Volunteering at Outfest

I’ve volunteered at Redcat before, but not for Outfest.  I like Redcat as a venue because it’s small, friendly, and feels a little like home for me as a Calarts alum/ex-adjunct.  I wasn’t disappointed when I volunteered there earlier in the week.  Even when the crowd picked up and there was hardly an inch of space to move in, the Outfest staff remained cool and collected, no stress or order-barking.

It was a 2-in-1 night: i saw a documentary about William S. Burroughs, which had a keen sense of humor, even as it was a telling of a kind of tragic story.  The relationship between Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg was especially charming and fascinating to watch.  the way they interacted with each other was so tender, but a little hesitant and understated, too.

Also that night was a performance by the trans-male cabaret group and quarterly, Original Plumbing.  I saw them perform in San Francisco on Pride weekend, but I was more impressed with their show at Redcat.  The incomparable Glenn Marla performed in SF, but sadly, did not make an appearance in the LA performance.  The pieces by Chris Vargas, Zackary Drucker, Hi Fashion $9.99, were amongst the most compelling, amusing, and biting.  More on these fierce and heroic performances soon…

one thing that frustrates me about Outfest, and many other queer festivals, events, and parties, is that they’re so segregated: the boys going to the night of boy-shorts, only women going to see dyke-themed films… not a lot of overlap.  i tend to like queer spaces that are truly **queer** in that sense: all mixed up.  events where all the freaks come out.  i think Original Plumbing night was the closest Outfest has come to that environment of radical inclusion.

Re: my Outfest volunteering duties:

One of the other volunteers, in making small-talk with me, asked why I decided to volunteer with Outfest.  I could see she was expecting an answer that struck the all right activist/social-justice/go-getter chords, and that she was surprised and a little outraged to hear my response: “well, I can’t afford to go to any of the shows, and if I volunteer, I get to see the shows for free.”

Well, it’s the truth.

So you can imagine my agitation last night when I volunteered at a different Outfest venue, when I was told that I wasn’t allowed to see Cheryl Dunye’s new film, “The Owls”.  Turns out, I just didn’t ask the right person.  Because the first person I asked said, “no.”  The second said “yes.” 🙂

And it was worth the finagling.  Aside from being totally star struck (I did get to glimpse, in-the-flesh, dykeons, Dunye, Guinevere Turner, and the stunningly sexy  Skyler Cooper), I was taken with the honesty rendered by the film’s willingness to scrutinize and investigate queer anger, the queer generation gap, and our (in)ability (both as a community and inter-personally) to support each other when we head downhill…

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About thedoubleequal

TheDoubleEqual is interested in Anais Nin, Smut and subtext, Queer literature, Intersections of oppression, Jewish communities, Memoir, Poetry, All art, Subways, and Violent spiritual awakenings. View all posts by thedoubleequal

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