Outfest Turns 21, Opens with ‘Party Monster’
By Mike Szymanski
Fri, Jul 11, 2003, 01:07 PM PT
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) — Outfest turned legit Thursday night (July 10) as a parade of drag queens, celebrities and homo elite kicked off the 21st year of one of the most-attended gay and lesbian film festivals in the world.
“We are legal today, we are 21, and what a great time to celebrate the historic Supreme Court decision that makes sodomy legal throughout the country,” declared festival executive director Stephen Gutwillig. “We have 200 films from 26 countries and 40 parties!”
The kick-off party was held at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles with the premiere of Macaulay Culkin’s comeback movie “Party Monster.” The 22-year-old actor looked as if he had walked off the 1990 “Home Alone” set, not seeming to have aged much since his nine-year film hiatus.
“I hope everyone likes this film, we worked really hard on it,” says Culkin, dressed in a green St. Cecelia’s Track T-shirt and carrying a bottle of Sprite. He talked to fans at the party about playing the role of a bisexual drug-addicted youth, and also about the doll made out of his “Home Alone” character, Kevin.
“I have one of those dolls, but it talks too fast,” he laughs, adding that his film co-star Seth Green bought one for his girlfriend.
Green was also at the premiere, mincing and floating around the party with the actual character he portrays, James St. James, and schmoozing with the crowd that included kd lang, Wilmer Valderrama, Wilson Cruz, Meredith Scott Lynn, Alexis Arquette, Judith Light, Kevin Williamson, Strand co-presidents Marcus Hu and Jon Gerrans, Mickey Cottrell, Jason Stuart, producer Christine Vachon and infamous drag queens Constance, Coco Peru and Mama.
The Outfest panel discussions at the festival, which runs through July 21, will include gay comedians Bruce Vilanch, Suzanne Westenhoefer, Marga Gomez, screenwriter Dan Bucatinsky, directors Randall Kleiser (“Grease”) and Adam Shankman (“The Wedding Planner”) and writers from the Showtime TV series “Queer as Folk.” Carrie Fisher will also moderate a conversation with filmmaker Jane Anderson, who is named as this year’s recipient of the Outfest Achievement Award, previously won by Ian McKellen, Gus Van Sant, John Schlesinger and other.
“I wish I had films like these that I could relate to as a girl,” said Anderson, who wrote and directed for some of the most acclaimed actresses, such as Vanessa Redgrave (“If These Walls Could Talk 2”), Holly Hunter (“When Billie Beat Bobby”), Stockard Channing (“The Baby Dance”) and Jessica Lange (“Normal”). “The only thing I had was (the Shirley MacLaine film) ‘The Children’s Hour,’ and that was so depressing.”
Outfest will also include a family day for gay parents and their children with a screening of “Three Little Pigs,” a 20th anniversary screening of “Flashdance,” a giant sing-along of recent best picture Oscar winner “Chicago” and a documentary special about gay Palestinians and Israelis in the Mideast conflict, “Zero Degrees of Separation.”
“Party Monster” is the first narrative feature by acclaimed documentarians Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato who did “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and “101 Rent Boys.” The film is a true story about the rise and fall of the infamous New York Club Kids Michael Alig and James St. James (played by Culkin and Green), and the film also stars Dylan McDermott, Natasha Lyonne, Chloe Sevigny and Marilyn Manson.
Other films at Outfest this year include “Madame Sata,” “9 Dead Gay Guys,” “Die Mommie Die!” “The Mudge Boy,” “Robin’s Hood” and “Walking on Water.”
“Queer filmmakers are recording our history,” added the festival director Gutwillig. “We’re 21 and we are just getting started.”