The Must-See Films at This Year’s qFLIX Film Festival

qFLIX Philadelphia is from July 5-10, 2016.

qFLIX Philadelphia is from July 5-10, 2016.

Through July 10th, this year’s qFLIX film festival is screening 50 of the most inventive and unique LGBTQ films the city has to offer. Here’s our day-by-day cheat sheet to the standouts.

WEDNESDAY: Kiss Me, Kill Me, directed by Casper Andres
9:30 p.m. at Prince Theatre, 1412 Chestnut Street
Thought you were ready for a gay marriage? This mystery murder caper will have you guessing again. This brilliantly crafted film features so many famous LGBTQ stars that you will be stunned by the cameos while wondering whodunnit. Read more »

Weekend Roundup

Friday, Oct. 26

Justin Bond plays the William Way on Friday (courtesy of the artist)

William Way hosts the Queer Fear Costume Closet (6:30 p.m.) with great garb from Philly AIDS Thrift.

ArtNUDE Philadelphia is presented by the James Oliver Gallery (7 p.m.) to benefit the Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation. The exhibit features 23 artists with performances by Katie Gould, DJ Mike Lowry and DJ Rich, among others.

The Queer Fear Cabaret features none other than Justin Vivien Bond (7:30 p.m.) with the Bearded Ladies. Check out Bond’s amazing new album here.

Play the Halloween Match Game (7:30 p.m.) at L’Etage with the Real Housewives of South Philly.

The eXtreme Masquerade takes over the Top of the Tower (8 p.m.) with Ballet X and DJ Captain Ridiculous.

Night of the Living Drag Queen comes to life at Rainbow Mountain Resort in East Stroudsburg (8 p.m.) with Scarlett Lettah and friends – and a dance party to follow.

Peter Sterling hosts his Halloween Ball (9 p.m.) at D’Ignazio’s Towne House Bar in Media to benefit the Special Olympics. Look for a special appearance from Brittany Lynn and her Drag Mafia – and a costume contest with oodles of prizes.

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Weekend Roundup

Friday, Sept. 7

Gender Reel kicks off today with events through the weekend. Click here for a full listing of events.

The 35th Annual SisterSpace Festival (10 a.m.) spends the weekend at Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, Md. The nation’s longest-running lesbian festival features live music, workshops, dance parties, crafts, sports and a community with hundreds of women from the Mid-Atlantic. Also look for comedy from Mimi Gonzales and music by Virago.

Papeles: Are We What We Sign? (12 p.m.) opens with a reception at Painted Bride. The exhibition examined how papers and other legal contracts relate to identity and sexual orientation.

Carousel Vintage & Contemporary Fashion is celebrating a grand opening (5 p.m.) in Old City (right across from the Betsy Ross House).

The Essence of Life and Line (5 p.m.) opens with a reception at Indy Hall with Sean Martorana.

Guys Night Out visits the opening of GenderReel (6 p.m.) at the William Way before setting off for a gallery crawl through Old City’s First Friday.

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Filmmaker Talks Bumming Cigarettes

Tiona M. talks HIV, AIDS and Bumming Cigarettes (courtesy of the filmmaker)

While waiting for the results of an HIV test, Vee (Ali Hatch) bums a cigarette from Jimmy (James Tolbert), a kind of “mayor of the streets.” But what starts out as a simple interaction turns into a reflection between two strangers in Bumming Cigarettes.

Tiona M.’s film – written, directed and shot in Philly – not only explores what it means when strangers meet at a crossroads, but deals with the impact of HIV/AIDS on the black LGBT community. It even features a few familiar cameos in the film, including Vincent Du (who plays an HIV counselor) as well as Kaamilah Milton, Gary Kramer, Peaches Jones, Zerandrian Morris, Katrina Clark, among other local “non-actors.”

Tiona M. (she won an audience award for best documentary in 2008 for black./womyn.: conversations with lesbians of African descent) opened up about the short film as she gets ready to premiere it at QFest. She not only tells us about her cinematic heroes, but how the main character reflects her own life. She’s currently working on a full-length feature documentary – The Untitled Black Lesbian Elder Project.

What inspired the film?

Last year was the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the HIV/AIDS virus and I also turned 30 last year, so every year of my life has paralleled with this anniversary. I wanted to create a film that would target the black lesbian community to be more aware of their status in regards to STDs. There were a ton of campaigns last year that targeted everyone except the black lesbian community… all the while there was new reports which prove that black women are the highest rising demographic for contracting HIV. There have been the times when I’ve gone to get health checkups, and when I’ve always been told that I’m not “high risk” because I am a lesbian. I wanted to challenge that a bit through the use of narrative film.

Did you base the short film on any experiences from your own life?

Yeah, I pretty much went through what the main character Vee goes through within the film. I even went to Washington West to get my test done.

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Our QFest Picks

As QFest turns 18 this week, we selected a few of our favorite picks during the much-anticipated LGBT film festival (it all kicks off July 12). The flicks we picked run the gamut between an adventure of two aging lesbians on the road to serious profiles of LGBT artists and leaders – and even a moody, homoerotic day dream about James Dean.

In addition to these films, G Philly is also sponsoring TRANS, a poignant documentary about transgender men and women, and Dr. Christine McGinn, the New Hope doctor who specializes in gender reassignment. Not only do we meet her patients, but we also follow one story to the Trans-Health Conference here in Philly for a life-changing awakening.

Check out a preview:

Read more »

There’s a New Gay Party in Town

Courtesy of Tashan

With QFest just around the corner next month, the city is bracing for a new LGBT party with proceeds from the kick off to benefit the gay and lesbian film festival.

Swagger gets the party started at Tashan (777 S. Broad Street) between 6 and 9 p.m. with “777 Happy Hour” specials – including small plates, select wines and specialty cocktails. Each month a portion of the food and bar proceeds will benefit a local LGBT charity.

“Our goal is to throw an amazing party that lets us get to know the local community while giving back to a worthwhile cause,” says Tashan’s Assistant General Manager Brion Pizzi. “Swagger’s first beneficiary will be Philadelphia QFEST, a renowned gay and lesbian film festival presented by the Philadelphia Cinema Alliance.” The festival runs July 12 to July 20 with dozens of screenings and special events throughout the city.

Since last year, Tashan has been serving up small plates inspired by Indian flavors in a swank atmosphere – and one that promises to welcome a lively bar scene. The hot spot even earned a coveted place as the Best New Restaurant on the James Beard Awards’ list.

New Film Series in Lehigh Valley

Courtesy of ArtsQuest

Philly has long had its LGBT film festivals, but this year the Greater Lehigh Valley, along with Equality Pennsylvania and ArtsQuest, are launching a new festival based in nearby Bethlehem, Pa. The LGBT Film Series at SteelStacks’ Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas (FBAC) kicks off May 6 and runs through June 10.

The month-long series, designed to raise awareness of LGBT issues, will feature six films, as well as special discussions and talkbacks hosted by prominent members of Lehigh Valley’s LGBT community. In addition, a Tea Party fund-raiser will take place May 6, with all proceeds from the event going to support the 2013 LGBT Film Series.

“We hope that this will be the first of many years of this film series,” says Shawn Bausher, president of Pride of the Greater Lehigh Valley. “Kudos to ArtsQuest for promoting diversity in the community and bringing a much needed LGBT presence to Bethlehem’s SouthSide.”

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