Web Articles 2011

Filmmakers Head to the (Hollywood) Hills for Outfest’s Women’s Soiree

12/15/11

Filmmakers Head to the (Hollywood) Hills for Outfest’s Women’s Soiree

Filmmakers Mary Jo Godges, left, and Renee Sotile flex some filmmaking muscle with actress Traci Dinwiddie (Elena Undone), center. So many seasoned producers, directors, writers and actors ventured into the Hollywood Hills for Outfest’s year-end Women’s Soiree, it appears that things are looking up for women filmmakers. What better way to find out than to ask a bevy of busy industry women who are gathered poolside? “We had the burden to prove that there was an audience for a lesbian-themed movie,” says Nisha Ganatra, remembering back to 1999 when she wrote and directed Chutney Popcorn, the sexy dramedy starring Jill Hennessy that established her career. “Now we don’t have that burden, or it’s nowhere the intensity that it used to...

Posted at 09:48 PM | Permalink | Comments: 1

Secrets of a Dedicated “Tomboy”

11/14/11

Secrets of a Dedicated “Tomboy”

While both of French director Celine Sciamma’s feature films examine the exploits of young girls coming of age, their stories are quite different. Tomboy, opening in Los Angeles Nov. 25, primarily scuffs it up with neighborhood boys, while Water Lilies, her award-winning 2007 feature, is set in the elegant and decidedly girly world of water ballet. “I think you have to write about something you know,” says Sciamma, explaining why the main character in each film is a new kid on the block dealing with issues of gender identity. “I was kind of a loner as a teen. I spent a lot of time reading and hiding in the movie theaters, probably because I was discovering I was gay.” Growing up in France in the 1980s, Sciamma says short hair was fashionable...

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Chaz Bono ‘Dancing’ to His Own Tune

09/22/11

Chaz Bono ‘Dancing’ to His Own Tune

"Dancing With The Stars" has begun with Chaz Bono Cha-Cha-Cha'ing through controversy and prejudice.

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Indiana Survivor Challenges State Law

08/22/11

Indiana Survivor Challenges State Law

As I watched news reports of the falling stage when a violent storm hit the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the gut-wrenching realization that people were under the collapsing steel was followed by the knowledge that lawsuits would inevitably follow. But no one could have foreseen that the tragedy at the state fair would become a battleground for same-sex rights in Indiana. Tammy Vandam, a 42-year-old mom and former DJ, was one of six people killed in the stage collapse just as Grammy winning duo Sugarland was suppose to take the stage. Beth Urschel, 49, was among the dozens injured when the elaborate temporary structure crashed to the ground. Urschel and Vandam were life partners. On Friday (Aug. 19) a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Vandam’s survivors, which includes Urschel and the...

Posted at 11:29 PM | Permalink | Comments

Welcome to Molly’s Effed Up World

08/11/11

Welcome to Molly’s Effed Up World

  A brash bull dyke from Brooklyn, N.Y. Molly “Equality” Dykeman may not be a woman you’d take home to Mom, but she’s probably a good ally for a bar fight. Wearing an orange safety vest and mullet hair, she’s a substance abuser with a potty mouth, a crossing guard/poet who’s not the most complex gadget in the toolbox, but she has a big heart. The creation of comedy writer/actress Andrea Alton, Molly is building a devoted following on the New York club circuit, premiering a new hour-long show, “The F*cking World According to Molly,” at the 2011 New York International Fringe Festival Aug. 13. “I always loved playing this butch woman who could say whatever she wanted,” Alton said on the phone from the Catskills....

Posted at 07:23 PM | Permalink | Comments

Outfest 2011 Feature Film Scorecard

07/21/11

Outfest 2011 Feature Film Scorecard

Kim Yutani, Outfest programmer, with country singer Chely Wright (second from right) and filmmakers Bobbi Birleffi and Beverly Kopf.  A sampling of independent films at Outfest, the 29th Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, includes the good, the hilarious and the confusing-as-hell.Wish Me AwayCountry music awards, packed stadiums, sexy video shoots—makes you wonder why you never heard of Chely Wright, right?According to my absurdly unscientific poll, few LGBTers knew of the country singer before she came out over a year ago. Wish Me Away, the documentary feature about Wright’s Kansas upbringing, her climb up the Country charts and her ultimate revelation that she’s gay (comparable to announcing you’re a terrorist in Nashville), won over...

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Hit So Hard: A Hard Look at Drugs, Sex and Playing With Hole

07/08/11

Hit So Hard: A Hard Look at Drugs, Sex and Playing With Hole

Former Hole bandmates - Associated PressPatty Schemel is excited about her upcoming gig at the Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood, following the Outfest screening of her documentary film, Hit So Hard: The Life & Near Death Story of Patty Schemel. I would think she’s excited just to be alive.Hit So Hard is a journey through drugs, sex and rock 'n’ roll with a view from the drummer’s seat. As stickmeister for Courtney Love’s band Hole in the early 1990s, Schemel’s memories and home videos offer a backstage pass to a gritty, glorious time on the grunge scene.“When I was shooting all of it, it was my way of doing a journal,” says Schemel, from the home that she now shares with her wife and baby daughter in the artsy Silverlake area of Los Angeles....

Posted at 06:19 PM | Permalink | Comments

Meredith Baxter Opens Up in ‘Untied’

06/21/11

Meredith Baxter Opens Up in ‘Untied’

Writer Laurie Schenden, left, with Meredith Baxter at Outfest 2010. Photo by Renee Sotile How could one of the coolest, loving and dependable TV Moms think she’s “impotent” and “not smart enough?”The first time I met Meredith Baxter we were both attending a function in Los Angeles and she was extremely accessible and kind. The next time our paths crossed, her book was about to come out and apparently I asked the wrong question. She clammed up and seemed a bit fearful that she might give up something that she meant to keep under wraps.I finally bought Baxter’s book, Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame and Floundering, so that the next time I see her, I can ask personal stuff and it will be as though she brought it up.If you expect Untied to be a long...

Posted at 05:38 PM | Permalink | Comments: 2

The Word ‘Fag’ Makes an Impression

06/13/11

The Word ‘Fag’ Makes an Impression

Listening to the breathless coverage of the NBA finals, I can’t seem to forget the “fag” incident. Who says it’s “harmless” for basketball stars like Kobe Bryant and Joakim Noah to call other guys fags? On national TV?Actor Isaiah Washington got fired from Grey’s Anatomy for calling co-star T.R. Knight a fag. Like Kobe and Noah, Washington said he didn’t really mean it. (Ironically, Washington has been represented by openly gay publicist Howard Bragman.)When you call somebody a fag or a dyke, it’s meant to demean the person or assert power over them, like most forms of bullying. Anybody who’s spent time around school kids knows that “fag” is a favorite slur.Former NBA player John Amaechi wrote this about...

Posted at 08:39 AM | Permalink | Comments

‘Single White Female’ Changing Her Tune

05/19/11

‘Single White Female’ Changing Her Tune

Since country singer Chely Wright ("Single White Female") announced that she and Lauren Blitzer were engaged, the couple has collected a passel full of frequent flier miles just from LGBT events alone.On May 21, Wright will be among the honorees at the 34th Anniversary Celebration for the National Center for Lesbian Right’s (NCLR) in San Francisco. In April she flew from Nashville to the West Coast for An Evening With Women, the LA Gay & Lesbian Center’s annual fundraiser for its youth and senior programs, which is where we met Wright’s fiancée.“I found a girlfriend that we can share clothes,” said Wright, glancing at similarly svelte, blonde and lovely Lauren Blitzer.“Not shoes,” chimes in Blitzer with a...

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Cyndi Lauper, Others Show True Colors at LA Evening With Women

04/28/11

Cyndi Lauper, Others Show True Colors at LA Evening With Women

From the look on Jesse James’ face, you have to wonder if he was shell-shocked by all the recent media attention, or maybe just stunned by the number of queers crowding into the Beverly Hilton for the LA Gay & Lesbian Center’s annual Evening With Women. James gamely strode the red carpet with Kat Von D (LA Ink), a fervent supporter of the Center since pal Linda Perry began orchestrating the entertainment program three years ago. Kat Von D introduces fiancée Jesse James to Linda Perry on the red carpet at An Evening With Women. Von D drew more attention inside the ballroom, igniting a bidding war during an auction for an exclusive luxury vacation spot on Kaui, which looked impressively paparazzi-proof. She was the highest bidder at $16,000, then...

Posted at 04:08 PM | Permalink | Comments

At the "Conception" Premiere

04/11/11

At the "Conception" Premiere

Director Josh Stolberg with actress Pamela Adlon, who plays a lesbian in Stolberg's new independent film Conception. Under what circumstances do people have babies? Writer-director Josh Stolberg offers a bundle of scenarios in his independent film Conception, including what it takes for a lesbian couple to give birth. With his wife and two young sons in tow on opening night last week at the Beverly Hills Film Festival, an exuberant Stolberg talked about the encounters between the nine couples in the film that lead to conception.  “The truth is, a lot of the stories are different aspects of our relationship,” Stolberg said, speaking of his marriage to actress-producer Leila Charles Leigh (Kids in America). “There’s a fighting couple, which we do; the...

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