Sunday, June 22, 2008

Outfest Preview Part 1: The OUTFEST Survival Guide- What to See

HOW TO OUTFEST: Part One for tickets

You asked for it, you got it. JD's guide to the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Your first step: what tickets to buy now in advance. Basically the must-see films.

OUTFEST is certainly the best LGBT cultural event in SoCal every year, with it's eclectic mix of films, music, panels and parties, all packed into 10 Absolut filled days.

If you live outside LA, these films will make it to your local film festival as well, so here's your sneak peak.

Personally, I just buy an Outpass. If you have the money and you enjoy gays and film (and of course, parties) I think you'd enjoy this option. There's no pesky tickets to buy, no lines to wait in - you just get a nice badge that let's everyone know you're rich and important, and you get to write off about 70% of the cost on your taxes (that's right, this is an lgbt non profit organization). Plus you get invited to ALL the parties, even the exclusive ones.

If you're not rich and you can only go to a few things, here's my suggested must-attend list and the must-buy nows as they will sell out.

After you've bought your tickets, I highly suggest stopping by the DGA on the first Saturday of the festival. I start in the morning with a cup of coffee, watch the trailers for the films in the lounge then move onto lunch and by 2 pm in the afternoon I've got a pretty good idea of what films and events are getting the most buzz. Plus, I usually run into almost every homosexual I've worked with over the last twenty years in Hollywood, in addition to a few co workers I didn't know were gay!

I'm going to cover films for everyone first, then for the boys, then for the girls.

July 9th, The Orpheum Theatre

JD's rating: 5 out of 5 glasses of champ

From veteran tv director Laurie Lynd (Noah's Arc, Queer as Folk, Degrassi: The Next Generation) comes a heart warming comedy based on the popular book of the same name.

The film stars Tom Cavanagh and Ben Shenkman (Angels in America) and involves two BUTCH gay men in Canada who reluctantly become dads to their nephew, a screaming showtune queen-in- training.

How will a retired hockey player and his masculine partner handle the little bundle of effeminate joy? As we say in the business, hilarity ensues.

Before I say anything else, just buy your ticket to Opening Night Gala.

It is traditionally one of the biggest gay bashes in SoCal every year, and certainly the least expensive with seats ranging from $50-$150, which includes a fabulous who's who of film gays at the VIP party (past attendees include Lily Tomlin, David Hyde Pearse, kd lang, Sean Hayes, Chad Allen, Ian McKellen, Wilson Cruz, and so many more), then the screening itself in this gorgeous restored 1920's movie palace, then a huge bash out back with free liquor and a 24 restaurant buffet with dancing all night and a stellar auction (I don't know about you, but there's nothing more I like than shopping and drinking at the same time).

Attire: Hollywood summer gay chique. It's always a good place to see fabulous outfits.

This film premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival, so how bad can it be? It'll also be interesting to see Ben Shenkman in a sympathetic gay role considering how loathsome he was in Angels in America as a gay Jewish man who left with lover when he is diagnosed with HIV.

Here's the trailer so you can catch a glimpse, and I'll see you at Opening Night.

July 18th, The Ford Amphitheatre
starring Charlie David and Thea Gill

JD's rating: 4 out of 5 glasses of champ

Once again I say, just buy your ticket. You trust me, right?

First, it's 1180 seats under the stars (that's 1180 homos under the stars). Second, everyone generally shows up in groups about 2 hours before the film and picnics in the gorgeous courtyard nestled in the hills. I get a kick out of some of the table settings with gay men bringing spreads that would rival Martha Stewart's best wet dream (linen table clothes, candles, crystal wine glasses - people, the gays do NOT mess around with their picnics). Then everyone brings their bottles of wine into the theatre where they can enjoy vin and cheese through out the show (this one-ups the ArcLight's drinking shows, as there is no corkage fee).

MULLIGANS is the first producing effort from drop-dead-gorgeous-ripped-like-a-Renaissance-marble-sculpture out-actor Charlie David, who also stars.

It is being coined as the new gay Graduate, and it involves a gay college student who spends the summer with the family of his hunky jock room mate and sparks fly when he meets hunk senior. Hilarity does not ensue. A family's secrets seep to the surface nudged by a little youthful lack in judgement which moves the plot to unfold the choices gay men make, the idea of family and how we make our way in the world.

Star/producer Charlie David (pictured left, and do yourself a favor if you're a gay man and click on it to enlarge full screen) recently moved to Los Angeles from Canada where he was a popular on-air host, and immediately sunk his teeth (um, like literally) into his first dramatic role in the campy witchy soap DANTE'S COVE for the here! network.

Then he did something really rather unheard of in this town, he came out of the closet. At the beginning of his carreer? Suicide I tell you. But he doesn't care, as he is one to live his truth . As he says, "If I spend my life playing a diverse range of gay characters instead of landing a big hit or a big tv career, I'd be perfectly happy".

He quickly got to work building up his film resume with roles in Kiss the Bride and Four Letter Word amongst others. In the spirit of "sisters doing it for themselves" he didn't wait for a good gay movie to come along, he went ahead and made it himself, and now we have MULLIGANS.

Be gentle, it's a first film, but from someone to definitely watch in the future of gay film.

If you have a nice circle of gay and lesbian friends, this is a perfect night out on the town. Grab 'em up, get your picnic and enjoy a wonderful night.

You can get more of a glimpse of Charlie, his life and roles in this interview I did at his Hollywood home a few months ago:

And here is the trailer for MULLIGANS:

July 10th, Director's Guild

Starring Meryl Streep

5 out of 5

If you don't buy your ticket to this like right now, it will be sold out by the time you're done reading this article!

For those of you that claim you'd buy a ticket to watch Streep read the dictionary well how about singing ABBA tunes? Wait... I need a moment. Sigh. I'm back.

Big, bold and colorful with musical numbers and a stellar cast, this sneak peak is a must see and the entire DGA will be alive with the sound of gay Swedish music as there are two back to back screenings and a party all night at the DGA Green Room.

Now I know the infectious melodies of ABBA appeal to the ladies as well, but here's an added bonus: The director is an OUT LESBIAN.

See I am not the only lesbian making movies for gay boys!

Watch the trailer here:

The TV Series Sneak Peak from LOGO
July 19th

That's right, the highly popular and ridiculously successful film version of Del Shore's cult play SORDID LIVES has found a home as a television series on the gay network LOGO. And here's your sneak peak!

It's a gay, white trash Southern extravaganza starring Rue McClanahan, Leslie Jordan, Caroline Rhea and Olivia Newton John with cameos by Margaret Cho, Candys Caine and Carson Kressley.


July 16, DGA
based on the novel by Sarah Waters

3 out of 5 glasses of champ

As the program describes it "AFFINITY is a gorgeous tale of love, longing and mystery set in Victorian London", which is basically what all the Sarah Waters books and subsequent movies are about, but they are lesbian crowd pleasers.

If you enjoyed Fingersmith or Tipping the Velvet, you'll like this.


July 19th, DGA

3 out of 5 glasses of champ

(although I should rate this film using butt plugs)

There are penises and jokes. Need I say more? This is the sequel to the highly popular Porky's/America Pie genre ANOTHER GAY MOVIE.

I promise you there won't be a single lesbian in this audience. But you will see film cameos by Perez Hilton and Jim Verraros along with a lot of hot, naked boys in a film appropriately sub titled GAYS GONE WILD.


Now listen up, these are just the films you need to buy now because they'll sell out.

Tune in this week for my JD PICKS plus the hidden little gems you don't want to miss.

Also, in the next episode of Jason Stuart's vlog (see tab to the right) he'll give a full run down and review of all the new lgbt films since he caught them last week at the New York Gay & Lesbian Film Festival: Newfest.

So don't go to OUTFEST unprepared! Get the scoop, make good decisions and have a blast.

If you do end up seeing a bad movie, just remember, this is also a wonderful cultural event. You get to see films by, about and with your community. So get a drink at the bar, hang with gay friends, meet new gay friends and talk about the films!



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