SXSW 2012: Queer interest films highlight the Austin festival’s first week

Wu Tsang's "Wildness" look at L.A.'s underground LGBT Latino nightclub, the Silver Platter..

This year’s SXSW Film Festival includes more LGBT works than ever, including Wu Tsang’s insightful look at LA’s most popular Latino gay bar in Wildness, Jonathan Lisecki’s quasi-homo pregnancy comedy Gayby and Chris James Thompson’s Jeff, a low-key yet emotional portraits of Jeffrey Dahmer’s next door neighbor and lead investigator.

But the festival has also featured films with unexpected LGBT inclusion, an encouraging indication for viewers who want to see our community included in larger film narratives. After the jump, find my a list of more movies that have screened this week along with a reviews and exclusive interviews with actors Willem Dafoe and Minnie Driver below (click links for trailers):

—  Daniel Villarreal

SXSW 2012 gets off to a proper queer start (updated)

Austin turns into a frenzy as South by Southwest kicks off Friday introducing crowds to a wealth of films, multimedia, live music and not enough showers to go around for everyone. As I researched the festival’s schedule and created my own of (fingers-crossed) all the LGBT-related events, I noticed how tomorrow starts a big ol’ gay weekend for SXSW.

I’ve excerpted my schedule below up until Monday. You’ll see the panels and discussions, but two films also help open the festival. Friday, the documentary Wildness screens the first of four scheduled times through the fest and the short film Liar makes its world premiere on Saturday followed by two additional screenings. From SXSW.com.

Rooted in the tropical underground of Los Angeles nightlife, Wildness is a portrait of the Silver Platter, a historic bar that has been home to Latin/LGBT immigrant communities since 1963. With a magical-realist flourish the bar itself becomes a character, narrating what happens when a weekly party called Wildness explodes into creativity and conflict. What does “safe space” mean? Who needs it? And how does it differ among us? At the Silver Platter, the search for answers creates coalitions across generations.

(Liar) After 14 year-old Tara’s boyfriend comes out to her and ends their relationship, she can’t help feeling confused and angry with him. But when Tara’s older sister and her friend become convinced that Brian was lying about being gay, Tara gets drawn into a revenge mission that she’s not even sure she believes in. When the girls catch up with Brian and their plan takes an unexpectedly violent turn, Tara is forced to choose between standing helplessly on the sidelines or stepping in to defend the boyfriend that hurt her.

Find the trailer for Liar here, but watch this clip from Wildness along with the queer-interest weekend skedge for SXSW’s opening weekend after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Where do gays fit into SXSW

Dallas resident Daniel Villarreal has been covering this year’s South By Southwest festival. He spoke with “#sxswhomo hashtag co-creator Aaron Bailey” for this piece about the presence of LGBTs at the multimedia festival.

—  Rich Lopez

Uh Huh Her to stream tonight’s SXSW performance before stopping in Dallas

In this week’s issue, I spoke with Camila Grey about her band Uh Huh Her and how they have approached their second album. You might recognize them more as “that band Leisha Hailey is in.” The L Word star started out in music with another pop duo, The Murmurs.

UHH is doing the SXSW bit right now before heading up to town, and you can watch them live tonight via streaming web for a sneak preview of what their Monday show might be like. It’s just a 25 minute set so hopefully your buffering won’t act up. The band performs tonight at 10:30 p.m. for the Sessions at the Factory and the gig will be livestreamed here.

—  Rich Lopez

TBRU XVI: With TBRU and SXSW going on, we did a little wondering if they were combined

I took advantage of the very little time I had on my hands today to ponder the weekend. While I have credentials waiting for me to catch the Perez Hilton showcase at South By Southwest in Austin, I also feel inclined to stick around here to cover Texas Bear Round Up XVI. What to do? But then I started thinking, what if these two had a baby and merged into some big music bearfest ( preferably right here in town)? What bands would play? Heck, most of the indie bands at South By are grizzled, bearded gents minus the girth, so half the battle is done.

Yes, this is how I think — and subsequently, this is what I came up with.

Grizzly Bear — Yes, it’s obvious, but you can’t go far with stumbling onto a band nowadays without the word “bear” in it. Trust me. But GB seems to be the only one with gay members and lyrics geared toward the gay ear. Loving!

The Growlers — This California band is performing at SXSW but we think a certain app would be more than happy to sponsor this show. Besides, how can you not love some good surf rock, especially if it’s titled “Gay Thoughts.”

More after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

What's so gay about SXSW — not too much, but that's OK

Today starts South By Southwest 2010 and throngs of people, bands, filmmakers and bloggers have made their way to Austin to tweet, screen and rock throughout next nine days. Today starts the interactive and film part of the conference with sessions on new media and a whole lot of film screenings. The music officially starts Wednesday, Mar. 17.

Although I won’t be making it down there, I did take a look over the schedule to see how gay the conference is going to be. Not counting the unknown gay actor in that movie or the lesbian keyboardist in this band that would be too tedious to track down, I went through and checked off the obvious LGBT stuff. It just so happens, there isn’t that much. Not a surprise really, but I’m beginning to think that it would be nice if there was an actually LGBT-specific aspect to SXSW.  Or better yet, just create one here in Big D. I guess that’s a whole other topic.

If you’re making the road trip down to Austin, you can look at my created schedule of meet-ups, films, bands and other events with gay content if you’re on the lookout. Don’t let the site’s schedule be the end all for your searching though. Anne McCue, who we featured in this week’s issue, is performing but not on the SXSW scheduler. Nor is bounce artist, Vockah Redu. Let me know if I missed anything!

And don’t forget on the last day of the conference (although not part of the official festivities), GayBiGayGay, pictured, starts at noon. They don’t give many details on their site but this last day alternative  is an honest representation of queer music culture. The DIY-type music fest solely consists of LGBT bands and artists.

—  Rich Lopez