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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Cinema Diverse, Palm Springs’ LGBTQ film festival, is celebrating its 12th anniversary this year as it returns over two September weekends, featuring dramas, documentaries, themed sets of sorts and even web series.

The festival, a production of the Palm Springs Cultural Center, is being presented a little differently this year, according to Cultural Center spokesman Tim Rains.

“(In the past), we had a second weekend for the Best of Fest, where we’d show some of the films again at the Mary Pickford Theatre, but this year, we did all original content,” he said. “It allows us to show a lot more films.”

During the first, extended weekend—Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 19-22—screenings will take place at the Cultural Center. During the second weekend—Friday and Saturday, Sept. 27 and 28—the festival will move to the Mary Pickford Is D’Place in Cathedral City.

This year’s festival features a number of trans stories and filmmakers, Rains said, as well as a particularly strong slate of films by and about women. Other films touch on hot-button topics such as immigration and gender non-conformity, through humor and drama alike.

Opening the festival on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 7:30 p.m. is For They Know Not What They Do, an unflinching examination of the impact that some religion can have on the lives of LGBTQ people. From Daniel Karslake, the director/producer of renowned 2007 documentary For the Bible Tells Me So, the new documentary shows how conservatives are using religion to fight LGBTQ rights.

“It reminds a lot of us that we’re in a bubble here in Palm Springs, and there are a lot of issues going on out there,” Rains said of the film.

Two of the four stories told in the documentary center on trans individuals. “It speaks directly to how the trans community has become the new target,” Rains said.

Another central topic of the film is reparative or conversion therapy—and the immense damage it causes.

“The film has hope in it, but it is also a hard film,” Rains said. “We wanted to put it at the forefront of the conscience of the community here.”

Other highlights of the 2019 festival lineup (with the synopses as provided on the festival website):

Last Ferry (3:15 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21): “When a young gay lawyer arrives on Fire Island to explore his sexuality, he becomes witness to a murder after being mugged, and then drugged. A stranger helps him to safety, but he soon discovers his savior may be friends with the killer.”

Spider Mites of Jesus: The Dirtwoman Documentary (5:45 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21): “When he was an infant, he suffered from the ‘Spider Mites of Jesus’ (his mother couldn’t pronounce spinal meningitis). This caused mental challenges that resulted in his lifelong illiteracy. At 13, he began selling his body on the streets as a drag prostitute. When he was arrested, he took a dump in the back of the police car, leading the cops to give him the moniker: Dirtwoman.”

Del Shores’ Six Characters in Search of a Play (7:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 22): “Shores is inspired by Pirandello’s classic play to bring you six characters inspired by his real-life encounters that haven’t quite made it into one of Shores’ plays, films or TV shows. In 90 minutes, the audience will hear the truth behind how he collected these eccentrics, then he will portray them in classic Shores’ monologue style.”

The Ground Beneath My Feet (7:45 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 22): In this drama, “Lola controls her personal life with the same ruthless efficiency she uses to optimize profits in her job as a business consultant. But when a tragic event forces the past back into her life, Lola’s grip on reality seems to slip away.”

Scream Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street (7 p.m., Friday Sept. 27): “Campy and homoerotic, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 has often been called the gayest horror film that Hollywood's ever made. For Mark Patton, a young actor, it was a true nightmare, as the homophobic backlash effectively ended his film career—and banished him into Garbo-like exile. This defiant documentary tells the triumphant tale of the ‘revenge of first male scream queen,’ while also cautioning today’s LGBTQ community that the nightmare isn’t over.”

Cinema Diverse takes place Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 19-22, at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Road; and Friday and Saturday, Sept. 27 and 28, at Mary Pickford Is D’Place, 36850 Pickfair St., in Cathedral City. Tickets for individual films are $13.50; a “six-pack,” allowing admission to six films, is $75; all-access passes are $179. For tickets or more information, including the complete schedule, visit psculturalcenter.org/filmfest.

Published in Previews and Features

Long before newsfeeds, Facebook, 24-hour news networks and even beepers, people got their information from things like news magazines. It may sound like crazy talk, but it’s true.

One of these news magazines—one which has played a vital role in the LGBT community—is The Advocate. It was started as a newsletter by an activist group following a police raid on a Los Angeles gay bar, the Black Cat Tavern, on Jan. 1, 1967—a couple of years before the Stonewall riots in New York City. The newsletter covered the demonstrations against police brutality; later that year, the newsletter was transformed into a newspaper.

The history of The Advocate since those first days is the subject of a new documentary—and it’s one of the highlights of Cinema Diverse, the local LGBT film festival, which will take place at the Camelot Theatres at the Palm Springs Cultural Center Sept. 20-23, with a “bonus weekend” taking place at Mary Pickford Is D’Place in Cathedral City the following weekend.

“This year, Cinema Diverse is opening with A Long Road to Freedom: The Advocate Celebrates 50 Years,” said Michael Green, the Cinema Diverse festival director and the executive director of the Palm Springs Cultural Center. “This is going to be a really cool story to share with the audience on opening night. It is a retrospective of the 50 years from the start of the magazine up to the current day.

“It’s a huge historic piece and important. Laverne Cox is narrating it, and the music is provided by Melissa Etheridge. … It covers the pre-Stonewall era from the Los Angeles perspective, the AIDS crisis, marriage equality and up to present day. It’s even more powerful to those of us who have lived in the Palm Springs area during that time and have seen the changes that have occurred.”

A Long Road to Freedom is just one of the documentaries included in the Cinema Diverse schedule. “There’s a huge variety of documentaries this year. We have a film about gay comics and another about gay (erotic) comic-book illustrators and so many more,” Green said.

Cinema Diverse, of course, has offerings going beyond documentaries.

“We have several great musicals this year,” Green said. “They cover a variety of subjects, both as feature films and as shorts. Musicals are great. Even though the characters may have troubles throughout, the endings are usually very uplifting. We also have horror films this year; you could classify them as thriller-type films that are pretty good.”

Why is it important to include films like thrillers/horror movies in an LGBT film festival?

“Movies focused on LGBTQ characters … the audience can relate to,” Green said. “We are also screening Devil’s Path, a real psychological thriller by Matthew Montgomery, a popular LGBTQ actor. People who are familiar with him will be really excited to see it.

“As always, we have some really good foreign films, like A Moment in the Reeds, from Finland. It’s a fun and beautiful story.”

Movies by local filmmakers are a key part of Cinema Diverse.

“We have a local film (producer) named Marc Smolowitz. His most recent film is called 50 Years of Fabulous. It’s all about the Imperial Council from its inception and over the last 50 years,” Green said; the Imperial Court System is a series of organizations that raise money for charitable causes. “Again, it’s a historical film that touches Palm Springs and a story that’s close to home to anyone who is familiar with the Imperial Court System. … Since Marc is local, this makes the film even more special.”

One of the films Green is most excited about is 1985, based on a renowned short film with the same name.

“It’s about the very beginning of the AIDS crisis and a young, closeted guy who goes home to Texas,” Green said. “It’s a very poignant film. It’s filmed largely in black and white. It’s a very powerful.” Gotham’s Cory Michael Smith is the star.

“As in previous years, there will be a lot of filmmakers and actors here to represent their films. There are more films this year than previously, both features and shorts,” Green said.

Cinema Diverse takes place Thursday, Sept. 20, through Sunday, Sept. 23, and Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28 and 29. Individual screenings are $13.25, while an all-festival pass costs $159. For tickets and more information, including a festival schedule, visit the Cinema Diverse website.

Published in Previews and Features

The year was 2008. The economy was imploding; Coldplay’s Viva la Vida was the No. 1 album in the world; and United States voters elected a guy named Barack Obama as president.

Meanwhile, here in the Coachella Valley, the Palm Springs Cultural Center held the first Cinema Diverse, the valley’s LGBT film festival.

The 10th anniversary edition of the festival takes place Sept. 21-24.

Michael Green is the festival director and the executive director of the Cultural Center. He talked about the process he goes through to select films for the festival.

“I work with all the independent film distributors who specialize in LGBT films, as well as others,” he said. “I pretty much screen films year-around. Films also come in to us from directors, many we have worked with before. We don’t show anything that is out commercially.”

Palm Springs’ proximity to Hollywood is a boon to Cinema Diverse.

“It’s wonderful,” Green said. “The beauty of being so close is (many of) the filmmakers come out to the festival. We have been so fortunate the past few years, where we have up to 80 percent representation … by someone involved in the film itself.”

This is the 10th Cinema Diverse—and Green has made big plans to celebrate the milestone. The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin is going to be the opening-night movie on Thursday, Sept. 21, and Tales of the City scribe Armistead Maupin himself will be in attendance. Copies of his new memoir will also be available, before the official release date in October.

“Luckily, Armistead loves Palm Springs, and his schedule worked out so he can come here to be a part of the festival,” Green said. “We are working with (Palm Springs store) Just Fabulous to help out, where people can purchase his new book and have it signed.”

Beyond opening night, Cinema Diverse will have many highlights, Green said.

“We are going to have a couple of special 10th anniversary screenings from Here Media,” he said. “Sheltered is one of the first movies produced by Here Media 10 years ago. This is only available in this festival—no others. Here Media is one the festival’s sponsors, so we are hoping to have not just the director, but the cast, too, on Saturday (Sept. 23).

“We are also going to be having a documentary called Laughing Matters … The Men,” featuring various gay comedians—which was filmed at Palm Springs Pride. “Not only is this a 10th anniversary screening, but the director, Andrea Meyerson, has a new short named One Way Street, which will also be screening at the festival. We love to do a lot of shorts at Cinema Diverse.”

The festival is also expanding to a second weekend, sort of: While Cinema Diverse will take place at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs, the Mary Pickford Theatre in Cathedral City will host the Best of Fest on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 29 and 30.

“Last year, we expanded what we were doing (by hosting films at the Desert Cinema, the former IMAX theater) in Cathedral City,” Green said. “This year, Cathedral City asked us to return. We asked the Mary Pickford, and they were very interested. We also decided this year to move this part of the festival to the week after, so it wouldn’t pull away from the festival consistency. The Best of Fest will show the best films and help accommodate film-goers who may have missed the first showings during the festival.”

Cinema Diverse includes every genre of LGBT-related films one can imagine. However, Green admitted a fondness for the festival’s slate of documentaries.

“This year, we have most of our documentaries focusing on the LGBTQ communities in various places around the world,” Green said. “Films from Iraq, Iran, Russia or South Africa work as a reminder that we are so fortunate to live in our bubble of Palm Springs. It’s a reminder how dangerous the rest of the world is, and how there is still so much work to be done to make the world a safe place.”

Cinema Diverse takes place Thursday, Sept. 21, through Sunday, Sept. 24, at the Camelot Theatres, 2300 E. Baristo Road, in Palm Springs. The Best of Fest takes place Friday and Saturday, Sept. 29 and 30, at the Mary Pickford Theatre, 36850 Pickfair St., in Cathedral City. Pass prices vary; individual screenings are $13.25. For more information, visit cinemadiverse.org.

Published in Previews and Features

Palm Springs is well-known for its star-studded International Film Festival, held every January. However, the city also hosts a well-regarded annual LGBTQ film festival, known as Cinema Diverse—and it’s taking place at the Camelot Theatres Sept. 17-20.

Local comedian Shann Carr has been affiliated with the festival since its start, beginning as a volunteer eight years ago.

“Every city in America had an LGBTQ film festival, and Palm Springs is known for having its very own international film festival, and we were the only town without an LGBTQ film festival,” she said. “For a gay town, that’s pretty surprising.”

Through the years, Carr has seen trends in festival submissions come and go from year to year. For example, she said films on the subjects of gay marriage and equality are starting to wane.

“You watch the crest of what’s on the front-burner of our community at the given time. In the past couple of years, it’s been all gay marriage and babies,” she said. “… Now, it’s, ‘Enough about the weddings! Enough about gay rights!’ Right as we gained marriage equality, those submissions dropped right down. Television and film is how a lot of the world learned that gay people aren’t scary people. It really is about education.”

What’s a current trend in festival submissions?

“The transgender issue has now come up,” she said. “… I haven’t seen a lot of (the films focusing on transgender issues), but I know there are a handful of them, as well as some shorts. Last year, one of the most talked-about shorts was called Brace, and it was about a transgender man who was at a bar, and this guy started liking him, and they started liking each other—and then the other guy found out the man was transgender.”

Carr has seen the festival’s Opening Night centerpiece film, Eisenstein in Guanajuato.

“The opening film is amazing. It’s about a Russian gay man, and it’s beautiful,” she said. “He speaks with a thick Russian accent throughout the entire film, and so much amazing stuff comes out of it. It’s a story about a Russian filmmaker in the ’30s who comes through the United States and learns he can make a film for next to nothing in Mexico. He spends a visa period filming 200 miles of film and discovering his sexuality—and he’s a virgin at 33. There’s a bit of frontal nudity, and as a lesbian watching it, I thought, ‘Innocent, playful penis!’ It was a beautiful, interesting, artistic penis.”

Carr said there is something she wishes there was less of at the festival: the divide between the sexes. However, she conceded the divide is real.

“I didn’t want to see a men’s compilation and a women’s compilation,” she said. “As I took a handful of people into a screening … as soon as the guys got down to it for a sex scene, the women were like, ‘Do I have to watch this?’ The guys are all like, ‘LET’S GO! WOO HOO! … As much as I was trying to push them into that progress, they weren’t having it at all.”

Considering all the positive changes taking place in the LGBTQ community, I asked Carr whether an LGBTQ film festival will still be necessary and needed in a decade.

“I think so, because humans are like this, and animals are like this: They see their reflection, and they want to belong, be affirmed, be enlightened,” she said. “… It’s an explanation of the changes we’re seeing, but I don’t see us completely going to the cliff and falling over. Ethnic groups still want to see each other and congregate with each other.”

Cinema Diverse takes place from Thursday, Sept. 17, through Sunday, Sept. 20, primarily at the Camelot Theatres, 2300 E. Baristo Road, in Palm Springs. Tickets range from $13 for individual screenings to $159 for an all-festival pass. For tickets or more information, call 760-325-6565, or visit cinemadiverse.org.

Published in Previews and Features

Film

Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

A varied combination of feature films, documentaries and short films created by and/or about thematic issues related to the LGBT community is shown Thursday, Sept. 18, through Sunday, Sept. 21. Individual screenings $13; all-access $149. Camelot Theatres, 2300 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs. 760-325-6565; cinemadiverse.org.

Comedy

Comedy Night Palm Springs

Shelagh Ratner, of Lifetime TV’s Prank My Mom, and Matthew Moore, of Caroline’s on Broadway in New York, perform at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20. $20. The Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

George Lopez

The multi-talented entertainer whose career encompasses television, film, standup comedy and late-night television performs at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 6. $39 to $99. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio. 888-331-5645; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Michael Walters as Dame Edna

Get ready, possums! Back by popular demand, celebrity impersonator Michael Walters as Dame Edna returns to the Purple Room. Barry Humphries, the original creator of Dame Edna, calls Walter’s show “spectacular.” 5:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Sept. 5 and 6; 5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 7; 5:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 12; and 5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 14. $25. The Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Music

Burger Records Presents Burger Oasis

Burger Records heads to the desert for Burger Oasis, a full weekend of sundrenched vibrations and garage-rock sounds with live sets by the pool and in the Amigo Room. Music starts at 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Sept. 5 and 6, in the Amigo Room; and goes from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6 and 7, poolside. Free; pool parties open to hotel guests only. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com.

Fantasy Springs Rock Yard Concert Series

At 7:30 p.m., full-throttle rock music fires up with a cover band to get audience members out of their seats. At 9 p.m., the tribute band takes over and plays audience favorites. At 10:30 p.m., the cover band comes back out and continues the live music until midnight. Friday, Sept. 6: Tribute to AC/DC. Friday, Sept. 13: Tribute to Led Zeppelin. Friday, Sept. 20: Tribute to Pink Floyd. Friday, Sept. 27: Tribute to Journey. Free. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio. 888-331-5645; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Friday Night Tribute Concerts

Spotlight 29 Casino invites everyone to come out and enjoy Friday-night tribute concerts. Guests must be 21 years and older. 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19: Van Halen. Friday, Sept. 26: Journey. Free. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella. 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

God Save the Queen: A Celebration of Queen

The legendary band is given tribute at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 6. $20. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella. 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Janelle Monae

The soul/R&B singer performs at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 12. $45 to $75. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage. 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com/TheShow.

Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano

The Grammy Award-winning ensemble performs at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 13. $25 to $45. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage. 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com/TheShow.

Peter Frampton

The 1970s legend performs at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19. $50 to $70. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage. 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com/TheShow.

Ramon Ayala

The norteño legend takes the stage at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 13. $35 to $55. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella. 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Special Events

Beer Culture: Craft Beer Weekend

The third annual Beer Culture: Craft Beer Weekend celebrates the microbrewers, hop heads, cask masters and maltsters who make the world a better place for beer-lovers. Friday night includes a five-course feast with beer pairings. Saturday afternoon is a pool party and barbecue with craft beer tastings and live music. Dinner at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 12 ($50); pool party from noon to 10 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 13 ($15, or $30 with beer-tasting). Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com.

Club Fore Kids Golf Tournament

This fourth annual golf tournament, sponsored by the Palm Springs Hospitality Association, benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Palm Springs. Lunch and raffle prizes included. 8 a.m., Monday, Sept. 15. $195. Escena Golf Club, 1100 Clubhouse View Drive, Palm Springs. $195. Palmspringshospitality.org/events.htm.

Desert Haiku Writing in Joshua Tree National Park

Be inspired by the power and beauty of the desert setting to learn how to write haiku and other types of poetry in this writing-intensive field seminar. Participants will take brief walks and be introduced to the ecologic and cultural/historical richness of the desert. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 13. $70 regular; $60 Joshua Tree National Park Association members. Joshua Tree Visitor Center, 6554 Park Blvd., Joshua Tree. 760-367-5525; www.joshuatree.org.

Fine Art Photography in Joshua Tree National Park

Immerse yourself in the wonders of Joshua Tree National Park and connect with the enchantment to be found there. The content of this workshop will focus not only on the mechanics of photography, but also on personal interpretation and expression. Bring camera equipment, camping equipment and enthusiasm. Friday, Sept. 19, through Sunday, Sept. 21. $170 regular; $160 for Joshua Tree National Park Association members. Oasis Visitor Center, 74485 National Park Drive, Joshua Tree. 760-367-5525; www.joshuatree.org.

Palm Springs Cultural Art, Food and Wine Festival

The event provides cultural art, exotic foods, eclectic jewelry, music and wine. 10 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 13 and 14. Call for admission information; VIP tickets $25. Renaissance Palm Springs, 888 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way. 760-413-1125.

Synchronicity: Matter and Psyche Symposium

A landmark celebration with visionary leaders whose work has pioneered our understanding of the unity of psyche and matter. Embrace a heart-shaped world through science, art, psychology and embodied practice. The weekend features Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock. Friday, Sept. 12, through Sunday, Sept. 14. $327 to $347. Joshua Tree Retreat Center, 59700 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree. Matterpsyche.net.

Visual Arts

A Grand Adventure: American Art in the West

The epic 19th-century landscape paintings of Yosemite and Yellowstone by Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran introduced the American public to the grandeur of the West. By the turn of the century, a new genre of Western art had developed. A Grand Adventure brings together 40 significant classic and traditional artworks from private collections. The artworks span nearly 100 years, dating from the latter half of the 19th century through the early decades of the 20th century. The exhibit opens Saturday, Sept. 27, and will remain on display through Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015. Included with regular admission prices. Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, 72567 Highway 111, Palm Desert. 760-346-5600; www.psmuseum.org/palm-desert.

Backstreet Art District Art Walk

Galleries and studios featuring modern and contemporary fine art are open the first Wednesday of every month from 6 to 9 p.m. Experience the thrill of interacting with working artists. Find paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, photography and more, in one location. Free. Backstreet Art District, Cherokee Way and Matthew Drive, Palm Springs. 760-202-1208; www.backstreetartdistrict.com.

Submit your free arts listings at calendar.artsoasis.org. The listings presented above were all posted on the ArtsOasis calendar, and formatted/edited by Coachella Valley Independent staff. The Independent recommends calling to confirm all events information presented here.

Published in Local Fun

The Camelot Theatres are the home of one helluva LGBT film festival this weekend.

Cinema Diverse, the annual Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, takes place at the Camelot this Thursday through Sunday, and it’s packed with compelling independent films, all of which have a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered theme.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Compelling independent film” is often code for “well-meaning but mediocre.” However, those of us at Independent World Headquarters can personally vouch for these three films, because we’ve watched them, or at least know enough about them to know they’re worthy. (Unfortunately, unless you’ve managed to clone yourself, you’ll only be able to catch two of these three films this weekend—because two of them overlap.)

Cinema Diverse, featuring a wide variety of LGBT features and shorts from the morning through night, takes place Thursday, Sept. 19, through Sunday, Sept. 22, with all screenings at the Camelot Theatres, 2300 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs. All-access passes including the opening night reception are $169; all-access passes sans the reception are $149. Individual tickets for most screenings are $13, although the Southern Baptist Sissies opening screening is $15; or $35 for both the film and the opening-night reception. (More on that in a minute.)

Get a complete schedule and ticket info at cinemadiverse.org. Summaries of the three films we recommend are below; scroll down to view trailers for each.

Southern Baptist Sissies

5:30 p.m. reception; 7 p.m. screening, Thursday, Sept. 19

OK, this is the one we have not seen, but the trailer is so compelling, and the cast is so incredible (Leslie Jordan!) that we’re recommending it. This is a filmed theatrical performance of Del Shores’ renowned play about four gay boys who grow up in the Southern Baptist Church. Each of the young men deals with his sexuality—and his religion, which strictly forbids it—in a different way. At turns hilarious and poignant, this is a play/film you’ll want to see. As a special treat, Shores and some of the cast members will appear at a pre-film reception to kick off the festival.

Hot Guys With Guns

7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20

Danny Lohman (Marc Anthony Samuel) is a struggling actor who is taking private-investigator lessons to help him get a gig. However, when his slacker ex-boyfriend, Pip (Brian McArdle), becomes a victim of a robbery at a sex party, he and Pip—with the help of Danny’s crusty PI teacher (Alan Blumenfeld)—decide they should investigate. The film is touching, implausible, hilarious and downright enjoyable—with a fair amount of male eye candy.

Heterosexual Jill

7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20

Michelle Ehlen writes, directs and stars in this amusing and quirky film—it’s sort of a sequel to Ehlen’s Butch Jamie—centering on Jamie, an actress (Ehlen) who is in the cast of an odd film starring a cat. (Ehlen’s costumes are hilarious.) Her ex-girlfriend, Jill (Jen McPherson), is part of an ex-lesbian support group—and Jill then decides, somewhat neurotically, to date Jamie to prove she is no longer attracted to women. A subplot follows two of Jamie’s cast members—a gay man and a straight woman—who are lusting over the same man. And then something weird happens when Jamie accidentally sees a penis. I know this description doesn’t make sense at all, but trust me: It works. Go see it.

Published in Previews and Features