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Friday, September 27, 2013

See a Groovy Gay Movie during Chicago's Reeling Film Festival November 7 - 14

It's almost that time of the year again when we all come together to watch groovy movies at the second-oldest LGBT film festival in the world. Running November 7 through November 14, Reeling 2013: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival is celebrating its 31st anniversary this year with a diverse slate of movies that will entertain, inspire, amuse and break a few hearts. Below I've highlighted some of the movies and special events in the festival's line-up that caught my eye (the above photos are from Free Fall, First Period and I Am Divine), and I hope to begin posting reviews next month here on Deep Dish.

For a complete schedule of films, go to You can purchase advance tickets online beginning October 14. You can also get the latest festival news by following Reeling on Twitter and Facebook.

7:30 pm, Thursday, November 7, at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport)
Reeling kicks off with its Opening Night Gala presentation of director Darren Stein's teen comedy about a high school student who is outed by his classmates and becomes the "must have" accessory - a gay best friend - of the most popular girls in school. The film features memorable performances by Megan Mullally, Horatio Sanz, Jonathan Silverman, Rebecca Gayheart and Natasha Lyonne. A reception will follow the screening at the nearby Laugh Factory (3175 N. Broadway) with stand-up performances by local LGBT comics.

Birthday Cake
4:45 pm, Saturday, November 9, at the Logan Theatre (2646 N. Milwaukee)
Director Chad Darnell's feature debut is a hilarious mockumentary about the three days leading up to the first birthday party of a child with two gay parents - a hunky television star (Rib Hillis) and his screenwriter husband (Darnell). Lee Meriwether, Jane Badler, Helen Shaver, Peter Paige and Ronnie Kroell co-star in Darnell's feature debut.

Black Box
7:15 pm, Monday, November 11, at the Logan Theatre
Writer-director Stephen Cone follows up his critically acclaimed 2011 feature debut, The Wise Kids, with a fascinating treatise on the seductive, intimate power inherent in the play rehearsal process. A group of young theatre students have their beliefs tested by their strong-willed director as they enact a stage version of a cult horror novel. The arrival of the book's author (played by legendary character actor Austin Pendleton) turns up the psychological temperature to an almost unbearable degree.

Burning Blue
Directed by DMW Greer
7:15 pm, Friday, November 8, at the Logan Theatre
The friendship between two Navy pilots is tested when one is caught with a third pilot in a gay club during the repressive atmosphere of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" years. This gay variation on Top Gun stars Trent Ford, Morgan Spector, Rob Mayes, William Lee Scott and Tammy Blanchard.

First Period
Directed by Charlie Vaughn
Midnight on Saturday, November 9, at the Logan Theatre
If John Waters were to direct a John Hughes film, this would be it! New girl Cassie and school outcast Maggie decide the way to win the hearts of cute boys and popular girls is by winning the annual talent show - but their rivals are determined to stop them in this hilarious spoof of '80s high school comedies. The cast includes Brandon Alexander III, Dudley Beene, Judy Tenuta, Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson, Jack Plotnick, Rebekah Kochan and Michael Turchin.

Free Fall
9:30 pm, Monday, November 11, at the Logan Theatre
Stephan Lacant's first feature film tells the dramatic tale of a young police cadet whose life is turned upside down when he begins a hot affair with a fellow male cop.

Getting Go: The Go Doc Project
Directed by Cory Krueckeberg
7:15 pm, Saturday, November 9, at the Logan Theatre
A shy recent college grad (Tanner Cohen) devises a plan to shoot a documentary about the NYC nightlife scene in order to meet the hot go-go boy he's obsessed with. The line between subject and filmmaker becomes blurred and flirtation leads to a steamy affair that seems to offer the promise of something deeper - or does it?

The Happy Sad
9 pm, Friday, November 8, at the Logan Theatre
In this new romantic drama from acclaimed writer-director Rodney Evans (Brother to Brother), two young couples in New York — one black and gay, one white and heterosexual — find their lives intertwined as they create new relationship norms, explore sexual identity and redefine monogamy.

Hot Guys With Guns
Directed by Doug Spearman
9:15 pm, Monday, November 11, at the Logan Theatre
Imagine Lethal Weapon's Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as younger, hotter ex-boyfriends who are forced to work together on a criminal investigation - and you have the basis for this gay comedy-action-thriller, which stars Brian McArdle, Marc Anthony Samuel (General Hospital) and Darryl Stephens (Noah's Arc).

I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole
Directed by Jim Tushinski
2:30 pm, Sunday, November 10, at the Logan Theatre
This documentary is a portrait of pioneering gay filmmaker Wakefield Poole (Boys in the Sand), whose careers as a dancer, choreographer and director spanned the golden years of Broadway, television, porno chic and gay liberation.

I Am Divine
4:45 pm, Sunday, November 10, at the Logan Theatre
Director Jeffrey Schwarz (Vito, Wranger: Anatomy of an Icon) reveals how a shy, overweight Baltimore youth became the underground superstar drag queen Divine, infamous as the star of John Waters' camp cult classics Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Polyester and Hairspray.

I'm a Porn Star
9:15 pm, Sunday, November 10, at the Logan Theatre
There are an estimated 370 million pornographic websites online. Porn is now a thirteen billion dollar business. So who's doing all this moonlighting? LGBT actor-director Charlie David (Dante's Cove, Judas Kiss) presents an eye-opening look into the lives of some of the most popular performers in the gay porn industry.

Interior. Leather Bar.
7 pm, Tuesday, November 12, at the Logan Theatre
The 1980 film, Cruising, starring Al Pacino as an undercover cop investigating a murder in the New York City gay leather bar scene, was plagued with controversy, and its director was forced by the Motion Picture Association of America to cut 40 minutes of sexually explicit material, which have never been screened publicly. Filmmakers James Franco and Travis Mathews set out to reimagine what might have transpired in those lost scenes as a starting point to a broader exploration of sexual and creative freedom.

The Last Match (La Partida)
Directed by Antonio Hens
9 pm, Wednesday, November 13, at the Logan Theatre
Two young men on the fringes of Cuban society fall in love and fight to lead a life together in this romantic drama.

Matt Alber: With Strings Attached
Directed by Greg Sirota
7:15 pm, Tuesday, November 12, at the Logan Theatre
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Matt Alber will perform for the Reeling audience after a screening of musical shorts highlighted by this documentary of a one-day working session between Alber and The Cello Street Quartet filmed on location at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Reaching for the Moon
Directed by Bruno Barreto
6:45 pm, Thursday, November 14, at the Logan Theatre
This sumptuous 1950s period piece recounts the star-crossed love affair of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto) and the Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo (Gloria Pires).

Sing-A-Long Victor Victoria
6 pm, Monday, November 11, at Sidetrack: The Video Bar (3349 N. Halsted)
What better way to celebrate Reeling's 31st edition than with a 31st anniversary screening of the 1982 musical comedy, Victor Victoria, hosted by comic legend Bruce Vilanch, who will provide hilarious running commentary. This event will be held at Chicago's show tune capital, Sidetrack, which is also celebrating 31 years!

Southern Baptist Sissies
12 pm, Saturday, November 9, at the Logan Theatre
Written and directed by Del Shores (Sordid Lives), this adaptation of his award-winning play tells the hilarious and heartbreaking story of four Texas gay boys who grew up as born again Christians and the unique path each takes in coming to terms with their sexuality and the strict tenants of the church. The impressive cast includes Willam Belli (RuPaul's Drag Race), Leslie Jordan, Dale Dickey, Bobbie Eakes and Ann Walker.

Stranger by the Lake (L'Inconnu du lac)
9:30 pm, Saturday, November 9, at the Logan Theatre
Winner of the Queer Palm d'Or at Cannes, Alain Guiraudie's controversial and sexually daring new film focuses on Franck, who spends his summer at a secluded cruising spot near a lake trysting in the nearby woods. Franck's unbridled desire for the powerfully built Michel is unquenched - even after he witnesses his new lover commit a terrible crime.

Sufferin' Till You're Straight
Directed by David Scheve
9 pm, Sunday, November 10, at Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark)
This animated musical history lesson about the struggle for gay rights and the famous gays and lesbians whose contributions have helped shape our society is one of the many short films being featured at the festival. It is part of Bending the Lens, a diverse selection of shorts that offer a celebratory and critical look into the shifting meaning of queer culture.


Chad Darnell said...

Thanks for the kind words about BIRTHDAY CAKE!!


Marc said...

Hey, Chad, I look forward to seeing your groovy movie!