Expand your boundaries this weekend at the fifth annual Denver International GLBT Film Festival: Seeing Queerly 2004, which begins tonight with an 8 p.m. screening of the transgender film Transfixed. "This is our opportunity to bring cutting-edge queer films to the community at large," says Greg Lovell, spokesman for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, the festival's sponsor. "Cinema and art are universal mediums."
Although it comprises more than sixty films, Seeing Queerly includes a number of highlights -- in particular, Saturday's I Can't Marry You, a pro-gay marriage documentary narrated by Betty DeGeneres (mother of Ellen) that follows four gay couples in their quest to marry.
"We can talk all day about the legalities and the Constitution, but this film is really about love -- which, in the end, is all this issue is about," says Lovell. "The film shares the stories of four relationships and their love for one another, and it is those stories that will change people's minds and open their hearts."
The festival, which takes place at Madstone Theaters, closes on Sunday, April 4, with a 7 p.m. showing of the controversial documentary The Gift. The film, explains Lovell, "speaks to young gay males who are intentionally trying to contract and spread the AIDS virus. It's an intense and frightening look at a dark world of misperceptions and misinformation. We wanted to use it to try and save lives."
Tickets to individual screenings are $8 general admission, $6 for students; festival passes, $50 to $75, are also available. Ticket prices for I Can't Marry You range from $25 to $100, with a portion of the proceeds going toward an effort to send copies of the documentary to lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
"With the current political environment, this is a very important film," says Lovell. "What we're asking for isn't extraordinary; it's really pretty ordinary."
Madstone is at 7777 East Hampden Avenue; for complete schedule and showtime information, go to www.denverfilmfestival.com. Call the GLBT Center at 303-380-2206. -- Julie Dunn
The Ecclective, an itinerant artists' collective whose goal is to display its members' work in established galleries, will have its initial opening tonight, in an annex at 776 Santa Fe Drive. A sort of wayward art cooperative that keeps costs down by not actually owning its own brick and mortar, the Ecclective hopes to showcase members' talents in a different gallery every other month. "The idea is about sharing the wealth of all this beautiful artwork -- and at an affordable price, so we can get it into people's hands," says co-founder Jen Murphy. For its debut, Ecclective will hang work from over a dozen Colorado artists, including Nikki Pike, Josh Ivy and Christopher Gruver; musical accompaniment will be provided by Joseph Calitri, Alalone, Equality, Lawrence Allen and members of Equulei. "It really is about art for everybody," says Murphy. "I keep telling people to bring your checkbooks, because you're definitely going to want to buy something."
Call 303-517-8826 for more information. -- Kity Ironton
In Latin American art circles, there is a word for strength and resourcefulness. "It's rasquache," says film director Daniel Salazar, "meaning the celebration of the inventiveness and the use of innovative materials and work that emanates out of the Chicano community." There will be plenty of inventiveness and innovation on hand when El Centro Su Teatro, the Denver Film Society and El Centro Cultural Mexicano come together for the sixth annual Starz XicanIndie Film Fest-Latino World Cinema. The festival, which starts tonight and runs through April 4 at the Starz FilmCenter, will screen more than 25 films from local and international Latino filmmakers. "Chicano films are not about special effects and the general hedonism of Hollywood," says Salazar. "They actually tell stories. We say derecho del corazón, which means they come from the heart."
Tickets are $8, or $25 for a festival pass; Starz is in the Tivoli Building on the Auraria campus. For more information, call 303-296-0219 or go to http://filmfest.suteatro.org. -- Kity Ironton
Mockumentary plays hardball with Microsoft
What would the 21st century be like without mega-mogul Bill Gates? Find out at a screening of Nothing So Strange, a controversial film based on the premise that the Microsoft founder was murdered by a sniper in Los Angeles in 1999, in an effort to ignite a class war in America. "It's a mockumentary without the mocking part," says Doug Bohm, who organized the showing. "It crosses the boundary between reality and documentary. Some people feel like it takes place in a parallel world."
Directed by filmmaker Brian Flemming, who co-wrote Batboy: The Musical, the digitally shot Nothing So Strange follows a group of activists called Citizens for Truth in their attempt to unravel the mystery behind the assassination and the ensuing police coverup.
"This film caused shock waves around the world," says Bohm. "A story about it was shown on CNN in Korea and was mistaken for real news. The stock market there took a dive."
Nothing So Strange will show three times tonight -- at 6, 7:45 and 9:30 p.m. at Globeville Studios, 1553 Platte Street, Suite 100. Admission is $5. For more information, call 720-308-4687; to download clips from the movie, go to www.nothingsostrange.com.
Notes Bohm: "This is the perfect film to play on April Fools' Day." -- Julie Dunn
A Stitch in Time
Capitol Embroidery targets the death penalty
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Livermore sculptor Randall Sinner is a quiet man with a major mission: to travel the country, slowly completing "38 of 50: Capitol Embroidery Performance," an ongoing project taking place in the 38 states that still allow capital punishment. Colorado is one of those, and Sinner will hit the steps of the State Capitol today through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, to finish the home-state leg of his traveling protest. What, exactly, is an embroidery performance? That's simple, says Sinner, who's manipulated flags for various conceptual artworks in the past. For "38 of 50," he visits each state capitol, finds a good spot to park himself, rips up the respective state flag and then weaves it into a symbolic noose, a process that typically takes three days.
Sinner doesn't go out of his way to attract attention to his views during the performances.
He plans to finish the project in Austin later this year, around election time. As for results, Sinner has only one wish: "I hope Colorado will be the first state to abolish capital punishment," he says. And he's dead serious. -- Susan Froyd