Break Out the Beads

THU 5/29
The organizers of this year's Houston Gay and Lesbian Film Festival thought and thought about how they could top last year's appearance by Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson. On opening night, you'll see Larry Sullivan, Will's ballet-dancing boyfriend on Will and Grace. Sullivan's got roles in both The Trip, which is the festival's headliner, and Psycho Beach Party. All right, all right. By himself, maybe Sullivan doesn't beat Elvira. But what if he joined in a Chicago sing-along? Now we're talkin'. Organizers have gotten their hands on a copy of the Oscar-winning film that includes lyrics to its songs, for those of you who haven't memorized them yet. Guests will be belting out "All That Jazz," "When You're Good to Mama," "I Move On" and other popular Chicago ditties. And they're encouraged to show up in costumes -- beads, corsets, fishnets, slick suits and hats -- inspired by their favorite characters. "Hopefully," says organizer Amy Beth Gilstrap, "we'll have an entire audience full of extras."

Before the movie, you can get good and drunk at the festival's opening-night party, which starts at 6 p.m. There will be a costume contest at 7:15 p.m., and the film screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 29. Landmark River Oaks Theatre, 2009 West Gray, 713-524-2175. For tickets and information, visit $20. -- Cathy Matusow


SAT 6/7
Raw Deal
Two film producers get downright demanding
Guerrilla filmmaking, by nature, has a feeling of desperation. There's usually no budget, so real life is all you have. You may even have to break the law to get the shot. Producers Byrd McDonals and Justin Tan upped the ante on guerrilla movies with their project RAW. They asked 20 directors to shoot three-minute films using the word "raw" as inspiration, and they invited the filmmakers to be as creative as possible in their interpretations. Interesting enough. But the crux: The directors may use the digital video camera for only one day, and all editing must take place within the following two days. Well, duh. When you shoot and edit a three-minute movie in three days, the results are bound to be raw. Maybe they should have gone with a different topic -- like "casino" or "rock concert" -- and observed the creative techniques required to aim cameras in those places. 8 p.m. Saturday, June 7. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For information, call 713-223-8346. $8. -- Troy Schulze


Obstacle Course
Every good love story must have its obstacle. In The Trip, protagonists Alan and Tommy have to conquer Alan's insistence that he isn't gay. As a young Republican with a military father to please, Alan's not the easiest nut to crack. The Trip's action starts out in the wild '70s and ends with the dawn of AIDS activism a decade later. Friday, May 30, through Thursday, June 5, at Greenway Theatre, 5 Greenway Plaza. For information and showtimes, call 713-626-0402. -- Cathy Matusow


Queer Fear
These days, antigay discourse is marginalized to Sunday-morning television. But in the '60s and '70s, bigotry was big, secular business. Bill Taylor, of Vancouver's Queer Film and Video Film Fest, has compiled some hilarious -- and scary -- fear-mongering flicks. Lock Up Your Sons and Daughters includes "Red Light Green Light," a teenage-brainwash film about talking to strangers in which the nastiest perverts are the same-sex kind, and "Perversion for Profit," a screed about gay "communist masters of deceit." The compilation includes antigay propaganda spread by the religious right and a cheeky "answer film" from the gay point of view. 8 p.m. Thursday, June 5. Aurora Picture Show, 800 Aurora. For information, call 713-868-2101. $8. -- Troy Schulze

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