Billy Manes

Overture! Curtain! Lights! We all love a good show, especially when it’s stretched to its hilts with bonhomie, gravitas and humor. We also like to cry sometimes, because somebody told us once that crying is a good thing, and therefore it was made so. However, we’re perpetually fascinated by the entangled minutiae that make our lives overlap and our feelings somehow universal. That, in many ways, is what the entertainment industry – and especially the film industry, along with its theatrical forbears – brings to the stage and screen with every ounce of sweat generated from each creative brow. Creating timeless phenomena is no easy task; likewise, coordinating said phenomena into a veritable kiosk of choices meant to represent the sights, sounds and feelings of the moment is as much an act of curating as it is one of understanding.

This week, amid the public and political theater of Kentucky Clerk of Courts Kim Davis – she of the Crystal Gayle hair and the Misery ensemble – we celebrate LGBT theater and the whimsy of stagecraft, largely. It’s not that we’re ignoring the comings and goings of Donald Trump’s wig or Sarah Palin’s patented xenophobia – we obviously aren’t – more than it is an exercise in studying our own structures within the LGBT lexicon and how it is that we are evolving. It was the arts that brought us the hearts and minds that we’ve always yearned for to push the movement foreword, and now those hearts, arts and minds are evolving at a renewed pace.

The TampaBay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is upon us in early October, welcoming such (neither orange nor black) superstars as Lea DeLaria to St. Petersburg’s Palladium Theatre on Oct. 3 for a bit of prison kiss before total immersion into the festival’s handpicked international wares. Interestingly, the festival has grown almost too big for its britches and will take a step outside of its normal wardrobe and proliferate its films into the broader Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area. It’s a bold step for TIGLFF, but one that ought to be celebrated. After all, a proliferation of the arts and access to them should always be applauded. Change is good.

We’ll give you all of the background on the historic move for the lauded festival, plus a taste of things to come within it. Our film guy, Stephen Miller, pulls just a few of the titles that you won’t want to miss, some of which you won’t be able to catch elsewhere. Likewise, writer Aaron Alper looks into the developments with the Fifth Annual Fabulous Film Festival happening in late September in Sarasota. Revolutionary trans film Tangerine will be there, a fact made only more sticky and sweet by the reality that Watermark is sponsoring its showing. We like fruit.

Elsewhere in the issue, you can expect more bits of staged amusement, most notably the mystical appearance of Monty Python’s Spamalot as it drops its Holy Grail all over the intimate audience at Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Artistic Director Jim Helsinger tells us that it’s going to be better than Les Miserables last year, which is no small feat. Hell, the mayor of Orlando has already filmed a sing-along to “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” along with half of the city. And so we will. Sometimes.

As we are wont to do, we’ll discuss some comings and goings, some politics and some famewhores (Hello, Kim Davis) in the tone that they deserve. We’ll discuss Pam Bondi’s white-flagged surrender and Donald Trump’s hair and Hillary Clinton’s Windex where necessary. We’ll speculate on Jeb Bush and wink at potential congressional candidate (and Democratic honcho) Bob Poe. We’ll get our panties in a twist, and then we’ll try to just enjoy the show.

On with the show, this is it.

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