Just Like Being There…

‘10 Days of Sundance’ airs films, festival highlights. Plus Duke Ellington’s gay sideman. Cox and Arquette’s new tabloid drama. Kathy Griffin stays on the D-List circuit. And Curl Girls lesbian surf reality show.

By Nancy Ford

Kip Pardue stars in Loggerheads.

For 10 days beginning January 19, Sundance Channel airs exclusive coverage of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival alongside a wide-ranging lineup of narrative and documentary features and shorts from past festivals.

The 10-day series begins each evening with “Festival Dailies,” hosted by comedian Whitney Cummings (Best Week Ever, Punk’d) and includes seven U.S. television premieres.

Possibly most notable among the premieres is Loggerheads, a “moving exploration of family, adoption and the longing for connection” in the heartland of America.

The ensemble cast includes that hysterically funny friend of David Letterman, Bonnie Hunt; here Hunt shines in an entirely different light in this touching drama. Big-and-small screen legend Tess Harper (Judging Amy, Tender Mercies) provides support with the adorable Kip Pardue (But I’m a Cheerleader) making us wonder why he plays gay so convincingly.

Loggerheads director Tim Kirkman gained notoriety for his gentle-yet-pointed skewering of antigay former senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) in Dear Jesse. Expect Loggerheads to provide similar surgically accurate insight. Nominated in 2005 for Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize, it airs January 21.

Also worth a look-see in the Sundance line-up is the January 20 broadcast of Greg Whitely’s New York Doll, documentary of former New York Dolls bass player, Arthur “Killer” Kane.

10 Days of Sundance airs January 19-28, 8 p.m. Details: (site includes daily-updated insider blogs, photo galleries, video packages, and interviews with actors, filmmakers, and festival participants).

Billy Strayhorn (r) with Duke Ellington.

PBS reveals the less-than-lush life of Billy Strayhorn
Gay African-American musical genius of the ’40s and ’50s, Billy Strayhorn was author to many of jazz legend Duke Ellington’s signature hits, including “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Satin Doll.” This Independent Lens episode focuses on how and why Strayhorn’s own legend has been largely overlooked. Airs on Houston’s KUHT PBS Channel 8, Tuesday, February 6, 9 p.m. Details:

FX debuts Cox and Arquette’s new tabloid drama
Longtime favorites of the paparazzi lens, Courtney Cox and husband David Arquette, pair for a full season of Dirt, a provocative drama focusing on the world of tabloid journalism. Arquette writes and directs, Cox stars, and the whole she-bang is produced by their own company, Coquette. Ex- Melrose Place star Grant Show shows up in a handful of episodes as an in-the-closet actor whom tabloid snoop Lucy Spiller (Cox) desperately seeks to out. Debuts January 2 at 9 and 11 p.m. on FX with repeats January 5 at 9 p.m. and January 7 at 8 p.m. Details:

Kathy Griffin returns to the D-List

Bravo picks up ‘D List’ for another season
Our favorite hysterically foul-mouthed sub-diva, Kathy Griffin, has been called up by Bravo for another go-’round. Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List follows Griffin as she schleps around the country performing for whomever coughs up the bucks. Griffin’s whacky parents and personal assistant Jessica return, but disgraced husband Matt, as well as her “main gays,” are nowhere to be found. Debuts in 2007, though exactly when remains to be announced. More:

Logo gives ‘Curl Girls’ the go-ahead for six episodes
Six Southern California women–five lesbians and one bisexual–develop their own surfing competition in Logo’s Curl Girls, a six-episode reality series debuting later this summer. We’ll especially be watching for the “feisty tough girl” Jessica and the “gun-toting lawyer” Michelle. More:


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