In the just-finished election cycle, the idea of a rebel was hijacked by the not-so-rebellious Republican Party and the, um, mavericky ways of its presidential nominee and his pristinely dressed running mate. Never fear: Santa Barbara’s 17th Annual OUTrageous LGBTQ (Lesban Gay Bisexual Transsexual Queer) Film Festival is here to restore your faith that true rebels go against the grain and stand up for their beliefs.
This year’s festival-starting today, Thursday, November 6, and running through Sunday, November 9, at downtown’s Metro 4-is chock-full of shorts and feature-length films that will make you laugh, cry, and deeply examine issues of love and loss. As always, the folks at the festival have managed to snag great guests for the screenings, like Butch Jaime director/actress Michelle Ehlen (showing Friday night), and Don Bachardy, star of Chris and Don, which chronicles the very public 34-year love affair between writer Christopher Isherwood and Bachardy (showing Saturday at 4 p.m.). Sunday promises to be equal parts poignant, with 2 p.m.’s A Finished Life, and musical, with the closing-night film a heartwarming song-and-dance rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream called Were the World Mine. It’s an eclectic lineup that should appeal to a wide variety of people. If you plan on going to more than one show, you should consider purchasing a festival pass, which is a deal at $75 and also gets you into Saturday night’s reception. Visit outrageousfilmfestival.org for more information.
After a sex-and-drug binge, Mark (Chad Allen), at the urging of his brother, goes to Genesis House, an isolated ranch home that specializes in repairing sexual brokenness (read: makes gay men heterosexual). Although initially resistant, Mark eventually comes to care for the other men in the group and the couple who run the home (Stephen Lang and Judith Light of Who’s the Boss? fame, who is brilliant as the determined-to-a-fault house mother). Mark becomes close friends with Scott (Queer as Folk’s Robert Gant), which develops into a passionate affair that some of the other men learn about. One night, Scott leaves the house, requiring Mark to choose between his new love and what he sees as a restorative path away from his addictions. Save Me treats difficult subjects with the necessary delicate brushstrokes; it is neither a polemic against the ex-gay movement or religion nor an attack on the gay characters who choose to leave the home. The issues discussed and the characters develop beyond caricature and avoid black-or-white perspectives, which make the film stronger for allowing each perspective to have positive and negative attributes.
How Do I Say This? I’m Gay!
This adorable musical short finds a mother dropping off her daughter as she returns to college and her butch “roommate” greets them. Offended that their relationship wasn’t disclosed to the mom, the girlfriend leaves, which inspires the daughter to tell her mom that she’s gay. “I’m gay” never sounded so good set to music.