W Hotels TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE Ball to Benefit HRC at W Hollywood
Hudson kicked off the festivities with a remix of her smash hit, "Spotlight," and then went into her current Gorgon City-produced, 90s-house-influenced single "Go All Night," which got the audience up on its feet. (Seriously, if you haven't heard it, YouTube the video now.) But it was her closing, Instagram-worthy performance of "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" that blew up the entire ballroom and had everyone scrambling to get out their smartphones.
The vogueing ball featured glammed-up transgender models, drag queens and more, and was the third marquee event for TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE, the fundraising and awareness initiative founded by W Hotels Worldwide, HRC, and Hudson herself for the fight for nationwide LGBT and marriage equality.
Ciara, Kelly Osbourne and TV personality B. Scott were also seen laughing and taking selfies in the front row during Jennifer’s performance. And the fun didn’t end there – Ciara even strutted her stuff on the runway before joining Dita and Kelly at the judge’s table.
And naturally, there was an afterparty - located on the rooftop of the hotel where the cocktails and music flowed well after midnight.
Needless to say, we were a little tired this morning.
One of the many performances taking place at the Main Stage belongs to solo artist (and US Weekly fashion contributor) Ricky Rebel whose 2013 single, “Geisha Dance”, spent 10 weeks on the Mediabase chart that powers On Air with Ryan Seacrest. Now, he’s releasing “The Blue Album”, mixed by Claudio Cueni (JLo), after recently playing with Grammy-winner Mya. He can be spotted on stage alongside Kelly Mantle (RuPaul's Drag Race) in two appearances throughout the night.
Also appearing at the Carnaval? Countless scantily-clad boys and girls who will be looking for tricks that will treat them well into the wee hours of Saturday morning.
There are Halloween parties...and then there's Halloween Havoc, one of L.A.'s annual soirees that's been known to inspire elaborate costumes, killer tunes, and countless morning-after status updates.
Hosted at a different private home every year, the invite-only ocassion features a guest list that's as mysterious as the punch that is rumored to be served out of a giant smoking cauldron which usually dries up around midnight...and features some "festive" side effects.
The 2014 online campaign seems to be taking the testimonial approach, using alleged quotes from past partygoers. And it looks like this year promises much of the same:
And then there's this one:
And this one, which makes a pretty damn big claim (sorry, West Hollywood):
Good luck finding out where this year's debaucherous festivities will be taking place...
And if you are lucky, maybe we'll see you there this weekend!
Make sure to report back to us (@HotterInHwood) with a tweet using #Havoc14.
Actress-writer Tara Karsian is jokingly attempting to get a reaction out of her costar (and real-life BFF) Andrea Grano as she pulls up a chair to join our conversation on a Monday night in the middle of the lobby of the Directors Guild of America on Sunset Boulevard. It's one of many instances in which the two actresses display their charismatic banter and knack for playfully prodding each other.
Outfest, LA's long-running LBGT film festival, has just begun, yet the stars/writers of BFFs are already experiencing film festival fatigue. Having finished a whirlwind press tour with the film, the women are doing their best to find some peace and quiet amidst the chaos. "We're so tired" seems to be a common phrase they've been uttering to themselves all week.
BFFs takes a hilarious and heartwarming snaphot of what happens when two straight best friends, the just-broken-up Kat (Karsian) and serial dater Samantha (Grano), pretend to be lesbians in order to take advantage of a free couples weekend workshop. If it sounds a tad similar to a certain MTV hit series (Faking It), think again. Instead of focusing on the fickle (and fluid) preferences of youth, BFFs carefully blurs the lines of friendship and addresses the basic, human desires between women of a certain age.
“We talked a lot about this," Karsian recalls, "that if this were made with two 25-year-olds, with the exact same script, it’d be a totally different film…But I do think when women our age – if there was a questioning – probably the most likely character to question would be your best friend. Someone you’re, for lack of a better term, intimate with – because friendships are intimate. Sometimes you’re more intimate with your friends than you are with the person you’re with because you talk about things like that, and you don’t have to walk on eggshells.”
Just like any independent production, it was a long and arduous uphill climb to get the film made. "We had a lot of line producers say, 'Don't even bother,'" remembers Grano, referring to the budgets they had to formulate to fit the story. There were also the requisite setbacks...like that time they lost their Malibu location for a day due to a mix-up with the vacation rental office they used to find their dream house for the couples workshop sessions. "Andrea had a total 12-year old meltdown," Karsian recalls.
The supporting cast of 'BFFs'
Another setback: uncooperative eyelashes.
Karsian recalls the very first scene on the very first day of shooting: “There was so much glue on my false eyelashes, that literally it [blinking] was like slo-mo,” Tara says. “I had drag queen lashes on.”
“We pissed ourselves laughing,” Grano chuckles.
“It was horrible…these motherfuckers were so long, and they put so much glue…”
“But the one that kept sticking…"
“The costume assistant didn’t know that she needed to cut the drag queen lashes, so this mother, which weighed five pounds – when I would blink, her hair would blow. That’s how big they were.”
“It’s true,” Andrea says, stifling another laugh.
With over two decades of film and TV experience between them, Grano and Karsian, as producers, prided themselves on making sure things ran smoothly for their cast and crew. "We never went over 12 hours. We really wanted our crew to be treated well," Grano says.
And when things wouldn't go according to plan, the women avoided playing the roles of Good Producer/Bad Producer by creating "Alice," an imaginary, tough-as-nails co-producer who could take all the flack. Got a problem with craft services? Take it up with Alice. Don't like the shooting schedule? Complain to Alice. I soon volunteer to help on their next project and pose as Alice's assistant, and we immediately come up with a grand scheme.
Karsian looks at Grano and says, “We’d have to give him a really fabulous name though.”
“He already has one.”
The conversation continues to go off on tangents like this, and since there are no publicists hovering over us with time limits -- rarely the case during interviews -- the three of us go with the proverbial flow, shifting the talk to Gone Girl (my paperback peeks out of my bag, and I urge them to read it before the movie comes out) and their experience with raising funds on Indiegogo. "It was horrible," Grano says, "but at the end of the day, we raised exactly that number and did it for exactly that number. It was voodoo witch stuff…Maybe I’m a powerful witch woman too-"
“You’re not,” Karsian cuts in.
When Andrea Met Tara: The two actresses crossed paths when Tara needed an actor for a play she was directing. A mutual friend recommended Andrea. Cut to: 11 years later, and they’re filmmaking partners and actual BFFs.
Soon director Andrew Putschoegl drops by, and the conversation switches back to movies, particularly of the horror genre. Grano, a fan, admits to never seeing Sleepaway Camp, and I avoid spoiling the surprise ending for her.
But back to the film...Would BFFs work with two straight guys? Or would it be something completely different?
Grano: “I have a lot of straight friends from a small town who believe that if you kissed a guy, you’re gay. Whereas a woman can kiss a woman, and it can be experimental, it can be questioning. I think there’s a mentality in society that…I think you can be bisexual if you’re a man, and people accept that, but secretly, a lot of guys who don’t know a lot of gay or bisexual people believe you’re really not bisexual. So it’d be harder to believe that a man, especially one who’s not 18 and in college, could be questioning like that. I think that’s societal.”
Karsian: “Men’s friendships are different. I’m not saying they’re any less important, but I do think it’s a very different thing. I think women’s friendships, especially when you get older, leans away from superficiality. You cut out the bullshit."
Putschoegl remembers a conversation he had with a well-known film distributor: “The guy who took a look at the trailer watched the movie and said, ‘Oh, it’s a great concept. But there are no big stars. We can’t sell it…but, if you recast it with men and cast it up – like, get a Hugh Jackman in there or someone – try that, do a sequel.”
“It’s a totally different movie with men," Grano reacts. "And you know what he’s saying basically -- and this is another problem with our industry -- that men are more bankable. Because why didn’t he say ‘Do it with Sandra Bullock and Drew Barrymore?’ Then I can say, ‘Okay, I get it. They’re an easier sell than us.’”
But if the basic concept were to remain intact with two female household names, I ask, would the movie be altered for a more general audience?
“They would try to do another I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," assumes Putschoegl, referring to the Adam Sandler-Kevin James comedy from 2007. "And that’s not what this movie and this story could ever be.”
“It would have to be like they were bamboozled into thinking they had an attraction," Grano chimes in.
When the two women initially showed their script around, they were told to sell it. But they were wary of placing the material in the hands of those who could compromise the film's inherent message, its essence. Hence why they took on the enormous responsiblity of bringing it to life themselves.
“The friendship Andrea and I have, I think two actresses could definitely act in these roles," Karsian muses, "but they’re not going to have the built-in history…I mean, I just watched a film about two best friends, and it was very obvious to me that they were two actresses.”
“No matter how good the acting was, you could just tell," Grano adds.
“I don’t know if you noticed this, but we bicker a lot. We banter."
Cultures clash and love gets lost in translation in writer-director Hong Khaou's devastatingly beautiful Lilting.
British thesp Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas, Skyfall) plays Richard, a Londoner reeling from the tragic death of his lover Kai (newcomer Andrew Leung). In an attempt to establish a connection and build a relationship with Kai's Cambodian Chinese mother, Junn (veteran actress Pei-Pei Cheng), Richard hires a translator (Naomi Christie, below) and visits the retirement community where she lives.
It is there where we're introduced to Alan (Peter Bowles), the British man who finds himself smitten with Junn. While Bowles offers some much-needed comic relief, he also has his chance to shine in a poignant scene that subtly comments on a different kind of loss. The story also finds an unexpected friendship develop between Richard and his translator, Vann. Christie quietly throws herself into the fray.
Overall, the film delicately observes both Richard and Junn's difficulties in trying to connect with one another without a common language -- Junn never approved of Richard whose patience gets tested -- but soon enough, they begin to piece together memories of a man they both loved. Flashbacks seamlessly reflect on Kai's struggle to come out to his mother and Junn's reliving of the fateful day that took away her only child.
Both Whishaw and Cheng beautifully play off one other, each one getting a chance to inhabit their respective roles with gorgeous grace.
Patricia Clarkson heads an ensemble cast in Last Weekend, a dramedy about an affluent family reuniting for a Labor Day weekend that is, at times, so unbearably superficial, audiences may have a hard time relating to -- let alone sympathizing with -- characters too deeply invested in their own petty dramas and dilemmas.
Clarkson plays Celia Green, a woman struggling to let go of the past as she and her husband (a barely present Chris Mulkey) come to terms with selling their gorgeous vacaton home overlooking Lake Tahoe. Zachary Booth (Damages) plays oldest son Theo, a TV writer who brings along his Hollywood posse (True Blood's Rutina Wesley and a criminally underused Fran Kranz) and his new boyfriend Luke -- if you want to call him that -- a supposed one-night stand that has turned into a three-week "relationship." Younger son Roger (Joseph Cross) shows up with girlfriend Vanessa, whose only motivation throughout the weekend is to push her line of flavored water. (The Greens own a chain of gyms, which explains their wealth, and the bottled drinks would be a perfect fit!)
As for the plethora of other characters, Mary Kay Place and Sheila Kelley pop in as Celia's equally self-absorbed friends who'd rather fuss over which wine to pair with dinner than dwell on the well-being of the family's groundskeeper who just got electrocuted. (The scene is ambiguously written; are the filmmakers making fun of these one-percenters or attempting to portray them as real human beings?) Randomly thrown into the mix is Glee's Jayma Mays as Theo's celebrity BFF who's only function is to deliver a late-night pep talk. And then there's Judith Light, Celia's frenemy neighbor who's painted, by Celia herself, as a wretched woman but turns into a shoulder for Celia to cry/whine on in the end.
The only character who dares to shatter the proverbial glass ceiling is Roger, and actor Joseph Cross turns him into the most relatable (and frankly likable) figure among the bickering bunch. Having recently been fired for screwing up his company's finances, Roger brings to the fray a much-needed dose of reality -- but only for so long. Other times he's the poster boy for White Guilt, embarrassed by his family's riches
Directors Tom Dolby (who also penned the script) and Tom Williams have ultimately succeeded in creating a beautifully shot 94-minute Brooks Brothers/Pottery Barn ad populated with people who have nothing better to do than wallow in self-pity (someone actually asks "Are we good people?" after dropping over a hundred dollars at a farmers market and delivering some unwarranted gossip).
As for Clarkson, we're never quite sure why she's so distressed about selling the family home. Many of her lines come across as bitter and bitchy without much context. More than halfway through the film, I turned to my friend and asked, "Are we really supposed to care about her? Is she dying? Is this why she has such a huge stick up her ass?"
That said, no one gets sick, and no one dies. Thankfully.
What is killed, however, is the opportunity to genuinely connect with these characters. It's too bad that sympathy doesn't arrive until the last few minutes of the film when Clarkson delivers a poignant monologue that clearly expresses what Celia is going through, the pain all mothers feel as they watch their adult children continue to move on through life without them.
Outfest officially kicks off this week (look for us at Thursday's Opening Night Gala), and we are looking forward to 10 days full of films, festivities, and fabulousness.
And ICYMI, here's a sneak peek at what's being offered at this year's festival. The lineup promises another savory smorgasbord of diverse LGBT stories curated from around the globe. (and who can resist a title like Crazy Bitches?)
And points for using Pink's "Try" in the below trailer. Check it out:
Out.com recently released a clip of The Normal Heart, the star-studded film adaptation of Larry Kramer's Pulitzer Prize-winning play that's premiering this weekend on HBO.
But that's not what is grabbing our attention from the online article. This is:
In order to make the actors feel comfortable—and to make the scenes look credible—the director hired a sex choreographer.
“[The sex choreographer] would come and he would work with the actors and it was like, ‘Okay, then you move your leg here, and your asshole goes up here, and then your neck goes over here.’ So we worked on it, so the actors felt like, ‘Okay, I’m in A Chorus Line. I can do it.’”
It's hard to believe we're less than two months away from kicking off one of the world's largest LGBT film festivals, the 32nd annual Outfest. Once again, filmmakers from all over the world (and our own backyard) will premiere, screen, and discuss their big-screen stories for audiences later this summer.
Opening the 11-day affair is Life Partners– Susanna Fogel’s Internet-dating rom-com starring Leighton Meester, Gillian Jacobs, Adam Brody, Kate McKinnon and Gabourey Sidibe. Partners will screen at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles on July 10 at 8:00pm.
“The 2014 [Outfest Los Angeles] Galas represent some of the most acclaimed and thematically diverse films of the year,” says Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director of Outfest. “These films are intimately familiar and yet surprisingly unique, showing us how much undiscovered territory there is in the world of LGBT cinema.”
Other gala screenings include: Writer/director/actress Desiree Akhavan’s Appropriate Behavior (U.S. Dramatic Centerpiece); Sundance award winner Lilting by Hong Khaou (International Centerpiece); Teddy Award and FIPRESCI prize-winning The Way He Looks by Daniel Ribeiro(International Centerpiece); and the Vancouver Film Critics Circle winner My Prairie Home (Documentary Centerpiece).
Outfest will then close on July 20 at the Ford Amphitheatre with the irreverent comedy Space Station 76, co-written and directed by Jack Plotnick and starring Matt Bomer, Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler and Jerry O’Connell.
The complete lineup for Outfest Los Angeles 2014 will be announced at the beginning of June. Stay tuned y'all.
*This website and the ideas expressed therein are not endorsed by or are in any way affiliated with The Hollywood Company LLC or its HOT IN HOLLYWOOD television show or brand.
Hotter In Hollywood claims no credit for any images featured on this site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyright to it's respectful owners. Hotter In Hollywood is in no way responsible for, or has control of, the content of any external web site links. Information on this site may contain errors or inaccuracies; the site's proprietors do not make warranty as to the correctness or reliability of the site's content.
If you own rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear here, please contact us and they will be promptly removed.