James Franco teams up with Gus Van Sant for art flick

Reeves and Phoenix in a still from the original 'My Own Private Idaho'

I definitely think James Franco has earned his toaster for being an honorary gay. Following his many gay onscreen portrayals Franco has teamed up with local queer film director Gus Van Sant for 2 art films in an exhibition called “Unfinished,” set to show at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills this weekend through April 9th.

Both are based on Van Sant’s 1991 classic My Own Private Idaho starring Keanu Reeves and the late River Phoenix, and are directed by James Franco. Endless Idaho, a 12 hour Cremasterlike monster, features edited outtakes, deleted scenes, alternate takes and behind-the-scenes footage from the movie as well as interviews with actual street hustlers. The score is by Luke Paquin and Tim O’Keefe. It’s a “behind the scenes” behemoth that isn’t like to keep the average fan’s interest for 12 hours, but is a goldmine for the truly devoted film process buff.

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Trailer for Gus Van Sant’s upcoming film ‘Restless’

Gus Van Sant's 'Restless'

Quirky but cute weirdos have been all the rage in Portland for decades but they’re appeal is becoming more widespread. Local director Gus Van Sant has been introducing the world to loveable freaks for decades as well but has also hot the mainstream.

His upcoming film Restless fits this bill perfectly. It features an oddly symmetrical boy-girl couple, one of whom is sick, or dying or mentally ill while the other sees a teenage ghost and attends random funerals. It looks happy, sad and heart-warming…a chick flick for the Stumptown set.

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PLGFF closing weekend previews: ‘Role/Play’ and the ‘The Secret Diaries of Anne Lister’

'The Secret Diaries of Anne Lister'

If you missed the big Howl premiere last week, fear not. Howl begins a week run at Cinema 21 this Friday.That same day at 7 pm, executive producer, Gus Van Sant, will intro the film, show a short he made of Ginsberg and chat live with James Franco via Skype. As for the rest of the fest, it continues at the Hollywood Theater (4122 NE Sandy Blvd).

9:30pm @ Hollywood Theater Friday Oct 8 – Role/Play

From five time writer/director Rob Williams (Make The Yuletide Gay, 3-Day Weekend, Back Soon and Long-Term Relationship) comes a story of the A-list gays and all their troubles. Video editor Mike Justice will be on hand to answer questions after the screening.

While hiding out from the paprazzi at a secluded Palm Springs resort, recently outed Soap opera star, Graham Winsdor (Steve Callahan), and a recently divorced gay marriage activist Trey Reed (Matthew Montgomery) find themselves kindred spirits. These hard workin’ men find passion in expressing their professional pitfalls and compel one another to confront the firestorm that their relative scandals have wrought.

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Van Sant’s next movie, ‘Restless’ will film in Oregon

Local filmmaker Gus Van Sant will be feaured Oct. 30th

Local filmmaker Gus Van Sant will film 'Restless' locally

Local filmmaker Gus Van Sant has, no doubt, made it big. But though the native portrays Portland and the Pacific Northwest so elegantly on screen, not all his filming is done here.  So for a local film industry that struggles at the best of times it is most certainly welcome news to hear that Van Sant’s next film, Restless, will be filmed here in Oregon.

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October is National GLBT History Month

Local filmmaker Gus Van Sant will be feaured Oct. 30th

Local filmmaker Gus Van Sant will be feaured Oct. 30th

I may be a few days late announcing October’s GLBT History Month, but a new website dedicated to showcasing our past features one of my absolute favorite historical figures today, Ruth Ellis, so I’m happy to highlight your gay Monday.

Modeled after Black and Women’s History Months, GLBT History Month highlights annually the achievements of 31 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender Icons—one each day—with a free video, bio, bibliography, downloadable images and other resources.

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Queers like art


PNCA Queer Art Show

I often lament Portland’s lack of a dedicated contemporary art museum, but like most projects, PDX espouses a more DIY attitude. We may not have an institution but we have plenty of local contemporary art, much of which is helmed by queers.

Three upcoming shows around town have have queer themes, though all are very different.

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Van Sant’s ‘Milk’ gets 8 Oscar nods

Josh Brolin (left) was nominated for Best Supporting actor while Sean Penn gets a nod for Best Actor

While Portland’s gay community might be mourning one politician, we can celebrate the legacy of another. Today Milk, the film starring Sean Penn (and an amazing supporting cast) and directed by local, gay filmmaker Gus Van Sant was nominated for a whopping 8 Oscars.

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Last night’s Gus Van Sant ‘Milk’ premiere in San Francisco

Sean Penn in ‘Milk’

Alas, yours truly did not get to fly south and hobnob with the celebrities, political activists, film reviewers and Portlanders that attended last night’s world premiere of Gus Van Sant’s Milk in the Castro district.

But at least Oregonian writer Kristi Turnquist was there, and has nothing but good things to say about the film.

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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.

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PIFF review: ‘Paranoid Park’

Local queer indie favorite Director Gus Van Sant has a talent for portraying Portland on screen. Filled with beautiful boys and bridges, dark cracking concrete playgrounds, and the grassy dunes by the Pacific, critically acclaimed Paranoid Park is no different. And Monday’s PIFF screening, a chance to meet the infamous director, and a benefit for Outside In, is worth going to for just those reasons. But I’ve got a secret to share with you. The film doesn’t live up to the hype.

The cinematography is unflinchingly beautiful. Van Sant turns skateboarding into ballet and blank, awkward teenage facial expressions into pretty portraits. It works wonderfully as an experimental art piece, a much calmer Matthew Barney.

But once you add the story line those blank mugs become just that, blank. And those numbly staring eyes are supposed to be telling us something about youth culture, I’m sure, but I really couldn’t gather any reason to care. Our hero, Alex (Gabe Nevins), flows through life as an unfulfilled and apathetic teenager who longs for the gritty and intense. When he finally finds it, this traumatic experience is too much for him.

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