Hugh Jackman, Janelle Monáe, Regina King, Pose sensation and fashion trailblazer Billy Porter, groundbreaking trans actress Laverne Cox, Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy and vaunted political satirist John Oliver are among the slew of actors, comics and performers lending cheer to GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics’ inaugural Dorians TV Toast 2020 on Revry, airing Sunday, September 13th on the first LGBTQ+ global streaming network Revry.
In the two-hour star-studded virtual event, hosted by famously opinionated entertainer and talk show host Karel, fans will find out which stars and TV shows the LGBTQ+ organization’s 270 members deemed the best, most visually stunning and even campiest of the past TV season. In addition to raising a glass to the honorees—many of whom delight in virtual acceptance videos—GALECA members discuss the nominees’ merits and even controversies (Randy Rainbow and Tiger King don’t get off lightly).
Going into Revry’s September 13th special, star and co-creator Dan Levy’s riches-to-rags comedy Schitt’s Creek leads the pack with seven nominations, while Hollywood whiz Ryan Murphy’s ambitious, star-studded reimagining of Tinseltown’s early days sashays down the red carpet with six nods. The fact-based TV movie Bad Education and daring miniseries Watchmen each have four Dorian nominations, with the HBO titles’ respective stars, Jackman and King, earning best performance nominations. Singer and actress Monáe, now seen in the centuries-spanning horror film Antebellum, and Porter share a nomination for TV Musical Performance of the Year for their vibrant opening number in this year’s Academy Awards telecast. The full list of contenders, across 14 categories, can be found at DoriansToast.com.
Helping present the TV Dorians: Drag icon Shangela (star of HBO’s We’re Here), What We Do in the Shadows’ vampire-slayer Harvey Guillén; DailyMailTV and Gay Good News host and groundbreaking cable news anchor Thomas Roberts; actor and music artist Alex Newell (Glee and NBC’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist); RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars champion Chad Michaels; multi-hyphenate Josh Thomas of the hit Freeform sitcom, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay; actress-comedian Margaret Cho; veteran talk radio host and Sexy Liberal podcast network founder Stephanie Miller; legendary saxophonist Dave Koz; acclaimed actress and jazz singer Lea DeLaria (Orange is the New Black); rising stars Rafael Casal and Kate Rose Wilburn; and iconic comic Bruce Vilanch.Revry personalities Shira Lazar and Andy Lalwani, of the news and pop culture series What’s Trending, will also be on deck offering insightful commentary.
“It’s really incredible how the industry has so positively responded to our show,” said outspoken host and producer, Karel (otherwise known as Charles Karel Bouley). “While COVID has definitely created challenges, it’s also strangely brought us together in a global way: We’ve got Alex Newell in Canada, Laverne Cox in New York, Lea DeLaria in LA, Margaret Cho in her back yard and even a surprise from Ireland! A pub is a place that brings people together, and we think Oscar Wilde would approve of our virtual Plan B.” “Revry is honored to host the exclusive premiere of the star-studded Dorians TV Toast 2020 on Revry and to stream the show worldwide on our queer network,” said Christopher J. Rodriguez, Esq., Revry co-founder and CBO. “We believe that representation saves lives and while our network focuses on uplifting LGBTQ+ entertainment within queer culture, GALECA has been essential in pushing the broader entertainment industry towards increased representation of LGBTQ+ people in mainstream media. This partnership creates the perfect bridge between these two worlds and allows GALECA and Revry to honor our allies in the industry on a network made by and for our community.” The Society’s Dorian Awards, which in the past have gone to both film and television titles combined, announced the nominees for its first separate Dorian TV Awards on June 30. The Dorians are awarded to both general and LGBTQ content, reminding bigots, bullies and at-risk youth that the world looks to the Q eye for leads on great entertainment. “With September being Suicide Prevention Month and next month being LGBTQ History Month, this is a lovely and loving time to celebrate not just great television, but also how ‘rainbow’ journalists have boosted Hollywood from day one,” said John Griffiths, GALECA.org’s Executive Director and Founder. “Be they black, Latinx, indigenous, white, bi, trans, nonbinary or several of the above, queer entertainment critics and reporters have a distinct perspective born of their culture and oppression that has shaped all of the arts for the better. People should know that—and they will thanks to Revry.”
GALECA members offering their opinions in what host Karel calls his “virtual pub” include Tre’vell Anderson (Cohost, Maximum Fun’s FANTI podcast), Kevin Fallon (Senior Writer, The Daily Beast), Eric Andersson (Senior Writer, TV Guide Magazine), Tracy E. Gilchrist (Co-Editor in Chief, The Advocate), Liz Shannon Miller (Senior TV Editor, Collider), Dino-Ray Ramos (Associate Editor, Deadline), Erik Anderson (Editor in Chief of Awards Watch), Jose Bastidas (Assistant Entertainment Editor, The San Francisco Chronicle), Tariq Raouf (Entertainment Queerlypodcast), as well as freelance journalists Ren Jender, Manuel Betancourt, Topher Gauk-Roger and Griffiths (former longtime TV critic for Us Weekly).
Chiming in as well with lively comments are former CNN Headline News show host Jane Velez-Mitchell, legendary showbiz columnist Michael Musto and Revry co-founder Wadooah Wali, all GALECA Advisory Board members. The Emmy-winning Velez-Mitchell, now a crusader for animal rights, veganism and the environment via her #JaneUnchained initiative, is one of five media experts to recently join the Society’s list of advisors. The others are Shane Michael Singh, former executive editor of Playboy turned brand partnerships and development manager at the LGBTQ youth charity The Trevor Project; groundbreaking black film critic and former VH1 talk show host Bobby Rivers; Nick McCarthy, director of programming for the NewFest LGBTQ film festival; and Gil Robertson, co-founder and president of the African American Film Critics Association.
The show is produced and created by Karel.Media, whose creative team includes Brandon Riley Miiller (High the Series, Life In Segments) and talent liaison Makiko Ushiyama, with awards design by Karel and Jason Young of Pearl Image. The special includes an original theme tune: The cozy and festive “Toast,” with music by Morgan Mallory and lyrics by Karel. Viewers can also hear what Karel calls a “power-pub” version of the song, “Toast 2,” performed by Las Vegas-based Irish band The Black Donnellys, featuring a new melody and an added stanza by Donnelly’s frontperson Dave Rooney.
And the Dorians special will include a special message from siblings Rosanna and David Arquette in support of the Alexis Arquette Family Foundation and its missions to offer care and support of the LGBTQ+ community and reflect its namesake’s belief that the arts can transform lives.
The show will air Sunday, Sept. 13 at 8pm EST, 5pm PST for free on Revry, the LGBTQ+ streaming network, available globally at watch.revry.tv. For more information about the Society and its Dorians Toast, visit GALECA.org and DoriansToast.com. For Commercial Promos and Photo Assets click HERE.
Celebrities set to appear: Hugh JackmanRegina KingRafael CasalMargaret ChoLaverne CoxLea DeLariaHarvey Guillén Dave KozDan LevyDamon LindelofChad MichaelsStephanie MillerAnnie MurphyMichael MustoAlex NewellJohn OliverJanell MonáeBilly PorterShangelaThomas RobertsFiona ShawJosh ThomasJane Velez-MitchellBruce VilanchKate Rose Wilburn About GALECAGALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics’ Dorian Awards, a nonprofit professional organization, was founded in 2009. Today, GALECA consists of 270 active critics and journalists who write on entertainment for major and distinctly unique media outlets in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K. Visit GALECA.org for more info, and support us @DorianAwards on Twitter and Facebook and @Dorian_Awards on Instagram.
GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics is a member of CGEM: Critics Groups for Equality in Media, an alliance of underrepresented entertainment journalists and Time’s Up’s CRITICAL database. For more information, visit CGEMCritics.org.
About RevryWatch Queer TV 24/7 with the first LGBTQ+ virtual cable TV network. Revry offers free live TV channels and on-demand viewing of its global library featuring LGBTQ+ movies, shows, music, podcasts, news, and exclusive originals all in one place! Revry is currently available globally in over 250+ million households and devices and on seven OTT, mobile, and Desktop platforms. Revry can also be viewed on nine live and on-demand channels and Connected TVs including: The Roku Channel, Samsung TV Plus, Comcast Xfinity X1, Dell, XUMO TV, Zapping TV, STIRR, TiVo+, and as the first LGBTQ+ virtual reality channel on Littlstar (available on PlayStation devices). The company–an inaugural member of the Goldman Sachs Black and LatinX Cohort–is headquartered in Los Angeles and led by a diverse founding team who bring decades of experience in the fields of tech, digital media, and LGBTQ+ advocacy. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @revrytv.Revry.tv
Frameline announced the full program for Frameline44—the world’s largest virtual LGBTQ+ film festival—taking place Thursday, September 17 through Sunday, September 27, 2020. This 11-day virtual event will feature 10 world premieres, four international premieres, three North American premieres, and one US premiere, including new narrative features, documentaries, episodics, and shorts programs. In addition, ticket holders will have access to special live and pre-recorded intros, Q&As, and other unique programming, including Frameline’s first-ever virtual gala and live auction (Saturday, September 26), to evoke the live festival experience that has made Frameline the global leader in LGBTQ+ cinema for the past 44 years. Tickets ($8–$12 per screening) and passes (starting at $250) are available now online at frameline.org. This year’s all-virtual platform is open to ticket holders anywhere throughout California. To ensure maximum flexibility, ticket holders will be able to tune in live to each screening or stream nearly every film at any time during the 11-day festival.
Frameline44 will bring film lovers and LGBTQ+ communities from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond together online to discover the latest in queer cinema. Representing 23 countries—from Argentina, France, and Côte d’Ivoire to Nigeria, Taiwan, and New Zealand— this year’s slate of films will touch on
themes ranging from the activist roots of pre-Stonewall LGBTQ rights pioneers to Black Lives Matter; and stories ranging from teenage awakenings to queer love in old age. Highlights include the world premiere Drive-In Centerpiece, D’Arcy Drollinger’s Shit & Champagne, featuring the who’s who of drag, including the one-and-only Alaska Thunderfuck; the world premiere of HBO Max’s Equal: Episodes 2 & 3, directed (respectively) by Kimberly Reed and Stephen Kijak and featuring Samira Wiley, Keiynan Lonsdale, and Alexandra Grey; the world premiere Frameline44 Centerpiece, Lauren Fash’s Through the Glass Darkly,featuring Robyn Lively and Shanola Hampton; films that touch on the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, including the Toronto International Film Festival favorite and Frameline44 Centerpiece, Ali LeRoi’s The Obituary of Tunde Johnson; Elegance Bratton’s timely documentary, Pier Kids, that highlights queer and trans homeless youth on the West Village’s piers; and Ashley O’Shay’s inspiring documentary, Unapologetic, highlighting Black feminist voices who stand up to police violence and usher in change; the Tribeca Film Festival multi-award winner, Cowboys, featuring Steve Zahn, Jillian
Bell, and Ann Dowd; and Laurie Lynd’s Killing Patient Zero, the groundbreaking exposé of how a Canadian flight attendant became vilified as the “man who brought AIDS to North America,” and San Francisco journalist Randy Shilts’ complex role in that story.
“Frameline remains the largest virtual LGBTQ+ film festival in the world,” said James Woolley, Frameline Executive Director. “As trailblazers in the industry for over four decades, Frameline continues raising the bar through virtual and interactive programming ensuring important LGBTQ+ stories are being told to a wider audience. Building on the success of our virtual Pride Showcase in June, we have assembled a lineup of films that promise to engage, inspire, and entertain film lovers across California.”
“Although we are not able to gather in person, the need to be inspired, and to share one another’s stories
of LGBTQ+ lives around the globe, is even more palpable,” adds
. “Representing 23 countries from around the world, this year’s lineup touches
on a variety of themes, including the urgency of Black Lives Matter, all with one goal in mind—to
celebrate the power of queer storytelling. This will be my last festival with Frameline. Thanks for a
charming past 3 years and all my very best for another 44 years of showcasing the best LGBTQ+ cinema.”
Exhibition & Programming
* * * Links for film stills and press kits can be found HERE * * *
Paul Struthers, Frameline Director of
SHIT & CHAMPAGNE dir. D’Arcy Drollinger | USA | World Premiere San Francisco’s own drag queen extraordinaire D’Arcy Drollinger swaps the stage for the screen in their first feature film, a wacky send-up of 70s sexploitation flicks with a supporting cast of all-star drag talent. Drollinger stars as the infamous Champagne, an intrepid stripper who finds herself embroiled in a wild plot involving booty bumps, an evil retail chain store, murder, and wigs galore. Shit & Champagne will be screened exclusively at the West Wind Solano Drive-In in Concord, CA.
ALICE JÚNIOR dir. Gil Baroni |Brazil | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In Portuguese with English subtitles In this fizzy, warm-hearted coming-of-age tale from Brazil, trans teen Internet sensation Alice must trade in her enviable beachside lifestyle in Recife for a traditional Catholic high school when her family relocates to a conservative rural town. Finding herself a victim of misgendering and bullying by her classmates, Alice uses her confidence and sass to find a new circle of supportive friends as she desperately pines for her first real kiss.
THE OBITUARY OF TUNDE JOHNSON dir. Ali LeRoi | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere Gay Black teenager Tunde Johnson (13 Reasons Why’s Steven Silver, in a mesmerizing performance) keeps waking up on the last day of his life to once more relive his death at the hands of killer cops. Timely and urgent, The Obituary of Tunde Johnson updates the Groundhog Day structure with a riveting tale at the intersection of anti-Black police violence and the resurgence of homophobia in the Trump era.
THROUGH THE GLASS DARKLY dir. Lauren Fash | USA | World Premiere Since the sudden disappearance of her daughter a year ago, Charlie (Robyn Lively of both Teen Witch and Twin Peaks fame) has never stopped searching the sleepy Georgia hamlet where she lives with her partner. When the granddaughter of the town’s matriarch vanishes, Charlie sets out to find answers. As she digs into the community’s dark past, Charlie must come face to face with her own destructive secrets in this tense psychological thriller.
BEAUTIFUL DREAMER dir. Amy Glazer | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere Starring Erin Daniels of The L Word and adapted from Patricia Cotter’s play, The Surrogate, Beautiful Dreamer is a charming, light-hearted dramedy about family, friendship, and love within a tight-knit group of fortysomethings, shot in and around the Bay Area. Over the course of several months, these friends try to juggle planning a wedding, having a baby through a surrogate, and finishing a novel while relying on each other for much-needed support.
CICADA dirs. Matthew Fifer & Kieran Mulcare | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere After a torrent of hollow and unsatisfying hookups, charming New Yorker Ben (writer-director Matthew Fifer) forms an unexpectedly meaningful bond with silky-voiced Sam during the muggy cicada summer of 2013. As the two men grow closer and more vulnerable, at a time when disturbing details from the trial of coach Jerry Sandusky permeate the airwaves, past traumas are revealed and confronted in this personal and affecting debut feature.
COWBOYS dir. Anna Kerrigan | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere Troy (a dynamite Steve Zahn, who won the Best Actor prize at Tribeca) escapes to the Canadian border on horseback with his golden-haired, 11-year-old son Joe. How did these “cowboys” wind up here? Unfolding clue by clue through flashbacks, this moving, suspenseful feature from writer-director Anna Kerrigan skillfully tells the story of a contemporary family struggling with how best to raise a transgender child. Jillian Bell, Ann Dowd, and remarkable trans newcomer Sasha Knight also star.
GOSSAMER FOLDS dir. Lisa Donato | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere Featuring an excellent ensemble cast of familiar faces and original songs from Sarah McLachlan, the directorial debut of Lisa Donato (co-screenwriter of festival fave Signature Move, Frameline41) is a heartfelt tale of big dreams and unlikely friendships, set in Missouri circa 1986. Newly relocated to the suburbs, 9-year-old Tate sparks a strong bond with two of his neighbors—a Black transwoman and her retired English professor father—as he tries to adjust to his new surroundings and his parents’ crumbling marriage.
MINYAN dir. Eric Steel | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere David is a 17-year-old yeshiva student living with his Russian Jewish immigrant family in 1980s Brooklyn. Stifled by the constraints of his conservative community, David begins seeking solace in an East Village gay bar, leading not only to a sexual awakening but a spiritual one as well, in this tender and evocative portrait of self-discovery.
SHIVA BABY dir. Emma Seligman | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere Played by breakout newcomer Rachel Sennott (Tahara, Frameline44 Pride Showcase), Danielle is a sexually-liberated, bisexual post-grad trying to find her footing in life…one paying sugar daddy at a time. When she reluctantly finds herself at a shiva with her parents and her overachieving ex-girlfriend, Danielle gets caught in a series of hilariously awkward encounters that’s made exponentially worse with the arrival of her current, paying beau.
COCOON (KOKON) dir. Leonie Krippendorff | Germany | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In German with English subtitles The summer of 2018 is the hottest ever recorded in Berlin. For 14-year-old Nora, it’s also the summer she discovers her sexuality. With an absentee mother who drinks too much and an older sister more interested in boys than hanging around with her kid sister, Nora is left to her caterpillar collection and her burgeoning feelings for a fellow classmate, Romy, in this bittersweet and accomplished coming-of-age story.
DRY WIND (VENTO SECO) dir. Daniel Nolasco | Brazil | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In Portuguese with English subtitles Set in a neon fantasia of erotic exploration, Dry Wind follows the yearnings (both kinky and tender) of Sandro, a shy, hunky bear who spices up his mundane life working in a factory in dusty central Brazil with vivid sexual encounters, both real and imagined. Sandro’s giddy array of fetishes and fantasies, and even the prospect of love, come dazzlingly to life in this visually arresting film, one of the hot queer tickets at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival.
ELLIE & ABBIE (& ELLIE’S DEAD AUNT) dir. Monica Zanetti | Australia | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere Experiencing her first real crush, high schooler Ellie calls upon the universe to help guide her through it. Enter Tara, Ellie’s dead aunt, who reappears only to her to help her navigate the awkward travails of coming out and falling in love. Monica Zanetti’s delightful romantic comedy is a hilarious and sincere exploration of first love and the family legacies that live inside of us throughout generations.
FORGOTTEN ROADS (LA NAVE DEL OLVIDO) dir. Nicol Ruiz Benavides | Chile | World Premiere In Spanish with English subtitles After her husband’s death, repressed widow Claudina meets the independent and married Elsa, and this new friendship quickly develops into a full-fledged romance. In the gossipy Chilean town of Lautaro, however, the women’s relationship doesn’t stay secret for long, and Claudina must choose between her old life and the open road ahead in this delicate coming-of-(older)-age film that’s brimming with sweetness and vitality.
THE GODDESS OF FORTUNE (LA DEA FORTUNA) dir. Ferzan Ozpetek | Italy | West Coast Premiere In Italian with English subtitles Just as their 15-year relationship appears to have hit a lull, gay partners Arturo and Alessandro find their lives thrown for a loop when their friend (and Alessandro’s ex-girlfriend) asks them to look after her two adolescent children. A trio of Italy’s brightest stars lead a stellar cast in the latest film from Turkish-Italian auteur Ferzan Ozpetek (Facing Windows; Steam: The Turkish Bath, Frameline22)—a warm, engaging tale about the true meaning of “chosen family,” which juggles interpersonal drama with a healthy dose of humor and heart.
MONSOON dir. Hong Khaou | UK | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In English and Vietnamese with English subtitles For the first time since his family fled during the Vietnam-American War, Kit (Crazy Rich Asians heartthrob Henry Golding) returns to his native Saigon to scatter his parents’ ashes. Ashe navigates this unfamiliar new land, Kit reconnects with estranged family members and strikes up a budding romance with a handsome ex-pat (World on Fire’s Parker Sawyers), embarking on a personal journey to understand his true roots in the long-awaited sophomore feature from Hong Khaou (Lilting, Frameline38).
NO HARD FEELINGS (FUTUR DREI) dir. Faraz Shariat | Germany | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In German, Persian, and Arabic with English subtitles A young German-Iranian raver forms an inseparable bond with two Iranian immigrant siblings over the course of a summer, as threat of deportation looms and a secret romance becomes too explosive to contain, in this year’s winner of the prestigious Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. Filmmaker Faraz Shariat’s exuberant, heartfelt, and slyly funny autobiographical debut shines an empathetic and hopeful light on a generation of displaced youth finding their place in the world
RIALTO dir. Peter Mackie Burns | Ireland, UK | West Coast Premiere After an unexpected encounter in a public bathroom, Colm—a working-class Dublin family man struggling in midlife, played powerfully by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Avengers: Endgame)—becomes enamored with the charismatic, much younger gay-for-pay Jay (Dunkirk’s Tom Glynn-Carney). As Colm’s personal troubles mount and his interest in Jay grows more complicated, Rialto becomes a deeply affecting portrait of a crisis of masculinity.
RŪRANGI dir. Max Currie | New Zealand | International Premiere In English and Māori with English subtitles Trans activist Caz has a lot of explaining to do when he returns home to rural New Zealand after being away for 10 years. Reconnecting with his estranged father, confused ex-boyfriend, and hurt best friend— on top of an environmental crisis that’s threatening the farming community—Caz may have bitten off more than he can chew. The filmmaking team’s #byusandaboutusmission of genuine trans representation is unmistakable, making Rūrangi an authentic celebration not to be missed!
TWO OF US (DEUX) dir. Filippo Meneghetti | France, Luxembourg, Belgium | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In French with English subtitles The closet has dire consequences in this heart-wrenching tale of Mado and Nina, two older lesbians who haven’t disclosed their relationship to the kids yet. When an unexpected crisis puts Mado’s children in charge of their mother, Nina finds herself shunted aside, and her attempts to rescue her relationship with
Mado turn increasingly desperate. German screen icon Barbara Sukowa stars in this sizzling feature debut from director Filippo Meneghetti.
AHEAD OF THE CURVE dir. Jen Rainin | USA From its start in 1990, Curve Magazine was a visionary and unapologetic celebration of lesbian life from cover to cover. When faced with the magazine’s possible end in 2018, director Jen Rainin and Curve founder Franco Stevens explore questions of lesbian visibility and legacy through interviews with contemporary LGBTQ+ tastemakers, “celesbians” (including Jewelle Gomez, Kate Kendall, and Lea Delaria) and rich archival footage of the formation of a lesbian cultural institution.
CURED dirs. Patrick Sammon & Bennett Singer | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere For most of the 20th century, being homosexual in America meant you could be clinically diagnosed as mentally ill and subject to drastic medical interventions posing as “cures.” This riveting documentary reveals the inspiring efforts of a courageous band of gay and lesbian activists in the 1960s-70s, who challenged the American psychiatric establishment to remove the stigma of mental illness from the medical books, and by extension, to free LGBTQ+ people everywhere.
KEYBOARD FANTASTIES: THE BEVERLY GLENN-COPELAND STORY dir. Posy Dixon | UK | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In 1986 in a rural town in Ontario, Glenn Copeland recorded a new sound that paired folk-electronic music with his classically trained voice. He sold two dozen cassette tapes of Keyboard Fantasies, and that was that. Except that it wasn’t. Three decades later, a rare-record collector in Japan discovered the album and sets into motion Glenn’s resurgence into the music scene through intergenerational collaboration and sold-out live performances around the world.
KILLING PATIENT ZERO dir. Laurie Lynd | Canada | West Coast Premiere This groundbreaking documentary about a public health panic offers a dual portrait of Gaëtan Dugas, the Canadian flight attendant villainized as “The Monster Who Brought AIDS to North America,” and San Francisco journalist Randy Shilts, who mythologized Dugas as “Patient Zero” in And the Band Played On. Superb as both original queer history and a corrective to long-held public perceptions, the film shines an empathetic light on a generation traumatized by a virus and by society’s blame—uncannily appropriate for our time.
PIER KIDS dir. Elegance Bratton | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere Former “pier kid” Elegance Bratton creates a raw, kaleidoscopic portrait of the queer and trans homeless youth who have carved out space for themselves on the West Village’s piers. This vérité style documentary lets its subjects tell their own stories of struggle and survival, revealing a “world within a world” impossible to ignore.
TRANSHOOD dir. Sharon Liese | USA | West Coast Premiere What was it like being a trans youth between 2015-2019 in the age of Snapchat, bathroom bills, the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the Trump presidency, and the years following the “Transgender Tipping Point?” This feature documentary follows four youths—Avery, Leena, Phoenix, and Jay—as they navigate not only childhood and teenagehood but also change what it means to grow up transgender in this US.
UNAPOLOGETIC dir. Ashley O’Shay | USA | West Coast Premiere Seen through the eyes of two Black, queer women organizers—aspiring social worker Janaé and West Side artist and “rap-tivist” Bella—Unapologetic is a film about “Black girl magic,” offering a lyrical and urgent portrait of the Black Lives Matter movement in Chicago. Produced by Frameline favorite Yvonne Welbon, Ashley O’Shay’s inspirational documentary points its camera at the Black feminist voices standing up to police violence and ushering a progressive change in political leadership in their city and state.
SPOTLIGHT ON TAIWAN
Spotlight on Taiwan is supported by Ministry of Culture, Taiwan (R.O.C.) and Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles
TAIWAN EQUALS LOVE dir. Sophia Yen | Taiwan | World Premiere In Mandarin with English subtitles Just as the LGBTQ+ community in the US was celebrating the legalization of same-sex marriage, the struggle for the same rights was unfolding across the globe in Taiwan. Director Sophia Yen combines the political with the personal as she documents the clash between marriage equality activists and their opponents through a deeply affecting portrait of three couples.
THE TEACHER (WO DE LING HUN SHI AI ZUO DE) dir. Ming Lang Chen | Taiwan In Mandarin with English subtitles This fresh romantic drama takes us boldly into the streets and bedrooms of today’s Taipei. Kevin is a 26- year-old high school civics teacher, comfortably out as a gay man, attending rallies for same-sex marriage and romantically involved with an older married man. But when he dares to bring up gay rights in his classroom, he finds he is putting both his job and relationship in jeopardy.
EQUAL: EPISODES 2 & 3 — Frameline is proud to partner with HBO Max to present a sneak preview of Equal, a documentary series on the pioneers of LGBTQ+ rights who helped change the course of American history through their activism. Join us for two of the series’ episodes, each followed by a discussion. EQUAL is executive produced and led by Scout Productions’ Emmy Award-winning team David Collins, Academy Award® winner Michael Williams (The Fog of War) and Rob Eric (Queer Eye) and Joel Chiodi along with Emmy nominated Berlanti Productions’ Greg Berlanti (Love, Simon, Arrow, Riverdale, The Flash) and Sarah Schechter (Supergirl, Riverdale), Emmy and Golden Globe® winner Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory, The Normal Heart, The Boys in the Band) and Emmy nominee Todd Spiewak (Special, Young Sheldon, A Kid Like Jake) from That’s Wonderful Productions, Jon Jashni (Lost in Space)
from Raintree Ventures, and Mike Darnell and Brooke Karzen, Warner Horizon Unscripted Television.
• EQUAL: EPISODE 2 dir. Kimberly Reed | USA | World Premiere The 1966 riot at San Francisco’s Compton’s Cafeteria by a community of trans women, drag queens, and other gender-nonconforming folk frames the incredible stories of three trans people from the across the ages: Christine Jorgensen (Jamie Clayton), Lucy Hicks Anderson (Alexandra Grey), and Jack Starr (Theo Germaine).
• EQUAL: EPISODE 3 dir. Stephen Kijak | USA | World Premiere The intersection of Civil Rights & Gay Rights—struggles on a national, local, and personal level— we meet three very different activists: Lorraine Hansberry (Samira Wiley), Bayard Rustin (Keiynan Lonsdale), and José Sarria (Jai Rodriguez) and learn about the largest gay rights demonstration in history (and no, it’s not Stonewall…).
CHOSEN FAM: SEASON 1 dirs. Natalie Tsui & Lindsay Sunanda | USA | World Premiere Within the (very) underground Bay Area music scene, QTPOC indie band Chosen Fam is struggling make a name for themselves. When the band lands a gig opening for their heroes, singer-songwriter-bassist Cody, guitarist Maddox, drummer Dani, and band manager Evie start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, all while juggling romantic up-and-downs and an escalating rivalry with another queer group. This hilarious, charming, and quirky episodic will have you immediately hooked!
ANIMATION SHORTS — This year’s animation package features the best from around the world, including films which premiered at the Tribeca, Berlinale, and Locarno Film Festivals. We will take you through a young loner’s melodic and mystical urban journey, intimate and cross-generational conversations of vulnerability and shame, stories of legendary transgender spirits imbued in healing stones, buoyant scenes of voguing, and memorable live concert moments.
KAPAEMAHU dirs. Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer & Joe Wilson | USA In Hawaiian with English subtitles Legend tells us that long ago four spirits came to Hawaii and healed the people. Now all that remains are the stones, and the spirits if we remember them. From the makers of Leitis in Waiting (Frameline42) and Kumu Hina (Frameline38).
HOUSE OF [AS] dir. Leah Shore | USA | West Coast Premiere An homage to BALL/Vogue made for Adult Swim.
GENIUS LOCI dir. Adrien Mérigeau | France In French with English subtitles There is chaos everywhere: in her head and outside, in the big city. Things are taking on a life of their own. Young Reine is on the search, but she does not know what she is looking for. In delicate drawings and fluid animations, we see the world through her eyes and her perception becomes tangible.
THE SHAWL dir. Sara Kiener | USA An animated short film starring real-life lovers Shane O’Neill and Dusty Lynn Childers, who recount how their long-distance romance blossomed with the help of Stevie Nicks’ lip-synch videos.
CWCH DEILEN dir. Efa Blosse-Mason | UK | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In Welsh with English subtitles Learning to love someone can be scary, but it can also lead to the most marvelous adventure. With a striking illustrative style, writer-director Efa Blosse-Mason tells the story of Heledd and Celyn who navigate the undiscovered and murky waters of entering a new relationship.
PURPLEBOY dir. Alexandre Siqueira | Portugal, France, Belgium Oscar is a child who sprouts in his parents’ garden. Nobody knows his biological sex but he claims the masculine gender. One day Oscar lives an extraordinary but painful adventure in an authoritarian and oppressive world. Will he manage to have the identity recognition he desires so much?
UMBILICAL dir. Danski Tang | USA, China In Mandarin with English subtitles An animated documentary exploring how a mother’s abusive relationship shaped the director’s own experiences in boarding school.
I BLEED (SANGRO) dirs. Tiago Minamisawa, Bruno H. Castro & Guto BR| Brazil | West Coast Premiere In Portuguese with English subtitles Inspired by a true story, I Bleed—winner of the Silver Hugo for Best Animated Short at the Chicago International Film Festival—is the intimate confession of a person living with HIV. Whirlwind of emotions. The first sensations. An animation film which tries to demystify issues that, to this day, persist in society’s imagination about the virus.
FLESH (CARNE) dir. Camila Kater | Brazil | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In Portuguese with English subtitles Rare, medium rare, medium, medium well and well done. Through intimate and personal stories, five women share their experiences in relation to the body, from childhood to old age.BI CANDY — Everyone’s favorite bisexual shorts program has returned! Follow these daring non- monosexuals as they look for love in the most unlikely times and places— from funerals to musicals to state-mandated lockdowns. These shorts are a celebration of how bisexual attraction, distraction, and shenanigans can defy all odds. Curated by Allegra and April Hirschman.
BING! BANG! BI! dir. Jessica Huras | Canada | World Premiere Bing! Bang! Bi! is a comedy about a struggling actor who takes a stance on her bisexuality at an inopportune moment.
SO LONG, PARIS! dir. Charles Dudoignon-Valade | France | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In French with English subtitles A bittersweet comedy about a fanciful and rebellious pre-teen who ends up accepting her parents’ divorce after an unexpected encounter with her dad’s male lover. Co-starring Arthur Igual (4 Days in France, Frameline42).
A SINGLE EVENING dir. Ashlei Hardenburg-Cartagena | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere A Single Evening is a queer musical short film about dating and loneliness. Minnie, an annoyed and single bisexual woman, navigates her way through yet another lonely night while personified dating apps serenade her with songs about her inability to find love.
TENDER dir. Felicia Pride |USA After an unexpected one night stand, two women at very different stages of their lives, share an even more intimate morning after.
HEY STRANGER dir. Andrew Fuchs | USA |West Coast Premiere Grace is a “normal” woman, or at least that’s what her partner Jack would like her to be. After he confides his fear that she might be attracted to women, Grace is unable to reassure him because,
frankly, she doesn’t know. A rendezvous with a beautiful stranger shows Grace that a part of
herself she’s long kept hidden might not be as scary as it seemed.
SWIPE UP, VIVIAN! dir. Hannah Welever | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In this inventive sci-fi romcom, two agoraphobic women find love via a virtual dating app.
THE MISTRESS (LA AMANTE) dir. Pati Cruz | Puerto Rico | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In Spanish with English subtitles During her husband’s funeral, Maritere receives an unexpected visit from Angela, whose presence re-awakens feelings from the past.ENBY LOVE: NON-BINARY SHORTS — Welcome the genderqueers, genderfluids, and the in-betweens to Frameline’s first non-binary shorts program! Featuring claymation, an office lottery pool gone wrong, a trans-national fencing team, an androgynous queer utopia, an impromptu lesson in gender neutral pronouns at the gynecologist, a trans/NB backpacking trip, and growing mermaid scales, these films are a reminder that we all define our non-binary genders—and therefore our lives—for ourselves.
EYES dir. Lily Ash Sakula | UK | North American Premiere This mix-media animation about moving though the world when your gender doesn’t conform to the binary explores the tension between being looked at and being seen, through a day in the life of Jig. A collaboration with the young people of Project Indigo, a queer youth group based in Hackney.
2 DOLLARS dir. Robin Cloud | USA | West Coast Premiere
PARRY RIPOSTE dir. Goldie Micomonaco | Canada | World Premiere
COUSIN JOHN – THE ARRIVAL dir. Tom C J Brown | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere
THESE THEMS: EPISODE 1 dir. Jett Garrison | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere
VENTURE OUT dirs. Jamie DiNicola, Palmer Morse, & Matt Mikkelsen | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere Venture Out is a story of overcoming odds, the power of resilience, and ultimately, the ever- lasting effects of LGBTQ+ community building. In sharing Perry Cohen’s story, we get a glimpse into the healing qualities of nature and life-saving community bonds that are being forged as a result of Cohen’s work with The Venture Out Project, a nonprofit that brings LGBTQ+ people together outdoors on wilderness trips.
Syd is a Black, queer, masculine of center artist working a soul sucking office job to pay the bills.
Syd’s coworkers are ignorant, their boss is a performative #bosslady feminist, and they just got
slammed with more work and no raise. So when a lottery loving coworker convinces them to
enter yet another office pool, Syd cashes in on leaving the office life a little too soon.
The trans-national fencing team arrives to practice to find their studio destroyed. They must fix
the studio, go to competition, and process their trauma—all while trying to make space for
themselves in the sport of fencing.
While Cousin John is away in the City, the residents of The Carrington House Hotel in upstate New
York yearn for his return in this film posing as a music video.
In Episode 1 of These Thems, a queer comedy series that dives head first into the NYC
lesbian/GNC scene, an impromptu lesson in gender neutral pronouns comes about during a trip
to the gynecologist.
• MY BROTHER IS A MERMAID dir. Alfie Dale | UK | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere My Brother Is a Mermaid is a social realist fairytale about a trans-feminine teenager, as seen through the eyes of their 7-year-old brother. Set in a desolate and prejudiced coastal town, the film examines how a child’s unconditional love can be a powerful and disruptive force for good.
ENCOUNTERS: INTERNATIONAL SHORT DRAMAS — An encounter can be sexy, heartbreaking or dangerous, anywhere in the world. These compelling international dramas showcase the best in global LGBTQ+ storytelling. Whether a fight on a Parisian rooftop or a pointed Moscow farewell; through the experiences of a trans kid in Argentina, a baby dyke in Denmark, or a gay Afghan asylum seeker…these touching films will expand your world.
TRIBUNAL dir. Mason Fleming | Australia | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In English and Persian with English subtitles A gay Afghan asylum seeker facing a hostile tribunal finds that his fate is in the hands of his interpreter, in this darkly comic drama inspired by actual Australian court proceedings.
BABYDYKE (BABYLEBBE) dir. Tone Ottilie | Denmark | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In Danish with English subtitles When teenager Frede begs her older sister to let her come along to a queer club, she has a clear agenda: she wants to impress the girl she’s crushing on. Being labeled by the older girls as “babydyke” isn’t going to help, in what will be a pivotal night of growing up.
SOUP (СУП) dir. Inga Sukhorukova | Russia | North American Premiere In Russian with English subtitles Sometimes a bowl of soup is more than a bowl of soup. Special Jury Mention at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
THE EDGE (4 FROMAGES) dir. David Chausse | France | International Premiere In French with English subtitles A pizza delivery snafu throws together two incompatible people trapped on a Paris rooftop.
ENCOUNTER (ENCUENTRO) dir. Ivan Löwenberg | Mexico | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In Spanish with English subtitles Arcelia and Lulu have been together for 40 years. Across town, teenager Julian is beginning to explore his identity. Their lives are about to intersect.
THE NAME OF THE SON (EL NOMBRE DEL HIJO) dir. Martina Matzkin | Argentina In Spanish with English subtitles A trans son and his father’s search for connection. Winner of both the Crystal Bear and Special Prize for Best Short Film from the Generation Kplus International Jury at this year’s Berlinale.HOMEGROWN — The Bay Area is known for many things, not the least of which being a proud and vibrant filmmaking community. These queer homegrown shorts touch on every area of Bay Area life, including coming of age in a gentrifying Oakland, caring for partners in their final moments, and creating safe spaces for all. This mix of fiction and doc films highlights the best in the Bay today.
• WHEN I WRITE IT dirs. Nico Opper & Shannon St. Aubin | USA | West Coast Premiere Two Oakland teens explore what it means to be young, Black, and committed to making art in their rapidly changing city.
THAT WAS RAY dirs. Jordan Gorman, Brenten Brandenburg & Kaustubh Singh | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere That Was Ray chronicles the life of Reverend Raymond “Ray” Broshears, who was at the forefront of the San Francisco gay rights movement in the late 1960s-to-mid-70s. While he preached peace and acceptance, he also founded a militant group The Lavender Panthers, which curbed hate crimes with the threat of violence.
CARVING SPACE dir. Annie Dean-Ganek | USA Unity Skateboarding, founded in 2016 by Jeffrey Cheung and his partner Gabriel Ramirez in Oakland, seeks to create a safe space and visibility for queer skateboarders within the hetero- masculine mainstream skateboarding culture. Carving Space follows Unity and affiliated queer skate activists—including 2019 US Olympic Skateboarding team member, Leo Baker—as they provide spaces and voices to the often-overlooked queer community.
AYE, BOY dir. My-Hanh Lac | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In this coming-of-age story inspired by true events, Mads, an exuberant tomboy in the 1990s, struggles to balance relationships with friends, family, and her own sexuality.
ELEVEN WEEKS dir. Anna Kuperberg | USA | World Premiere Carla Jean Johnson accepts her fast and aggressive cancer diagnosis with clarity and grace while photographer Anna Kuperberg, her long-time wife, documents their final days and weeks together. With mesmerizing footage and intimate recordings of the couple’s final conversations, Eleven Weeks is a story more about love than death.
I’LL CRY TOMORROW dir. Brett Thomas | USA | North American Premiere Pieced together through self-shot found footage (which the director found under his bed), I’ll Cry Tomorrow is a personal poem about being 21 in San Francisco in 1986 during the AIDS pandemic.REALNESS & REVELATIONS — Queer and trans people of color take center stage! Meet some of the LGBTQ+ community in Ivory Coast. In Puerto Rico, two women rekindle an historic romance. In the US, two Asian American women share awkward high school stories, and a young man heads to a mysterious boat party. In Canada, two siblings embark on an adventure. And in India, a trans woman wishes to become a star.
BUCK dirs. Elegance Bratton & Jovan James | USA | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere Caught in the midst of a depressive fugue Lynn turns to debauchery to ease his troubled soul only to discover that happiness is a complicated goal. Co-directed by Elegance Bratton (Pier Kids, Frameline44; Walk for Me, Frameline41). Recipient of a Frameline Completion Fund.
FLOOD dir. Joseph Amenta | Canada | International Premiere A queer teenage boy takes his younger sister on an adventure wearing face paint and glitter on her tenth birthday. These colorful bandits move through their environments experiencing small joys while turning a blind eye to reality. It isn’t until their celebration is interrupted that the cost of their freedom is exposed.
DARLING dir. Saim Sadiq | Pakistan, USA In Urdu with English subtitles As a new show is introduced at an erotic dance theatre in Lahore, a sacrificial goat goes missing, a dreamy trans girl desperately tries to become a star and a naive young boy falls in love. Winner of
the Horizons Award at last year’s Venice Film Festival and a Special Jury Award at the SXSW Film
THE ALTERNATIVE dir. Adesua Okosun | Nigeria, Côte d’lvoire | International Premiere The story follows three people of the LGBTQ+ community, a queer female, a transgender male and a transgender female, living in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Each character takes us on a journey into their world, and shows us how Ivory Coast is trying to change the narrative of the LGBTQ+ community, changing the narrative about West Africa and continuously educating its people about the community within Africa.
THE MISTRESS (LA AMANTE) dir. Pati Cruz | Puerto Rico | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In Spanish with English subtitles During her husband’s funeral, Maritere receives an unexpected visit from Angela, whose presence re-awakens feelings from the past.
WERE YOU GAY IN HIGH SCHOOL? dir. Niki Ang | USA Two queer women recall their awkward, closeted high school days of kissing boys and straight-girl crushes. Recipient of a Frameline Completion Fund.UP CLOSE & PERSONAL — Queer communities and collectives are at the forefront of Frameline44’s program of exquisite documentary shorts from across the globe. Here, you’ll find this year’s Teddy Award winner, trans Indigenous musicians, art therapy, animated body positivity, found footage tributes to a generation lost to AIDS, scenic lesbian road trips, and a pink haunted house collide.
PLAYBACK (PLAYBACK. ENSAYO DE UNA DESPEDIDA) dir. Agustina Comedi | Argentina | US Premiere In Spanish with English subtitles Argentina in the late 1980s: Catholic, conservative, and shaped by a military dictatorship. “La Delpi,” the sole survivor of a group of transgender women and drag queens, talks about how their shows in basement theatres galvanized the community and helped them in their struggle against AIDS and police violence. How they healed their wounds with lipstick, playback performances, and improvised stage outfits. And how they invented happy endings for those who were to die. A farewell letter compiled from VHS memories. Winner of the Teddy Award at this year’s Berlinale.
JESSE JAMS dir. Trevor Anderson | Canada | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere A young Indigenous trans musician and his rock band bring mumble punk to the Interstellar Rodeo. A rock ‘n’ roll survival story of a different stripe from director Trevor Anderson (Docking, Frameline43; The Little Deputy, Frameline39)
SYLVIE dir. Clem Hue | France | West Coast Premiere In French and Spanish with English subtitles In the suburbs of Toulouse, a group of queers and migrants are squatting in a mysterious pink house. They find traces of the previous occupants and try to live with the memory of a crime in this haunting and poignant film.
FLESH (CARNE) dir. Camila Kater | Brazil | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere In Portuguese with English subtitles Rare, medium rare, medium, medium well and well done. Through intimate and personal stories, five women share their experiences in relation to the body, from childhood to old age.
INFERNO dir. Andrew R. Blackman | New Zealand | San Francisco Bay Area Premiere Featuring breathtaking set pieces, this immersive documentary portrait delves into the fantastical world of artist Gui Taccetti, whose deeply personal work channels the anxiety of growing up gay in staunchly Catholic Brazil.
BREAKWATER (QUEBRAMAR) dir. Cris Lyra | Brazil | West Coast Premiere In Portuguese with English subtitles With touches of Barbara Hammer, the collectively-made Breakwater follows a group of friends from São Paulo as they go on a road trip to a remote beach. While they wait for the New Year’s Eve, they build a safe and pleasant environment through music and friendship.Frameline44 Festival Sponsors Frameline44 is made possible with generous support from returning Premier Partners GILEAD SCIENCES, INC., BANK OF AMERICA, SHOWTIME®, MONIKER, ALASKA AIRLINES, and HILTON SAN FRANCISCO UNION SQUARE. Additional funding is provided by WELLS FARGO FOUNDATION, AT&T, WARNERMEDIA, BANK OF THE WEST, ARNOLD & PORTER, BLOOMBERG PHILANTHROPIES, and SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY.###Frameline’s mission is to change the world through the power of queer cinema. As a media arts nonprofit, Frameline’s integrated programs connect filmmakers and audiences in San Francisco and around the globe. Frameline provides critical funding for emerging LGBTQ+ filmmakers, reaches hundreds of thousands with a collection of over 250 films distributed worldwide, inspires thousands of students in schools across the nation with free films and curricula through Youth in Motion, and creates an international stage for the world’s best LGBTQ+ film through the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival and additional year-round screenings and cinematic events. For more information on Frameline, visit www.frameline.org.
Acclaimed author Randall Kenan, whose work reflected on being Black and gay in the South of the United States, has died aged 57.
Keenan’s celebrated works, including A Visitation of Spirits, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, and The Fire This Time, netted him a string of prestigious awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship, the North Carolina Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Rome Prize, and a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction.
He also penned an influential biography of gay novelist James Baldwin, and Walking on Water, an oral history of Black American life.
Tributes paid to ‘literary giant’.
Kenan was found dead Friday at his home in Hillsborough, North Carolina. His death was confirmed by the University of North Carolina, where Kenan taught as an English professor. No cause of death has been announced.
The UNC English and Comparative Literature department said: “[We are] saddened beyond words to give this news. We lost an incredible friend, colleague, mentor, professor and literary giant.
“Our collective hearts are aching with grief at the loss of professor Randall Kenan. We are beginning to prepare a tribute celebrating professor Kenan’s life, work, and the lasting impact he has left in the hearts and minds of our ECL community.”
In a tribute to the author, Lambda Literary wrote: “Randall Kenan’s contribution to the canon of contemporary gay literature is unparalleled.
“Brooklyn born and North Carolina raised, he was a writer who explored how desire, community, and generational trauma can both uplift and warp the Black gay rural experience.
“With a heightened lyricism and a nod to the fantastical, Kenan centred characters who often struggled against the thicket of their personal wants and histories.
“May Kenan’s writing be a long testament to his genius.”
Daniel Wallace, a friend and university colleague of Kenan, said:” He was just an immense talent. His best years were ahead of him… and he was a gentleman of the old school.”
Randall Kenan warned of ‘coming war’ over race relations.
Only two weeks ago, Kenan had published a reflective essay about recent unrest in the US and the “righteous destruction” of Confederate monuments.
Reflecting on what he might have though about the issue as a Black student at the university in the 1980s, Kenan wrote: “What I most would have struggled to imagine, is that certain people would be up-in arms were it to ever happen.
“That they would quite literally take over a state capital building, bearing arms, in anger to keep monuments up. That we might have another civil war over the matter.
“For me – a poor Black boy from the swamps of Eastern North Carolina – the Civil War was far from a lost cause, let alone a done war. I had underestimated how unfinished.”
Kenan warned of a “coming war” that “will not be about the monuments, but the mentalities”.
He added: “It is hard to imagine we have come to this moment in the early years of the 21st century. As a life-long fan of Star Trek, who lived to see the first Black Vulcan elected to the presidency of the United States, this entire situation feels very like something out of the back of Gene Roddenbery’s mind.
“Roddenbery might could have imagined such a 2020, but I never might have imagined it. Today is impossible. The convergence of Donald J Trump, the coronavirus pandemic, the unrest over police abuse and the tumbling of Confederate monuments were all unimaginable decades back. Can we seize the moment? We all must now readjust our thinking. The war has only just begun.”
‘A Saint from Texas’ By Edmund White Bloomsbury Publishing $18.20/304 pages
I’ve never been fooled by magicians. Even if I’m entranced by their magic, I’m still trying to figure out what tricks are involved. Yet, in his latest novel “A Saint from Texas,” queer writer Edmund White makes you believe that you can pull a rabbit out of a hat.
Readers, queer and non-queer, look forward to a new book from White as eagerly as movie fans wait for the Oscars.
White, now 80, has written more books than you can count from “The Joy of Gay Sex” to memoirs such as “My Lives” to biographies of Proust and Rimbaud to “A Boy’s Own Story” and other autobiographical novels. He taught at Princeton for 19 years. White, whose husband is writer Michael Carroll, has lived for much of his life in New York and Paris.
White is part of the first generation of LGBTQ writers to write for a queer audience. “Gay fiction before that, Gore Vidal and Truman Capote, was written for straight readers,” he told The New York Times.
It wasn’t surprising when the National Book Foundation presented White with the 2019 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
White, who’s lived with HIV since 1985, has been an LGBTQ activist. He was a co-founder of Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
“A Saint from Texas” is a departure from anything from what White has written before. Its main characters are women, twin sisters, not gay boys and men. Though much of the novel is set in Paris, the twins – Yvonne and Yvette, born in the 1930s, grow up in East Texas.
My heart sank as I first dipped into this book. The twins are teenagers in the 1950s. I have friends from Texas. There are lovely places in Texas. But who wants to read about girls stuck in Texas? True, they’re rich. Their father, born poor, has made millions from oil. And their stepmother is into clothes and society. But their father, who sexually abuses Yvette, insists that they remain “terrible Texas Baptists.”
Like Yvonne and Yvette (pronounced “Why-Von” and “Why-Vet” by their family and friends in Texas), I wanted to get as far away as I could from where they lived in Texas.
Mercifully, for the twins and readers, the sisters escape from Texas. “A Saint from Texas,” narrated by Yvonne, tells the story of their radically different journeys.
You’d find it hard to imagine people any more unlike each other than these sisters. Thank God, Yvonne is the narrator! Fortunately, we only hear from Yvette sporadically in her letters to her twin.
I don’t mean to dis Yvette. It’s just that Yvonne is the fun twin who has a sense of irony. As a teen in the 50s, she talks for hours with her friends on the phone, sneaks cigarettes (even though her father has promised to give her $1,000 on her birthday if she doesn’t smoke) and has a crush on one of her girlfriends.
Yvonne escapes to Paris. There, exchanging her fortune for his title (and entry to French society), Yvonne marries a French aristocrat. He’s a sexist, homophobic cad. Even so, Yvonne gets to hobnob with Audrey Hepburn while buying dresses at Givenchy, chat with actresses in Truffaut movies at parties and have male and female lovers.
Yvette is saintly! Early on, as Yvonne says, Yvette develops a “crush on God.” She wants to be virtuous – to help poor people – to find herself “in [God’s] immortal, loving arms.” To that end, she becomes a nun and missionary in Colombia. You almost think that Yvette is an insufferable saint until she says in a letter to Yvonne, “It occurred to me that the religious life was all hocus-pocus.”
In lesser hands, you might have given up after reading only a few pages of this novel. But, due to White’s magic touch you’ll find yourself spellbound by “A Saint from Texas.”
Queer Virtual TV Network, Revry, will kick off this Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15th – Oct. 15th) with a lineup of fresh and fabulous LatinX content, including the Revry premiere of Latino Alternative TV’s (LATV) fan favorite THE Q AGENDA–a talk show hosted by a passionate community of Latinx LGBTQ+ personalities and influencers featuring special guests from celebrities to activists for candid and genuine conversations about issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community.
THE Q AGENDA is hosted by executive producer, actor and tv personality Enrique Sapene; comedian Lianna Carrera; beauty influencer, Victor Ramos; and actress and trans activist, Juliana Joel. THE Q AGENDA was featured in GLAAD’s 2020 Pride Guide and received multiple awards from The Los Angeles Blade Magazine. THE Q AGENDA season 3 includes such guests as Monica Trasandes from GLAAD, Rafael De la Fuente (Dynasty), Candis Cayne (The Magicians), Sutton Stracke (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), Alexandra Grey (Empire), telenovela star Litzy, Actor Omar Shariff Jr., publicist to the stars Howard Bragman, influencer Tony Directs and singer Tatiana Hazel.
For the entirety of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15th – Oct. 15th), special THE Q AGENDA episodes from Season 3 will play each week live on Wednesdays at 6pm (EST)/ 3pm (PST) and replay at 9pm(EST) / 6pm (PST) on the Revry News channel. THE Q AGENDA assets here.***Request Full Sept. 15th Press Release w/Quotes for Coverage.
Revry’s Hispanic Heritage Month Content Calendar Includes: FEATURE FILMS
AnnCarmin TropicalCheckmateExtra TerrestrialsLifes a Bitch!Personal BeliefsTí@sVianeyXXY
SERIES The Q AgendaFunctionalThe Category Is: Mexico CityDele ViajeDos Mas Dos CincoGiving Me LifeSui GenerisThreesomeTiny LaughsTravis
SHORTS Atmosphere BSXLChasing The DragonFamilia?FluJulia’s PiecePangea
MUSIC VIDEOS Gabe LopezLibre by Luis GamarraROB.B
PODCASTS Dead For Filth – #79. Ray Santiago
To learn more about and experience Revry, please visit www.revry.tv.
Unapologetically LatinX by Revry Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer, Christopher J. Rodriguez, Esq.
This Hispanic Heritage month, I’m taking the opportunity to consider the role that my heritage has played in my life. Specifically, what aspects of my unique experience as a Mexican/Colombian American helped shape my career and my overall identity. Growing up as a “white presenting Latino,” there were times when I didn’t feel like a real Latino. I didn’t speak Spanish. I’m light-skinned. I didn’t have the same interests as some of the other Hispanic kids in my classes. I’m gay. However, as I got older I started to realize that my heritage and culture inextricably formed who I was and who I continue to be to this day.
I remember family parties on my mother’s side scored by the familiar music curated by Art Leboe— that tastemaker for the most beloved “cholo” jams. I remember the food. Not just the typical Mexican cuisine but also those specialties favored by my family: potato tacos, my grandmother’s famous “air” enchiladas I also remember the stories! Funny stories. Tragic stories. Tall tales. Urban legends. Many took place in the neighborhood that my mother and her 5 siblings lived for the greater part of their childhood: Echo Park, Los Angeles. I found myself settling into this very same neighborhood. By then of course, much had changed since my mother explored the streets. Many of the corner carnicerias had been replaced with organic wine and vegan pizza shops; old Victorian houses, once occupied by multiple low-income families, had been replaced with upscale (and expensive) Airbnbs; roving gangs of street toughs had been replaced with hipster moms pushing thousand dollar strollers. Luckily for me, the “Elote Lady” is still there. Looking back, it’s a beautiful type of irony that in some ways my mother’s past has become my own present.
This was, however, just one side of my Hispanic heritage. While my mother was second generation Mexican–her grandmother having migrated from Chihuahua to Texas and later to Los Angeles–my father was born and spent much of his formative years in Colombia. His experience was dramatically different from that of my mother. His family was well educated and well off in South America. When his family finally emigrated to the States, they had the advantage of money, but not necessarily, connections. It wasn’t until I was much older that I discovered the immense value in having deep roots in the country in which you are trying to build a life. The likelihood of success in the US is not just dictated by access to money but also access to privilege. And while my immediate family was solidly middle class in my childhood, this provided no meaningful advantages in my education or career. I went to public schools and neither myself nor my brothers could afford to transition directly to a good university following graduation. We also found ourselves in the frustrating position of having a household income too high for public assistance but too low to afford to go to college on our own dime. Like many in my position, I spent 2 years at community college–where, for the record, I received an excellent education–before transferring to UCLA to complete my degree in Political Science. Upon graduation, I knew I wanted to go to law school but also knew that I had no money to do so. Fortunately, I obtained a half-ride scholarship to a great law school which helped alleviate the debt.
Law was a novel industry for my family. Where we were lucky to have careers, they tended to be in the fields of engineering, healthcare, and law enforcement. Following my admission to the California Bar, I spent the next several years trying to make my own opportunities. I immediately gravitated toward entertainment law but quickly discovered that this field was almost as competitive as the entertainment industry proper. Thankfully, I had unknowingly inherited the indomitable spirit that characterized my family and which was embodied by my maternal grandmother. I found clients who were willing to be represented by a fledgling attorney in exchange for a gratis fee and slowly, but surely, I built my solo entertainment law practice. My later experience in the industry at subsequent jobs was less encouraging. The negativity and nepotism permeating this field, which usually favored non-POC people, was palpable and contributed to the toxicity in many of these work environments. This, in turn, led to my disillusionment with a field that I had spent years fighting to get into. The extent to which prejudices against my race, ethnicity, and sexuality played in my struggles is not clear but, nonetheless, I’m thankful for everything I endured as it pushed me even further in forging my own future. This drive toward career independence culminated in 2015 with the founding of my own business along with three other amazing, like-minded people. Revry was born of a desire to create a space by and for the marginalized and the ignored. Rather than cynically taking advantage of a growing minority demographic (i.e. LGBTQ+, POC, multicultural), our network was created by these communities and–I’m proud to say–it shows. In addition, our network is embedded with the unwavering persistence and resilience of my heritage and that of my co-founders. I never let my lack of access or resources hold me back and neither do we. Luck favors the bold, and being bold is one of our company’s greatest assets as well as my own. We take risks in everything from technology to content and we’re not afraid to be unapologetically…us. I like to believe that the struggles of my ancestors in this country and their refusal to give up has played a small yet meaningful role in our success. I know it has in mine. Christopher J Rodriguez, Esq is the 37 year old LatinX co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Revry, the global Queer streaming network. An entertainment attorney, cancer-survivor, and out and proud gay man, Christopher has used his diverse range of skills as an artist, lawyer, and writer to help bring Revry’s message of inclusivity and entertainment to 250+ million households and devices worldwide.
Lauded producer, actor, director, and writer Ash Christian died in his sleep while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on Thursday August 13th, 2020. He was 35 years old.
Born on Jan. 16, 1985, in Paris, Texas, Christian began writing and directing short films at the age of 14 before moving to Los Angeles to pursue his acting dreams just two years later.
Christian also operated his own successful New York-based film production company, Cranium Entertainment. Cranium and Christian recently released the acclaimed AIDS drama 1985, directed by Yen Tan and starring Cory Michael Smith and Virginia Madsen.
I’m 2006 Christian caught Hollywood’s attention with his independent film, Fat Girls, which he also wrote and co-starred in. The movie, co-starring Ashley Fink and Boys in the Band’s Robin De Jesus, was a hit at Outfest, Los Angeles’s LGBTQ+ film festival; Christian won the Outfest award for emerging talent.
Christian also produced Hurricane Bianca, a 2016 film starring RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio. At the time of his death, Christian had several other films in various stages of production starring high-profile actors like Lili Taylor, Dustin Hoffman, Fortune Feimster, Marissa Tomei, Gina Gershon, and Josh Hutcherson.
Christian’s talents also extended to television, where he appeared on dramas like The Good Wife, The Good Fight, and Law & Order. Christian won a Daytime Emmy in 2014 for his program, ml Promise.
Twitter users passed around a spreadsheet that listed tweets Rainbow wrote from 2010 on that called Black and Hispanic people violent criminals, gratuitously used slurs like “tra**y,” made light of rape, and otherwise played on stereotypes of various minorities.
“Why is it OK to call it a ‘white noise’ machine, yet offensive to say that I bought it to drown out all the ‘black noise’ in my building?” Rainbow said in one tweet.
“Fun new project in the works! I’d tell you but then I’d have to rape you,” he wrote in another
“My new drag name is Transvaginal Mesh. Tra**y Mesh for short,” read a third.
The offensive tweets continued to at least as late as 2014, when he was making jokes about Black people and fried chicken.
“Twitter has recently reminded me about 10 years ago, in my maiden quest to be funny, I tweeted some jokes that were completely offensive and insensitive to look back on them now, especially with no context or nuance and through the prism of where we are in 2020 with racial inequality and the fight for social justice, which I’m proudly a part of,” he said this week.
“In light of issues that are now at the forefront, which I’m passionate about and have spoken up about over the years, these tweets just sound racist and awful. I’m embarrassed by them. They make me sick to my stomach, in fact, and I deeply apologize to anyone I offended.”
He said that humor was “completely different” a decade ago. He said that the world has “shifted dramatically” since he wrote those tweets.
“This kind of edgy shock comedy was not only acceptable but a prevalent style,” he said. He mentioned influences like Joan Rivers and Karen from the sitcom Will & Grace.
“I was an aspiring comedian in my 20s working the stages in gay nightclubs where we said the most outlandish, raunchy things we could think of. I was searching for my comedy voice, my persona, and I was emulating styles and jokes of people that I was seeing in the mainstream. Any jokes that I tweeted out around this time were meant to be read in the voice of this character I created.”
“I am incredibly sorry. I would never intentionally do anything to hurt anyone,” he said. “I am in no way a racist. I am in no way transphobic. I’m a gay Jew who was brought up in a very open, accepting family. There is not a racist or intolerant bone in my body.”
This past Monday, Rainbow made a video in support of vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, which he appeared to suggest is why he’s getting called out on the old tweets now.
“I’m being threatened. I’m being harassed,” he said. “It’s no coincidence that it’s happening in the midst of a very contentious election because I use my platform every day to speak truth to power and shine a light on inequities and injustices of the world, and expose truly intolerant and racist people. There are nefarious people out there who want to silence me because they don’t like what I really have to say.”
DeGeneres apologized during the call, saying she had allowed the show to be run like a machine rather than seeing the staff as people, the sources said. She also said she tries to learn from her mistakes and that she hopes she can transform the show into a happy place for workers.
Glavin and Norman did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment.
In a statement, Michael Plonsker, an attorney for Kevin Leman, said “the fact that a deeply flawed BuzzFeed article has led to the termination of an innocent man — a popular figure and a creative force behind the ‘Ellen’ show and a string of other projects produced with Ellen — is shocking.”
“Kevin is devastated by being scapegoated and is not yet ready to comment,” Plonsker added. A Warner Bros. spokesperson had no comment on Plonsker’s statement.
The employees said the producers and other managers were at fault for the environment, but said DeGeneres should take more responsibility for how the staff are treated, especially since a large part of her brand hinges on doing good for others. DeGeneres was not a subject of the review, the source close to the production said.
NBC News has spoken to multiple former staffers at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” who corroborate at least some of the accusations of misconduct by senior management but said they cannot speak publicly because they are bound by nondisclosure agreements and fear retribution.
A later BuzzFeed News report said dozens of former employees of the show appeared to corroborate allegations of top producers sexual harassing subordinates. However, NBC News has not independently verified these additional allegations.
“Hey everybody — it’s Ellen. On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect,” the host said in the note. “Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry.”
The 18th season of the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” was originally slated to debut on Sept. 9, but has been pushed back to air on Sept. 14. A Warner Bros. spokesperson said stations prefer a Monday debut.
“Ellen’s Game of Games” is in production now, shooting next week, the spokesperson said. Glavin, Leman and Norman are not involved in that show.
A federal judge issued an order Monday blocking the Trump administration from enforcing a rule allowing health care providers to discriminate against transgender patients — one day before the regulation was set to go into effect.
U.S. District Judge Frederic Block, a Clinton appointee, draws heavily in his decision on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which determined anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.
“The Court reiterates the same practical concern it raised at oral argument when the Supreme Court announces a major decision, it seems a sensible thing to pause and reflect on the decision’s impact,” Block writes. “Since HHS has been unwilling to take that path voluntarily, the Court now imposes it.”
The Department of Health & Human Services rule, made final in June, vacated an Obama-era regulation interpreting the ban on sex discrimination in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to apply to cases of anti-trans discrimination.
Block takes a swipe at the Trump administration for vacating the rule both before the Supreme Court had a chance to render a decision in the Bostock case and reusing to change course after it was handed down.
“By its own admission, HHS knew that the case was pending and would have ‘ramifications’; it must also have known that a decision would be handed down before the end of the Supreme Court’s term,” Block writes. “It then had an (admittedly brief) opportunity to re-evaluate its proposed rules after the case was decided contrary to its expectations.”
The lawsuit was filed in June by the Human Rights Campaign in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of two transgender women of color — Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker and Cecilia Gentil — with long histories of discrimination in health care.
Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement the order was a win for both for plaintiffs and marginalized communities suffering from the “impacts of the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racialized violence.”
“We are pleased the court recognized this irrational rule for what it is: discrimination, plain and simple,” David said. “LGBTQ Americans deserve the health care that they need without fear of mistreatment, harassment, or humiliation.”
Now that an order has been handed down barring HHS from enforcing the law as well to prohibit anti-transgender discrimination it wasn’t immediately clear how the department would implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.
The 2016 order, however, predates the Bostock decision, which Block indicates is the correct guide in reaching the conclusion the Trump administration’s anti-trans exclusion is, in fact, inconsistent with the law and should be reversed.
The Blade has placed a request with the Justice Department and the Department of Health & Human Services seeking comment on the order and implementation.
The 2020 edition of Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival will run from August 20-30 featuring new centerpiece films, premieres, and hand-curated programs debuting daily. Outfest LA’s diverse 2020 slate – with over 70% of films directed by female, trans, and POC filmmakers – will include high-profile films originally scheduled for festivals disrupted by COVID-19 earlier in the year. Moviegoers will be able to access all films via www.outfestla2020.com where they’ll also be able to buy an All-Access Pass for this year’s events beginning on Friday, August 14th.
Outfest LA’s Centerpiece selections include U.S. Centerpiece selection Shiva Baby, starring Rachel Sennott, Dianna Agron, and Fred Melamed; Documentary Centerpiece Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story, which catalogs the career resurgence of the musician of trans experience well into his 70s; International Centerpiece Monsoon, directed by Sundance and Outfest alum Hong Khaou (Lilting) and starring Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians); and Breakthrough Centerpiece The Obituary of Tunde Johnson, the feature directing debut of Everybody Hates Chris co-creator Ali LeRoi.
The Obituary of Tunde Johnson
Outfest’s Closing Film will be the world premiere of Outfest alum Travis Fine’s (Any Day Now) century-spanning triptych Two Eyes, in which queer and trans-identified people from three different time periods in the American West discover how their identities fall within a multitude of sexuality and gender expressions. The film’s ensemble includes Kiowa Gordon (The Twilight Saga) , Benjamin Rigby (Alien: Covenant), Nakhane Toure (The Wound), musician Ryan Cassata, and non-binary activist and famed performer Kate Bornstein. The film will premiere both on the digital platform and as the final drive-in feature.
The digital portion of the festival will be powered by the Vimeo OTT platform, making it accessible across all major platforms. Viewers at home will also be able to customize their own festival experience, with a personalized watch list tool, on-demand viewing, and simple navigation that have become the standard for rich in-home entertainment experiences.
For the outdoor cinephiles, the “Outfest LA Under the Stars”, drive-in experience will take place at the stunning Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, where for two extended weekends the Festival will be hosting a series of drive-in screenings across six-nights on two lots, including both kick-off and closing events. Drive-in screenings will launch with a special, drive-in only Los Angeles premiere of Sundance 2020 title The Nowhere Inn, starring musicians Annie Clark and Carrie Brownstein in a reality-bending send-up of Clark’s musical persona, St. Vincent. A mix of pre-recorded and live virtual Q&As are expected with cast and crew across all programs.
Becoming A Man In 127 Easy Steps
Other films include Tribeca selections P.S. Burn This Letter Please; Cowboys starring Steve Zahn, Jillian Bell, Ann Dowd, and young trans actor Sasha Knight; musician Big Freedia’s anti-gun advocacy doc Freedia Got A Gun, and recent Emmy-nominee Scott Turner Schofield’s Becoming A Man In 127 Easy Steps.