The best film festival I ever ate

The recent Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival offered a tasty menu of international cinema. But those festival-sponsored dinners at South Beach restaurants were delicious too. Another festival diary by the Advocate’s arts and entertainment editor.

BY Alonso Duralde

May 18 2006 11:00 PM ET

Sunday, April 30 

I head out with
the intention of snagging breakfast at Puerto Saguas
again, but just after I exit the hotel, I hear someone
calling my name. I look up, and sitting at the Park
Central’s outdoor Casablanca restaurant is
Malcolm Ingram, his mom, and his boyfriend. Readers of my
Sundance diary for this site may recall that Malcolm
directed the wonderful documentary Small Town Gay
Bar
and that he and his boyfriend, Chris, and I
quickly hit it off in Park City. I knew
Malcolm’s film was screening in the Miami fest, but
since he had to fly up to Birmingham to show the movie
at that city’s gay and lesbian festival, I
wasn’t sure when our paths would cross. It’s a
treat to see the boys again and to meet
Malcolm’s mom, to whom he came out just a few
months ago, when his movie made it into Sundance.
She’s a character and clearly very comfortable
with her son and his fella.

After breakfast
with the three of them, I make my way to the theater to
participate in the “Beyond Brokeback Mountain”
panel, in which I’m supposed to come up with
something substantial to say about the future of queer
cinema. Thankfully, the panel also includes Ruby, Lesli,
Marcus, and Another Gay Movie writer-director
Todd Stephens (his previous flicks include Gypsy
83
and Edge of Seventeen), so I hope I come
off at least pithy by association.

Then it’s
back to The Hotel to interview Melvil. There’s any
number of places we could have sat and done it, but I
suggest his room because I want to see what Todd
Oldham did with the interiors. It’s all very
groovy, of course, but dang, do those French guys like to
smoke. I always feel a little odd doing an interview
with someone with whom I’ve been talking for
several days—you never know when they’ve
already given you their best stuff over a
drink—but he’s got lots more to talk about.
Look for the interview in The Advocate this
summer.

I return to the
hotel to grab a late lunch–early dinner with Malcolm
and company—as well as a friendly, if overly
earnest, writer from A Bear’s Life magazine
who grills Malcolm and me about our thoughts regarding
being queer, bearded, and chubby—before we all
head to downtown Miami for the closing-night screening of
Another Gay Movie. The screening is held in the
Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, a gorgeous old
theater—I like to think that every major
American city managed to save at least one of them.

Before the movie
starts, the fest announces the winner of the jury
prizes. When they start talking about the documentary award,
it occurs to me for the first time that Malcolm could
win this thing. And he does! He goes onstage and is
charmingly flummoxed and at a loss for words. He
brings his mom onstage.The crowd loves it.

And then we watch
Another Gay Movie. It’s a incredibly
naughty and ribald gay spoof of American Pie,
Porky’s,
and any number of other hetero
gross-out T&A comedies. Only this one’s really,
really dirty. Hilarious, yes, but filthy. Not that
there’s anything wrong with that—except
that Malcolm’s mom is sitting just a few seats away
from me. Malcolm keeps turning to me during the
screening and saying, “My mom is here! My mom
is watching this movie!” He predicts a few of the
more shocking punch lines and warns her to avert her
eyes, but for the most part, she winds up getting
something of a queer baptism by fire.

We put
Malcolm’s mom in a cab afterward—whether
she’s traumatized by the movie or just tired
isn’t exactly clear. At the wonderful closing-night
party across the street—in a bank, complete with
bartenders in the teller cage and an open (and
presumably empty) vault—one gay Miami film patron
after another walks up to talk to Malcolm. And they all say
the same thing: (1) Congratulations on winning! I
loved your movie/acceptance speech! and (2) All during
that movie tonight, all I could think was,
Malcolm’s mother is watching this!

P.S. On my way
back to L.A., I stopped by the USA Film Festival in Dallas
to introduce some screenings of gay films (including
Sundance winner Quinceañera, the Parton-fanatic
documentary For the Love of Dolly, and
Malcolm’s Small Town Gay Bar) and to do a
Q&A with Fabulous! As always, I had a
blast, but there were two significant new venues I got to
experience. One was NorthPark Center’s new AMC
Theaters, and let’s just say that to call this
multiplex huh-yooge would be an understatement. The other
was the Hotel Belmont in Oak Cliff, a mid-century
motel that has been lovingly refurbished. It’s
the perfect balance of retro charm and modern
conveniences, for those of us who like to fantasize about
1950s-style auto travel but don’t want to
forfeit having wireless Internet service or
Kiehl’s products in the bathroom.

Tags: film

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