Friday, July 13, 2007

Opening Night Gala: Another Openin', Another Show!

In brief:

- 2,600 queers in fabulous outfits
- A glorious 1920’s downtown theatre
- A film about an ex gay ministry starring two out actors (Chad Allen and Bobby Gant) and AIDS activist La Light (Judith Light)
- Catering, Absolut, Celebre-gays, Red Carpet, Dancing, The Gay Mafia, Speeches

Most overheard comment: “No, I really don’t want to look at your iphone.”

Picture it: The Orpheum Theatre, downtown LA, 2007. The evening started with me starring at my closet and actually wondering what I was going to wear because my standard business proletariat outfit was just not going to cut it for Outfest Opening Night! So I dashed off to the Gap where thank god all the associates are gay, and some young man helped me pick some things out. Who says gays and lesbians don’t get along? Also, love the GAP because it’s like GRRRRanimals for adults – you can buy any pants and any shirt in the entire store and they always match! ( I know, I know all you boys right now are gasping because I didn't say Fred Segel or Barney's. Get off my fucking back, I'm a dyke!!!)

Anyway, first stop at the Gala was the red carpet, where I met up with the rest of my team (I produced a film in the festival, SHELTER). In picture, from right, writer/director Jonah Markowitz, Ross Thomas, Katie Walder and her man Will. Trevor Wright, our star, was a bit late. I asked them, “Why the hell didn’t you make his call time 30 minutes before you needed him like I did on the shoot!?” (when you see the film, you will realize this man is WELL worth the wait).

Whilst waiting on him, I caught up with the fabulous Quincy LeNear and his partner Deondray Gossett who are the creators and directors of the here! tv show THE DL CHRONICLES (pictured here in a publicity still)
We all shared a production office for months (SHELTER is a here! film) and let me tell you, these guys and their team are the best people EVER to share an office with! We had so much fun and the minute they moved in it was BAM - they changed the entire production design of the office (gay men!) . I moved in first and my way of decorating was like, “Yeah, yeah, whatever, put the desk over there, just start getting on the phone and calling around for deals, hurry, hurry, hurry we got a film to make!”. Meanwhile, they came in a put in plants, a Japanese screen, created upward lighting motives and drapped fabric. Oh, they are also talented film makers.

Anyway, back to the red carpet. My team and I did the red carpet. This is what that looks like.

After folks do the red carpet, you are ushered behind the theatre to the VIP pre reception, where all the gays do a lot of S&M (standing and modeling).

Opening Night Ceremonies were wonderful and inspiring. Since this is Outfest’s 25 Anniversary, they really did it up. I asked Executive Director Stephen Gutwillig if – like all gays – Outfest would soon start lying about it’s age.

29 and holding, as we like to say in West Hollywood! He didn’t laugh. He never laughs at my jokes. I guess Harvard doesn’t get the Catskills. Next time I’ll try to make a joke about Medea.

Bill Condon received a well deserved Outfest Achievement Award. He is the out director of GODS AND MONSTERS, KINSEY and DREAMGIRlS – three uber gay films. He also wrote CHICAGO, another screaming queen of a film.
Dan Jinks, Oscar winning producer of AMERICAN BEAUTY presented the award. All I have to say about his introduction is “What the hell do you mean, Dan, that NINE should not have won the Tony over DREAMGIRLS?” I guess the gays are up in arms about that, and I suppose since I am a lesbian I prefer NINE. It’s like the old debate of RAGING BULL - how that should have won the Best Picture Oscar instead of ORDINARY PEOPLE. No, no, no – I love ORDINARY PEOPLE. Whatever.

So Dan gave a wonderful introduction and Bill gave a gracious speech. And maybe I just like NINE more since Anita Morris sang A CALL FROM THE VATICAN in that see-through body suit. If you don’t know what I am talking about right now, you are not GAY enough to read this blog and you should just switch over to Perez Hilton right now. Oh, he was there as well, sporting a lovely new bright orange ‘do.

Anyway, then Stephen Gutwillig, the ED, came on stage and gave a speech so moving that young men I spoke with later at the after-party told me they actually wept.
Personally, with the rather LARGE screen behind Stephen projecting a HUGE extreme close up of his face, it reminded me tons of the Ridley Scott directed 1984 ad for Apple. But maybe that’s just me.

The film was SAVE ME, produced by Mythgarden and starring Chad Allen, Robert Gant and Judith Light. This film also had the honor of screening at Sundance in January, and it explores an ex gay ministry and follows the journey of a gay ex junkie who is sent there by his family as a last resort. I don’t want to give away anything about the film, but one of the talking points is definitely the sympathetic way that the Christians are depicted – really great choice because they are not vilified and that lends itself to really great drama and a starting point for discourse about this issue. Mythgarden is run by Chris Racster, Chad Allen and Robert Gant.

Then it was off to the huge after party. A picture paints a thousand bitchy, catty remarks, so let me know show a few so you get the gist of it:

Me, the old lady, with prolific tv and film director, Allan Brocka. Darling, how did you find time to come to Opening Night what with your feature BOY CULTURE and your TV Show RICK AND STEVE on LOGO and you writing with Patrick on the NOAH'S ARC feature!? Shouldn't you be home writing the next great gay thing? Here we are with the most talented photographer, Adam Bouska. If you like looking at hot, shirtless guys, beautifully photographed, go to WAIT WAIT come back and read the rest of my blog!!!

Here I am with Mary Feuer, who is the Story Editor on DANTE'S COVE and the Producer of EAST SIDE STORY (which is in the festival, and on the cover of IN MAGAZINE this week). I'd call her my dear friend for many years, but if I say that about everyone I'm going to start to sound like Ben Vereen in ALL THAT JAZZ.

The last two photos were compliments of Tony of

Here I am with Dave O Brian, Damien Pellicone and....and....wait, don't tell me.... I know she's the star of CJ Cox's KISS THE BRIDE. Oh right TORI SPELLING. She was actually very funny and really great to talk to.

Here I am with Doria Biddle from SIRIUS Radio and Jessica Mefford from REELZ Channel. We're trying to represent the girls, ya hear, in this big ole crowd of boys!!!

Billy, I know you hate your photo being taken, but you are just such a tall drink of water and mama is thirsty! Here I am with here! Director of Development Billy Cogar. I love this man. When I was pushing SHELTER over there at here!, he was the biggest advocate of the script. I'm just saying, the man has incredible taste.

When I saw these two in the Orpheum lobby I just screamed like a 40 year old Southern Belle upon seeing her two favorite sorority sisters! When I was Festival Manager at OUTFEST (yes, I know, my wicked, wicked past) Scott Meckling (left) was Director of Development and Morgan Rumpf was the Executive Director. These guys were like mentors to me when I first starting working in non profit queer film. Scott and I had offices next to each other and when we were bored, overworked or frustrated we'd start singing Sondheim duets through the walls, much to the dismay - as you can imagine - of the rest of the staff and volunteers. Scott, sweetie, I think we had them until SOMEONE IN A TREE.

Oh dear, another gay I love - Jim Colucci, author of The Q Guide to the Golden Girls ( and his what is his name again. I know he has a show on Sirius with my friend Doria....

The afore mentioned men and the fabulous Lee Friedlander, Director of GIRL PLAY, WASABI TUNA, and this year's hit OUT AT THE WEDDING (Winner, Audience Award NEWFEST) and the Executive Producer and a director on LOGO's upcoming EXES AND OH'S. I tell you people, I would die of boredom in LA if it weren't for this woman, she is absolutely one of my oldest, dearest friends...uh-oh, teetering on Ben Vereen again. Well she is! And someone send Christopher Hitchen's at Vanity Fair this woman and her work before that old bitch talks again about women not having a sense of humour!

Jenny, Sahara and....god, Jenny don't kill me I can't remember your girlfriend's name! I am an old, old woman that works long hours in independent gay cinema and I just don't have many brain cells left! Anyway, you all look fabulous.

Okay, perhaps I've said too much. That's it for Opening Night.

Stay tuned for Friday’s Post or “Wait, it’s already Friday, this party has lasted until 3:30 am!!!”

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