Monday, March 7, 2011

CineKink 2011: Notes on Kink

“We love the filmmakers because without them we’d all just be here drinking.” So noted CineKink Film Festival founder Lisa Vandever after calling for a round of applause at this year’s midtown kickoff at the Taj Lounge, which saw burlesque performances — by Leta Le Noir, Sweet Lorraine and “N — “The ONLY Letter in Burlesque” followed by a small shorts program. With films containing a slick music video/Calvin Klein commercial aesthetic (Roy Raz’s “The Lady Is Dead” from Israel), to scenes of anatomical pottery (Debi Oulu’s “My Erotic Video Art,” another flick from Israel — what’s up with the Israelis?) to visuals as predictable as its title (“Love Hotel” from its better-named, Spanish director Erika Lust) the diversity on display served as a teaser, naturally, to the eclectic main event. And then there was my evening favorite from the good ole U.S.A. Toby Fell-Holden’s sweetly hilarious “Shake It” takes masks and half-naked men to Muppet silliness proportions. All this and a fundraising raffle with prizes including stainless steel toys — who could ask for anything more?

To read the rest of my rundown visit Filmmaker magazine.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

“When Harry Met Chesty” Premieres at CineKink Film Festival

Join me at Anthology Film Archives at 1PM on Saturday, March 5th for the world premiere of my short film “When Harry Met Chesty” (preceding the doc “Run, Run, It’s Him”) at CineKink NYC 2011.

Where else ya gonna see Doris Wishman's "Deadly Weapons" colliding with Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" in a tit-filled tale of bittersweet romance?

Cinekink Film Festival 2011: Kink Crusaders

"I am a role model simply because I'm here," Mr. Leather Ottawa announces from his wheelchair in Michael Skiff's “Kink Crusaders,” a documentary shot during the 2008 edition of the International Mr. Leather contest, held annually in Chicago for the past 30 years. Moving back and forth from archival footage and talking-head interviews with IML founder Chuck Renslow, past winners, and current hopefuls, to the contest itself, Skiff's rote filmmaking is fortunately topped by his eye-opening subject matter. Within the LGBT community, leather men (and women) have always been marginalized—which, ironically, has allowed IML to slowly expand even as the gay community itself has narrowed its focus to chasing once exclusively hetero dreams. "We are inclusive. That's one of the things that made us grow," Renslow emphasizes, recalling the first black man to be named International Mr. Leather. Indeed, the latest incarnation of IML is a microcosm of true diversity, with a skinny WWII vet (returning soldiers were the fathers of the leather scene), a pierced German with a voice like Werner Herzog, an Asian top skilled in the rope bondage used on prisoners brought before Japanese emperors, and even guys from unlikely locales such as Iowa and Oklahoma, all duking it out with the cosmopolitan, gay white male base. When you've got straight guys proudly competing in a contest that started in the back of a frequently raided bar (Renslow reminisces about the early days of paying off local policemen during the earliest days of Mayor Richard M. Daley's reign), this is progress.

To read the rest of my review visit: The House Next Door at Slant Magazine.