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Ruffling Some (Peacock) Feathers

Ruffling Some (Peacock) Feathers


With almost 3 million views on YouTube, Ryan James Yezak's "California Gays" has become one of this summer's biggest Internet sensations. Now, he's back with another Katy Perry parody -- this time taking on the scandalous song "Peacock" off her new album, Teenage Dream. The video, proclaimed by Perry on Twitter as "Jaw Droppin'," serves it to us with a healthy dose of scantily clad bellhops and football players. And yes, even a live peacock, straight from Ventura County.

The Advocate: So "Peacock" has over 130,000 views in just two days. Was it the millions of views as well as Katy Perry's enthusiastic response to "California Gays" that made you decide to do another one of her songs this time around?
Ryan James Yezak: Yeah, it was. And I happened to run into one of her music-video producers on the Fourth of July in Laguna Beach, and he told me about "Peacock." He said, "This song is going to be hot. It's going to be a gay anthem." So right away I was like, "OK, let's do it!"

Obviously the production value has increased. Between new camera equipment, location shoots, and costumes, is it safe to say the success of "California Gays" helped with this?
Oh, yeah. The problem I have is that depending on the success of my previous videos, I'm one of those people who have to outdo myself, or try to at least. I like to entertain, so I'm like, "Oh, crap. How do I top that?" In order to bring the vision for this video to life I had to have a bigger budget. Before, I had come up with these concepts that didn't require locations and could just be done on the beach, and here or there. So If I can't bring it to life correctly, then I can't do it. So in order for me to do that I have to have more money and better equipment.

And a live peacock.

[Laughs] Yes, a live peacock! Had to have that, you know. It just completed it.

How does one go about renting a peacock?
We got it at one of those animal rental places about an hour outside of L.A. It's funny because about a month ago I tweeted, "Hey, where can I get a peacock?" No one knew what I was talking about. All my Twitter followers and Facebook friends sent me suggestions, and one of them was the animal rental place. I guess they had Googled it, and we actually ended up using it, so it was really helpful.

There also seems to be equally if not more skin than in the "California Gays" video, and there' are even a pseudo sex-scene. Well, a rolling-around-in-bed scene.

Right, definitely a lot of foreplay and sexualness. It got flagged by YouTube the first day after a couple hours of being up, and then it went under review. And they determined it appropriate, so luckily they didn't deem it an actual sex scene. They were fully clothed! [Laughs]

Did you encounter that problem with "California Gays"? Viewers flagging the video?
Yeah, the first video got flagged as well.

Maybe it was just Guy Branum in a bathing suit?
[Laughs] I doubt that was it. Everybody loves to see Guy Branum in a bathing suit.

Of course! We love Guy here at The Advocate. How did you get him to be part of your first video?

He's actually a friend of mine. And in that part of the video I wanted to get this whole spectrum of the "gay rainbow" in California. And Guy was just a celebrity gay being a part of that. I wanted to have him in a random cameo so that people stop and say, "Oh, there's Guy Branum. He's a California Gay!" So Guy was nice enough to be a part of it.

Is there a Katy Perry trend here we are seeing? Have you thought about what's next on your list?
I want to do Britney Spears again. I've done one video of hers before. I'm waiting for her to drop a new single. I really want to do one with someone who looks and dances like Britney. And I really want to try to create a video where people would see it and go "Woah, is that actually Britney?" So they really get confused. And since I obviously don't have access to direct Britney's real videos, I want to create my own version. Like I do with all my videos. I create my own interpretations, which I think are always comedic to some extent -- and sometimes artistic -- but I want to do it all seriously and not have any room for people to misinterpret what I'm doing. But also, I'd like to have some sort of involvement in Katy Perry's actual video, so that's the hope. The whole reason I started doing these videos was the idea that if these artists wouldn't let me direct and edit their videos, then I would just do it on my own until I gained enough recognition to be able to. It's definitely getting closer, so maybe that will happen eventually.

Have you heard from Katy regarding this video yet?

She tweeted about it yesterday, but I haven't heard anything direct. She seems to like it, and feels like she has some competition. [Laughs] So that's good!
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