Friday, July 13, 2012
A light drizzle – rare for Los Angeles in July – didn’t dampen the spirits of filmgoers who descended in droves on the plush Orpheum Theatre last night to attend a screening of the premiere of “Vito”.
In fact, Outfest’s kick-off GALA event generated a lot of excitement with the locals, that’s for sure.
Limos purred curbside, and the paparazzi jockeyed for position, as high-profile members of the LGBT community – and a handful of celebs – trotted down the carpet into the spotlight for their moment in the sun.
The 30th Anniversary celebration was a definite highlight of the season.
Rikki Lake delighted guests when she put in an appearance at the podium and personally introduced John Waters (Pink Flamingos) who was waiting in the wings.
Waters – the undisputed “Queen” of “Queer” film (who was being honored with an Outfest Achievement Award) – brought the house down when he offered up a few hilarious anecdotes before the premiere screening commenced.
“As you know, I’ve always been gayly incorrect, and the lesbians used to hate me for it. Today, I am definitely a radical feminist, though” he cackled, as elated guests roared their approval.
He also pooh-poohed the notion of studio suits that explicit gay material was too risky to thrust on mainstream audiences. In essence, he recommended that filmmakers keep on – remain true to themselves - and push for what they believed in.
“We’ve experienced pain and turned it in to laughter.Through it all, we’ve survived.”
The kinky filmmaker – applauded for his risk-taking – was funny, articulate, and bang on (as they say) when it came to his take on gay life, one’s “outness”, and controversial issues of the day (the topic of same-sex marriage, for instance).
After a couple of rousing speeches from festival organizers, the lights went down, and the audience settled in for a vastly informative documentary on the life and times of gay activist Vito Russo (Vito).
The film, directed by Jeffrey Schwarz, was powerful.
A review will follow.
At the after-party, chic guests sipped on exotic cocktails at an open bar sponsored by Absolute Vodka and nibbled on tasty finger foods provided by Earlez Grille Catering and YummyCupcakes (to name a couple).
In one corner of the packed VIP affair, I spied Bruce Vilanch (sporting one of his ubiquitous signature t-shirts he is known to collect) holding court with a posse of admirers. Vilanch, as you may probably know, is a celebrated six-time Emmy-Award winning writer (who delighted TV audiences with his wit and charm on Hollywood Squares for about four years).
The man with the wild "do" is also responsible for a number of side-splitting quips that presenters utter up each year at the Oscar Celebrations.
Bai Ling – gorgeous and sexy in a sheer designer gown - dropped by to tease me at one point. She's such a scene-stealer. A video clip of the pouty starlet will be uploaded to my YouTube channel later today or early tomorrow (http://www.YouTube.com/ijulian9).
I also spied Kat Kramer (Stanley Kramer’s daughter) chatting up friends across the room and surrounded by well-wishers.
When Quentin Lee bumbed into me near the bar, he was quick to plug his new movie "White Frog" which stars B.D. Wong and the always lovely Joan Chen (it screens next week at Outfest on July 21st at the DGA).
Misty, a neighborhood friend who is co-owner of the Yogurt Stop in WeHo, sauntered over to greet me with her pretty girlfriend in tow. I also captured them on video, too.
As I cruised through the party-goers, I caught snippets of conversation here-and-there.
The big topic of discussion?
Same-sex marriage, of course.
And, film enthusiasts were exciting discussing the films they planned to take in over the course of the next ten days at Outfest.
Check out the film schedule and try to attend, eh?
You won’t regret it.