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AFI Fest Brings Future Queer Classics to LA



Daniela Vega in A Fantastic Woman (Photo by Sony Classics/TIFF)

Two of 2017’s most talked-about — and likely award-destined — LGBTQ movies are set to make their Los Angeles-area debuts at Hollywood’s AFI Fest. The annual fall event, one of the city’s best and most respected film festivals, opens on Thursday, November 9 and runs through the following Thursday, November 16, with most screenings happening at the TCL Chinese Theatres and the nearby Egyptian Theatre.

Call Me By Your Name, the Luca Guadagnino film based on the 2007 Andre Aciman novel about a 17-year-old who falls in love with a beguiling doctorate student while summering at his parents’ seaside Italian villa, will be featured as one of AFI Fest’s prestigious Centerpiece Gala selections. The sultry and visually stunning film, which stars Armie Hammer as the hunky older half of the young gay romance, made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It’s since received broad critical acclaim, and is expected to be a contender come movie awards season.

Another strong competitor – and one that could break awards ground for trans performances – is A Fantastic Woman (Una Mujer Fantastica), Chile’s entry this year for the Best Foreign Language Academy Award. The film, which debuted earlier this year at the Berlin International Film Festival, stars Daniela Vega as a trans woman who, upon the sudden death of her older boyfriend, is shunned and tormented by his family, and eyed with increasing suspicion by police. Vega’s resplendent performance is already receiving Best Actress awards buzz, and could mark the first time that a trans actor receives major accolades from Hollywood.

Yet another LGBTQ-themed Best Foreign Language Oscar entry screening at AFI Fest this year comes from Norway. In the gripping thriller Thelma, Joachim Trier directs the story of a young woman who suddenly develops supernatural powers as she breaks away from her devoutly Christian parents and explores her sexuality.

Two more full-length queer films will also show at this year’s AFI Fest, which has established a strong track record for screening some of the best and most provocative queer titles from around the world.
From Canada comes A Skin So Soft (Ta peau si lisse), the hyper-masculine latest from maverick Québécois director Denis Côté, who also helmed 2013’s lesbian-themed Vic + Flo Saw a Bear. Melding the documentary format with improvised dialogue, Côté follows as group of male French Canadian bodybuilders as they work out, tan, oil up and cavort with each other.

From South Africa comes the American premiere of High Fantasy, the identity-exploring tale of four young friends who head into the wilderness for an overnight camping trip, and wake to discover that they’ve swapped bodies, genders and races. Director Jenna Bass filmed with an iPhone, giving the work a particularly millennial feel.

Several LGBTQ-themed shorts will also be part of this year’s AFI Fest. House of JXN looks at the dance clubs and rainbow families of Jackson, Mississippi. Still Devout is the story of a 23-year-old woman, still living at home, who must choose between her own needs (especially romance) and those of her family. From France comes Islands (Les îles) the latest from Yann Gonzalez (director of the 2013 queer feature You and the Night), which follows three characters through a labyrinth of love and desire.

A slew of excellent non-LGBTQ-themed films will of course also be screened at AFI Fest, including festival opener Mudbound (from lesbian director Dee Rees) and closer All the Money in the World (the world premiere of the latest from Ridley Scott, following a special AFI tribute to the director).

AFI Fest is one of few major festivals in the world to offer public tickets to screenings for absolutely free — but the process requires good timing and a bit of luck. Free tickets became available online on November 1, but they don’t always get snatched up immediately, and more free tickets are often released to the public as the festival gets closer. The best way to avoid disappointment and ensure access to all screenings is with a festival pass, which starts at $400.

A word of caution for those hoping to snag free tickets to Call Me By Your Name: Since this is a Gala screening, regular free tickets are unavailable. Instead, the festival offers free “Gala voucher” reservations, which are then redeemable for free tickets at the screening purely on a space-available basis. Successful conversion of a Gala voucher into an actual ticket generally requires queuing at least an hour early.

2017 AFI Fest screening schedule:

Call Me By Your Name: Fri Nov 10, 7:30pm at TCL Chinese Theatre
A Fantastic Woman: Mon Nov 13, 9:30pm at Chinese 1; Tue Nov 14, 3:45pm at Chinese 1
Thelma: Sat Nov 11, 9:15pm at Chinese 5; Mon Nov 13, 1pm at Chinese 2
A Skin So Soft: Sun Nov 12, 7pm at Chinese 2; Wed Nov 15, 7:30pm at Chinese 2
High Fantasy: Sat Nov 11, 7pm at Chinese 5; Wed Nov 15, 3:45pm at Chinese 3
House of JXN (Shorts Program 2): Fri Nov 10, 9:45pm at Chinese 2; Mon Nov 13, 6:45pm at Chinese 2
Still Devout (Shorts Program 5): Sat Nov 11, 5:30pm at Chinese 2; Tue Nov 14, 4:15pm at Chinese 2
Islands (Shorts Program 6): Fri Nov 10, 11:59pm at Chinese 6; Sun Nov 12, 1pm at Chinese 2

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Pansexual Visibility Day 2022 is May 24

Days like Pansexuality Visibility Day are perfect for educating people about the various ways people experience sexual & romantic attraction



Graphic via Project MORE

NEW YORK – The Trevor Project is honoring Pansexual and Panromantic Awareness and Visibility Day on May 24, noting that it is a day to celebrate the pansexual and panromantic community and educate others on the community.

As part of creating awareness for the pansexual community, The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, captured important data related to the experiences of pansexual youth, who made up 20% of the survey sample.

2022 National Survey Data on Pansexual Youth

  • 53% of pansexual youth reported that they seriously considered suicide and 21% reported they attempted suicide in the past year.
  • 66% of pansexual youth reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety and 79% reported experiencing symptoms of depression.
  • 36% of pansexual youth reported that they have been physically threatened or harmed due to their sexual orientation.
  • 69% of pansexual youth reported that they had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

The Project MORE Foundation, a leading nonprofit service and support provider to the Northern California Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQ+) and Ally community explains what it means to be Pansexual:

One common misconception that even members of the LGBTQ+ community have is that pansexuality and bisexuality are the same. Bisexuality can loosely be defined as attraction to more than one gender, but many define it with the more narrow definition of attraction to both genders, i.e,: men and women.

Pansexuality differs in that it includes sexual attraction inclusive of ALL gender identities, which means that people can also be drawn to those who are gender fluid or genderqueer. It is similar for people who are panromantic. When a person identifies as panromantic, it means that they can feel romantically towards anyone of any gender identity. 

When people come out as pansexual, headlines often emphasize that it’s different than being bi, and while that’s true, somebody who is bi may also identify as pan and vice versa. The bisexuality umbrella term includes those who feel attracted to two or more gender identities. Pansexuality refers to people who feel sexual attraction to any gender identity, but because their preference includes two or more genders, they could also consider themself bi. Being pan doesn’t mean that a person is going to be attracted towards everyone, but simply that gender identity doesn’t play a role in that attraction. 

There are many people who identify as pansexual or panromantic, such as Jazz Jennings, the famous 20-something LGBTQ+ rights advocate who came out as trans as a child. Authors Dana Mele and Caitlin Ricci identify as panromantic. Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monáe, and Brendon Urie are also among famous celebrities who identify as pansexual. 

It is quite common that people who are pansexual go on a journey of self-discovery to figure out their true sexuality. Some, like Bella Thorne, initially identified as bisexual, but then grew to realize that gender plays little to no role in their attraction, so her definition of her sexuality changed to reflect that. 

Miley Cyrus, who came out in 2015 as pansexual, is among one of those who went down the path to self-discovery when it came to her sexuality. In an interview with Variety, she said that an interaction with a non-binary individual helped her understand that she felt attraction towards them regardless of how they expressed their gender. In that moment, she didn’t feel gay, straight, or bi, because she wasn’t.

Because definitions can be held loosely, one of the most important takeaways is that how a person identifies their sexual or romantic attraction can differ from one day to the next, but celebrating and respecting a person for who they are is what matters most. Days like Pansexuality and Panromantic Visibility Day are perfect for educating people about the various ways people experience sexual and romantic attraction.

About the 2022 National Survey

This survey is one of the largest and only surveys of its kind, representing the experiences of nearly 34,000 LGBTQ young people ages 13-24 across the U.S. It’s also one of the most diverse surveys of LGBTQ youth ever conducted – with 45% of respondents being youth of color and 48% being trans or nonbinary.

Lastly, The Trevor Project has a guide, “How to Support Bisexual Youth: Ways to Care for Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid, and Queer Youth Who are Attracted to More than One Gender” that offers best practices for those looking to support the youth who are attracted to more than one gender in their lives.

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The universe comes out to jazz and violins and you’re invited

LA prides itself as home of the stars. Don’t limit yourself to the mere mortal stars of Hollywood, when the universe is opening its doors



Past Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome (2018) Photo credit: Irina Logra

LOS ANGELES COUNTY – Starlight, starbright: Bathing yourself in the magnificent skies has returned to Los Angeles as the historic Mount Wilson Observatory announces… shall we say it… a heavenly lineup for its 2022 program.

The program offers something for everybody: From the universe-fascinated who want to observe and soak up astronomical knowledge to the bright light and musically discerning who are there just for the mind-blowing beauty alone. 

Since its founding in 1904 by astronomer and visionary George Ellery Hale, Mount Wilson Observatory has played host to some of the most important discoveries in modern astronomy. Located on Mount Wilson, a 5710-foot (1740-meter) peak in the San Gabriel Mountains of the Angeles National Forest, Mount Wilson Observatory (MWO) features the Snow Solar Telescope (largest in the world from 1905-1908 and the mountain’s first installation), a 60-inch telescope (the world’s largest operational telescope from 1908-1917), and the 100-inch Hooker telescope (which featured the world’s largest aperture from 1917-1949). Mount Wilson Institute has independently operated and maintained the Mount Wilson Observatory since 1989 under a long-term agreement with the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

The observatory offers a series of tours throughout the season for the scientific tourist in you. For the mechanically inclined, you can take an engineering tour of the huge telescopes and understand how they have enabled historic discoveries. For the stargazers, there are public and private tours to actually use the telescopes and peep in on our nearest planetary and constellation neighbors. For the gazers who want to keep things even closer to home, take a look right into our own Sun with the Lunt Telescope.

There is no better way to observe the universe than to do it wrapped in gorgeous music. The observatory steps up and takes advantage of the dome’s sensational acoustics by presenting Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome. Top jazz, violinist, brass talents and more will perform in events at 3:00pm and 5:00pm May 22- October 21. The season aesthetics are capped off with [email protected] Observatory in the later summer months which explores sound art in the dome, plein-air painting and sculpting.

It would be a shame to visit the observatory for its visual and auditory sensual offerings alone, however. For those who want to deepen their mind, the season also offers an incredible roster for the astronomy intellect. Lectures from the top experts include discoveries of the deep space mission, women scientists at the observatory, the work of George Ellery Hale, and more.

The gates to Mount Wilson’s acreage opens at 10:00am every day and close at 5:30. Visitors can hike the grounds, gaze at the telescope domes that dot the landscape, and browse through the Historic Museum in the Lecture Hall.  Members from the Los Angeles Astronomical Society will gather around the grounds during each of the events during the season and set up specialty telescopes for a view of various night sky objects while attendees await their turn to look through the grand telescopes in the domes.

Los Angeles prides itself as home of the stars. Don’t limit yourself to the mere mortal stars of Hollywood, when the universe is opening its doors to experience stellar wonders that will really blow your heart and your mind. We hope to see you at the observatory to experience magnificence together.

For more information:  


Engineering Tours:

Public Ticket Nights:

Private Telescope Reservations:

Solar Viewing:


Mt. Wilson Observatory: 

MWO Facebook: 

MWO Twitter: MWO Instagram:

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Padilla joins women’s march rally in LA to advocate for abortion rights

“We’re coming together this weekend with a powerful message to those who wish to control our bodies & our futures”



Graphic via Planned Parenthood

LOS ANGELESU.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will join the Women’s March Foundation along with local and national leaders for a National Day of Action, the ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ Reproductive Rights Rally. Padilla will deliver remarks on the importance of defending access to safe, legal abortion at the federal level.

Senator Padilla joins leaders in Los Angeles for this day of action following a leaked draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade and roll back abortion access protections for millions of women across the country.

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif. (Screenshot C-SPAN2)

Earlier this week, Padilla voted in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), legislation that would codify the right to an abortion into federal law, and spoke on the Senate floor urging his colleagues to pass the bill. 

The “Bans Off Our Bodies” daylong event is organized by groups including Women’s March, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, UltraViolet, MoveOn, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Abortion Rights Action League.

“We’re coming together this weekend with a powerful message to those who wish to control our bodies and our futures: Keep your bans off our bodies,” said Planned Parenthood national organizing director Brianna Twofoot.

WHEN:TOMORROW, Saturday, May 14 at 10:00am PT
WHO:Women’s March Foundation
WHERE:Los Angeles City Hall, 200 N Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
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