So it was an odd celebratory evening. First stop at FIT to the Lambda Literary Awards, where Charmed Lives, the anthology I have a story in was up for an award. It did not win, but I had a chance to see the editors Steve Berman and Toby Johnson (of Gay Spirituality fame among other achievements) along with his long term beau, Kip Dollar. And speaking of beaus, Bo Young, the Editor of White Crane Journal, the gay men's magazine of spirituality, was also there. It was fun to see them all. Perry Brass was there. And there were crowds around a tall handsome young man I could only see from a distance. I believe they said his name was Christopher Rice. Gave a hug to Charles Flowers, the director of Lambda and editor of the gay magazine of literary writing, Bloom, and was off to NewFest.
Well, here I am a writer, with a book in the running, and I chose to leave a bookish group of men (and many women not to mention trans tribes) that I have much in common with to go off to the opening screening at the 19th Annual LGBT film festival. The opener was, of all things, a modern interpretation of a queer literary classic, The Picture of Dorian Gray, but St. Oscar himself.
The start did not bode well, since the director, Duncan Roy, suggested that audiences in other cities had not liked it, there were walkouts, and then he said the thing that really raised goosebumps, suggesting that the film was non-narrative (and I really hate non-narrative film). He said that if one hadn't read the book that perhaps the movie might not make much sense, and he suggested that if there were anyone there who hadn't read it, they must.
Well the film was quite wonderful. David Gallagher as Dorian and Christian Camargo as Henry Wotten were quite charismatic. Hard to take your eyes off either of them. The music choices captured New York in interesting ways. And the story took liberties with the novel, using other sources to add depth in places. This became an issue of contention during the Q&A after, with some Wilde scholars in the audience suggesting that he'd made some errors, This well might be true, except that this is a film, not the novel, and it had its own structure. The choices the director made were all valid ones. The best comment from the audience came from Jim Fouratt, who said the film reminded him of the first time he saw Midnight Cowboy. And yes, there were moments of great power in this film that were reminiscent of that classic.
The after party was at Element on the Lower East Side. Met film maker Marcus from Australia who has a couple of shorts in the festival. Robert, who produced one of the lesbian shorts. Hung with NewFest boardmember (and former ad client in another life) Steve Mendelsohn. And of course, Jeff and Kyaw, who I invariably see at a dozen movies since we seem to have similar taste in the programming. Lots of dancing, drinking and fun until, well, it's after 3am now. We closed the place and then headed to an Australian meat pie shop that's open 24 hours. And so to bed...
Tomorrow the films (and my time in dark rooms with hundred of gay men) begin in earnest. Yes, it's the start of Pride season.