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Downtown Dayton film fest brings delights from all over
Dayton--Cleveland has the International Film Festival, Columbus has Out@Wex, Cincinnati has Outreels.
In Dayton, the second annual Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Fest is back for its sophomore year on the final weekend of September. It promises to be a bigger, better event than last year, filled with cinematic delights and wry treasures covering every letter of the LGBT family soup.
The festival starts on Friday, September 26 with the 7:30 pm showing Were the World Mine, a queer fantasia taking place during a high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s fairy-filled play.
Timothy, the token gay boy in his school, suffers the homophobic taunts of his classmates on a daily basis. The one exception is Jonathon, a rugby player who defends him more often than not.
Their eccentric English teacher, who may be quite a bit more than she appears, reminds the meat-headed jocks that their expensive private school requires participation in the annual play. She then proceeds to cast many of the macho young men as women, following in the custom of the Bard’s own times.
Timothy, who gets the role of the mischievous Puck, discovers the recipe for a love spell in the script. Mayhem ensues as he first accidentally ensorcells his best friend, then Jonathon and, eventually, almost everyone in town.
Eventually, love’s labors will be found, but how much damage can a love potion do, when released a little too freely into a small town?
Saturday’s 3 pm matinee is the documentary Bi the Way, a cross-country trip searching for signs of bisexuality in the far corners of the nation.
Brittany Blocker and Josephine Decker take their video camera and drive around the country, examining people’s opinions on the prevalence of bisexuality, whether the media influences people or people influence the media, and whether it is people’s lives or something cute and trendy to play with in college.
As can be expected, the answers they get run the gamut. One little old lady believes that seeing Madonna, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears kissing on the Video Music Awards would make bisexuality acceptable, while a sociologist posits that widespread bisexuality among young women in America spurred on the famous three-way queer kiss.
One young woman gets rejected by her Bible-banging father when she comes out to him, while a mother in Texas gives her soon-to-be adolescent son positive reinforcement and the assurance that, whoever he loves, the important thing is that he loves.
The evening film on Saturday is the German-Turkish co-production The Edge of Heaven, delving into six lives intertwining in both countries.
Fatih Akin’s latest directorial outing involves a lot of chasing about after people who seem to be running in circles. After his father accidentally kills his girlfriend, a former prostitute, Nejat returns to his family’s native Turkey to find the dead woman’s daughter, Ayten.
Ayten, meanwhile, is accused of being a terrorist and escapes to Germany with a passport bearing a fake name. There she meets, and falls in love with, Lotte, a college student. The two women live fairly blissfully for a tragically short time before Ayten is captured by the police and deported.
As tragedy compounds tragedy, Nejat and Ayten are both reminded of the importance of family and of opening one’s heart to another’s pain.
Saturday’s late show is Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon, a portrait of former porn star Jack Wrangler.
During the late 1970s and into the early 1980s, he was an iconic figure in the gay world: ripped, witty, and sexual.
The real question, however, is how did John Robert Stillman, scion of a famous Hollywood producer and a Busby Berkeley dancer, become a porn star? And why did he stop, ahem, “living by the sword?”
Through interviews with Wrangler, his friends, famous fans, wife (!) and step-daughter, all the secrets are revealed in a wry, humorous and fairly loving look at one man’s rise to fame and fortune, such as it is.
Sunday, September 28 sees a short film program, Top Drawer Shorts, playing at 3 pm, including Benny’s Gym and eight others from around the globe.
That evening, the festival wraps up with the 5:30 pm screening of Ready? OK!
Most parents have an idea of what they want their children to do. In the case of single mother Andy, what she wants and what her son Josh wants seem to be worlds apart.
She wants him to be a little gender-conforming soccer player. He wants to be a cheerleader. With a smart mouth and the knowledge that George W. Bush was a cheerleader in high school, he’s willing to face down his mother and the religious hierarchy of his Catholic school.
When her slacker twin brother Alex shows up at their doorstep, it’s almost more than Andy can handle. Throw her impish mother and their gay next-door neighbor into the mix, and Josh has a great support system, while Andy has the makings of a nervous breakdown.
All screenings are at the Neon, 130 East 5th Street, Dayton. Tickets are $8 each, or festival passes for all six screenings are available for $40. More information is available by calling 937-2228452 or online at www.myspace.com/downtowndaytonlgbt.
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