Gaylebrities

Of Movies and Men: Our Provincetown Film Festival Retrospective


One of the best times to visit Provincetown is during their international film festival (it was held June 17-21 this year). June is a great month, as it’s just ahead of the summer madness that the July 4th always brings, and is a week that’s void of the dated, sometimes silly, conspicuous, and fetishized themes that dominate the rest of the summer. 


For a few weeks in June, people are in Provincetown because they want to explore the United States’ original art colony, eat at some of the best restaurants in the region, mingle with both burgeoning and highly-established writers, buy a drink or three for a young painter heading to grad school in the fall, and see some really good films. 

Nothing beats the energy in June, as the locals get fired up for another season—they’ll be burned out and jaded in a matter of weeks, but in June, they’re genuinely excited for the high season around the corner.


This is a legitimate film festival, routinely attracting submissions from top talent.  Films that play in Provincetown may have premiered at Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca, or Cannes. Unfortunately, the people running the festival are programming for an older, local audience, looking for a pre-season diversion and the result is a slate of films that feels like it’s mostly been curated for an over-50 crowd.

Granted, this formula works perfectly for the attendees. Homeowners in Provincetown, Truro, and Wellfleet make a point to buy tickets or passes, arrive early to screenings (especially anything during the day), and genuinely enjoy the opportunity to hear someone marginally involved with the film introduce it at the charming Town Hall venue. Then they file out, shuffle down the street to buy fudge, and go home for the night.

But young people are conspicuously absent from the festival, which is a real bummer.  (I’m 39, and was, definitely, one of the youngest people at most of the screenings and parties that I attended.) When I asked a few younger guys around town if they were seeing any films, they had no idea there was even a film festival happening, and they had no plans to see anything.  


Few films would have appealed to them, anyway. The “celebrities” attending were at least twice their age, and the crowd at screenings is over 50, straight, or—gulp—lesbians. But there were a few films that definitely would have appealed to them, like Tangerine, the deliciously fresh and edgy Sundance standout that brilliantly explores the crazy world of trans hookers in L.A., with an incredible cast, writing, and directing. And Those People, which premiered at the festival, with a smart, sweet, contemporary story of young love in the rarified world of Upper Eastside Manhattan.   

Unfortunately, the festival didn’t do a great job of getting the word out on films like these. On the other hand, a midday screening of Tab Hunter Confidential, the documentary about the iconic ‘50s crooner and matinee idol, was completely packed. In many ways, it’s a metaphor for the town itself: getting older, still revered, but losing its edge. 

The festival could be a tremendous asset for Provincetown, but it’s unfortunately playing to the crowd it already has, rather than working hard to attract one for the next 10 years.

Here are the 10 Best Things about our week at the Provincetown International Film Festival:


1.) Fag Bash
​​ Following a cute opening film (Sleeping With Other People) and a nice reception at The Crown & Anchor, we hit the legendary Wednesday night pop-up club, Fag Bash.  It was absurd, sexy, and fun—exactly what you’d expect of a trip to PTown.

 ​
2.) Larry Kramer in Love and Anger (…and in real life)  
Watching the powerful documentary about the iconic gay activist and playwright was even better, having met the man himself at the festival.


3.) Tangerine
Hands down, the coolest film in the festival. This manic Hollywood romp follows a couple of “tranny hookers” on Christmas Eve in Los Angeles. The filmmaker shot it almost entirely on iPhones, with a shoestring budget, and the result is rad. 


4.) Garden Party
At this press event we were able to meet the few filmmakers who attended the festival and see honoree Jennifer Coolidge…and ponder why Stifler’s mom was getting an award (although they did screen Best in Show). We also got to chat with the always-awesome John Waters, and take in the incredible view from the lawn at Land’s End Inn, followed by…

5.) Happy Hour(s) at The Red Inn
At the water’s edge, just across from Land’s End it’s hands-down, the most gorgeous spot in town, and $1 Wellfleet oysters start at 2pm on the weekends. The cocktails are perfect, and are best enjoyed in an Adirondack chair on the deck, sitting with a cute guy, as the tide goes out. 

6.) The State of Marriage
The screening for this smart documentary on the fight for marriage equality now feels like a prescient precursor to the long-awaited SCOTUS decision, that arrived just days later (June 26, 2015 shall go down in history!).

7.) Those People
This contemporary, complicated story of young love made for one of the better films of the festival. Imagine if three of the guys from Gossip Girl were in a love triangle, and you get the gist of what (and who) goes down here.

8.) Tab Hunter Confidential and Peggy Guggenheim Art Addict
Two outstanding documentaries that were entertaining, educational, and perfectly programmed for this festival.

9.) The End of the Tour
This smart, subtle, intimate story of a wildly successful author and the cynical Rolling Stone writer covering his book tour surprised us, and was one of the better films of the festival.


10.) I Am Michael
Based on Benoit Denizet-Lewis’ New York Times Magazine article about a friend who’d flipped from gay activist to crazy Christian, the James Franco film closed the festival with flare, before everyone strolled down Commercial Street to buy a drink at The Boatslip.

Here are 5 Things That Were Not So Great about PTown’s film festival week:


1.) Cash Bars
Apparently no one thought to get a liquor sponsor.  Next year, we’ll bring one. Unless the event venues won’t agree to pour free drinks?  Hmmm…


2.) Town Hall
While delightful in its own right, this venue has the most uncomfortable seats ever—so bad, they give you cushions, but that doesn’t help. Sadly for sponsors, we sat on their logos all week.

3.) The Crowd
The people at the screenings are perfectly nice, but it’s not the peeps of PTown you’d like to be spending all your time with.  Where are the guys from out of town that love films? And if they’re young(er) and hot(ter), so be it; we won’t complain.

4.) The Wolfpack
This was the most disappointing film of the festival, somehow coming off serious Sundance hype. It was a 90-plus-minute reality show sizzle reel about a kooky family, with no point, whatsoever. Waste of time.

5.) Clambake
If you’re looking for a doc that covers 30 years in the journey of PTown and its lesbians, this one’s for you. If you’re covering the fest for Instinct, it turns out, it wasn’t meant for us. Point taken.

All in all, it was a fabulous week, and we’re already looking forward to going back next year. Hopefully, we’ll see you there.

Learn more about the Provincetown International Festival and prepare for next summer now!
 

Matt Heller is a writer, film fanatic, media professional, and PTown regular who prefers to do all things with at least one cocktail in hand. Follow him @Millennialsinfo

(PIFF Photos by Brett Plugis)

Alec Baldwin Uses Offensive Language To Take On Anderson Cooper

Alec Baldwin obviously lost control of his mouth long, long ago in an accident that quickly turned him into the liberal Donald Trump. Now, Alec is shooting his ambiguously homophobic chatter at a new, more powerful target: Anderson Cooper. 

During Alec's recent appearance on the Howard Stern Show, the topic of Anderson's disgust with the 30 Rock star's Twitter fiasco from earlier this summer (you know, the "toxic little queen" back and forth) came up. 

Said Anderson shortly after Alec came under fire for using anti-gay language against a journalist, “Why does Alec Baldwin get a pass when he uses gay slurs? If a conservative talked of beating up a ‘queen’ they would be vilified.”

Well, Alec didn't take so kindly to being criticized by the out star. 

“What I realize about him is, everybody in media, they have a job to do," Alec told Howard. "Anderson Cooper has a job to do. And that job is to try to reinforce his credibility in the gay community after the fact that you couldn’t get him out of the closet for 10 years with a canister of tear gas. Now he’s the sheriff. Now he’s running around writing everybody a ticket!”

Yeah, we were distracted while imagining Anderson Cooper dressed as a sheriff, but it's still painfully clear that Alec is stuck in the ice age of Hollywood, a time when nobody had the balls to call out these kind of jokes as offensive.

Times have changed Alec and you're showing your age. Someone needs to take away your keys before you get another ticket. 

(Source: GregInHollywoodImage)

 

The Skivvies Bare It All

By Mike Ciriaco, Photos by Augusten Burroughs, Monica Simoes and Michelle Blake

 

The Skivvies are all about stripping down. The New York-based music duo of Nick Cearley and Lauren Molina perform stripped down, acoustic covers of popular songs while stripped down to their underwear. This unique act has attracted the attention of high profile collaborators, like Tony-award winner Daisey Eagan and critically acclaimed writer/photographer Augusten Burroughs. Cearley and Molina recently exposed their souls to Instinct, revealing the origins of their band, their aspirations, and of course, performing publicly in their undies.

 

Where did the concept of The Skivvies originate?

Nick: In our pants. Kidding. Not really. Lauren and I have been creating music together for 10 years, wearing clothes, but performing this style of stripped down covers/mashups, plus originals.

Lauren:  We were getting sandwiches at the corner deli near my apartment and the song "We Found love" by Rihanna was playing.

Nick: I remember saying to LoMo, "God, this song drives me nuts. It’s just digital noise."

Lauren: So we went back to my apartment and dissected the song. We liked what we did with it, making it a waltz march by simply changing the time signature on guitar and ukulele. And we thought we would record a video for the YouTube.

Nick:  Lauren was deciding what to wear, standing there in her bra, and shouted to me from her bedroom asking what she should wear and I said "Just wear that!"

Lauren: I was like, "Well, we are doing a stripped down version of the song...that's pretty hilarious, to take the musically stripped down element to the next visual level" Thus, The Skivvies were born. Nick loves being in his underwear and we are both theatrical actors who have often had to appear in our underwear onstage. So it just seemed right. And ironic. Covers, uncovered.

 

How does playing in your underwear influence your performance?

Nick: Its freeing. I'm self taught, so when I learn an instrument, I am usually in my living room in some sort of state of undress figuring it all out. Putting on clothes to play instruments feels so weird.

Lauren: When we are actually in performance, there's a natural vibe the audience gets by seeing people in their underwear. It makes you appear very vulnerable and it instantly helps the audience to be on your side. Also, if I make a mistake, they are generally more forgiving.

Nick: Yes. Our straight male and lesbian fans are very happy when Lauren makes a mistake. She usually drops something and picks it up off of the floor to make up for it.

 

Do you have a 'lucky pair' of undies?

Nick: I like to wear Andrew Christian, not only because he has been very kind to give me dozens of pairs, but I also feel they are very kind to my naughty parts.

Lauren:  I like wearing Victoria's Secret brand though they have not given me a damn thing. 

 

 

What was the most interesting aspect of shooting your music video 'Hardbody Hoedown' with Augusten Burroughs?

Lauren: Augusten is an incredible photographer and he has the ability to find beautiful interesting shots in the unusual.

Nick: He is also has a very generous heart.  I was fortunate he was able to take my wedding pictures when I was married last June to my husband, Eric Lesh, who is a lawyer at Lambda Legal.

 

In your Rockwell show in LA, you were joined by a very pregnant Daisy Eagan, also in her undies. Did this set the bar for your live shows? Have you ever done anything more unusual?

Lauren: Oh yes! She really raised the bar in all departments.

Nick: We have both been fans of Daisy since we were kids.  I remember watching the Tony Awards the year she won her Tony for The Secret Garden and I remember saying "I want to do that. I will do that." I never played Mary Lennox, but boy I tried really hard.

Lauren: We first got the idea to ask Daisy when we were reading her blog and following her on twitter and realized her sense of humor is also our sense of humor.  We simply wrote her after reading a particular jawdropping entry about healthcare in America and her being pregnant. She replied with a big fat “yes!” within seconds.

Nick: That's what so great about bringing in guests to play with The Skivvies. Everyone has a sense of playfulness and unique creativity and that we can build off together.  Each arrangement is specific for the guest.  Another aspect of individuality is in what each guest chooses to wear. 

We have had Tony Nominee heart throb Will Swenson in a G String dedicating his tune "Get Low" to his mother. The cutest was Barrett Foa in Rocky Balboa boxing get-up singing a mash-up of all songs 'Stronger.' 

 

 

How did you guys first meet?

Lauren: In 2003,  Nick and I were cast by TheatreWorks USA, a children's theatre company that tours across the country. 

Nick: We played the grandest cafetoriums in the land.

 

What is your ultimate goal as a duo?

Nick: The Dream! We have always been a large fan of shows that incorporate sketch comedy with music.

Lauren: "Portlandia" and "Flight of the Conchords" are recent inspirations that are similar to what we would like to be doing.

Nick: I have always been inspired by The Monkees and how they were able to incorporate these aspects so seamlessly as well.

 

What kind of impact are you aiming to make on the gay music scene and the music scene in general?

Nick:  I think what we are doing is truly original.  We take some of the best songs and put our own spin on them. The fact that we are in our underwear is inconsequential.

Lauren: It has been so great to be embraced by the gay crowd. Because of our backgrounds, they seemed to notice us first and give us so much love and attention.

Nick: Wit and irony seem to always be embraced by the gay scene. Look at Oscar Wilde.

Lauren: He also was the first to say "All art is truly useless."

Nick: Well, I think an underwear clad duo singing cool mashups on cello and ukulele, with comedic undertones, is a pretty useful asset to any music scene.

Ex-Boyfriends Dance Out Their Breakup In New Bright Light Bright Light Video, "Moves"

Instinct favorite Bright Light Bright Light returns to our feeds today with the gorgeous music video for his new single, "Moves." In it, shirtless ex-boyfriends try to get over each other through a sweaty dream-time dance sequence while. He had us at "shirtless."

Heart it or hate it, Instincters?