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OUTFEST 25TH ANNIVERSARY

Flickering images

July 14, 2007

IF you thought the Rev. Tori Spelling might be a little more subdued now that she has been invested with the power to perform gay marriages as she did this last weekend for her reality show "Inn Love," well, you'd be mistaken. "Hey bitches!" was her greeting from the stage of the landmark Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles Thursday night as she led the "gay benediction" to kick off the 25th anniversary of Outfest -- Los Angeles' Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

It got saucier from there as she asked audience members to grab their neighbors' hand -- "I said hand," she admonished -- bow their heads, but, uh, not that low, and join her in prayer.

The night's Achievement Award went to Oscar-winning writer Bill Condon ("Gods and Monsters"). Stephen Gutwillig, executive director of the nonprofit Outfest organization, drew laughs when he quipped that while Condon's screenplays for the musicals "Chicago" and "Dreamgirls" were not particularly gay-themed, they nonetheless "hold a special place in our hearts."

The opening-night film was Robert Cary's "Save Me," a poignant drama about a Christian group home for men struggling to fix their "gay affliction." Its stars, Chad Allen, Robert Gant and Judith Light, were among those in attendance.

-- Rene Lynch

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