Monday, July 18, 2011

One of The Best Gay Film Shorts of the Year Thus Far, from a surprising source

One of the funniest gay films of the year, care of Funny or Die. Starring Tori Spelling, an Academy Award winner, 276 gays and a few cocks.

It screened before CHO DEPENDENT at Outfest this past week.

I laughed out loud at least 3 times, and almost fell off my chair at the ending.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

LA Audiences Preview this Year's Best in LGBT Film at Outfest: The LA LGBT Film Festival

I'm here to tell you that when your local LGBT Film Festival happens in your town, don't buy a festival pass. It's absolutely astounding the jump in quality in this year's new crop of LGBT film faire.

This past month or so marks the annual informal launching of the queer film festival circuit with movies premiering at Frameline in San Fran, Newfest in NY, PhillyFest in Penn and Outfest in Los Angeles.
(pictured, The Ford Theatre at Outfest, photo care of Krauss in the House)

First, I'll share with you the prize winners at Outfest, then highlight a few "favorites" from myself and my associates.

The Grand Jury Prize for both Best Feature and Best Screenwriting went to Stephen Cone's The Wise Kids.

My friend who recommended I see this was right, the characters WRECK YOU (but in a good way!)

(pictured right, Sadieh Rifai in The Wise Kids.  As with most thesps in this film, accomplished in the slow teared close up that you could set entire sonatas to)

The film unfolds one summer at a Youth Ministry in somewhere-in-the-middle, USA and mingles human growth with Christian teachings and the stirrings of gay. It's an engaging, understated film that draws you in with outstanding performances and a quiet urgency. It also rings with authenticity and doesn't always take the predictable route.  Outfest was the world premiere of The Wise Kids.

Andrew Haigh's Weekend won the Grand Jury Award on the International Best Feature end of things. As with The Wise Kids, this feature brings you a fresh, new film making talent in LGBT film. Welcome, and please make more movies for us, seriously, like I'm begging you.

(pictured right, Weekend)

Unlike The Wise Kids which dwells in the silent moments and stirring static shots of characters in emotional conflict and curiosity, Weekend's characters talk it out, with kinetic cinematography that puts you right there on the bed in the room with the two men. Weekend unfolds over 48 hours after a one-night-stand between two men. What starts with raw sex, continues with raw conversation making the audience not only wonder "will they end up together" but also "will they grow?".

Nikohl Boosheri won Outstanding Actress Award for her role in CIRCUMSTANCE, a 100% audience favorite. Not surprising since it also won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the highly competitive and lauded Sundance Film Festival this past January.

The film is set against the political and social issues in contemporary Iran, but what will grab you is the highly accomplished film making that pulls you into this story of two teenage girls from either side of the track.

The entire cast of Private Romeo won Outstanding Acting in a feature film. Let me put on my big surprised face since the two leads in this are currently - ahem, slumming - on Broadway in Warhorse (soon to be a major xmas release feature film from Steven Spielberg).

I'm going to get you gay men to put this on your "must see" list just by telling you the plot: it's about an all boy military academy studying Romeo & Juliet. One weekend, the play overcomes the school and the characters.  (pictured above Private Romeo, Circumstance)

Another sure fire YOU WILL LOVE movie was Chely Wright's WISH ME AWAY.  100% audience favorite.  Also on that list add WE WERE HERE, also a documentary.

There were so many beloved films from every imaginable genre, they can't all fit in this post, so I'll leave the rest to another day.

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And here's a few funny little interviews with some of the film makers:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

DOT429 Has LGBT Mixer in Los Angeles - Wild Time Was Had By All

Well, some of my friends and associates and I were on the host committee for DOT429's latest Los Angeles LGBT Brunch, and having not been to one of these yet (they host them around the country) I thought, well, what the hell.

Holy cow, I had beyond a blast and I have to say, I'm really starting to enjoy The Andaz on the Sunset Strip.

I met some lovely people, had some incredible conversations and I'm hoping that woman that said she'd email the link to those fashionable vegan shoes remembers to do so.

We discussed things as wide and varied as the history of the lgbt rights movement in America, the current state of lgbt representations in television, the best business cards ideas (no, it was not like the scene in American Psycho.  The winning business card idea for these things was "People usually bore me, but I find you moderately interesting, let's stay in touch."  I'm making 500 today).

I also met people in as wide and varied fields as marketing, modeling and non profit assistance in third world countries.

Here were some of my favorite quotes of the afternoon:

"A lesbian is explaining musical theatre to a gay man!? Bar the door, shutter the windows, stock up on water and buy a rifle... it's the end of the world!!!"

"How's your gay divorce going?" "Oh, you know, it gets better."

From a gay man: "God, I wish I could drink the way my mother used to."

From a butch lesbian: "Yeah, some men are scared of lesbians so we have to be extra nice. I don't understand this. It's always a STRAIGHT woman that cuts off a penis and puts in the garbage disposal not a lesbian!"

Needless to say, I laughed the entire time and met some stunning lgbt folks. Good times, good times for sure.

If you want to hear about upcoming events in Los Angeles for the lgbt community, head over and LIKE my events page:

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hot New LGBT Films Hit the Circuit, Hard

Well, I survived the second day of Outfest:  The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, thanks in part to sponsor Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf who have fabulous little instant espresso machines at the Director's Guild for self serve espresso!

Here are the photos from yesterday including the reception for SHE MONKEY, and the red carpets for JAMIE AND JESSE ARE NOT TOGETHER and LONGHORNS.

See all ya'll today and tomorrow as the gay film fun continues....there are tons of INCREDIBLE films this weekend for all tastes. Check out my post from yesterday to see my picks and watch trailers.

Get the flash player here:

Friday, July 8, 2011

JD's Picks: Outfest 2011 - The First Weekend

Hello kitty cats.

Well you've all been bugging, and finally I'm compiling my list of MUST SEES for Outfest. I had to confer with a few other filmphiles to make sure to recommend the best.

I'll cover this weekend and get to the rest by Monday. Promise.

Tonight, Friday July 8th, you will find me at the DGA Atrium for happy hour, then I"ll be at the screenings of LONGHORNS and JAMIE AND JESSE ARE NOT TOGETHER at the Sunset 5.

LONGHORNS is set in 1982 Texas and boasts Beers, Steers and a couple of Queers.

Trailer looks fun until all the male nudity, so I may bring a copy of Vanity Fair to read during those gay boy sex scenes.

LONGHORNS is from TLA Video and the director of the award winning Redwoods. It co stars the hunky Dylan Vox from here! tv's The Lair (who is the only porn star I know who got a law degree from Pepperdine). The after party will be at ELEVEN in WeHo.

If you've never seen TODD HAYNE's film Poison - it's playing at the Director's Guild tonight as part of a retro screening series. This film blew me away when it first came out. I bet it's still a provocative movie experience today, so I recommend it if you haven't seen it.

Then onto Saturday, July 9th.

THE WISE KIDS from director Stephen Cone is at the DGA at 1:45 pm.

THE WISE KIDS Trailer from Stephen Cone on Vimeo.

Then you must... I repeat MUST GO SEE.... We Were Here at 4:15 pm at the DGA.

This film was a big hit at The Sundance Film Festival as well as at Berlin.

If you enjoyed the popular and award winning Fat Girls, writer/director Ash Christian is back with the quirky comedy MANGUS costarring Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse), Leslie Jordan and Jennifer Coolidge.

Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Remember when Verizon spokesman Paul Marcarelli came out as gay?

Well now the former cell phone spokesman has written and produced a gay film, THE GREEN, and it stars Cheyenne Jackson, Julia Ormond, Illeana Douglas and it's GOOD. Check it out Saturday night at the DGA.

Then, if you like quirky indies, you have to check out another hit from The Sundance Film Festival, HAPPY HAPPY at the DGA at 9:30.

This is a dark, interesting comedy that pushes the boundaries of political correctness. It was a audience favorite in Utah last January, where it received the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema. Yeah, that's BIG.

Then at 9:45 at the DGA, Casper Andreas's new film GOING DOWN IN LALA LAND.

Andreas is certainly prolific, his previous films being Violet Tendencies, A Four Letter Word, The Big Gay Musical, and Slutty Summer.

His oft collaborator, hotty Jesse Archer costars.

Then, more great faire on Sunday.

Starting with the sparse, yet compelling grief/regret tone poem WITHOUT at the Sunset 5 at 2:30.

If you like sweeping BBC lesbian flicks like Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith, and The Diary of Miss Anne Lister, then you'll enjoy THE NIGHT WATCH, playing at 4:45 at the DGA.

The film takes place post WWII in England and involves several seemingly disparate people all recovering from the wounds of war. If you enjoy Sarah Waters, you'll love this latest adaptation.

Then it's Sophie's Choice - as with all years - Sunday night with two big hits playing against each other at the DGA.

One is the bio-doc BECOMING CHAZ, which was bought at Sundance this year by the Queen of the Universe Oprah for her new channel. The film chronicles Chastity Bono through his transition to Chaz.

The other is Eldar Rappaport's AUGUST. Both popular and well reviewed movies.

Outfest Kicks Off Downtown last night with Their Opening Night Gala

Hot damn and here we go, Outfest has officially begun in SoCal and once again it's time for all the lgbt's to clear their schedules for the next ten days of films, panels, parties and the overall general fabulousness that is the gay cultural event of the year.

I'm always excited to see the new crop of lgbt films, just to see what is germinating in the hearts and minds of homos these days. There's generally some clunkers, a few "nice tries", many "wow-that-was-alot-of-nudity"s, yet ultimately some incredibly moving and entertaining faire that speaks to our community.

The official LGBT film season really kicks off at Frameline: The San Francisco International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in June, concurring with Pride Month. Then the next two top queer festivals continue the charge with Outfest in Los Angeles, and The Philadelphia Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in July, then these films will be touring the country (and the world) for up to a year, so check your local LGBT film festival schedules.

(TLA Video's Elliot London with actor Drew Doedge, Outfest Executive Director Kirsten Schaffer, Damiana interviews writer/actress Guin Turner (Go Fish, American Psycho)

Last night Outfest kicked-off with the Opening Night Gala at the historic downtown Orpheum Theatre, which included a VIP pre party where you could spot a few celebs including Tori Spelling, Neil Patrick Harris and - don't gasp - Monica Lewinski. I know, I know, how random.

Then they presented the Outfest Achievement Award to Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey from World of Wonder (Rupaul's Drag Race, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, 101 Rent Boys and Party Monster) The film was the Sundance hit GUN HILL ROAD, then the afterparty was down the street in the fashion district.

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