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Los Angeles Events Calendar April 7-15

Coachella, brunch, a scavenger hunt, a film festival and more

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Los Angeles events, gay news, Los Angeles Blade

Coachella runs April 14-17. (Photo by Drew Ressler; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Friday, April 7

DAN SAVAGE’S HUMP! FILM FEST L.A., Fri Apr 7 @ 6-11 PM at The Downtown Independent – (251 S Main St). HUMP! is home-grown short film porn for wannabe porn stars. You’ll enjoy a cornucopia of body types, shapes, ages, colors, sexualities, genders, kinks, and fetishes-all united by a shared spirit of sex-positivity. Check out humpfilmfest.com.

THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST – Fri Apr 07 @ 8:00PM – 08:00PM at Renberg Theatre – ( 1125 N McCadden Pl). HUMANS OF EARTH! BREAKING NEWS — we have five years left to cry. It’s true… Earth is really dying, but we can make it all worthwhile! The superstars of Trans Chorus of Los Angeles – TCLA, in their debut stage performance, present the smash hit musical “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars”. Stepping directly out of the music of David Bowie, the chorus tells the iconic story of his alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, a rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings. This production is presented in partnership with the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin / Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center.

Saturday, April 8

OUT IN TECH L.A. SOCIAL -Sat Apr 8 @ 4-7 PM at Revolver (8851 Santa Monica Blvd). One year ago Out in Tech launched in LA. Come join us as we celebrate a year of wonderful Out in Tech LA events, professional contacts, and new friends. RSVPs are required, but free. oitlaanniversaryparty.eventbrite.com.

Sunday, April 9

EQUALITY CA BENEFIT BRUNCH 11 AM-2 PM at a Los Angeles private residence. Join the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce for a benefit brunch on at a beautiful mid-century modern view estate in the hills of Bel Air, and support the work of Equality California Institute. Address will be provided upon RSVP at this link. Tickets are $100.

LGBTINSEL TOWN WALKING TOUR, 11 AM-1:30 PM at The Hollywood Museum – (1660 Highland Ave). You’ll start your LGBTinsel Town Tour with a Champagne welcome at The Hollywood Museum featuring the most extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world – all housed in the historic Max Factor building. From there we’ll hit the streets to dig up the dirt on decades of closeted stars, underground pansy bars, and gay rights battle scars. From the initial footfalls of the LA’s first Pride parade to the secret tunnels that lie under the Walk of Fame that the locals don’t even know about – Out & About Tours and The Lavender Effect.

8TH ANNUAL WEHO SCAVENGER HUNT, 2-6 PM at Gym Sportsbar – (8737 Santa Monica Blvd). WeHo Dodgeball, W*A*R, and Rainbow Rex are thrilled to bring you a fantastic day of fun and adventure. In the 8th Annual WeHo Scavenger Hunt, you and three of your friends will race around West Hollywood and the surrounding area trying to complete our diabolically challenging list of photo and item objectives!  $10 per person or $40 per team. Visit wehoadultrecreation.com.

A SIMPLE TEA DANCE, 2 PM-9 PM at A Simple Bar (3256 Cahuenga Blvd W.).Come dance the afternoon away at Superstar’s monthly LGBTQ Tea Dance at A Simple Bar. Well drinks at Happy Hour prices all night long.

Wednesday, April 12

GAY MALE AND FRIENDS SPRING MIX N’CONNECT, 7-9 PM at Pitfire Artisan Pizza (801 N Fairfax Ave #101). Whether you are new to Los Angeles, in the mindset of meeting new friends, wanting to network, or maybe wanting to meet someone professional for possible romance, we’re hosting a fun event with Pitfire Pizza in West Hollywood. We’ll have our own private area out on the patio. $20 at the door.

GO RAINBOW SKATE NIGHT AT MOONLIGHT ROLLERWAY, 8-11 PM at Moonlight Rollerway (5110 San Fernando Rd). Great Outdoors LA invites you to roll, bounce the night away. Admission: $10.25 Skate rental: $5.

Thursday, April 13

SELF-DEFENSE WORKSHOP FOR SENIORS, 1-2:30 PM at Triangle Square Apartments (1602 Ivar Ave). Former boxer and trainer George will teach basic self-defense methods, including how to protect yourself from blows and how not to be a victim. Free.

Friday, April 14

CARE BEAR CAMPOUT #SpringBreak 2017, 8 AM-12 PM at Crystal Lake Cafe (9877 N Crystal Lake Rd). Care Bear Campers will take adventure once again this spring April 14 & 15 checking out Sunday the 16. This year we celebrate our seven-year anniversary. All campsites are $12 per vehicle, eight people per campsite. Contact Crystal Lake Cafe, 626-910-1029.

COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL 2017 (through April 17), 11 AM-midnight at Coachella @ Empire Polo – (81-800 Ave 51). We all know Coachella, the crazed, global festive near Indio. Go for the weekend or for the day. It’s worth the trip to see some of the greatest musical acts of our time. Visit coachella.com for details.

Saturday, April 15

ONE EYED Monster (Homo Massive), 10 PM-3 AM at The Globe Theatre. A Huge Throbbing Dance Ball with a huge throbbing you know what featured everywhere. Call 818-622-7278 for details.

— Powered by gayinla.com, John McHugh- Dennis

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Movies

Laverne Cox Dives into the Uglies World

Cox is the latest cast member to be announced, although exactly which role she plays is still a guarded secret

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Laverne Cox via Netflix

BURBANK – Imagine a world where at 16, you were forced into an operation that made you conventionally “pretty” along with the rest of the humans in the world.  That is the theme of the new Netflix film Uglies, based on the international best-selling dystopian fantasy novel by Scott Westerfeld.

Laverne Cox is the latest cast member to be announced, although exactly which role she plays is still a guarded secret. Joey King, Brianne Tju, Keith Powers and Chase Stokes were previously announced.

Whatever role Cox plays, her participation stays consistent with her brand of finding one’s authenticity and fighting to live as their truest self.  

Amazon describes the novel’s plot, of which the film is based as: “Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun. But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world—and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever.”

Of the casting, Cox posted on her Instagram, “I feel so blessed to be an artist hopefully getting better at my craft, certainly working hard to do so. What a privilege this film is, based on a powerful young adult book series by @scott_westerfeld!! What a privilege to work with such incredibly talented and committed young actors and @mcgfilm, our incredible director, oh McG you’re just incredible. Stay tuned!”

Cox will also star in the upcoming Netflix series Inventing Anna. Shonda Rhimes and her Shondaland partner, Betsy Beers, are executive producing that 10 episode series.  It is based on a true story in which a grifter faked being an heiress and fooled New York’s high society with her scam.

Uglies will be directed by McG, and has producers John Davis and Jordan Davis for Davis Entertainment Company; Robyn Mesinger for Anonymous Content; Dan Spilo for Industry Entertainment; and McG and Mary Viola for Wonderland at the helm.  Joey King, Jamie King, Scott Westerfeld, John Fox are executive producing.

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Online Culture

Vlogger StanChris; My religious mom reacts to Norway’s “gay Santa” ad

My religious mom reacts to Norway’s gay Santa advertisement! Let’s see what she has to say about it.

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Screenshot via YouTube

LOS ANGELES – The twenty-something StanChris, the Out YouTuber who has been building his audience on his YouTube channel by vlogging about the ordinary everyday experiences of his life as a young gay guy is back- this time interviewing his mother.

My religious mom reacts to Norway’s gay Santa advertisement! Let’s see what she has to say about it.

My religious mom reacts to Norway’s “gay Santa” ad

********************

S O C I A L – L I N K S

→Instagram : stanchris https://instagram.com/stanchris

→ Twitter : stanchrisss https://twitter.com/stanchrisss

Subscribe here!!: https://youtube.com/c/stanchris

Watch more: https://youtu.be/rjI4c7nSXkw

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Movies

Verhoeven returns with subversive tale of lesbian nun in ‘Benedetta’

Period drama delivers sex, violence, and horrors of the Black Death

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Daphne Patakia and Virginie Efira in ‘Benedetta.’ (Photo courtesy IFC Films)

There was a time when Paul Verhoeven was a big deal in Hollywood.

The Dutch filmmaker first attracted international attention during an early career in his homeland, with critically acclaimed movies like “Turkish Delight” and “Soldier of Orange,” which found an audience outside of the Netherlands and brought him greater opportunities in America, Once here, he adapted his style to fit a more commercial mold and forged a niche for himself with violent, action-packed sci-fi blockbusters, scoring major hits with “Robocop” and “Total Recall” before reaching a pinnacle with “Basic Instinct” – arguably still his most influential and iconic film.

Then came “Showgirls.” Although the Joe Eszterhas-scripted stripper drama is now revered as a “so-bad-it’s-great” cult classic, it was a box office bomb on its initial release, and its failure, coupled with the less-spectacular but equally definitive flopping of his next film, “Starship Troopers,” effectively put an end to his climb up the Hollywood ladder.

That was not, however, the end of his story. Verhoeven moved back to his native country (where he was hailed as a returning hero) and rebounded with the critically lauded “Black Book” before spending the next two decades developing and producing new projects with other filmmakers. In 2016, he assumed the director’s seat again, this time in France, and the resulting work (“Elle”) put him once more into the international spotlight.

Now, he’s back with another French film, and fans of his signature style – a blend of social satire, psycho-sexual themes, graphic violence, and near-exploitation-level erotic imagery that has prompted some commentators to label him as a provocateur – have every reason to be excited.

“Benedetta,” which receives its long-delayed (due to COVID) release in the U.S. on Dec. 3, is the real-life story of a Renaissance-era Italian nun (Virginie Efira), whose passionate devotion to her faith  – and especially to Jesus – sparks disturbing and dramatic visions. When young novice Bartolomea (Daphne Patakia) enters the convent and is assigned to her as a companion, it awakens a different kind of passion, and as their secret relationship escalates, so too do her miraculous episodes, which expand to include the physical manifestation of stigmata. Soon, despite the skepticism of the Mother Abbess (Charlotte Rampling), she finds herself heralded as a prophet by the other sisters and the local community, leading to controversy, investigation, and a power struggle that threatens the authority of the church itself.

Inspired by “Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy,” Judith C. Brown’s biography of the real Sister Benedetta, Verhoeven’s latest work is perhaps his most quintessential to date. In his screenplay (co-written with “Elle” collaborator David Birke), the Dutch auteur – who is also a widely recognized, if controversial, religious scholar – gives free reign to his now-familiar obsessions, weaving them all together into a sumptuously realized period drama that delivers copious amounts of nudity and sex, bloody violence, and the horrors of the Black Death while exploring the phenomenon of faith itself. Is Benedetta a saint or a harlot? Is she chosen by God or mentally ill? Are her visions real or is she a fraud, cynically exploiting the beliefs of those around her in a bold-faced grab for power and glory? And if she’s lying, in the larger context of a world held firmly in the grip of a church that treats salvation as transactional and levies its presumed moral authority to unlimited financial and political gain, which is greater evil? Though the film strongly implies the answers lie somewhere between the “either/or” of absolutes, it shrewdly leaves the viewer to contemplate such questions for themselves.

What concerns “Benedetta” more than any esoteric debate is a sly-yet-candid commentary on the various levels of societal hierarchy and the ways in which the flow of power perpetuates itself through their devotion to maintaining the status quo. As Benedetta’s perceived holiness carries her upward through the strata, from unwanted daughter of the merchant class to Mother Superior and beyond, more important than the veracity of her claims of divinity are the shifting and carefully calculated responses of those she encounters along the way. Fearing the loss of their own power, they ally and oppose themselves in whichever direction will help them maintain it. It’s a Machiavellian game of “keep-away” in which those at the top will not hesitate to use economic class, gender, sexuality, and – if all else fails – torture and execution as weapons to repress those they deem unworthy.

Inevitably, the above scenario provides plenty of fodder for Verhoeven’s movie to make points about religious hypocrisy, systemic oppression, and the way white heterosexual cisgender men keep the deck eternally stacked in their own favor – all of which invites us to recognize how little things have changed in the five centuries since Sister Benedetta’s time. That, too, is right in line with the director’s usual agenda.

Ultimately though, the signature touch that makes the movie unmistakably his is the way it revels in the lurid and sensational. Verhoeven delights in presenting imagery designed to shock us, and key elements of the film – from hyper-eroticized religious visions and explicit lesbian sex, to the prominent inclusion of a blasphemous wooden dildo as an important plot point – feel deliberately transgressive. This should be no surprise when one remembers that this is the director who brought us not only “Basic Instinct” and “Showgirls” but also “The Fourth Man,” a homoerotic psychological thriller from 1983 still capable of making audiences squirm uncomfortably today; and while all this titillation may trigger the most prudish of viewers, it makes “Benedetta” into a deliciously subversive, wild-and-wooly ride for the rest of us. More to the point, it underscores the film’s ultimate observation about the empowering nature of sexual liberation.

Helping Verhoeven make maximum impact with this obscure historical narrative is a cast that clearly relishes the material as much as he does. In the title role, the statuesque Efira successfully creates a compelling and charismatic figure while remaining an enigma, someone we can believe in equal measure might be sincere or corrupt and with whom we can empathize either way; likewise, Patakia exudes savvy and self-possession, transcending moral judgment as the object of her affection, and the two performers have a palpable chemistry, which is made all the more compelling by their thrillingly contemporary approach to the characters. Rounding out the triad of principal roles is Rampling, a cinematic icon who brings prestige and sophistication to the table in a masterful performance as the Abbess; more than just a grounding presence for her younger co-stars, she provides an important counterbalance with a subtle and layered performance as a woman who has devoted her life to a belief in which she has no faith, only to find herself overshadowed by a charlatan.

“Benedetta” is not exactly the kind of film that’s likely to put Verhoeven back on the Hollywood fast track – it’s far too radical in its underpinnings for that. Nevertheless, it’s a welcome return to form from a unique and flamboyant filmmaker we’ve missed for far too long, and his fans – along with anybody with a taste for provocative cinema – should consider it a must-see.

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