While the ten films on this program are a pretty diverse lot, “fun” more often than not means some variety of camp that toys with our gender expectations. What else to make of the tattooed drag queen in red high heels who takes “her” dog out for a walk in a film by Jeffrey Adkins and Tim Gleason, Frankie and Fudgie Go for a Walk? When the designer of the Rainbow Flag, in Mark Ewert and Josh Tager’s A New Flag, offers to design a personal flag to express the inner selves of two different drag queens, one replies, “I don’t think I have an inner self”–and seems moved when the result is a clear transparent banner. While neither film’s is a masterpiece, each expresses this program’s overall theme–all’s a show, and the show is all. This is expressed still more effectively in John Matthews’s Boot Camp, which begins as a kind of Kenneth Anger parody–with macho men and a motorcycle–but becomes something else as the studs dance to a wimpy show tune with S and M lyrics. Perhaps the strongest work on the program, William Struzenberg’s Porn Rushes, is also the most desolate: this film about the shooting of gay porno has the characters pumping away at themselves between takes to keep their “interest” up. Some parts combine scenes as they’re being shot with the same scenes seen through video monitors, creating multiple voyeuristic possibilities, and making the viewer conscious of his own spectatorship. Such shots also reveal that the sex action is a construct meant solely to generate images, which defuses the action of any illusionistic power it might otherwise have had. Also on the program are works by David Collins, Ian Jarvis, John Church, Sami Alkassim, Bepen, Michael J. Saul, and Texas Tomboy. Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival, Halsted Street Cafe, 3641 N. Halsted, Friday, November 15, 9:00, 773-384-0048 or 773-384-5533.

–Fred Camper

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Boot Camp movie still.