Diarrhea Cha-Cha-Cha 

Richmond's gross-out prankster filmmakers land some big press for their latest project.

Richmonders David Stewart and Will Carsola are heading to L.A. to talk with MTV this Friday. They've already appeared on the "Today" show, Fox News (twice, once with a panel for follow-up analysis), several radio talk shows, various local TV news programs and the front page of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. All the fuss is over their DMV prank.

In case you missed it, Carsola, Stewart and a friend, Mark Lance, visited the Richmond Department of Motor Vehicles in over-the-top disguises (spray-painted faces, outlandish facial hair, false teeth) and successfully sat for new driver's license photos.

They documented the prank for "Teenagers From Uranus," the second release from the boys' video production company Daybyday, their DVD compilation of sketch comedy, pranks and subcultural local bands and graffiti. Imagine the crew from a skateboarding video getting into a paint-ball fight with the Upright Citizens Brigade over a deck of Garbage Pail Kids on the set of "Jackass."

While the boys have welcomed the free press as a way to raise public awareness about the DVD, the public emphasis on the DMV segments amounts to a gross oversimplification of the work as a whole.

In it, bodily fluids (urine and male ejaculate) make cameo appearances, and ample time is given to sketches dealing with homelessness, homosexuality, the church and the military. But mostly it's a two-hour meditation on blood and poop — at one point both even exit the same orifice.

Stewart and Carsola produced, wrote, performed and edited the DVD, a labor of love that took up two and a half years of their lives. They both play dozens of characters and were fully committed to each ridiculous one. The footage is even funnier knowing that Carsola is soft-spoken and a little shy in person. A Virginia Commonwealth University art-school dropout, Carsola taught himself how to do all the digital editing, and he's done a slick job of it.

The guys also share footage of a nonfiction hell-raising road trip as well as mischievous scare stunts pulled in their own homes. Getting to see how they play around in character and in their natural habitats gives the movie a cozy feel, like you know these jokers.

"Teenagers" also works as a video yearbook for a crew of local celebrities. The punk band Avail appears in it, along with Barf Callahan of Barf Comics and Style Weekly Top Forty Under 40 alumnus and producer with 1981 Video and Design Jonathan Martin.

The site-specific stunts bring the audience into the movie too. Yes, that is a crowded Baja Bean on Main Street where an enormous man without his pants on is taking advantage of a blow-up doll. Yes, that's the 7-Eleven down the block being reduced to mayhem one night when a cast member runs through the store naked and is trapped inside when onlookers hold the door shut from the outside. Yes, he's the same person who just pushed a panhandler out of the way on the corner of Thompson and Monument to see how he'd do with his own sign reading "I Was Here First."

If the film has a weakness, it's Damien My Drunk Roommate. (Cut to the guy's face, wait till it's obvious no coherent advice is coming, cut.) The nonsense that comes out of that kid's mouth isn't cute — it's creepy. But he's really a symptom of a larger problem of the work: It needs to be edited. It's difficult to kill your own kittens, but come on, do we need the 10th, 11th and 12th takes on the "Bum Rock" compilation of homeless guys' greatest hits? And are there any prosthetics, jokes or stunts we haven't already seen by the time we get to the "Friday the 13th" takeoff?

Overall, though, the movie is a treat, shot through with a weirdly sincere element of hometown pride. In the end, as one gun-toting intergalactic chicken wire and papier-mché penis tells the other on the banks of the James, it's about hope. S

"Teenagers From Uranus" can be purchased online at www.livedaybyday.com and www.amazon.com or at Plan9, Katra Gala and Kulture.

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