This weekend is the 14th annual NC Gay & Lesbian Film Festival at the Carolina Theatre of Durham. Tonight I saw one film and two collections of short films. Pre-film-reaction notes: the OnlyBurger truck is at the festival and serving up famously good burgers and fries. (Also, the absurdly hot staff are not at all above flirting for good tips.) The annual half-dozen protesters are there and they’ve got their big, wooden cross. Once again, Durham’s Finest showed up to make sure they stayed off theatre property and out of everyone’s way and it felt damned good to know I live in a town where the power is on my side.

Now, movie thoughts!

First I saw Prodigal Sons, an absolutely breathtaking documentary. This is probably the most intense film I’ve seen since Audition and it’s made even more gripping by virtue of being completely true. The narrator and filmmaker, Kim, grew up as the football star in her tiny town, went away after high school, became a woman, then returned for her twenty year high school reunion. Reading the synopsis, I thought this was going to be a film about her old friends having trouble coming to grips with her new identity, but no, that is not what it’s about. At every turn it avoids predictability and schmaltz. Instead of being about the trials of trying to rebuild old friendships, it’s a documentary almost entirely about her ongoing efforts to rebuild a relationship with her adopted brother, now mentally ill and facing his own identity crises. Stunning. Absolutely magnificent from start to finish. I think she went into it expecting this to be about people thinking she’s a freak and instead, I hope, she came out realizing how together her psyche is and how wonderful she is. Absolutely the best documentary I’ve seen in years. If this plays a festival near you, or sees a theatrical release, do whatever is necessary to see this film.

Next: Chico’s Angels. Last year during a comedy shorts program I saw a short film called Cooking with Kay about a drag queen named Kay Sedia. Say it aloud and you’re almost certain to almost smirk. I thought parts of last year’s short were well done but that it was, frankly, not that great. Chico’s Angels, though, was actually very funny. The lesson learned is that ensembles are way funnier than anything that gets carried around on the back of one particular performer. Each of the roles in each Chico’s Angels “episode” gets in at least one good solid laugh, usually several, and each brings a different kind of funny to the table. They complement one another extremely well.

The first short is an episode of Chico’s Angels about the team having to save the little lost chihuahua of a lady from the neighborhood. It sets the CA standard of slapstick mixed with comedy of errors and it just works. Between episodes 1 and 2 of Chico’s Angels is Martini: the Movie, a reasonably cute piece about a bitchy old has-been star named Martini Glass. I’m pretty sure it’s funnier if you’re, you know, a friend of Martini Glass, but it still had some good laughs and an excellent musical number. Martini also does a really disturbingly hilarious impression of Kate Hepburn that’s worth the price of admission. The second Chico’s Angels episode is, frankly, a little incoherent but it’s got some great laughs. The other inbetweener short film, dividing episodes 2 and 3 of Chico’s Angels, is an absolutely mind-destroyingly dull thing called Q-Case. It tries to parody X-Files but mainly it just fumbles around in the dark. There’s one good laugh and they take way, way too long getting to it. Sorry, but there it is. I managed to sit through it for the final Chico’s Angels and am extremely glad I did so because the last thing in the collection is an absolutely pitch-perfect parody of 24 called 24ish. I shouted with laughter during it.

Happily, I sat in the back and wound up next to the filmmaker for Chico’s Angels so I got to display my appreciation by my laugh-shout. I had the misfortune of being in front of a guy who felt the need to mutter his enthusiasm every time a hottie walked in front of the camera, but hey, it’s festival. The party atmosphere pervades. Two years ago it was a tiny queen who squealed, “oh my GAWD!” every time anything surprising happened during a horror movie. So it goes.

Last, I caught the 11:15 showing of the dark drama shorts collection, There’ll Still Be Rain. All of the films were excellent, especially Steamroom, which I described to Brian A. by saying it starts out physical and then gets metaphysical and that it’s a tense, lusty, 10-minute version of The Fog. I noted that it is wicked hot and also extremely creepy. Also, hot. Also, creepy. Everything in that collection was extremely well done, though, and any one of them could have carried an otherwise lackluster program. To have them all in one collection is an extraordinary treat.

Tomorrow: too many things to count.

Saturday night The Boyf and I went to the Carolina Theatre of Durham to catch one night of a three-day run of West Side Story. He had never seen it, another entry in the years-long game of him confessing to never having seen something and me expressing shock entirely out of proportion to that. The print was just unbelievably gorgeous. It was like seeing the movie new. It was in every bit as good shape as the brand new, never-shown print of Wrath of Khan the Carolina showed at Escapism! a few years ago. The crowd was middling but wrapt. When the credits rolled we all sat in silence and just watched, absorbed in those closing moments. I get goosebumps thinking about it, honest to the gods. I love that movie.

Of course, it’s proven to bear special value to me as a Twin Peaks fanatic, since two of the male leads were in that show. It’s pretty amazing to see them so young. The sight of Riff doing back-flips through a crowd as they dance around him is made even more impressive when one realizes that’s Dr. Jacoby.

Almost the whole rest of the weekend was spent installing Ubuntu on my work laptop, getting AFS and Samba and vpnc and everything else set up and working, then trying a new video driver that hosed my system completely, then starting over from scratch. It’s all done, though, and today I’ve worked in Ubuntu all day without issue and am currently, in another window, installing XP on a 20GB slice in VMware for the sole purpose of doing my timesheets (yes, really) and the occasional Visio diagram. How sweet is that? It’s a complete reversal from Friday, when I was running Ubuntu in a VMware slice on my Windows laptop so I could test-drive the alternative installer’s option to set up an encrypted file system.

Some dozen-plus years ago I briefly had a Unix workstation as my day-to-day work machine and I’ve basically been waiting to get back to that state of affairs ever since. For years upon years I have gazed longingly at Bascha’s work laptop, which runs Linux, and thought to myself that someday I would get to a place where I could do the same.

Now that I’m back in an academic environment, and one short on budget at that, my request to run an OS other than Windows was met with more than acquiescence; my boss commented that of course I could, he had decided to do the same thing himself.

Nice. It makes for a pretty decent start to the week.

Of the high-larious, WoW-related sort.

“Is he asking for drugs?”

The Boyf and I went to see Terminator: Salvation this weekend with Katastrophes, Mr. Pink Eyes, Mr. Saturday and Pants Wilder. I have always been a fan of that setting for its uniqueness within sci-fi: while man vs. machine may be well-trod territory, the Terminator movies never actually fix the future. Each one simply delays the war. No movie claims to prevent it. I find that fascinating, that it’s a story about different forces struggling over the timing of an otherwise inevitable tragedy. That puts an interesting spin on the usual fight-the-big-bad-to-save-the-world finale of people vs. robots.

Prior to the jump, which will be used to prevent accidental spoilers, I will simply say that there were a lot of things I liked about it and the things I didn’t like could have been a lot worse.

Below the jump are spoilers galore. Be warned!


Friday night I went to see Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3-D and, immediately after, Frankenstein. Two classics were exactly the right way to start the weekend. It is worth noting that there is a reason Creature is so often held up as the example of its kind of movie – the ’50s monster flick – and it is that Creature is actually a very good movie. Pants Wilder went straight to the first time we see the creature swooning over Kay and pointed out that the scene is really creepy because that’s not CGI. The athleticism displayed by Ricou Browning is just stunning. No special effect can accomplish something that cool. That said, guess what? Nobody watches 3-D movies anymore so nobody knows which way to wear the glasses. A tip for future 3-D film experiences at the Carolina: give a tutorial before the movie starts. Someone as well-known and well-regarded as Phil Lee should not have to spend two hours wondering when the hell the 3-D will start because he’s got his glasses on backwards.

Frankenstein is also a genuinely great film – a narrative that wastes not a single second, lavish sets, a genuine sense of glimpsing another time – and watching it I was struck how not just some scenes were iconic but every scene was something I’d seen copied in later work. Gods, what a great movie.

That said – and I say this as one of the Retrofantasma people – can the Retrofantasma people who come to the headline movie on the Friday of NEVERMORE just shut the fuck up already? For fuck’s sake, people, I did not buy a 10-pass so I could listen to you run your fucking mouths. Do not fucking MST3K the movie outside your own home.

Saturday I went to see The Disappeared which was really, really good. In fact, it was so effective that I had to get up and go out into the hall and just take a break from it in the middle. The movie features supernatural elements but they’re not the real story. In fact, I’d argue that the supposed main narrative – the main mystery driving the plot – is handled fairly ham-fistedly. I didn’t care, though, because that wasn’t what interested me. The movie is a ghost story, yes, but it’s not about that. It’s about what it’s like to be powerless in the face of grief and what we do to cope with that. It’s about what it’s like to be disadvantaged and surrounded by personal relationships taut with the tension between poisonous suspicion and a desperate need to trust someone. Very touching. So touching, in fact, that I barely even noticed the twist ending happening because the emotions of the story were much more interesting than the events.

Finally, I caught the comedy shorts. The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon was every bit as good the second time around. Things that were new to me included the gleefully sadistic and extremely funny Treevenge and the genuinely surprisingly well-done and extremely fun and funny The Auburn Hills Breakdown, about which I can only say – without spoiling it – that the concept was sufficiently simple that it could either be done really badly or really well and the makers definitely land on the really well end of things. If you have the chance to catch any of these in person, do so.

It’s worth noting that a few seats away from us during the shorts collection was a woman who was having a really, really good time. I don’t know if she was just wicked high or what but she giggled endlessly, such that more than once the crowd was laughing at her as much as at the movies. I’m not complaining, though; she made the whole thing more fun. That’s the difference between someone who’s really into the movie and someone who’s trying to make the experience be about themselves: she was sharing and improving the experience with/for everyone around her. The blabbermouths on Friday were just pissing me off.

So, I am definitely doing Script Frenzy in April. (Crud, April? That’s really, really soon.) I’m going to be writing a comic book script because that’s a medium I love so, you know, since I don’t know a damned thing about writing a script I might as well enjoy myself while I screw up. I’m currently kicking the following around in conversations:

What could possibly fuel a really serious beef against a university? Assume a full-fledged university with an attached hospital and medical school, the works. Mr. Pink Eyes very keenly suggested someone who might have had, you know, surgery performed on them using instruments soaked by accident in hydraulic fluid rather than antiseptic, such as happened at an august local institution. I like that. I like that a lot. Unfortunately, it’s too close to fact. Variants? Other ideas? Someone cut from a sports team? Someone whose entire sport/academic department/major/sorority/library gets shut down in the shite economy?

Any suggestions are most welcome.

Also, NEVERMORE‘s lineup is out and wow. Classic horror films (IN 3-D!) next to a hilarious shorts collection next to a bunch of new horror and NC premieres? Hells yes. I am ordering a 10-pass if any of the usual suspects see something they’d like to see and I’ve got an extra ticket for it. I’m particularly interested in Blackspot, The Disappeared and Reel Zombies.

Tangential: isn’t it about time NEVERMORE started giving out prizes? Maybe it’s a huge pain in the ass, maybe it requires a whole ado of certification or dues in the League of Award-Granting Film Festivals, I honestly have no idea, but I would have paid extra to get to vote for American Astronaut for best feature the year they showed it; the same goes for The Host and… damn. Now I’ve forgotten the name of that amazing movie I watched last year, the super-cold 1950’s gangster movie. Damn. Anyway, that.

Truly, this is a film – no, a movie – that dies kicking.

It is not good, but I adored The Boyf’s take: “I’ll take an ambitious failure over a timid success any day.” So true.

There are scenes, I should point out, that are very powerful. There are songs that I loved. It is undeniably a life experience. It is one of the most stylish movies I’ve ever seen. I would not rush to watch it a second time but I would absolutely watch someone else watch it.

I suspect this is how people felt when they walked out of “Phantom of the Paradise” all those years ago.

Friday night, 7:30, The Carolina Theatre of Durham: John Carpenter’s The Thing. Who‘s super-stoked? I am super-stoked. I also used this as a way to experiment with creating events on Facebook, so if you know me on there and you want to go, let me know and I will send you an invitation. There is, of course, an awesome trailer on YouTube:

I think it might actually kill me to wait two days.

In other news, I bought a new camera with a gift card from the holidays: Fujifilm S2000HD. I’ve been playing with it a bit and am totally in love. Those are just random shots taken without having yet read the manual so that I can see how they turn out with zero education.

Why does The Indy always send people who hate good movies to review good movies? I am reminded of a time a few years back when the reviewer they sent to NEVERMORE started his review by noting how much he loathed horror films and I just had to slap my forehead. Seriously, Indy? Let me clue you in: I hate a lot of things. Let’s take, say, flying. I hate flying. You know what I did not become? A travel writer.

It seems like it wouldn’t be that hard to work out.

As for me, I can’t quite get my head around it enough just yet to describe in detail why I so loved Let the Right One In (standing tall with a 98% on as I type this) but I can note that I just completely loved it and that it’s probably my favorite vampire movie of all time. Go see it, but hurry; its last day at the Carolina Theatre of Durham is Thursday.

Last night we caught the midnight showing of Quantum of Solace at the Carolina Theatre of Durham. I wanted a really, really big screen for it and so that was the natural place to turn. Without going into details, it’s very good. There’s an argument to be made that Casino Royale was more mind-blowing but I think largely it’s because that one had that new-Bond smell. In the new one, Craig is still fantastic as Bond, the “Bond girl” is unquestionably his peer, the action had me literally, physically tensed in my seat, Bond’s relationship with M is fun to watch and the theme song is very, very good. What more could one want?

Odds I’ll pay to see it again: very high.

This weekend I had an almost ridiculously good time attending ESCAPISM at the Carolina Theatre of Durham. In addition to seeing some excellent movies I also got to do some pretty sweet shopping at the Sci-Fi Genre booth. Some quick thoughts on some of the films:

Friday night I got to see They Live on Fletcher Hall’s enormous screen. The print was crystal clear and the sound flawless. I don’t know if it was a new print or one that had been sealed away for twenty years but it was an utterly unique experience. I hadn’t watched it in several years and had forgotten a lot of it. It remains a ridiculous B movie but in our current climate its anti-authoritarian message about the evils of conquest-for-profit are pretty startlingly relevant. Damn but that was some sweet watching and the crowd was very into it.

I also got to see Sukiyaki Western Django, the new film by Takashi Miike, maker of Audition, Gozu and The Happiness of the Katakuris. Sakiyuki Western Django is an incredibly stylized and cartoonishly Americanized film about warfare between Japanese clans, half spaghetti western and half Japanese historical drama. I loved it. It is not a film for the faint of heart, as anyone who’s seen Audition or Gozu would surely already expect, but it is very, very, very good. It is… it’s hard to describe, actually. I think “hott” is probably the best word for it. I highly recommend it and recommend seeing it on the big screen rather than Netflixing it at some later date. It’s being held over and will play at the Carolina twice nightly for the rest of this week.

The last movie I had a chance to see was The Punisher and I do mean the 1989 version with Dolph Lundgren. The director, Mark Goldblatt, was on hand to tell stories before the movie and it was his personal print the theatre got to show. This was, in fact, the North American premiere of that film as it went straight to video here after the US distributor went under before release. Dolph is kind of disturbingly hot in this movie and the movie itself is completely over-the-top in every regard. It is far more comic-booky than any of the comic adaptations made today in that regard. It is also extraordinarily violent to the point that the violence just becomes funny after a while. This was an even more unique opportunity than seeing They Live. This was something that will probably never happen again and I’m really glad I got to be there for it.

Once again, many thanks to the Carolina Theatre of Durham for the chance to see something no one else will ever get to see.

Several years ago I rented an extremely stylized and ultra-aware-of-its-own-cool 1960’s yakuza flick based on a recommendation of it in some one-off piece in the Indy. I then immediately forgot its name, who made it, etc., had long since tossed the issue with that article and have spent the intervening, oh, seven or eight years wishing I could find that movie again. After realizing late – very late – last night that the internet could almost certainly solve this for me I sat down with Netflix and Wikipedia and started the serious hunting. It appears that it’s Tokyo Drifter – the description of the film and the bio of the director certainly fit – and right now it’s on its way to me as we speak.

It is so satisfying to scratch a mental itch that’s lasted nearly a decade.

On a vaguely related note, the 2008 schedule is up for the ESCAPISM festival at the Carolina Theatre of Durham. How stoked am I for this festival? Wicked stoked. It’s going to be tricky for me to schedule around because that’s also the first weekend of early voting, IIRC, and I’m an election judge for early voting but it is totally worth scheduling around to do both of these things. ESCAPISM this year has three things in particular that just make my scalp sweat with desire to see them: The Punisher from 1989, They Live (an all-time favorite of mine) and Something Wicked This Way Comes which, due to election judging, I can’t see. Feh. What this means is that my friends must go see it for me.

The 13th NC Gay & Lesbian Film Festival is over and since yesterday evening I’ve seen two more films.

The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror is way, way better than the slasher flick from last year. It’s got a lot of genuinely funny parts and some very good physical comedy in addition to the standard gore. It has a creepy kid (check), tasty beefcake (check) and a few annoying characters one is glad to see offed (check). Unfortunately it takes a little too long winding up the pitch and in the end felt like it had run about fifteen minutes past its shelf life. That said, that is basically all I have in the way of complaints. The slapstick is top-notch, the likable characters are genuinely likable, the camp completely works and the villains chew scenery in fantastic style. Only once did I lean into The Boyf’s ear to whisper, “Jeez, where’s a fundamentalist cannibal when you need one?” There were some serious belly laughs to be had and the audience broke into applause more than once during the course of it. By the same token, I jumped in my seat more than once. Well worth watching.

This morning I caught Boystown, a Spanish film about a string of murders in a gentrifying neighborhood of Madrid. It has a lot of sass and a lot of grunge and a sweet little love story and a hot villain. I think it would make a better date movie than solo excursion – The Boyf was working – but all in all worth getting up early to see. It tended to stick a little closer than I prefer to the arrogant style of attitude-based humor – unlike Tranny McGuyver which manages to be both arrogant and self-deprecating – but it’s extremely well done and a saucier queen than I would probably enjoy it a lot more.

Then I stuck around to watch Tranny McGuyver one more time and just about split my sides seeing it again. I don’t know what it is about that movie – OK, I know: timing, writing and delivery, so the whole package – but that short just slays me.

So far I’ve seen the “Low-Hanging Fruit Basket” collection of shorts, Pageant and the “Queen with the Teetering Tiara” collection.

“Low-Hanging Fruit Basket” was an incredibly mixed bag. It opens with a movie that I guess is supposed to be comedy? Or something? I forget the title – oh, I just remembered, it’s called Sucker – but it’s basically dull porn starring your late-middle-aged neighbor, a dude with crazy eyes and one funny line. Uncomfortable, unfunny and unappealing. I can’t believe people clapped for that. How to Go on a Man Date was cute but took way too long staring at itself in the mirror and Le Weekend was a very tender and ambiguous little film that I really enjoyed. Gay Zombie fucking ruled, as expected. The first time I saw it was at NEVERMORE, during which I realized that the horror film crowd had no clue what to do with a gay romantic comedy and that was half of my enjoyment of the experience. This time around I realized that a gay film festival crowd had no idea what to do with a zombie movie and that was even better. The crowd really got into it after the initial warm-up period, though, and it got a lot of applause. VGL-Hunk was an extremely predictable but enjoyable fantasy with lots of eye candy and terrible sound editing and finally Rock Garden was an absolutely delightful little love story with a sort of Tim Burton feel to it. Overall I liked it and am very glad I stuck with it but seriously, Sucker? Even more embarrassing than that terrible, terrible gay slasher flick they showed last year. They need to be offering 3-D glasses at the door only the lenses should be blacked out and someone should announce when the last, straining thread of Sucker is off the screen so we’ll know when to take the glasses off.

Pageant is a documentary about the 34th annual Miss Gay America contest in which 60+ state and regional pageant winners are competing for that title in Memphis, TN, in a pageant that forbids the use of hormones or makeup. The movie follows five of the contestants and is absolutely enthralling. I’ve only ever done drag once and it was by request so I could perform a mock wedding for some straight friends at their engagement party and that was booger drag on top of that. So, the entire female impersonation scene is as foreign to me as a meeting of the Elks Lodge. I found the subjects fascinating and their stories touching and the film itself really fantastically put together. One of the subjects, Porkchop, was in attendance and now lives in Raleigh and I don’t know, it’s very weird, but out of drag and in person she had a kind of command of the crowd during the Q&A after that was impressive. It wasn’t anything major but one could tell how comfortable she is on stage, interacting with the crowd, in a way I’ve never seen a Q&A participant be before. I think I find it all so fascinating because these are people who have found a way to be comfortable in their own skin by completely changing it. They take this role they’ve created and they live it while the rest of us just stare at clothing catalogues and wish we were thinner or taller or shorter or blonder or whatever. Needless to say, if there were another documentary about the same people in, say, five years? Ten? Oh, I’d watch the hell out of it.

Queen with the Teetering Tiara was another very mixed bag. Cooking with Kay has some laughs in it but it walks that line between cute and offensive. Waiting for Yvette is very good once it gets going and is well worth seeing. The Red Dress is just sort of there, neither great nor not great. It felt filler-y. What the Frock is really cute and satisfying. I’m afraid I left early so I missed It’s Me, Matthew. The absolute best thing about that collection, though, and what (combined with What the Frock and Waiting for Yvette) makes it worth the price of admission? Tranny McGuyver. I would never have predicted that this movie would amuse me as much as it did but it did. It’s about a transvestite idiot cop and her idiot partners and it is hilarious. The humor is often extremely juvenile but their comedic timing is unbeatable and the film doesn’t dawdle over anything. It makes the joke, makes another joke, moves on to the next scene, bam, bam, bam. It hits its mark and it gets the hell off the stage and that is probably why I loved it so much. Seriously, its sense of timing and some really very funny writing and acting are top-notch. This is second only to Gay Zombie in my book and I would gladly go see it again. Also, the star’s blog is hilarious.

In an hour The Boyf and I go see Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror which really does sound promising and honestly can’t be any worse than that slasher shit from last year, the movie during which some unsober queen sat behind me, leaned forward on the edge of her seat, going, “Oh god! Oh god!” the whole time, the one that featured obnoxious Quebecois pissing off apartment balconies?


So, apparently the Tardis made an appearance in Durham this morning as there were fundamentalist protesters at the film festival, fresh out of 1996. (KJ recollected that was the last NC Pride at which she recalled seeing an organized protest.) Mostly they were of the quiet and dour disposition but one was really bothersomely loud, shouting a sermon from out on the sidewalk by the street. Early in the afternoon a counter-protest arrived and consisted mainly of a woman in an extremely elaborate outfit consisting of pink feathery things and a headdress. I described her to KJ as “double drag,” as she was a woman dressed like a man dressed like a woman. She was loud(er) and enthusiastic and could sing and was very engaging and drew immediate applause and crowd interaction.

Whoever you are, lady in the pink feathers, you rule.

There were several things that occurred to me during the course of the spectacle of that dim shadow of past protests:

1) I have not grown up. I commented to Pants Wilder that on my way out the protesters had better be gone or I was going to have to tell them to go fuck themselves. Happily, they left pretty shortly after they were thoroughly and wonderfully upstaged by the counter-protest. It did remind me of those feelings that used to bubble up when I would volunteer to work as a “peacekeeper” during NC Pride and some tiny, shadow self deep down in my gut would cross its fingers and hope for the chance to beat up a redneck. Not that I would actually do it, I mean, jeez, I’m not an idiot or a bully, but that desire is still there to see the shoe on the other foot for once. (Also, I’m pretty sure my boyfriend would rightly dump me.)

2) My, how times have changed. There were three cops there when the protesters were there and they made me feel… protected. That was gratifying.

3) There were kids – well, 19- or 20-year-olds, college-aged – at this festival who have probably never been to a gay event that was picketed by religious fundamentalists. That hadn’t really occurred to me until I saw a half-dozen Abercrombied young men standing in an arc doing The Masculine Pose – weight on left hip, one foot forward, hands in pockets, sunglasses down – and gaping at the protesters. They have probably never had a bunch of people holding big signs expressing a strong desire to obsess at them about their afterlives and trying to convince them not to do something. They have never seen an organized protest against their own existence. As weird as it is, I am really, really glad those kids had that experience because it doesn’t happen much anymore but it’s a strong reminder of why things like the film festival need to happen in the first place.

4) Somewhat surprisingly, protesters – even young, prematurely soured ones with constipated expressions – will pose for thin-lipped photos with bald old queens and Subaru lesbians. Gods love ’em, I watched a couple of suburbanite dykes make bunny ears behind one’s head, arms around shoulders, and it brought a tear to my eye.

It was a funny experience that way. Of the five protesters, only one was loud and he was quickly shut down by a double-drag queen. One was having a conversation with someone attending the festival but it was just that: a conversation, a quiet, apparently respectful exchange of views. Two were young, visibly uncomfortable being there and posing for photos with one arm around a queen and the other holding their apparently unironic condemnatory pickets. That one loud guy was having to do, to be frank, a piece of work to keep the hate going.

In the end, I think I’m really glad they were there. We all had a lot of fun, some of it at their expense and some not, and some of us had valuable experiences of what it used to be like pretty much anytime the queer community tried to make a space for itself for a day. So, uh, yeah, protesters. Thanks for coming out. Zing!

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