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Outfest 2012: Opening night pics!

I’ve been to 9 or 10 Outfest opening nights now and many of them have been very memorable and wonderful.

I’d put last night’s right up there near or at the top.

It had everything to do with legendary filmmaker John Waters being honored and with the outstanding documentary Vito being screened.

It was an evening that made you really think about being gay, about the people who have paved the way for you and who have shown so much courage, strength, spirit and humor along the way.

Activist and film historian Vito Russo, the subject of the documentary, was an amazing man, a great man, who really followed his heart throughout his life and who really stood for what he believed once it became clear to him what that was: the need to define queer identity and culture.

He is best known for writing landmark book The Celluloid Closet but there is so much more that this heroic man accomplished and was involved with. He was involved in the founding of ACT UP and GLAAD and spoke out for the rights of AIDS patients, which he himself was.

Director Jeffrey Schwartz captures it allĀ  beautifully in Vito. Amazing archival footage, great interviews with the likes of Lily Tomlin, Larry Kramer and Armistead Maupin, and, thank God, all kinds of footage of Vito from speeches and from his days as a television host of a New York City program on gay topics.

I am pictured here with Schwartz (above) after the screening and got to tell him how deeply moved we all were by the movie. It will premiere on HBO on July 23 and it really is a much-needed history lesson for us all. But it’s a history lesson that will go down easy because it is all so damned interesting. It’s funny at times, unbelievably sad at times, and very inspiring throughout.

Everyone seemed to be in a little more of a thoughtful mood at the after-party which was held in back of the Orpheum Theatre again after a few years of ill-advised moves to other nearby downtown venues.

I saw so many friends and bumped into a large number of Greg In Hollywood readers (I love to meet readers so always come and say hello!).

There were also plenty of celebrities on hand including Michael Urie, Johnny Knoxville, Peter Paige, producer Dan Jinks, and director Gregg Araki who I was seated with during the film and the presentation to John Waters (see details about that HERE).

Here is a guide to the photos on this page: 1. Glorious Orpheum Theatre marquee 2. Me with Vito director Jeffrey Schwartz 3. Haley Joel Osmont who is one of the stars of Sassy Pants 4. Rex Lee who appears briefly in the short film Something Real 5. Lance Bass who is in the documentary Mississippi: I Am 6. Bruce Vilanch who is in Vito and the short Something Real with David Pevsner who is in Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean 7. Director Glenn Gaylord with one of his I Do stars Alicia Witt 8. Me with actor Gerald McCullouch, one of the stars of BearCity 2: The Proposal 9. Honoree John Waters 10. Presenter Ricki Lake.


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