We took to the streets of Philadelphia for the city’s International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, where LEE DANIELS, the gay producer of “Monster’s Ball” fame, was bestowed an Artistic Achievement award. After a series of clips from his films—including December’s child molester drama “The Woodsman,” and his just-shot directorial debut “Shadowboxer” (starring CUBA GOODING JR. and HELEN MIRREN), Daniels announced that he would be producing “Ladies Night.”
Writer/director PATRIK-IAN POLK told us the film is about “an eclectic group of black women who have a night on the town and craziness ensues,” starring BEYONCé, MISSY ELLIOT, ALICIA KEYS and MACY GRAY. Characters include a gay male hairdresser and some drag queens. Polk then presented the first episode of his groundbreaking, sexy, gay black series, “Noah’s Arc,” which will be available on DVD beginning late August (from TLAvideo.com). The series also enjoyed an extensive calendar of events and HRC-sponsored premiere in New York last weekend. Polk told us future “Arc” episodes will include appearances by NBA star JOHN SALLEY, “Soul Food”’s ROCKMOND DUNBAR and VANESSA WILLIAMS as a lesbian.
Judging from audience laughter and applause, “Arc”’s breakout star was RODNEY CHESTER as Alex, the show’s tart-tongued HIV counselor. A dancer and choreographer, Chester also runs the Trio Talent Agency in Beverly Hills. Also popular was the handsome JENSEN ATWOOD who plays “Arc”’s sultry Wade. Jensen will appear opposite and kiss HALLE BERRY in the upcoming “Their Eyes Are Watching God,” produced by OPRAH WINFREY and QUINCY JONES. Did Berry pull out the “Catwoman” whip on him? “No whip,” Wood laughed. “She was professional and didn’t hurt me.”