Fourth Annual Fusion: The Los Angeles LGBT People of Color Film Festival 

Wednesday, Nov 29 2006

Now in its fourth year, Fusion film festival is still trying to find its legs. It’s more notable as a cool, all-inclusive cultural retreat than for its programming, which suffers from the same malady that afflicts larger (and whiter) gay/lesbian/bi/transgender festivals: There’s simply a dearth of quality queer fare being made. Nothing screened for press is must-see cinema. The following is the best of what was made available for preview. Debra A. Wilson’s documentary short Jumpin’ the Broom: The New Covenant wrestles with the myriad questions around gay marriage and points a camera at four queer African-American couples: How do the couples define marriage? Do they even really want it? What are the roles of religion, community and tradition in shaping the institution? Perhaps the most valuable insight (and the source of the short’s title) is offered by professor Michael Eric Dyson, who shows the similarities between reasons proffered by slave owners to prevent slaves from marrying and reasons now given by those opposed to gay marriage. Despite its lamentably dated name and overmined subject matter, the DL Chronicles (Episode 2), from the cult series, is a fairly engrossing look at the romance between a closet case and an openly gay man. Though not as caffeinated as the similar Noah’s Arc, DL has stronger writing and stronger acting. The strength of Pick Up the Mic, a documentary on the rise of queer hip-hop artists, lies in the charismatic, smart and resilient rappers it captures on camera. Plucked from across the country, they light up the screen with their honesty and humor. But the film suffers from a lack of historical and cultural framework regarding hip-hop culture. Had that element been in place, Mic coulda been a classic.

—Ernest Hardy

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