Thursday, June 04, 2009

Frameline 33 (SF LGBT Film Festival, 2009) - Get Happy

Frameline33: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, the world’s premiere showcase for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender cinema, runs June 18-28, 2009, with screenings in San Francisco at the historic Castro Theatre, Roxie Theater and the Victoria Theatre, and in Berkeley at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood. Tickets are available via the website 24 hours a day, via fax, or in person at the Frameline Festival Box Office Counter.

Films in this program of short subjects are listed in order as presented via screener and subject to change. It screens once: Saturday, June 20, 9:00 PM, at the Roxie Film Center. This collection is a group of drag queen comedies, more or less, well, at least it is a campfest and includes:

Lipstique (Featuring Fauxnique) (dir. Kia Simon, USA, 2009, 5 min.) As simply described in the festival program this features San Francisco "locals Fauxnique and Peaches Christ, this music video for Silencefiction’s “Lipstique” is part drag queen make-up tutorial and part drag performance." It's entertaining enough for the music video it is. A bit monotonous visually, but one NEVER passes on seeing the fabulous Peaches Christ, in spite of what state of creation she may be in!

STEELING MAGNOLIAS (dir. The Vasco Brothers, USA, 2009, 3 min.) Oh dear. Well, it is probably a first attempt, I hope, as it does come off as something that could have, or probably was created on a MAC. In this, a cable guy becomes distracted (at best) by a video of STEEL MAGNOLIAS, and loses himself in a green screen daydream. The sound design was terrible, or at least it was on the screener copy, and I HOPE that has been addressed. It is just general silliness, and I got the impression that it was more of a straight man's impression of doing female roles than true camp.

LITTLE BFFs (dir. Steven Corfe, Glenn Gaylord, USA, 2009, 5 min.) This is just a twisted little puppet show produced by that twisted Q Allen Brocka of RICK AND STEVE fame! I loved this for all it's sophomoric and infantile humor! "Two children play with their dolls (Miley Cyrus and her BFF Mandy) to explain what ‘Gay’ means," interspersed with some typically, classic dialogue such as "shake your hole girl and hand me those poppers!" It took me back to those wonderful, twisted days of DIRTY BABY DOES FIRE ISLAND...

GALACTIC SEX WARS (dir. Robbie McEwan, Australia, 2009, 14 min.) Perhaps this was just coming too soon on the heels of my screenings at Another Hole In The Head, but this little attempt at sci-fi-camp "failed to impress" as they say. "In the year 3069 a bitter struggle between homosexual separatists and Christian fundamentalists rages. Now only one homo star fighter remains and with it one last chance to save homokind - destroy god itself." Well, at least by eliminating proper nouns, or at least labels, so it seems. That's a LOT of odd ground to cover in just fourteen minutes, and it just doesn't manage to do it. The script is terrible and the plot gets all tangled up and, in the end, it just doesn't make sense. It attempts to turn teleporting into a gag, which has been done, but so much better, simply because the production values here are trying too hard to be cheesy, and in this post YouTube world, the bar for intentional cheesiness has been significantly raised!

GOLDEN DIAMONDS (dir. Julian Vargas, USA, 2008, 3 min.) An almost too brief skit about a couple exploring a shoe fetish. More or less. I sort of wish Vargas was able to expand upon it some.

FASHION HO (dir. Yaniv Dabach, USA, 2008, 3 min.) You know, as much as the inclusion of music videos in some of these short subject programs can be annoying, this was an exception. Not only does the group, Dalipstyxx, have a cool retro-80's sound and style, but director Yaniv Dabach (WITH YOU (Frameline 30)) displays some proficient editing and photographic choices.

LUSHES (dir. Ash Christian, USA, 2009, 21 min.) I loved, loved, loved FAT GIRLS (Frameline 30), also directed by Ash Christian, so I raised my expectations for LUSHES as soon as he appeared on screen. Unfortunately, especially in the first third of this short, this just wasn't clicking. Christian and his cast are just too sweet natured to be playing the jaded drag queens they want to be, particularly playing opposite the character Basil, who is performed with such perfect sexual ambiguity in style, fashion, manner and humor, by a performer credited as Cheeks! Christian's side of the story does pick up with the appearance of Ashley Fink, who was also a delight in FAT GIRLS. So, he does know how to surround himself with talent. I think, perhaps, in this instance, he could have taken a step back from the project and cast someone else in the two leads, leaving him to direct and sharpen his script. All that said, he displays such wit and promise that I can't WAIT for his next project!

OOKIE COOKIE (dir. Barry Morse, USA, 2009, 3 min.) This is a music video as "a gaytastic tribute to video artist Tom Rubnitz", who I only really know of as having directed the documentary WIGSTOCK: THE MOVIE, though if this vid is any indication, I have probably seen dozens of Rubnitz videos during the 80's. Here, a literal parade of drag queens, starring Jackie Beat (and a pickle) appear, in what I assume is further recognition of the work they did and the appreciation they owe Rubnitz for helping shape drag-video, if there could be such a genre.

GET HAPPY (dir. Mark Payne, USA, 2008, 27 min.) The pearl in this oyster of drag! I LOVED IT! I quick documentary/biography of Mark Payne. The primary focus is on video footage of his adolescent years, performing DEAD ON impersonations of female chanteuses. What he might have lacked in variety (Liza, Barbra, Judy, etc.), he makes up for in accuracy, if not near spooky identity. So effective was his act, that he appeared with Bob Hope and Milton Berle, to name a few, I'm sure. It would seem that he took all that experience to become one of the top makeup artists in Hollywood (two Emmys!). However, you might take the boy out of drag, but you can't take the drag out of the boy, as Mark Payne will undoubtedly prove as he will be performing at the Opening Night Party! Not to mention, I fully expect his appearance at the screening for surprises! PLEASE!

Maxxxxx says
re GET HAPPY: "Doobie dooo-oooo!"

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