Monday, February 22, 2010

RPDR Week Four!

Last week, episode 3 set-up a challenge right up our hometown gal's alley and Pandora Boxx did NOT disappoint! In my humble opinion, she should have won the Disco extra-greasy Shortening Commercial challenge. Tyra's baby was mildly amusing, but Pandora's Auntee was hilarious! And what is up with Santino Rice calling Ms. Boxx's country outfit "pedestrian?" I thought it was adorable and unique.

After catching the episode 4 preview over at Logo's website, I think this week's "Snatch Game" offers another good opportunity for Pandora to shine. The contestants are asked to present their best celebrity impersonations. Pandora has given us so many spot-on performances right here in Rochester; Madonna, Brittney, and of course Kathy Griffin. Who will she take on this time?

And don't forget the weekly official Rochester viewing party at Tilt! Doors open at 8.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Seen any good movies lately?

Being released in February usually means it will rank fairly low on the award-quality-meter, so Shutter Island is not being touted as a shoo-in for an Oscar or Golden Globe in 2011. However, I caught Director-extraordinaire Martin Scorsese's latest last night at The Little and was pleasantly surprised. I am often torn when going to see movies based on books; to read first or watch first is the question. this time I watched first and I am glad I did. Good twists and turns and a nice set-up to a "what's really going on here" type of feeling throughout most of the film. I even woke up this morning thinking about the very last minutes of the film.

My only complaint about my evening is the four fellow movie-goers behind me who talked through the entire film! Boy I hate that!

Friday, February 19, 2010

ImageOut Screens for NY LGBT Health Month!

ImageOut will join the Rochester LGBT Health Coalition in celebrating New York State’s LGBT Health Awareness Month (March 2010) with a night of special screenings on Thursday, March 25 at the Cinema Theatre, 957 South Clinton Avenue, Rochester, NY. We are pleased to be presenting our 2009 Mary Elizabeth Knight Award-winning local Documentary: Swimming With Lesbians, and a great film that just missed the October lineup; Dare.

A healthy LGBT community is an out and proud LGBT community, and Swimming With Lesbians recounts the struggle Western New Yorkers have experienced to be one such community. After Rochester-based director David B. Marshall contacted Madeline Davis, founder and keeper of the Buffalo LGBT archives to try to film the stories recorded in her 1993 book Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold, it became clear that too many of the stories of Western NY’s gay history were being lost to the ages. This touching and very necessary film captures not only Buffalo’s hidden gay past, but Davis’ spirit and determination to keep history alive for the future. We are very happy to announce that Emmy Award-winning director Marshall will be in attendance to discuss the film after the screening. Preceding the documentary, 2009 festival favorite short U-HAUL Rap will start off the event with its tongue-in-cheek commentary on the fast-paced love lives of lesbians on the move.

ImageOut will be hosting an informal information sharing forum in the newly renovated cafè space at the Cinema Theatre. Learn more about LGBT Health Month participating organizations.

Like to volunteer with ImageOut? All of our committees will be represented to answer questions you may have and help you find a place to lend your talents to our 18th Festival year.

Dare comes to ImageOut’s Health Month celebration after enjoying official selection at 2009’s Sundance Film Festival. When a pompous actor tells good girl Alexa (The Day After Tomorrow’s Emily Rossum) that she hasn't lived, she embarks on a bold journey that takes her to mysterious bad boy Johnny (TV’s Friday Night Light’s Zach Gilford). Envious, her shy best friend Ben (Ashley Springer of Teeth) also dares to pursue Johnny, complicating Alexa's romance and pushing the boundaries among the three friends. Dare also features LGBT icons Sandra Bernhard and Alan Cumming. ( This film is sure to bring some light, love, and smiles into the tail end of what has been a long cold Rochester winter.

ImageOut’s LGBT Health Month screenings are the star attraction for March 25 at the Cinema. Swimming With Lesbians and U-HAUL Rap begin at 6:00pm with Dare following at 8:30pm. As with last year’s March event, these screenings are free and open to the public. See for a full listing of the month’s events.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

RPDR episode 2

Amen sisters!

Our hometown heroine, Pandora Boxx, won this week's first challenge, and rightfully so! Shafreeforal was definitely starbooty-licious.

Once again, Ms. Boxx managed to hover somewhere in the middle of the crowd during the episode's main challenge, but did get a bit more screen-time as the captain of her very own burlesque troupe. The team did finish last, but Pandora shook her money-maker (and a few cherry-pie coupons) to rise above the rest of her team. Her mad pole-dancing skills didn't hurt either!

On the final runway, Pandora shined, even if the judges didn't recognize. I thought her dress was unique and stood out way more than the other black cocktail dresses and other hot messes amongst the competitors.

Oh my, how could I forget? DITA VON TEESE was this week's guest judge!

Next week's challenge makes some pretty big promises for Rochester fans. Pandora has a chance to show off her amazing comedy acting chops. Let's hope Miss Thang delivers!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Prodigal Sons Director Profiled On Oprah Today

As a programmer, it's always gratifying when one of my favorite ImageOut films goes on to find success outside of the festival circuit, and I can't think of a film more deserving of that success than the documentary Prodigal Sons (as you'll recall, it was my pick as the best movie at at this year's festival). Watch the film's fantastic new trailer right HERE.

While I'm happy to report that the film has continued to play in festivals across the country, winning numerous awards along the way, I'm even more happy that the mainstream media is finally picking up on director Kimberly Reed's incredible story. In recent weeks, she's been profiled by Rick Moody in Details Magazine and now she's reached the holy grail of interview platforms: The Oprah Winfrey Show. The Oprah episode with Kimberly airs TODAY (February 11th) at 4 o'clock on ABC.

If you didn't get a chance to see Prodigal Sons at last year's ImageOut festival, so yourself a favor and make sure that you catch it when it comes to DVD on July 20th.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

RPDR Episode 1

Yes, yes, it’s a week late, but better late than never!

Last Monday, Rochester (and the world) got our first glimpse of local drag superstardom when Miss Pandora Boxx crashed through dressing room door of Season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race with a triumphant and unforgettable “Hello fake ladies!”. Seriously, our girl P was the only contestant in those first few minutes who made a lasting, and non-annoying, impression. I am pretty biased though, I must admit.

Throughout Pandora and Michael’s entertainment careers, two attributes have always stuck out for me; an amazingly relevant and clever sense of humor, and intelligence. So far on the Logo show, both are talents are quite obvious, but I think there may be more of the later going on than meets the eye. In both episodes, Pandora has floated somewhere in the middle of the competition. I think this is deliberate. Miss P is just waiting to pounce! And when she does, it will be fan-*&%$#^@-tabulous!

Episode 1 highlights: Pandora’s entrance, Michael’s facial expressions in the workroom, and P-Bo’s spot-on Kathy Griffin!

I'll wait a day or two to post an episode 2 recap just in case any of you have yet to catch it, but I promise I won't too long!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Oscar Nominations!

I can't believe that we have yet to discuss this year's Oscar nominations, which where announced on Tuesday morning. Colin Firth, nominated in the "Best Actor" category for his role as a gay man mourning the death of his partner in A Single Man, and Lee Daniels, the openly gay director of Precious, are sadly the only nominees of major gay interest, but there are a few surprises among this year's nominations.

The nominees:

Best Picture:
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air

Though there are ten nominees this year, instead of the traditional five, this has rapidly become a two-movie race between Avatar (AKA the highest grossing movie of all time) and The Hurt Locker. I'm personally rooting for The Hurt Locker, which was absolutely brilliant. The movie is out now on DVD, so if you haven't had a chance to see it yet, do yourself a favor and put it at the top of your Netflix queue.

Best Director:
James Cameron, Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air

Besides Daniels representing the gays, we also have Kathryn Bigelow, only the fourth woman to ever be nominated in this category. If she ends up winning, she will be the first female director ever to do so. With that in mind, it's hard to root against her, especially when her movie is as fantastic as it is.

Best Actor:
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

I'd love to hear Firth's name called on Oscar night, but Jeff Bridges has this one in the bag.

Best Actress:
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia

The massive amount of goodwill for Sandra Bullock's performance helped The Blind Side (which I have yet to see, though it looked a tad sappy for my taste) garner that Best Picture nomination, and she's the clear front-runner here even against a legend like Meryl Streep.

Best Supporting Actor:
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

I haven't seen a single movie that any of these performances come from, but after sweeping just about every award so far, I'd say Christoph Waltz is a lock to win.

Best Supporting Actress:
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mo'nique, Precious

As with most of the acting categories this year, there's not a whole lot of suspense in this race, since Mo'nique is all but guaranteed a win (and deservedly so). I was a little disappointed that Julianne Moore didn't receive a nod for her excellent work in A Single Man; I'd swap her in for Penelope Cruz's work in the snoozefest, Nine.

What does everyone else think of this year's nominations? What were the biggest surprises? Who do you think got snubbed?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 2

It’s bbbbaaaaccckkkk!

RuPaul’s Drag Race has sashayed its way back onto national television for a second season. This time promises to be bigger and better than season 1; bigger challenges, bigger prizes, and bigger drama.

But the BIGGEST story for this season is that local drag and ImageOut icon Pandora Boxx is one of the 12 lucky contestants!!! Pandora has graced stages all over Rochester for a year or two (wink wink), and has graced ImageOut screens as part of our sold-out 2006 Flower City Flicks program in Gay (Means Happy) Show, which her alter-ego Michael Steck wrote, produced, and starred in as well. Steck was also at the helm of Mrs. Kasha Davis: The Life of an International Housewife Celebrity which appeared in the 2008 installment of FCF.

Even after just one episode, Ms. Boxx has proven to be, as the RPDR show website puts it, “a real contender” for the top prize, and has also squashed the old cliche that “nice gals always finish last.” How far will Pandora go? Ahem, in the competition I mean!

The LOGO network (a past ImageOut sponsor) show airs each Monday night at 9pm. If you don’t have LOGO at home, no need to fret! You can catch all the fabulousness at Rochester’s official Drag Race viewing party at Tilt Nightclub and Ultralounge. The event is even hosted by Pandora herself!

There are lots of places online where you can read about the show each week, and the ImageOut Blog is one of them! We’ll be blogging after each episode about the episode and the party, so be sure to check back here again and again!

Next up: Season 2, Episode 1 review