Monday, May 03, 2010

San Francisco International Film Festival 53 (SFIFF53) - Drag Divas!!

The 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival screens April 22–May 6 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, the historic Castro Theatre, the Landmark Clay and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. For tickets and information, go to or call 925-866-9559.

Within the past couple of days, the San Francisco International Film Festival has presented a pair of programs with High Drag Queen Content! First, the FUN one!

All About Evil (dir. Joshua Grannell, US, 2010, 98 mins.) was one of the festival's most highly anticipated programs, due mostly to the dedicated, if not rabid, following of Joshua Grannell, more famously known as 'Peaches Christ', the hostess of "Midnight Mass", a series of midnight screenings here in San Francisco.  Grannell did not fail to disappoint, as he presented to the SFIFF audience a full out, no holds barred, Midnight Mass spectacular for this World Premiere!

Peaches Christ took the stage by storm by premiering her new film leader, which alone set a level of professionalism yet unseen in the typical Midnight Mass.  Then the theater rocked to a series of musical numbers from, and inspired by the film, as well as some banter with some of the cast that were present for its premiere, including Natasha Lyonne, Mink Stole, Thomas Dekker, Ashley Fink, Jade and Nikita Ramsey as well as the cast of his onstage chorus.  Peaches has built a stage show in which to frame the film "in the spirit of William Castle" that will tour the country with the premiere its screenings. (The first stop is in Austin, Texas, on May 15.)  Peaches also gave a shout-out to John Waters as her inspiration, who was also present in the audience.

(JimmyD uploaded this and the other musical numbers can be seen here.)

Then the film itself began, starring the truly inimitable and slightly inscrutable performance of Natasha Lyonne. She can perform schizophrenic like no one else on screen!  She begins the film as a mousy little librarian who inherits her father's movie theatre, which is "played" by the actual Victoria Theatre here in San Francisco. She accidentally trips upon the secret of success in keeping the theater open, or as the production's tagline would put it: "Audiences are dieing to see it!"  The resulting blood and gore fest does not fail expectations and, I would hazard to say, the talent and production values in ALL ABOUT EVIL far surpass those of us who are familiar with Grannell's earlier work, namely the "Peaches Christ TRAN-ilogy of Terror".  Even the end credits were a total hoot!

The following Q&A with nearly the entire cast and top-line crew was fairly enjoyable, though not without a slight audience faux-pas as there were people apparently unaware of Mr. Grannell's background in San Francisco. (My friend Jimmy (photos and vids) is convinced that a certain young leading man unintentionally "came out" on the Castro stage...) The three hour evening (sending us out into the streets at nearly 2AM), flew by and is, at this point, THE HIGHLIGHT of this year's festival for me!

On the other hand, the two and a half hours of To Die Like A Man (dir. João Pedro Rodrigues, Portugal/France, 2009, 134 minutes) felt like five hours. I didn't walk in expecting a serious "Priscillia, Queen of the Desert", but then I wasn't expecting a transexual version of "Long Day's Journey Into Night" either. The screenplay is nearly unrelentingly bleak, even if there is a little bit of comic relief tossed in.  Also, Rodrigues filmed some extraordinarily long takes, which I usually am stunned by. However, in this case, the camera was usually quite static (except for the wild, final pan!). I just wanted it to keep moving. He has also included some surreal episodes, which only confused matters and made the progression take even longer. Also, in the spirit of FULL disclosure, I did doze off in the first half hour.  There was a Q&A afterward, but I just couldn't stay any longer...

Maxxxxx says re ALL ABOUT EVIL: [SCREECHES in joy!!]
 re TO DIE LIKE A MAN:  "Is it bedtime?"

You can contact Maxxxxx or myself here: JayCBird@AOL.COM


JimmyD said...

I wish I'd gotten the second (?) musical number. The one with Thomas Dekker on lead vocal! He rocked. I wasn't sure it was him. Who knew?
The whole night was brilliant.

free movies said...

All the musical numbers of which you have discussed in your post are amazing. I was looking for the first one and wish I will get it online else I have spend money to get it.