A Glorious Gabfest

With a (mostly) top-notch lineup, Outtakes Dallas 2000 details how normal (and screwed up) we all are

Queer As Folk 2 Why do some of us revere the short-lived British Channel Four series Queer as Folk so much, considering that the friendship central to the action--between hostile, hedonistic Stuart (Aiden Gillen) and his boyhood chum, closeted, unconfident Vince (Craig Kelly)--is a hopelessly unrequited romance composed of one guy who shits all over the other without a pang of conscience? Because writer-creator Russell T. Davies understands that these two polarities are contained, to different degrees, in many gay men--the anger and fear, self-hatred and cocky rage we see onscreen are parts of ourselves battling and reconciling and battling again. In our best moments, we want to be desirable Stuart, whose violent outbursts are explained by his philosophy, "Sometimes, 'fuck off' isn't enough"; when we fear rejection, Vince trips and stumbles to the surface. Outtakes presents the feature-length epilogue that brings the characters--including Nathan (Charlie Hunnam), the 16-year-old eager for sexual kicks in the "gay village" of Manchester's Canal Street--to some kind of decision about their future. There's one priceless moment after another, including Stuart's angrily outing himself to his family after a nephew attempts to blackmail him, and Vince's fag-hag mom, Hazel (Denise Black), advising another mother how to accept her son's homosexuality: "It helps not to think about the arse thing." By all accounts, Irish up-and-comer Aidan Gillen is 150 percent hetero, but the guy snogs men with a sweaty enthusiasm unprecedented on the small and big screen. Folks, the kind of homoeroticism into which Gillen swan dives as Stuart is truly brave, as opposed to Matt Damon's anemically pining for Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley. The shagging in Queer as Folk 2 is hotter than almost anything in porn, even when it's just another one of those Canal Street conquests, because tender wittiness is often the third (or fourth) bedmate--when a guy warns Stuart in midgrapple that prescription medication has changed the color of his semen, Gillen chuckles "Teletubby spunk!" as the stuff comes out orange. There's a lame-ass nod to Thelma and Louise that closes the show, but devotees can forgive just about anything for the chance to share in Stuart, Vince, and Nathan's overcomplicated, addictive lives a little longer. (Nov. 11, 8 p.m.)

Aimee and Jaguar Possibly the best feature screening at Outtakes is the festival's closer, director Max Faberbock's lush, urgent, dizzyingly erotic saga about a cabal of lesbian Resistance agents in Berlin near the close of World War II. The romantically conflicted trio at the heart of the film--Jewish "Jaguar" (Maria Schrader) and her revolving lovers, the sheltered German wife "Aimee" (Juliane Kohler) and her maid, Ilse (Johanna Wokalex), also working the underground to spirit Jews out of the city--seem always to be toiling under a palpable and intensifying threat, thanks to Faberbock's seasoned sense of pacing. Jaguar works at a German newspaper, typing anti-Semitic editorials by day as she helps generate and distribute fake passports for Jewish escape. (In one of the film's hilarious interludes, she and her friends pose for basement cheesecake photos to be sold on the black market to German soldiers in exchange for a photographer's help with the fake i.d.'s.) Something of a ladies' lady, she romances women in her circle on a whim and goes after Aimee, a confused, frightened, and impetuous woman whose abusive husband is out on the front lines against the Allies. The film takes us right up to the end of the War, which means we are kept breathless waiting to see if Jaguar's anti-Nazi activities (and her passionate romance with Aimee) can continue as the authorities tighten a citywide crackdown. In these rabidly anti-tobacco times, it's easy to forget why smoking was ever considered cool in the first place. Aimee and Jaguar reminds you how, properly wielded during tense or playful moments, smoking can look sexy as hell on a movie screen. Faberbock has fashioned a mini-ode to the great women inhalers of 1940s films. Graft this onto a series of rapid mood and plot changes triggered by wartime turmoil, and you have an exercise in style with a fat, bloody heart's beating away in its well-appointed vest. P.S. It's a good thing there are two weekends between this stunner and The Broken Hearts Club, because when you watch them back to back, Aimee and Jaguar makes you want to slap those West Hollywood boys and tell 'em to get a life. (Nov 12, 7:30 p.m.)

A gay men's amateur softball team--featuring, among others, Dean Cain, bottom center, and Frasier's John Mahoney, far right--is the focus of The Broken Hearts Club.
A gay men's amateur softball team--featuring, among others, Dean Cain, bottom center, and Frasier's John Mahoney, far right--is the focus of The Broken Hearts Club.
Lick it up: Maria Schrader stars in the dizzingly erotic WWII saga Aimee and Jaguar.
Lick it up: Maria Schrader stars in the dizzingly erotic WWII saga Aimee and Jaguar.

Details

Novembr 3-5 and 10-12 For ticket information call (214) 827-TKTS or visit www.outtakesdallas.org on the Web.
Lakewood Theatre, 1825 Abrams Parkway at Gaston.

Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis at 100 There aren't many people around who can say they lived through the dawn of American women's right to vote, the Civil Rights movement, and the gay rights movement. Let's get more specific, and try to find an individual whose life was directly affected by all of them. Filmmaker Yvonne Welbon pulled off this daunting task and recorded the results as Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis at 100. Extensive footage of Ruth Charlotte Ellis at a rest-home dance reveals time has slowed her quite a bit, but she has a clear command of the details of her extensive experience, which include moving from Illinois to Detroit and creating, alongside her love of more than thirty years, a salon for black gays and lesbians. "The Gay Spot," as Ruth and Babe Franklin's home was known from 1941 to 1971, provided a safe place for college students to drink, dance, play cards, and hold hands with their same-sex partners. At the centennial marker in her life, Ruth is hilariously frank about her sexual habits--she last got laid at 95, and informs us that church is the best place to pick up chicks--and this helps make Living With Pride something more than the typical paean to a survivor. (Nov. 12, 1 p.m.)

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