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 June 24, 2011


No Beginners Here: Kansas City Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Celebrates Openness and Quality

by Dan Lybarger

After watching some of the offerings in the Kansas City Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, you gain a new understanding of what it’s like to be gay or lesbian. In the films I’ve sampled over the years, I’ve seen stories from places like Peru or Italy featuring people who defy easy stereotypes. Many of these movies like Kirby Dick’s Outrage deal with issues that affect all of us regardless of whether we’re gay or straight.
It also doesn’t hurt that the organizers have a good eye for quality.

Last year’s Peruvian entry Undertow was a powerful movie that has only recently come to DVD. Attending the festival is a chance to catch worthy movies that don’t have an advertising budget.

The festival starts today and runs through June 30 at the Tivoli Cinemas in Westport. While all of the All Access passes have been sold out, individual tickets are still available. Tickets for all shows, evening or afternoon, are $8.50. The exceptions are Kick Off and Fishnet, which are $13 and include an after party.

For more information or to order tickets go to

Some highlights:

Friday, June 24, 6:30 p.m.
Christopher Plummer stars as a gay man who has waited until he was 75 years old to reveal his sexuality to his straight son (Ewan McGregor). This film, which has opened to rave reviews in the rest of country, will be the first time Cowtown viewers will have a chance to see it.

Kick Off
Friday, June 24, 8:45 p.m.
This comedy focuses on a gay soccer team that causes havoc on and off the field. Tickets for this show are $13 and include an after party.

Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same
Saturday, June 25, 5 p.m.
It’s a shame I haven’t seen it, but the title is awesome!

Gun Hill Road
Saturday, June 25, 7 p.m.
The Bronx-set entry won this year’s Jury Selection. It features Esai Morales (La Bamba) as an ex-con attempting to come to terms with his son’s sexual awakening.

Leave It on the Floor
Saturday, June 25, 9 p.m.
This musical, which features dancing supervised by Beyoncé Knowles’ choreographer, takes viewers into the world of “voguing”—to strike poses in campy imitation of fashion models, especially as a kind of dance.

Wish Me Away
Sunday, June 26, 5 p.m.
Country singer Chely Wright was born here in KC and grew up in Wellsville, Kan. In this new documentary, she recalls reaching Nashville stardom and the pain of living in the closet and struggling with her Christianity. There’s a reception after the show.

Judas Kiss
Sunday, June 26, 7:30 p.m.
This “what if” drama is about a failed filmmaker who discovers his one-night stand is a student whose work he’s judging in a festival.

A Shorts Romance
Monday, June 27, 6 p.m.
Four short films are on the bill, including KC director Todd Norris’ award-winning lesbian flirtation drama Candy Apple Red.

Monday, June 27, 7:30 p.m.
Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie), John Waters and Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse) star in this black comedy about a Texas theater’s production of Jesus Christ Spectacular (no, not Superstar) that goes incredibly wrong.

Tuesday, June 28 6 p.m.
Two burlesque dancers flee Los Angeles after witnessing a gangland murder. They decide to make a few bucks at a Texas truck stop by bringing their act to a new audience, whether they’re ready for it or not. Tickets for this show are $13 and include an after party.

Making the Boys
Tuesday, June 28, 8 p.m.
An inside look at the making of the landmark gay film, The Boys in the Band.

Out for the Long Rung
Wednesday, June 29, 6 p.m.
This documentary examines the lives of gay high school and college athletes.

Wednesday, June 29, 8 p.m.
Two lovers meet up years later, but one of them now has a steady boyfriend.

Out Here Now (Short Film Competition)
Thursday, June 30, 6 p.m.
Seven short films are playing, and viewers get to decide which one is worthy of an award.

Thursday, June 30, 7:45 p.m.
When a fellow stuck in dead-end job and a listless relationship tries a computer app called eCupid, amusing chaos ensues. Morgan Fairchild plays an advice dispensing waitress. There’s an after party for this one, too.