Inside the Beauty Bubble
Come Inside the Beauty Bubble and enter a classic Americana roadside attraction in the desert community of Joshua Tree—a walk-in time machine that transports visitors to a pastel dreamland of 3,000 vintage beauty artifacts—and meet the charismatic man behind it all.
Mission StatementInside the Beauty Bubble celebrates a unique individual who follows his dream and welcomes the world into his artful life. Our story affirms the transformative nature of art, desert life, love of community, and what it means to nurture a family—same-sex, adoptive and bi-racial.
About The Project
The first time Jeff Hafler cut Cheryl Bookout's hair at the Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum in Joshua Tree, Cheryl knew she wanted to share his story. As she walked out the door of Jeff’s salon she called Cheri Gaulke. “Cheri, I just met this guy and I think you’ll love him! We need to make another documentary.” And so it came to be! Cheryl and Cheri were both enchanted by the extraordinary world created by Jeff—the welcoming atmosphere and the 3,000 vintage beauty artifacts on every inch of wall and shelf space.
Jeff calls himself a “hairstorian.” As a kid he dreamed of being an archeologist and when he became a hairdresser, he turned his life-long love of history into chronicling the history of his occupation. Jeff has created an iconic roadside attraction in the high desert community of Joshua Tree visited by tourists from all over the world. It engages visitors of all ages. With its vintage beauty objects, people squeal with delight as they recognize Grandma’s curling iron or that 1970s Breck ad or “what the heck is that anyway?” Jeff loves to answer all your questions!
Over the years Jeff’s charismatic personality has attracted local and national press folks to feature the Beauty Bubble in their publications. Nylon described it as "if Wes Anderson designed a hair salon" and "a classic Americana roadside attraction—a walk-in time machine that transports visitors to a pastel dreamland of beauty-industry memorabilia." An article in Allure Magazine put Jeff on the radar of Nicole Mullen, San Francisco International Airport’s museum program curator. When she saw the “Hair-sterical Gals,” wig sculptures Jeff made out of discarded beauty products and his extensive collection of artifacts, she offered him an exhibition in the new Harvey Milk Terminal (opening December 2020), where it will be seen by 50 million people!
As we follow Jeff through four seasons leading up to the exhibition, it becomes apparent he is a much beloved member of his high desert community. He brings his artistic sensibility, open heart and joie de vivre wherever he goes—whether he’s cutting a devoted client’s hair into a flattering bob, lighting the Christmas Tree to kickstart the holiday parade, or growing his hair for two years to donate to Wigs for Kids (yes, we will be there when he cuts it off)!
In 2012, Jeff was interviewed by Candacy Taylor for the Library of Congress’ Occupational Folklife Project, Hairdresser and Beauty Shop Culture in America, a podcast series now available to the public. Today, he is one of the many small business owners struggling to survive in the time of COVID, and this too he shares with our team.
The more we learned about Jeff, the more we wanted to share with our audience. Beyond the Beauty Bubble and Jeff's fun community escapades, Jeff welcomed us into his home to meet his husband Mikal Winn and their teenage son Cash. Mikal is a talented artist and jewelry designer whose jewelry is worn by the likes of Halle Berry, Britney Spears and Lucy Lui. Together their family of three created a solar-powered, eco-friendly desert oasis with mulberry and pomegranate trees, victory vegetable gardens, an enchanted forest lane, a party barn, a chicken named Dolly Parton, a dog named Farrah Faucet, Mikal’s sculptures everywhere, and a Tiki-themed trailer!
Jeff and Mikal are loving parents. They adopted Cash at birth and he is now fifteen years old. Cash was looking forward to playing football and singing in his high school chorus, but those things have been put aside as he joins students across the U.S. in online Zoom classes. He still gets out for driving lessons with his dads and Jeff confides he worries about Cash’s safety as a young Black male.
Our team believes everybody benefits from a society that’s more accepting and less discriminating. The U.S. Census Bureau recently released there are 543,000 same-sex married couple households and 191,000 children live with same-sex parents. As filmmakers, we are delighted to bring the story of this unique same-sex parent, adoptive, bi-racial family to audiences.
We are filming!
We began filming during the holiday season of December 2019. The Beauty Bubble was in full holiday display mode as we listened in on intimate conversations between Jeff and his devoted clients. Christmas ornaments hung from the cactus in front of the Bubble and Jeff’s band, The Wonder People, performed a holiday concert at the historic 29 Palms Inn.
When COVID became the new reality, we made the decision to continue filming when safe to do so. For a brief moment in June 2020, the Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum opened to the public with new rules and safety precautions and we documented Jeff’s first Covid haircut! Throughout the months of the pandemic, our film crew has seized the days when safe to film. We have spent time with Jeff’s husband Mikal and their 15-year-old son Cash. We were there when Jeff’s art sculptures were boxed-up and shipped off for his exhibition at the SFO Museum. In October we will be at Jeff’s legendary (though downsized to intimate scale) Halloween party, this year with a masked theme.
There’s lots of film in the can and we will continue filming through the end of December 2020, keeping our fingers crossed we will be able to accompany Jeff to see his extraordinary exhibition at the San Francisco International Airport.
Help us get this film washed, set and done!
We’ve put in lots of sweat equity (it’s over 100 degrees in the desert y’all)! We've already raised $13,000 in in-kind contributions. Now we need you! Your Hair-Raising contributions will help us cover the cost of equipment rental, excellent cinematography and dynamic editing. The Chimaera Project is our fiscal sponsor. This makes it possible for our supporters to receive a receipt for their tax records.
To make our film sparkle, our stretch goals include post-production details such as color, final sound mix, animation and original music. In order to share our story with the world, we will also need funds for a film festival phase.
We have fun perks at many levels. All donors of $50 and above get screen credit and your name listed as a member of the Inside the Beauty Bubble community on our website. If you are excited about helping with a specific item on our Wishlist, we would be thrilled to have your support!
Most importantly we want you to feel a part of bringing this story to the public. So come on Inside the Beauty Bubble and be part of our team!
Who's our audience?
We believe this film appeals to many different audiences—those interested in beauty, history, art, music, gay families, bi-racial families, adoption, collectibles, and desert life. It is our goal to reach these diverse audiences in a variety of ways. We will share the film initially through a robust festival run. Our previous film Gloria’s Call traveled to 40 film festivals internationally, was seen by thousands of people, won awards, and is now in educational distribution.
We will host local screenings in Joshua Tree and Los Angeles, as well as online screenings with special guests. This film will reach a wide range of audiences in public settings (when allowed) and in the intimacy of their own homes.
You made it!
Wow, you made it all the way to the end! Thank you for checking-out our campaign. We hope you will consider supporting our film and help us make it all the way to the end! Be part of our Inside the Beauty Bubble community. Here are three things you can do:
- Contribute to our campaign and get some fun perks! Any amount, big or small, is greatly appreciated. Take a look at the side bar.
- Follow us on social media and share our campaign! Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
- Support specific aspects of the production by heading to our Wish List. And reach out! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for your support. With your help, we can get this film washed set, and done! And take it out on the town!
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
Our film is 100% female-directed with a 50% female production team
Cheryl Bookout (director, producer) was voted Best Flip in high school. For ten years Cheryl owned a successful business designing and manufacturing women’s sportswear with clients in every mall across the nation. After leaving the garment industry she went on to pursue her dream of working in the art and film industries. Cheryl has produced three award-winning short films, Gloria’s Call, I Am Be and the sci-fi action film PURE and is preparing to shoot a proof of concept for her sci-fi episodic screenplay, Women of Steel. She is the Co-Founder of The Chimaera Project, a nonprofit organization that champions female filmmakers and past president of Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art. She has a long history of exhibiting her personal art, implementing public art projects and curating gallery and museum exhibitions. Her residence is located n Joshua Tree where she continues her fine art practice and works on film projects. She contributes to her Joshua Tree community by volunteering as a nonprofit consultant working with various organizations including the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, FurstWorld and Mil-Tree Veterans Project.
Cheri Gaulke (director, producer) modeled her first Sassoon haircut in the 8th grade. Since then her hair has been every color of the rainbow and sometimes all of them at once. Cheri’s art and life were profoundly changed in 1975, when she moved from the Midwest to Los Angeles to join the Feminist Studio Workshop at the Woman’s Building. She worked primarily in performance art from 1974-1992, addressing themes such as the body, religion, sexual identity, and the environment. In addition to her solo work, she co-founded collaborative performance groups Feminist Art Workers (1976-81) and Sisters Of Survival (1981-85). Gaulke’s art continues to be a vehicle for social commentary, and as a way to tell the stories of individuals and groups under-represented in society. Her public art includes a Metro-Rail station and a Filipino WWII Veterans Memorial, her artists’ books are in university and museum collections nationwide, and her videos have screened in film festivals internationally. As an educator, Gaulke has mentored hundreds of award-winning youth videos as a teacher (now retired) at Harvard-Westlake School and Artistic Director of The Righteous Conversations Project. She is the director of Gloria’s Call which screened in 40 festivals internationally and won Best Documentary at the Ann Arbor Film Festival among other awards. She is currently in development on the feature documentary Acting Like Women: Performance Art and the Woman’s Building.
America Young (producer) is currently working in Film, TV and Video Games, as an award winning Director and Stunt Coordinator. She uses her love and extensive knowledge of action, genre and comedy to tell important stories hidden under the guise of entertainment. America directed the feature film, The Concessionaires Must Die, Executive Produced by Stan Lee, premiered to sold out crowds at the Palm Springs Film Festival and received distribution. America is a voice actress known for voicing 33 characters including Batgirl/Barbara Gorden and Barbie. The season of the animated Barbie series for Mattel that she directed was featured on VICE, lauded for being “woke” and a refreshing, inspiring new take on the character. With a magical surrealistic feature in post, a series in development and attached to three features, America’s passion for storytelling keeps her constantly creating. After completing the 2019 Warner Bros. Directors’ Workshop, she directed an episode of Blindspot and is slated to direct an episode of Legacies (CW). America is the Co-Founder of The Chimaera Project, a nonprofit that advocates for female filmmakers. She was awarded the 2020 Humanitarian award by UCSD for her work promoting women in the film industry.
Nick Lieberman (cinematographer) is a director and editor, known for Theater Camp (2020), Ben Platt: Temporary Love (2019) and Ben Platt: Older (2019). https://www.nicklieberman.com/
Stacy Sweeting (campaign director, producer) has been working with nonprofit organizations for 25 years. She has been making a positive impact in the nonprofit sector by helping organizations identify their goals and implement their programs. She began her nonprofit work with the YMCA wearing many hats for ten years; managing programs, staff, volunteers, special events and budget development and implementation. Stacy brings her experience in project development, event planning, fundraising, grant writing, social media management and more to our project. She is currently the Program Director for The Chimaera Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering female filmmakers and a member of the Board of Directors for the Educational Enrichment Foundation for the Arts.
Jeff Hafler (subject, producer) is a beautician, yogi, artist, musician and the Founder & Owner of the Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum. Jeff calls himself a “hairstorian.” As a kid he dreamed of being an archeologist and instead became a hairdresser. So he turned his curiosity into chronicling the history of his occupation. His Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum has been featured in numerous travel magazines and blogs, beauty magazines, television and radio interviews including Spectrum News Interview: Hair Salon Doubles as Museum Amid Pandemic by Dave Stoelk, published October 6, 2020.
The Chimaera Project (fiscal sponsor) has been championing female filmmakers since 2013. We are dedicated to empowering filmmakers who identify as female to fearlessly create, inspire and lead and our goal is to create change by demonstrating an inclusive model. Our vision is to support filmmakers identifying as female to see their project to fruition. We believe by supporting creative visionaries who are telling the stories that will grow our hearts, open minds and ask questions, together we can lead a movement for positive change in the world.