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By Don Maines
QFest promises a laugh fest when it screens the star-studded Houston premiere of Del Shores’ A Very Sordid Wedding at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12 at Landmark River Oaks Theatre.
“Seeing a comedy like this with an LGBT audience, that is the best experience,” says Kristian Salinas, QFest’s artistic director.
Guava Lamp will host a VIP pre-reception featuring Shores and two Houston natives, producer/star Emerson Collins and co-star Ann Walker, as well as an after-party.
The 2017 film is a sequel to Sordid Lives, the 2000 movie adaptation of Shores’ hit stage play.
“I loved the original movie,” Salinas says. “For a lot of people, if you’re a gay man, Sordid Lives is something you need to see. I was blown away by Olivia Newton-John as a rough and tough lesbian who spit tobacco.”
The sequel to the gay rite-of-passage film brings back an all-star cast of characters, portraying the fictional world of Winters, Texas, in the weeks following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 landmark ruling on marriage equality.
“Not everyone in town is ready to accept same-sex marriage,” Salinas says.
In protest, the Southside Baptist Church spearheads an “anti-equality rally,” which sets up a collision course for shenanigans and fireworks when two of the town’s gayest and greatest expatriates make triumphant returns.
Oscar winner and all-around shit-stirrer Whoopi Goldberg makes a cameo appearance as a minister who champions rainbow love.
Original star Leslie Jordan, an Emmy Award winner for Will & Grace, returns as Brother Boy, who’s now impersonating Tammy Wynette at a tragic, little gay bar in Longview, until a chance meeting with a dangerous criminal forces him to go on the run.
Reprising her role as LaVonda (“still cussin’ and drankin’”) is Walker, who was a member of the famed Scottish Brigade Drill Team at Stephen F. Austin High School in Houston. She appeared in six shows for the late Frank Young at Theatre Under the Stars, as well as the Alley Theatre’s 25th anniversary production of Tennessee Williams’ Camino Real, directed by Nina Vance.
Collins is a new addition to the Sordid Lives world, along with openly gay Tony Award winner Levi Kreis (Broadway’s Million Dollar Quartet).
Collins grew up in Spring, where he graduated from Klein Oak High School.
Salinas says that Collins and Shores pitched in to market the Houston screening of A Very Sordid Wedding as a fundraiser for QFest.
“No one anticipated Hurricane Harvey, and they stepped in to put it all together on our behalf,” he says.
“I am excited to bring my characters up to July 2015,” Shores says. “So many of my LGBTQ fans, of all ages, have come out to their folks by showing them Sordid Lives. because the humor helped them share their own story.”
QFest is entering its 22nd year as the presenter of Houston’s LGBTQ film festival, “always on the last full five days of July,” Salinas says.
The group is “dedicated to promoting the arts as a powerful tool for communication and cooperation among diverse communities by presenting programs by, about, and of interest to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer community,” per its website, www.q-fest.com.
A Very Sordid Wedding debuted in March in Palm Springs, California.
The Huffington Post called it “much more than a wonderful movie, but a game-changer in LGBT politics.” Film Journal International added, “If you liked the original, the overdue sequel to Sordid Lives will both delight you and warm your ever-lovin’ heart.” The Hollywood Reporter wrote that A Very Sordid Wedding “offers some undeniably entertaining moments, and its talented ensemble, clearly encouraged to pull out all the stops, delivers their comic shtick with admirable gusto.”
For tickets , visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3077822. For more on the film, visit www.averysordidwedding.com.
Watch the trailer below.