Portland Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 12 in review

Splendora and friend at Blow Pony

The Film Fest ended — in true Portland fashion — with two very different feeling weekend nights.

Friday’s Bruce LaBruce film Otto; Or, Up With Dead People brought a plethora of gay zombies, including former members of the Sissyboys, who appeared in their own documentary on Wednesday. Local film celeb Gus Van Sant sat in the front row asking questions during the Q&A with Bruce, but, unfortunately, stayed away from the dark makeup and fake blood.

For all the uproar that John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus caused a couple years ago (it was also part of PLGFF) because of its explicit sex scenes, Otto takes it much further. Much less explicit than LaBruce’s other films, it nevertheless shows moments of penetration that go beyond our usual conception of sex and well into the arena of arthouse zombie skin flick. Otto is not for the weak of stomach.

A zombie at the ‘Up With Dead People’ after-party at Blow Pony

It is, however, a fascinating look into the blending of politics and personal discovery. It begins in what seems to be an openly magical realist way, wherein you expect zombies to be a part of near future Berlin existence and stumbles, arms lifted towards a much sadder and uncertain reality where death can be literal or metaphorical, but it is most certainly real.

Luckily this ambivalent ending didn’t keep the zombies and their leader/director from taking the Thriller-esque party down the street to Blow Pony where the multi-talented filmmaker unleashed his record-spinning skills to darkly done up crowd. And here are a few a few of the tamer shots from the party.

Saturday’s vibe was distinctly more buttoned-up, ending with a boyhood fairy musical that contrasted glitter with the previous night’s doom. The party then moved over to Crush, a decidedly more whimsical bar than the dark and dirty basement of the Eagle Underground.

But the drinks still flowed freely, and though the banquet of free food consisted of some cheese and crackers and a plate of bland bruschetta crudites, you can’t argue with free vodka. And besides, adorable mayor-to-be Sam Adams was seen chowing on the grub so the feeling of Portland camaraderie brought a very warm and fuzzy feeling to the end of the fest. We may not have the biggest film festival but we know how to rock it right.

The dead can dance…

Comments are closed.