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Araki will be there; so will Tammy Faye

Outfest includes an award for 'Skin' director and, amid 200 films, a Bakker documentary.

June 02, 2005|Chuck Wilson | Special to The Times

Outfest, Los Angeles' annual gay and lesbian film festival, turns 23 this summer with a lineup of more than 200 films, beginning with the July 7 presentation of a special achievement award to director Gregg Araki, whose disturbing new film, "Mysterious Skin," opened in Los Angeles last week.

Araki will receive his award at an opening night gala to be held at the Orpheum, the downtown movie palace that serves as the festival's launching pad. Screening that evening is "Cote d'Azur," a comic sexual roundelay -- with a few musical numbers thrown in for good measure. The Orpheum will also host the festival's closing night presentation of the intense drama "The Dying Gaul", starring Peter Sarsgaard, Campbell Scott and Patricia Clarkson, a film written and directed by "Prelude to a Kiss" playwright Craig Lucas.

Also screening in venues such as the Directors Guild and the Ford Amphitheatre are "Happy Endings," the new comedy from Don Roos, writer-director of "The Opposite of Sex," as well as "Based on a True Story", a documentary detailing the life of John Wojtowicz, whose attempt to rob a New York bank in order to raise money for his lover's sex change operation inspired the 1975 classic "Dog Day Afternoon." The documentary wing of the festival should also be enlivened by "Tammy Faye: Death Defying," at which, festival organizers promise, the former Mrs. Bakker herself will appear in person, eyelashes and all.

Offering a provocative alternative for bleary-eyed Outfest movie watchers, L.A. performance artist Ron Athey and soprano-musicologist Julianna Snapper are collaborating on "The Judas Cradle," a multimedia piece to be held at REDCAT at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

In addition to presenting his new film, director Roos will participate in "Gay Writers Write Hollywood," a panel discussion that will include Academy Award winner Bill Condon ("Gods and Monsters") as well as the filmmaking team of Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato ("Inside Deep Throat"). For the panel "Queer Is Just a Frame of Mind on Wisteria Lane," "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry will entice cast members and his fellow writers to discuss the gay appeal of the hit TV show.

Festival attendees are encouraged to dig out their frilly shirts and sparkly capes for a sing-along screening of Prince's 1984 Oscar winner, "Purple Rain" -- outfits that might also be appropriate for the alarmingly popular event "Home Video Gong Show."

Running July 7-18, Outfest will again make its home at the Directors Guild of America at 8000 Sunset Blvd. Tickets go on sale Monday to Outfest members and on June 11 to the general public. For more information, call (213) 480-7065 or visit www.Outfest.org.

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