Men Shorts: Expect the Unexpected Reel Affirmations 16: Washington DC Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Date: Wednesday, 10/18/2006
Time: 9:00 pm

Venue: Lincoln Theatre
Tickets: $9 Buy tickets online

Type: Collection of short films

Metro Weekly Rating: (4 out of 5)

by Sean Bugg

A GOOD RULE of thumb when you're told to ''expect the unexpected,'' is to take it with a grain of salt.

With those clichés out of the way, the films that make up the shorts program ''Expect the Unexpected'' involve varying degrees of surprise and success.

Attack ( ) starts with the aftermath of what seems to be a hate crime -- a man in skinhead-like garb lies bloodied on the ground, while his alleged victim, a young black man, huddles against a wall. Told in reverse, the film effectively delves into a morass of racism and homophobia.

Likewise, Implication ( ) uncovers something unpleasant, but this time through a funny-at-first moment when a well-dressed businessman is approached on the street by a woman who recognizes him: ''You're that famous gay guy.'' His protestations of mistaken identity spiral to a deserved conclusion.

Probably one of the most disturbing films in this year's festival, Bugcrush ( ) focuses on gay teen sexuality in a way that feels less like Eating Out and more like River's Edge. Small-town gay boy Ben finds himself with a crush on new-kid-in-town Grant. A classic juvenile delinquent, Grant is naturally hot and compelling, although Ben's best friend and fag hag warns him, ''You're going to get your ass kicked by a bunch of tweaker fucking freaks.'' But it's not gay bashing that Ben has to worry about. It's something a lot worse and just all around creepy as hell.

You're not going to see this one coming, and you won't forget it when it does.

guy101 ( ) is a story about a Internet-savvy bear and his online relationship with the narrator. It quickly becomes apparent that the setup is actually for a joke, the punch line of which you'll see coming from a mile away.

In Soft Spot ( ), an expectant French woman fantasizes about the clandestine -- and extremely hot -- gay sex her husband is having on the side. One of his sexual fantasies goes horribly wrong (always remember that you can't say a safe word when your mouth is stuffed with sock). Then the wife tries to bring all three of them together. And then everything gets very, very French.

Supposedly, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Funeral ( ), but actually it didn't. And A Sorta Sin ( ), which details a priest taking a confession about gay sex from a teenage boy, is so totally predictable you should schedule any bathroom breaks during its run time -- you won't miss anything.

Push It ( ), though, shouldn't be missed, mostly because the exuberant and totally uninhibited performance by a bear (the gay kind, not the wild kingdom kind) as he gets himself ready in the morning while listening to the radio is a gem that will make everyone smile as they recognize a little bit of themselves on-screen. -- SB

More information

Film Links:
· Reel Affirmations details

Festival Venue:
Lincoln Theatre
1215 U Street, NW; Washington, DC 20009. (202) 328-6000. (map)
Directly across from Green Line Metro / U Street-Cardozo station.

You may buy your tickets or passes in advance: Online at or by phone at (800) 494-TIXS (494-8497). Or you may visit the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U Street, NW, WDC); the Landmark's E Street Cinema (555 11th Street, NW); or Lambda Rising (1625 Connecticut Avenue, NW, WDC).

For more info visit the official Reel Affirmations website.