I’ve decided that it’s not hot enough in scorching Los Angeles so I’m heading to Palm Springs where I can really sizzle!
Tomorrow night is the kick-off for Cinema Diverse, The Palm Springs Gay & Lesbian Film Festival which runs Sept. 18-21.
I’m going to take in as many movies as I can at the Camelot Theatres where, if you wish, you can drink! A nice option to have is all I’m saying. A few years ago, I was attending the final day of the festival and there was a nice Sunday morning brunch set up upstairs so loaded up on some food and sat at a table to write my last story.
A few minutes later, loads of people who had been having a church service in one of the theaters, began filing in and I realized I had crashed a church social!
Anyway, here is a LINK to the festival’s homepage and, just for kicks, I’ve cut and pasted the entire schedule below!
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2014 7PM – OPENING NIGHT SCREENING
SHORT: NO NO HOMO – 3 min
Alone at a matinee together, with a big, mouthwatering bucket of popcorn.
FEATURE: SAUGATUCK CURES – 89 min (WORLD PREMIERE) Maggie Callaghan (Judith Chapman), is a widowed B&B owner in picturesque Saugatuck, Michigan. She’s secretly dealing with cancer until her well-meaning, and meddlesome friends let her secret out to her children over Thanksgiving. Maggie’s openly gay son, Drew (Max Adler), and her affluent, religious daughter, Penelope, have a huge falling out over how to pay for their mother‘s cancer treatment. Maggie leaves in a huff, but Drew, determined, but with no idea how to raise the money, follows the harebrained advice of his best friend, Brett (Danny Mooney). The two embark on a road trip, posing as ex-gay ministers “curing” homosexuals of their “affliction.” What follows is a madcap adventure with several surprise endings! Starring Max Adler, Judith Chapman and Danny Mooney.
AFTER PARTY AT HUNTERS NIGHTCLUB
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2014
SHORT: PRINSESA – 12 min
A father reacts to the gender-identity questions of his young son. Inspired by the Singkil dance of the Philippines.
FEATURE: KUMA HINA – 74 min
Imagine a world where a little boy can grow up to be the woman of his dreams, and a young girl can rise to become a leader among men. Welcome to Kumu Hina’s Hawai’i. During a momentous year in her life in modern Honolulu, Hina Wong-Kalu, a native Hawaiian mahu, or transgender, teacher uses traditional culture to inspire a student to claim her place as leader of the school’s all-male hula troupe. But despite her success as a teacher, Hina longs for love and a committed relationship. Will her marriage to a headstrong Tongan man fulfill her dreams?
SHORT:GAY BASHER – 5 min
In the dark of night, a young man emerges from a violent encounter in the back alleys of the gay ghetto to become an avenging angel.
FEATURE: FAGBUG NATION – 88 min
With six years of touring in her once vandalized, now famous ‘Fagbug’ under her belt, director Erin Davies (‘Fagbug,’ 2009, Netflix) sets her sights on getting her car to all 50 states – Hawaii and Alaska being the final two.
SHORT: THE L RIDERS – 13 min
Five lesbians use motorcycles to express themselves and explore their sexuality.
FEATURE: FOLSOM FOREVER – 72 min
In 1984, a scrappy little neighborhood in San Francisco faced destruction from redevelopment and the AIDS crisis. The Folsom Street Fair was started to call attention to gentrification and raise money for AIDS charities. FOLSOM FOREVER tells the story of how this small street fair grew into the biggest outdoor fetish event in the world, and managed to do a lot of good along the way.
SHORT: TRANS – 43 min
TRANS details the steps that trans men go through during transition from woman to man. Trans men share their stories at different stages of their transition.
FEATURE: SHUNNED – 70 min
SHUNNED is a no-holds-barred look into the lives of transsexuals (male to female) in the Philippines. The documentary captures the reality of their struggles, their battles with society, their love life, and their transition to womanhood.
SHORT: SHOTGUN – 11 min
Shotgun explores how one urban young Black men seeks to deal with his homosexual feelings, and the impact it has on his life.
FEATURE: SNAILS IN THE RAIN – 82 min
In this intelligent and emotional Israeli film set in 1989 Tel Aviv, Boaz (incredibly sexy male model Yoav Reuveni) is a linguistics student committed to his girlfriend, Noa. But soon Boaz begins receiving a series of love letters from another man. They expose the inner world of their author, who is deeply closeted, but knows plenty about Boaz, including his past attraction to other men.
FEATURE: THE LAST STRAIGHT MAN – 110 min (Filmed in Palm Springs)
Lewis, a closeted gay man, is secretly in love with his straight best friend, Cooper. After a drunken hook-up, the two men decide to meet every year in the same hotel room on the same night to catch up on their lives and further explore their sexuality. Each year, Lewis gets closer to revealing his feelings for Cooper, but his friend’s difficulty in handling their sexual trysts keep him quiet. Five nights over a ten year period are depicted, showing how their friendship and relationship changes.
SHORT: SEARCHING – 9 min
One late night two young men set out on separate paths in search of their first sexual experience with another man. After disappointing encounters, they happen to meet each other on their way home….
FEATURE: BOYS – 78 min
In this beautiful and uplifting gay romance, two teen track stars discover first love as they train for the biggest relay race of their lives. Chiseled Dutch phenom Gijs Blom stars as Sieger, a thoughtful 15-year-old who grapples with his emerging gayness. Handsome Ko Zandvliet co-stars as his love interest, the spirited and outgoing Marc. In their boyish summer courtship the two boys swim, bike, run — and share ice creams and kisses as they find the courage to be vulnerable with one another. With its authentic and perfectly poignant tone Boys ranks as one of the most wholesomely romantic gay teen films ever.
SHORT: CAT SITTING – 14 min
Alex agrees to cat sit for her ex wife, while she is away, but her traumatic first visit back to what used to be their home culminates in an unexpected confrontation with her nemesis, a feisty cop called Finn.
FEATURE: OF GIRLS AND HORSES – 82 min
Alex is a 16-year old misfit who’s been using drugs and cutting herself. Her adoptive mother has signed her up for an internship at a farm to work with horses. There Alex meets Nina, her teacher, a 30-something lesbian. Although Alex initially hates being stuck on the farm, she gradually connects with the horses. Then Kathy, arrives. Alex dislikes her at first, but slowly the girls form a friendship. One weekend, they’re alone at the farm….
SHORT: THE BEST MAN – 14 min
As they prepare for their wedding, Scott and Johnny reflect on their relationship; from a teenage first date after band practice to the meaning of monogamy and marriage.
FEATURE: THREE IN A BED – 80 min (WORLD PREMIERE)
This romantic British coming-of-age comedy follows the life of struggling musician, Nate. Since the untimely death of his mother, Nate has been the guardian of his two younger sisters, who are finally (sort of) out on their own. Nate, desperate to explore his own life, and his sexuality, finds himself attracted to his new neighbor, Jonny. Then his two sisters come crashing back into his life (and home)….
SHORT: TEARDROPS – 4 min
Love and desire break down walls in this modern Gay Music VIdeo.
FEATURE: CLUB KING – 70 min
For 20 years, Mario Diaz has crafted his own iconic image as the premier LGBT king of the nightlife, throwing parties from New York to LA, including the ever popular Hot Dog, BFD and Full Frontal Disco. CLUB KING combines Diaz’s personal reflections with candid interviews and archival footage from events featuring the Country’s hottest drag queens (including Jackie Beat), go-go boys, and singers like Justin Vivian Bond.
AFTER PARTY: TBA
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2014
FEATURE: MIA – 105 min MIA is the story of Ale, a transvestite, and garbage collector, who lives in an Argentinian shanty town inhabited only by gays. While out collecting garbage, Ale finds a diary of a young woman who has died. The content written on it, changes the course of Ale’s life forever…
SPONSORED BY THE DESERT FILM SOCIETY
SHORTS SERIES: 86 min
AD OCCHI CHIUSI (WITH CLOSED EYES) – 15 MIN
A love story between two teenagers, Sara and Ginevra, becomes dangerous when the father of the youngest discovers them.
SNOWFLAKE – 15 MIN
Aurore is near death, and her friend Claire is at her bedside. Before she dies, Aurore gives Claire a final gift – a diary. In it, Claire discovers a tale of love….
EYES THAT DO NOT SEE (OJOS QUE NO VEN) – 15 MIN
A quinceanera becomes a battleground for a traditional Salvadoran mother and her nontraditional American daughter.
THE GOOD KIND – 13 MIN
In a repressed southern town, love develops between two young Latinas, bringing out the best and worst in the people around them.
LOOK AT ME NOW – 17 min
Rania is living a double life. Torn between family and love, she tries to be both the daughter her muslim father wants, and the lover her girlfriend wants. Eventually, though, everyone must make a choice….
CHAPERONES – 23 min
When Alex Bell and Ramona Hernandez, the two newest teachers at Lakeview High School, are forced to chaperone the prom together, they discover more than spiked punch….
SHORTS SERIES: 87 min
GOOD MORNING – 10 min
A comedic short film about sexual identity, age anxiety, and that awkward moment when you wake up hung over the morning after your 30th birthday and discover a 17 year old in your apartment.
DINNER AT 40 – 19 min
Unexpected dinner guests, crazy friends, a hot ex, and a drag queen turn a ‘quiet’ birthday celebration into an evening of panic, doubt, and anxiety, followed by uproarious laughs, love and some unexpected surprises!
TAKING IT FOR GRANTED – 20 min
Two couples, one gay, and one straight, fight for what they believe in; what they think they want, and what they might be able to give to each other.
A LAST FAREWELL (ETTA SISTA FARVAL) – 13 min
A family drama about life, love and death….
PROMISE – 18 min
A man throws one final birthday celebration for his dying lover.
SHORT : SPIRAL: MAYBE THIS TIME – 16 min
Humberto, an exchange student, finds himself falling for Thiago, who is kind and charming.
FEATURE: STAGE DOOR DIVAS – 83 min
In this documentary based on Alan Palmer’s off-Broadway hit musical, Fabulous Divas Of Broadway, Palmer takes audiences on musical journey – charting his love of the theater and the amazing ladies that inspired him along the way – to discover what drives someone to stay inspired as a performer.
SHORT: AIRPORT DOUCHERY: BOARDING AND HOARDING – 2 min The only thing harder than getting to the gate is fending off the faster, smarter, and wittier gays who cut in line.
FEATURE: THE DAVID DANCE – 108 min
David, the host of a local, gay radio show in Buffalo, New York, struggles with self-doubt when his single sister asks him to be the father figure for her soon-to-be-adopted Brazilian child. Past and present intertwine in this bittersweet winter’s tale of a man learning to love and accept himself.
SHORT: GRIND – 32 min Vincent (Anthony Rapp), is as plain as his roommate, Thane, (Pasha Pellosie) is gorgeous. They both use an online hook-up app to meet men. Their gal pal (Claire Coffee) cautions both men about meeting men on the app, concerned that it might be dangerous, never realizing that one of them is exactly the sort of dangerous man she’s worried about.
FEATURE: VIOLENCE OF THE MIND – 90 min (Partially Filmed in Palm Springs) When Sebastian (Ryan Kibby) meets the older, handsome Max (Jon Fleming), the line between fantasy and reality is blurred when experimentations into taboo sex go too far. Max leads Sebastian down the path of torture, pain, and even murder, and Sebastian finds himself liking it more and more. Sebastian’s best friend, Gina, tries to intervene, but she may have waited too long.
SHORT: SCAREMONGER – 22 min
After hearing news that her 10-year-old son is being bullied because of his long, feminine eyelashes, a single mother descends into a paranoid spiral of nightmares.
FEATURE: LILTING – 86 min
Set in contemporary London, LILTING is the story of a Cambodian-Chinese mother mourning the untimely death of her son, and her own fate in an old folks home. Suddenly, her world is disrupted by a stranger. Though they don’t share a common language, a translator helps piece together memories of the man they both loved and lost. LILTING is a touching film about unlikely connections and the tragedies that bring us together.
SHORT: NARCISSIST – 17 min
A writer discovers the painful truth about a handsome and charming, yet manipulative and toxic love interest.
FEATURE: TIGER ORANGE – 76 min
Chet (Mark Strano) and Todd (Frankie Valenti – the one and only Johnny Hazzard) are estranged gay brothers who grew up in a small town in Central California to a homophobic, working class single father. Now adults, the two could not have turned out more differently. Chet, the older brother, runs the family hardware store and still lives in their childhood home. Todd, the younger of the two, ran off to LA at eighteen. Now, though, homeless, with no cash, he heads back up the coast to the home and the brother he left behind.
SHORT: GOING DOWN – 10 min
After a surfing accident, Kat is near death. Straddling the line between life/death, she experiences two versions of reality- one on a beach, and another, trapped in an elevator with the lifeguard who is trying to save her life.
FEATURE: TRU LOVE – 87 min
Tru, 37, is a serial bed-hopping lesbian who cannot commit to a relationship or a job. Then she meets Alice, 60, a beautiful widow, who has come to town to visit her daughter, Tru’s friend, Suzanne. When Tru meets Alice, sparks fly. Alice and Tru begin forging an unlikely friendship. Suzanne, who already has a conflicted relationship with her mother, and a secret past with Tru, becomes increasingly disturbed by the growing bond between Tru and Alice.
SHORT: JE T’AIME – 10 min
Although he is the process of moving to London with his girlfriend, Johannes realizes another journey is more pressing.
FEATURE: WAITING IN THE WINGS: THE MUSICAL – 107 min
Two entertainers, both destined for the big time, are mismatched in a casting office. Tony, a stripper from New York, is cast in an Off-Broadway musical and needs to trade in his tear-away trunks for tap shoes and tights. Anthony, a naive musical theatre enthusiast from Montana, needs to decide if he can strip all the way down just to stay in town. Hilarity ensues as they realize that ‘to make it’ they’re gonna have to learn some new tricks.
8:15PM SHORT: EDEN – 15 min
In Eden, a society where homosexuality is seen as a disease, a longstanding government agency imprisons homosexuals in an institution in order to cure them.
FEATURE: THE DARK PLACE – 90 min
Long estranged from his widowed mother, Keegan Dark has the uncanny ability to remember his life in videographic detail – an ironic curse as it makes him unable to forget any of his life’s numerous tragedies, including the deaths of his father and brother. He returns home, boyfriend in tow, to his family’s vineyard estate to make amends with his mother, only to discover that she has remarried. His family now includes a step-father and step-brother — and Keegan quickly surmises they aren’t up to any good. But his investigation into their past gets derailed when his mother drops into a coma, his boyfriend leaves him, and the town’s sheriff targets him as the culprit. With time running out, Keegan struggles to unravel the secrets that threaten to destroy him and everyone he loves. Starring Blaise Embry, Timo Descamps, Sean Paul Lockhart (Brent Corrigan)and Eduardo Rioseco.
AFTER PARTY: THE PURPLE ROOM
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2014
SHORT: LIVING IN THE OVERLAP – 26 min
For over 40 years, Lennie and Pearl have shared a passion for social justice and for each other. Now, the indelible spark of their love inspires others as they fight for their right to marry in North Carolina.
FEATURE: ONE: A STORY OF LOVE AND EQUALITY – 102 min In the months leading up to the vote on North Carolina’s Amendment One, which removed legal recognition for all couples that are not a married man and woman, filmmaker Becca Roth and her girlfriend sought to understand the personal stories of people on both sides.
SHORT: FAMILY IS LIKE SKIN: LESBIANS IN CAMBODIA – 6 min
This 6-minute documentary by Paula Stromberg tells the story of lesbians in Cambodia, and features several long-term couples who survived the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s.
FEATURE: THE CIRCLE – 110 min
Zurich: 1958. Bashful teacher, Ernst Ostertag, and German cabaret artist, Robi Rapp, get to know one another in the Swiss underground organization called “Der Kreis.” (The Circle). As they grow to love one another, they witness the heyday and the decline of this Europe-wide pioneering organization for gay emancipation. Stefan Haupt’s new film uncovers the fascinating universe of “Der Kreis.” Enriched by impressive conversations with Ernst Ostertag and Röbi Rapp, the film depicts a decades-long love story, and a part of LGBT history that few people know.
SHORT: TO DANIEL – 5 min
Middle-aged Roni is paying young Eyal to reveal himself sexually in front of his camera. Pushing him to expose himself more and more, Roni uncovers more than he intended to.
FEATURE: I ALWAYS SAID YES: THE MANY LIVES OF WAKEFIELD POOLE – 78 min (Palm Springs Filmmaker)
I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole tells the story of this sometimes overlooked gay liberation and independent film making pioneer. In an era when anyone making, promoting, or appearing in what the US government considered “pornography” could be liable for prosecution and jail time, Wakefield Poole was a remarkably open and honest gay filmmaker. He also became internationally famous and his movies screened for years as examples of films that could be artistic as well as sexually explicit.
SHORT: FOREIGN RELATIONS – 25 min
When a recently-dumped young man traveling solo on a Mediterranean tour gets a hot Greek guy as his randomly assigned roommate, will he get so distracted that he misses meeting the love of his life?
FEATURE: ALEC MAPA: BABY DADDY – 93 min
Actor and comedian Alec Mapa’s one-man show about how his life has changed since he and his husband adopted a child through foster care.
SHORT: CITY OF THE DAMNED – 15 min
City of the Damned focuses on LGBT rights in the face of the brutal anti-homosexuality bill signed into law by the Ugandan Parliament. Although the death penalty was withdrawn from the bill before it was made law, punishments are still harsh, and public opinion remains the biggest threat to the Ugandan LGBT community.
FEATURE: CAMPAIGN OF HATE: RUSSIA AND GAY PROPAGANDA – 78 min
As much of the world moves forward toward gay equality, Russia is seemingly heading backward. Antigay sentiment and legislation are spreading rapidly throughout the country. In 2013, the Russian parliament passed a ban on so-called ‘gay propaganda’ that effectively makes nearly any public discussion of gay equality a crime. Documentary filmmaker, Michael Lucas interviews members of Russia’s LGBT community as well as the politician who sponsored the antigay bill in order to understand the origins of Russia’s current antigay sentiment.
SHORT: HOOVER ROAD – 15 min
Hoover Road explores the complexity of unconventional families and mental illness. When Mark, a young Alabama gay man, wants to move away from his small town, he must leave behind his lover Saul and Saul’s quirky bipolar father Hank. Can Mark leave behind the farm on Hoover Road and the offbeat home he’s created there?
FEATURE: THE WAY HE LOOKS – 95 min
Leonardo is a blind teenager with an overprotective mother, who yearns for independence. After deciding to study abroad, to the disappointment of his best friend, Giovana, the arrival of a new student at school makes Leonardo rethink his plans, and his life. The Way He Looks is a poignant coming of age movie with a unique perspective and an unusual twist.
SHORT: SWADHISTANA – 20 min
The carnal and creative expertise of a mother and father are boldly put to the test when they attempt to enlighten their teenage children on matters of adult education after unwittingly discovering that their son is gay.
FEATURE: MY STRAIGHT SON (AZUL NO TAN ROSA) – 114 min
Diego, a young and successful photographer, lives in the glamorous but shallow and excessive world of fashion. A tragic accident turns his world upside down, and leaves his partner Fabrizio in a coma. Unexpectedly, and right at this inopportune time, Diego’s estranged son Armando shows up. Now, both of them have to adapt to each other; Armando to the unknown, homosexual world of his father, and Diego to the closed attitude of his teenage son.
SHORT: BRACE – 24 min
After coming out and leaving his girlfriend, Adam dreams of finding acceptance within London’s gay scene. His burgeoning freedom is soon challenged when he meets Rocky, a handsome stranger who is harboring a secret. As their bond strengthens and Rocky prepares to reveal his secret to Adam, their fledgling romance is ruptured by a cataclysmic event that forces the truth to come out in the most explosive manner.
FEATURE: APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR – 86 min
After being dumped by her girlfriend Maxine, Shirin faces an unimaginable task: trading the idyllic lesbian haven of Park Slope for a shared artist’s loft in Bushwick. Unable to let go of the memories of their excruciating highs and lows, the endearingly superficial narcissist finds herself plotting to win back her ex.
Closing Night Party: Lulu California Bistro
It was quite a scene last night at the United Artists Theatre at the Ace Hotel with a line of attendees down Broadway almost to 9th Street.
This was one hot ticket and it was all for the premiere showing of the new Amazon Studios show Transparent about an LA family with serious boundary issues. They have their past and future unravel when a dramatic admission causes everyone’s secrets to spill out.
It’s no secret that the admission is that the father of three adult children comes out as a transgender female. I won’t spill any of the rest of the secrets but they are pretty wild.
I chatted with the series lead Jeffrey Tambor on the red carpet as well as Judith Light who plays his ex-wife and mother of his children.
‘Jeffrey Tambor is the perfect person to be playing this part. I can’t even begin to tell you the kind of work that he is doing,’ said Light who is also currently starring on TNT’s Dallas and in recent years has won two Tony Awards for her work on Broadway.
Tambor told me that he has had a lot help from the LGBT community in learning and in preparing for his role.
‘This is important, this is a part of a lifetime,’ he said. ‘This is why you went into acting.’
Jay Duplass (pictured, left) who plays the son of Tambor and Light on the show said: ‘These are some of the best actors I’ve ever been around. We felt like a family from the very beginning and I feel so lucky to be a part of it. It’s amazing to be a part of a dramatic series that’s also super funny and also happens to be on the forefront of a civil rights movement.’
Also chatted with series creator and executive producer Jill Soloway (pictured, left) who is so full of passion about this series which will premiere Amazon Prime on September 26.
‘Fuck!’ Soloway said to the crowd once everyone was seated in the theater. ‘I’m going to try and breathe – breathe this in. … This is a movement, this is a moment that is so much bigger than me.’
The show is semi-autobiographical for Soloway who said she has a trans parent ‘who made a break for freedom and authenticity. You led by example and you demanded that I do the same.’
She told the crowd the show is ‘for all the trans people who want to be seen, who deserve to be seen.’
Like a Netflix series, viewers can binge watch all 10 half-hour episodes of this dramedy. We were shown the first two last night and I am hooked.
‘I truly don’t think there’s been anything like this show before,’ Joe Lewis, head of Original Programming at Amazon Studios said before the screening began. ‘What people are going to see next week is really a five-hour movie with nine intermissions.’
On the red carpet, I also gabbed with several actors with recurring roles on the show including Bradley Whitford, Amin Joseph and Carrie Brownstein.
Whitford, the star of The West Wing who most recently starred in Trophy Wife, appears in three episodes of the show.
‘It happens to be something that needs to be talked about and I loved Jill’s ability to deal with issues of sexuality and gender sensitively without being served a plate of vegetables,’ he said.
Joseph said he has never prepared so extensively for a show. Cast members did workshops before filming to get to know each other better.
‘The character exploration was very intense,’ he said. ‘It helped me fund out things about myself as well as the character. I really had an amazing time working on the series.’
Other celebrity guests I spotted at the event included Dana Delaney and Clark Gregg and spotted Larry David, Wilson Cruz, Kate Flannery, Sean Hayes, Jennifer Grey, Sharon Lawrence, Max Carver, Sarah Chalke and Mark Duplass on the red carpet or in the crowd.
Gregg wasn’t really doing press but I got him to come over for a quick chat and he explained why he was there.
‘I’m such a huge fan of everyone involved in this from Jeffrey Tambor to Jill Soloway and I love this pilot. My wife (Jennifer Grey) just did another Amazon pilot called Red Oaks. We’re happy to be in the Amazon family.’
Gregg also happy to be in the Marvel family in the role of Phil Coulson which he has played in the films Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Marvel’s The Avengers and in the television series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC.
‘Even in my wildest nerd fan boy fantasies as a 15 year old Marvel fan, I never could have imagined this. As a fan of those comics, I never even thought they would make movies of these superheroes we grew up with in the 70s and 80s. So to be part of that is a huge deal to me.’