Steve Guttenberg, of Diner and Police Academy fame, would like us to think of him as an "honorary" member of the homo community. At least, that's the best he came up with when I asked him the "Are you gay?" question.
I know, I know. It seems like I've quizzed everyone on that lately. So sue me! But in regard to this one-time star of the Village People's camp '80s musical, Can't Stop the Music (Steve displayed his goody bag in the tightest pair of short shorts I've ever seen), it seems really important. That's because Steve's directorial debut, P.S. Your Cat Is Dead, about a relationship between a depressed straight dude and a bumbling gay burglar, is one of the highlights of our upcoming LGBT film festival.
Not only did the 44-year-old Steve direct the comedic P.S., etc., he also wrote the screenplay and put up all the money for it. Oh, and he plays the depressed dude, too. So I guess he's willing to endure questions about his sexuality for the sake of the film's bottom line (take that, Mr. Cruise).
"It would be better, in the gay and lesbian festival world, to be gay. So, even though I'm straight, I think I should be made an honorary [gay]," says Steve from his California office. "But if someone thinks I'm gay, I don't think of it as a negative. It's not [like] being mistaken for a murderer or someone who's broken the law. So I take a different stance: Instead of saying I'm straight and I need everybody to know I'm straight, I look at it as, I'm trying to make the world better. That's one of the rewards for the audience in this movie. They learn about a supposedly straight guy and a gay Latino guy, and how they converse and connect."
When asked about one other urban legend that swirls through this movie and around him--that male actors in Hollywood swing both ways--Steve stays unabashedly honest.
"It's probably true," he says. "But I'm no actor, and I've got 40 films to prove it."
But does that mean he regrets his movies? No, not really. "I've contributed a lot to culture, and those films have made me a fortune," Steve says. " Who knows how we changed people's lives by giving them a happy experience? So I think that's a stupid voice in my brain when I regret doing Police Academy. Because I think they were smart to do, and there's a lot to be said for loyalty."
He also refuses to segregate his fans. "[Gays] are no different than anyone else. They'll get some entertainment, and maybe learn something. Because what we are here to do is entertain and educate," says Steve. "Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones wears a ring on his finger--a skull--and it's a metaphor. It signifies that underneath we're all the same. And I believe that, too."
For more information about the Sixth Annual Portland Lesbian, Gay Bi Trans Film Festival, see this week's Screen story or visit www.sensoryperceptions.org .
Nashville crooners Cynthia Williams and Kelly Zullo will perform at a benefit concert for the Lesbian Community Project. Art is part of the package, too.
Help fight AIDS by joining a 5K walk that includes prizes, performances and an appearance by honorary chairman, actor Danny Glover.
A Klub Z show to help raise awareness about AIDS.
Diva 2002--A Tribute
It's time to pay props to the legends of the local drag scene. Expect Darcelle and others to shed some tears as members of the female- impersonator community pay tribute to their heroes. Darcelle XV, 208 NW 3rd Ave., 222-5338. 8:30 pm Sunday, Sept. 22. $10.