Kylie Minogue as a tattooed lesbian? Elvis’ granddaughter as a girl named Jack? A new lesbian-themed werewolf flick called Jack & Diane that screened at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year is getting ready for a wider release and we couldn’t be more excited. It’ll even be available On Demand starting Sept. 28.
TLAgay.com is one of the biggest retailers in gay home entertainment. And no, they don’t only sell the naughty stuff. In fact, TLA has introduced lots of great new flicks, like the latest comedy show from Kathy Griffin and a documentary about two guys who attempted to break records with the world’s longest (and gayest) kiss.
As we’re in movie mode thanks to QFest, the site’s timing is impeccable, offering a special promotion this month for $25 off of any order of $100 or more. We don’t know about you, but when we’ve exhausted the LGBT titles on Netflix and have already caught up on our favorite reality TV guilty pleasures (hello, Real L Word) we can think of no better way to cool off in the A.C. than with some sultry scenes from some of our favorite indie films and new flicks.
Just sign up for TLAgay.com’s email list (before midnight on July 31) to receive the “Xmas in July” sales code for use on anything in the gay cinema, books, e-books and lifestyle products categories – and yes, even the raunchier titles for which TLA is also known (and loved).
“We are thrilled to offer our email subscribers this ‘Xmas in July’ promotion because, being extremely customer-centric, this program is yet another opportunity to show our appreciation to our loyal TLAgay customers,” says TLA’s Marketing Manager Maria Votlucka.
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.
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.
Made on a shoestring budget back in 1994, the film Go Fish turned Rose Troche into the indie darling of lesbian moviegoers everywhere. Not only did the black-and-white flick help jump start the New Queer Cinema movement, but it cemented the Midwestern-born Troche as an influential player in Hollywood.
Over the years, she’s gone on to work on many notable projects – everything from The Safety of Objects starring Glenn Close to Six Feet Under and The L Word. As she gets ready to be honored by QFest this year (July 21, 4:45 p.m. at the Ritz East, Theatre 2), she tells us what inspires her to tell stories, what it was really like working with the women of The L Word and what she’s planning next. The festival will even show a few sneak peek clips from her newest project Concussion as part of a very special tribute.
Your film Go Fish is considered to be a landmark in the lesbian community. Did you ever expect it to become so beloved?
No. I don’t think any of us thought it would hit like it did. It is honestly so much about timing. There seemed to be a void at that particular time and we were there to fill it.
At the time, what was your inspiration for making the movie?
I was involved in ACT Up and Queer Nation and Go Fish was sort of born out of that activism. It was about lesbian visibility and the desire to present ourselves in a way that we felt was authentic.
The old saying goes that if everyone who says they were at Stonewall really were, the streets would have been mobbed from Christopher Street to New Jersey. But for those brave ones who did witness the events that night in New York City – 43 years ago today – the world as we know it would never be the same.
In honor of this milestone, we’d like to share a poignant PBS documentary – Stonewall Uprising – about that fateful day in June.
QFest is getting ready to kick off its 18th edition on July 12 (through the 23rd) with 107 films this year, including 13 documentaries, 52 short films, seven world premieres, two U.S. premieres and 26 Philadelphia premieres.
The LGBT film festival opens with Elliot Loves, the story of Dominican-American Elliot Ayende at two stages of his life: as a nine-year-old who is sidekick and confidant to his struggling single mom, and as a 21-year-old looking for love in New York City. The closer is the comedic follow-up to TLA Releasing’s BearCity - BearCity2: The Proposal. In it, Kathy Najimy plays den mother to the returning cast of bears, boys and cubs, for a Bear Week bachelor party in Provincetown.
Other notable films include:
Cloudburst, which stars Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as Stella and Dotty, a lesbian couple from Maine who embark on a Thelma and Louise-style road trip to Nova Scotia to get married after Dotty is moved into a nursing home by her daughter.
Do you know how you’re celebrating Father’s Day on Sunday? We have some great, stylish gift ideas for all the gay Dads out there.
If your proud papas are anything like Cam and Mitch, treat them to the first and second seasons of Modern Family on DVD. This lovable, sometimes dysfunctional family will make up for all the reruns on network TV this summer. Plus, they’re great for a rainy day at Rehoboth.
Gardening never looked so cool. These collectible Plantable Comic Books provide great tips about how to cultivate your green thumb. You can even plant the seed-covered pages in the backyard to start your own herb garden.
Open House has adorable “I Love My Gay Dads” onesies for the little one. If you know of a couple of daddies who are celebrating their first Father’s Day this year – they’ll love this cotton jumper.
School may be out for the summer, but Questia, an online research tool, is celebration LGBT history month with a crash course in gay and lesbian poetry. In honor of Pride, the online library has compiled interesting facts about five of the most researched poets on their site. Good news is you don’t have to be a student to enjoy the works – Questia’s opened its lavender library for free for the month of June.
Read all about these top five:
Allen Ginsberg: A self-proclaimed “novelist in the making,” Ginsberg wrote about taboo topics and homosexuality as a leading figure in the Beat Generation. Over the years, he vigorously opposed sexual repression and was an early proponent of freedom for gay people, expressing himself and his beliefs openly within his poetry. We look forward to a new movie about Ginsberg’s early years – Kill Your Darlings – starring Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliff (out 2013). James Franco also channeled the Beat poet in Howl.
Check it out:
W.H. Auden: Considered to be one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, Auden penned nearly 400 poems throughout his lifetime. To avoid persecution in Nazi Germany for being gay, Auden married the daughter of a fellow writer, but later met poet Chester Kallman who would become his lifelong companion.
She describes Truth as a “journey through the lives of trans- and nongendered people around the world.” Janet Jackson (yes, that Janet Jackson) has signed onto executive produce a new documentary that she says will help shed light on the struggle many gender nonconforming and transitioning people face every day.
“All people are very important to me,” Jackson says in a press statement. “I’ve been fortunate to make friends and learn about very different lives. Trith is our small chance to ask that you try and understand someone who lives their life in a way that is a little bit different from yours, even though all of our hearts are the same.”
Jackson is no stranger to supporting LGBT causes during her career. And her high profile production credit is expected to catapult the film into a public sphere that most other independent documentaries about trans men and women might not ever enjoy.
Directed by Robert Jason, who also directed Style Exposed: Born Male, Living Female last year, the film is expected to begin shooting this summer.
“Janet Jackson will take us on a visually innovative, cerebral journey through the turbulent lives of transgender people of all ages around the world and their epic struggle for equality,” explains the director. “This film will highlight landmark mainstream stories and provide a glimpse at others that will change the gender landscape of the world forever. Just as it is hard to believe that there ever was a time when different components of society were required to use separate drinking fountains, it is as incredible that one’s gender expression remains just such a target for discrimination.”
“We want to stop hate,” says Jackson, “and find understanding.”