturday 5pm to 1am

"It's hard to find sangria in town, and theirs is good. The plantains and jerk chicken are good."

2223 Restaurant
2223 Market Street (between 15th Street and Sanchez Street) Map
(415) 431-0692
Hours: Monday – Thursday, Sunday 5:30pm to 10pm
Friday and Saturday, 5:30pm to 11pm
Saturday 11am to 2pm
Sunday 10am to 2:30pm

"2223 is the best for desserts. I love a good crème brulee, 2223's bread pudding, too."

Citizen Cake
2125 Fillmore Street (between California Street and Sacramento Street) Map
(415) 861-2228

"I just love them. Am so happy to visit here for crème brulee." (Clift often visited the Hayes Valley original location and hasn't yet seen the new, soon to open Fillmore Citizen Cake, whose site said: "Not open yet, but soon.")

On set, Clift said he doesn't eat a lot and loses weight. "I'm way too focused. I'm so anal retentive and trying to make sure everything is going right." Once he gets in the editing room, it's a different story: "I'm sitting there, with the munchies. I definitely don't eat well… I feel like a fat pig." He shops a lot at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods ("for something a little cleaner"). Baked chips are snacks when he's "trying to eat good," and he likes vanilla ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery. "It's boring but true," Clift said of his preference for vanilla.

Related Links:
KQED Arts LGBT Film Festival Report: Frameline34: Locals Make Good