Come Back, Puppy, Come Back
Written and Directed by Keith E. Varady

Keith Varady seems to have made a paradigm shift in his outlook on life. "Come Back, Puppy, Come Back" is about a much loved companion service dog, a disabled woman, another woman grieving over the loss of her dog, and the rather Lucy & Ethel escapades they get into when dealing with a dog thief and a loan shark. This tender and compassionate, yet funny, story has nothing in common with Keith's previous feature, "Scabbo," which dealt with denizens of the Tenderloin.

Me and Gigi on the set.


Maggie Iamek as cohort Sophia.

I do believe this turnaround had everything to do with my dog Gigi's influence on Keith during the shooting of "Scabbo," in which she played my dog and I played the world-weary socialite of the slum hotel in which most of the film's action occurs.

The story goes, Rosemary (me, Bonnie Steiger) is consoling a friend, Sophia (Maggie Iamek) in my apartment due to the recent loss of her dog. A man who seems to regularly kidnaps dogs and ransoms them for a living has snuck into my apartment and taken Puppy (Gigi). I soon get the ransom call and the hijinx starts, including my having to borrow money from a loan shark/fixer, deal with a tall, dark, handsome and taciturn bodyguard, and get into some kinky situations which open unexpected vistas of opportunity.

A client (Larry Kitagawa) discusses arrangements
with bodyguard Tiberius (Dan Tannehill).


A new line of work-at-home income?
It was great fun working with this cast of experienced actors, including dog napper John Kevin Harcharik, neighborhood godfather Judy Cerda, and drag queen dominatrix Gerry Kirby. Previously, Keith had taken less care of his casting decisions, except for me, of course. Much of this film was shot in my home and neighborhood; the chaos of a shoot is far outweighed by the convenience of working at home. From Rosemary's livingroom to the loan shark's rooftop office, I was in my element.