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L.A. Queer As Folk panel attracts protesters
Showtime's groundbreaking gay and lesbian cable-TV series, Queer As Folk, will be the subject of a special program on Saturday night in Los Angeles sponsored by the Museum of Television and Radio--and not all the gay people attending will be celebrating the show. The evening's program--part of the 19th Annual William S. Paley Television Festival--will include the screening of excerpts from QAF as well as a panel discussion and Q&A with the creators and stars of the series. Executive producers and frequent writers Daniel Lipman and Ron Cowen will be in attendance, along with fellow executive producer Tony Jonas and actors Michelle Clunie, Thea Gill, Sharon Gless, Gale Harold, Randy Harrison, Scott Lowell, Peter Paige, and Hal Sparks. The event sold out weeks in advance.
Outside the Directors Guild of America building on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, where the Paley series will take place, another group of gays will be protesting the show. Calling themselves "Queers Against Queer As Folk," the group hopes "to inform the creative team of the QAF production that members of the queer community are unhappy with the portrayal of HIV-positive characters on the show, among other things," says the protest's organizer, Michael Buchanan. QAQAF is demanding "that the writers not alienate HIV-positive viewers and queers of color any longer." Buchanan adds, "Also, our organization is upset with the constant marketing of the actors' sexual orientation.... We basically feel that the show no longer resembles the original U.K. version in some very irresponsible ways."