The big June pride festivals of California -- one in West Hollywood, one in San Francisco -- have gained acclaim for supporting and furthering the LGBT messages of diversity, community, friendship, and love.
But Outfest, which arrives about a month after the WeHo shindig, is another star in that sky. Nope, there's no parade or colorful outdoor happenings on the large scale; rather, multitudes of film lovers head indoors to watch movies celebrating the full spectrum of what being gay means, from the first time a young person opens up to a parent to marriage to children to aging to a host of other important and meaningful life events.
"Celebrating" is one word that applies to the July 11-21 film festival, which takes place at several Hollywood and downtown venues, but not all of the 155 films -- films that hail from 28 countries -- set to screen are celebrations in the mirthful sense. Many explore more painful issues or take a sardonic look at family, friends, jobs, and daily life. But 155 films are bound to fill the full range of emotions and outlooks.
"C.O.G." which is based on a David Sedaris short story, opens Outfest on Thursday, July 11. "G.B.F." closes is on July 21 (yep, the titles of fest's book-ending films should be easy to remember). Dozens of daily films fill the grid between the two.
And the social experience of the fest will play out at several pre- and post-screening receptions as well as some club-based parties and a brunch.
Tickets? Most screenings run around $13, though the galas and special events are more.
Happy 31 years, Outfest!