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S.F. Gay fest rocks out

'Yes Nurse,' 'Bayard Rustin,' 'Butch' among winners

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Intl. Lesbian & Gay Film Fest wrapped its 27th annual edition with a bang (or perhaps a power chord) on Sunday night at the historic Castro Theater.

Star Gina Gershon, helmer Alex Steyermark and scenarist/real-life inspiration Cheri Lovedog were on hand to present “Prey for Rock & Roll,” a fictionalized version of the latter’s adventures in the lower depths of the L.A. rock scene.

If Gershon’s enthusiastic onscreen sex scene with a female thesp wasn’t enough to win aud’s approval, her onstage attire — sheer top with breasts discreetly “X’d” by electrical tape beneath — surely clinched the deal.

Sartorial splendor was also a factor at opening festivities 18 days earlier, as author-star Charles Busch arrived in full regalia suitable for his Joan Crawford-esque diva character in “Die Mommie Die!”

Other notable guests at the fest included documentary vets Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), who presented three new works and received this year’s career-honoring Frameline Award; onetime “Midnight Express” author/subject Billy Hayes, repping his directorial debut “Cock & Bull Story”; thesp Laura Linney; and numerous helmers from the 78 international features and 193 shorts screened.

Protesters appeared

Making a more controversial appearance were protesters from Quit! (Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism), who took over the stage at start of June 14 screening of “Yossi & Jagger,” a romancer about two closeted soldiers in the Israeli army.

Hoisting banners and handing out leaflets to mixed cheers and catcalls, group halted program just briefly, their departure followed by a gracious speech urging tolerance all around by S.F.-based Israeli Consul General Yossi Amrani.

Post-pic Q&A with producer Gal Uchovsky was, natch, one of the fest’s more animated sessions.

Audience awards announced Sunday night went to Pieter Kramer’s campy Dutch musical-comedy “Yes Nurse! No Nurse” for best feature; U.S. civil rights activist portrait “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin,” by Nancy Kates and Bennett Singer, (docu); and Debra Wilson’s “Butch Mystique” (short).

Among juried cash prizes, the $10,000 Levi’s first feature award went to Kai Pieck’s fact-based German serial killer drama “The Child I Never Was.”

Same amount was split between two films sharing Stu & Dave’s Excellent Documentary Award: Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdottir and Thorvaldur Kristinsson’s “Straight Out,” about Icelandic gay youth, and Tracy Flannigan’s “Rise Above: The Tribe 8 Documentary,” which profiles the veteran San Francisco-based lesbian punk band.

Attendance estimate for this year’s fest is 82,000.

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