Father Tony

Sharon Gless At The Miami Gay And Lesbian Film Festival

Filed By Father Tony | May 02, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Sharon Gless

The buzz at the 2010 Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival was that this was a year of comedies for the ladies and more serious fare for the gentlemen, and no one was exactly sure why. The openings, receptions, parties, awards and the fifty films were delivered in Miami high style, but the high point of the festival for me was hanging with actress Sharon Gless who received the Festival's Career Achievement Award. You know her from Cagney and Lacey, Queer As Folk and Burn Notice, but the Festival was screening Hannah Free in which she plays a lesbian denied the right to be with her dying partner. I have always thought of Sharon Gless as a no-nonsense kind of woman and was surprised by her emotional award acceptance speech. (Pardon the poor video quality. The theater's spot light was broken.)

Sharon Gless also had a message for the Pope and greeted my team at Queer New York.

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Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | May 2, 2010 6:58 PM

Thanks for that! Ultimately, Gless always has something about her that suggests sitting by a fireplace—her presence warms and assures. She's a "keeper," illustrated in many ways, but one major example in my not so humble opinion is how well she transcended how poorly conceived and often written her QAF-USA character was.

Though there are certainly over-the-top-alienating-however-well-intentioned mothers like "Debbie" in real life, they could have made her, particularly with Gless in the roll, something more identifiable by other moms, something less buffoonish and more a blue-collar version of Justin's mom crossed with Bella Abzug.

Still, as I said, Gless transcended, and when they did give her good lines, she turned them into gold. Actually, the whole series was like that—the great parts transcending the many bad.

Mrs. Novotny:

"You know, there were people, when they found out that Michael was gay, who said, and did, the cruelest things. Friends, neighbors, family. My own goddamn sister wouldn't even let her kids come over here. She was afraid Michael was going to molest them or something. Because that's the way people are. They're ignorant and they're scared. And there's nothing you can do, except educate 'em or shoot 'em. Me, I joined P-FLAG, 'cause I figured it was more practical than shooting 'em."

"It's not who you love, it's how you love. Genitalia is just God's way of accessorizing."

"I know that I'm a little hard to take sometimes. My jokes and my appearance, and my enthusiasm. Sometimes you're ashamed of me. That's okay. I'm your mother, and that's part of the deal. But Michael, I never thought the day would come when I would be ashamed of you."

"Debbie: If I have to watch Martha Stewart make one more goddamn thing out of goat cheese, I'm going to kill myself.
Vic: AMC has a Joan Crawford festival all week.
Debbie: Nobody's that gay."

"Mourn the losses, because they are many; but celebrate the victories, because they are few."

Dear Michael,
Your observation about her ability to transcend her material is spot on. I agree 100%. Someday you'll probably see Hannah Free on TV and you will see this happen yet again.
I'm not in the habit of trashing the films/books etc that I review but I hope someday she gets a script that is as good as her.
On a personal note, after the movie we were chatting about the pope and the clergy (she was raised Catholic) at Bar 721 off Lincoln Road and when I finished the video, I thanked her and made room for the crowd of people who wanted access to her. Over their heads, I heard her shout "Hey". I turned around and she said "When they lost you they lost a good one." I was moved.

Thanks for that, I love this lady. I'll have to see the film now I guess.