Scene: Los Angeles (Fall 2007)

"Scene” is AfterEllen.com’s monthly (usually) series of articles focusing on the lesbian happenings in a town near you — and now with quarterly trips to Los Angeles. For previous installments, go here.

When you think of Los Angeles, brush fires, striking screenwriters and gridlock may be the first few things that come to mind these days. But none of that is enough to slow down the endless pursuit of glamour, good times and, yes, sometimes even meaningful art in our sunny city. This month we check out a slew of premieres, performances and parties at which bi and lesbian women take center stage.

Scene 1: Premiere of Season 3 of Dante’s Cove
Regent Showcase Theater, Oct. 16

The third season of here! TV’s supernatural soap Dante’s Cove was celebrated in Los Angeles with a star-studded premiere, complete with red carpet and paparazzi. You may be thinking, “A red carpet event centered around a television show? Really?” But trust me, it worked. And would the gays have it any other way?

Series stars Thea Gill, Michelle Wolff, Jenny Shimizu, Jill Bennett and Tracy Scoggins were in attendance and no doubt basked in the love — and light razzing for all of the campy badness — from the screening audience. While in previous seasons the show has focused much more on male characters, the third season features lesbian characters, lesbian treachery and yes, even some lesbian sex!

The audience adored Scoggins for playing the role of disgruntled witch Grace to the hilt (think Gina Gershon as Cristal in Showgirls), but appeared to be a bit baffled by the unlikely pairing of Wolff and Shimizu as lovers. And there was enough eye candy to go around for all, with Skinemax-like sex scenes (mostly between the guys) lurking around every corner of the episode. The crowd that night loved the trashtasticness of it all, and howled its collective approval as the credits rolled.

Jill Bennett, Tracy Scoggins, Michelle Wolff and Thea Gill at the Dante’s Cove Season 3 premiere:

At the premiere, I also talked to Cathy DeBuono (Exes & Ohs, Out at the Wedding), who is currently shooting indie lesbian film And Then Came Lola with Bennett. After waxing poetic about the pleasure she took in seeing her co-star (and poker nemesis) in demonic contact lenses in the Dante’s premiere, she gave me an update on the production of Lola.

“We shot a few exteriors in late October and we’re going back to San Francisco to shoot the interiors in the last week of November," DeBuono said. "That’s when the bulk of my work will happen. Things have been changing and evolving, and one thing about writers/directors Megan [Siler] and Ellen [Seidler] is that they have been wide open to input from the actors since day one. That’s been nice. It’s left us room, as actors, to find what might be there organically and not just married to the page.”

Cathy DeBuono (and Punky) at the Dante’s Cove Season 3 premiere:

Since DeBuono last spoke with AfterEllen.com, she has also taken on the role of associate producer for the short film The Touch (based on the true story of English poet Renée Vivien’s love affair with the Muslim wife of a Turkish diplomat), which opened at the Northampton Independent Film Festival in early November.

Also at the premiere was South of Nowhere star Maeve Quinlan, who said of the episode of Dante’s that we had just seen: “It was fun and campy and fantastic. The only negative thing was that Jill had her clothes on the whole time. Though as one of the only straight women at this premiere, even I haven’t seen that much naked willy in my whole life! But it’ll be my new guilty pleasure … and my new favorite show to base a drinking game on.”

While South of Nowhere is currently on hiatus, Quinlan has been busy with other projects, including a new lesbian web pilot 3-Way (see The Bad Seed section below for more info), the Lifetime movie Primal Doubt with Janine Turner (which airs in December), and the feature film Not Easily Broken with Morris Chestnut (Boyz n the Hood) and Taraji P. Henson (Hustle & Flow). So you’ll have to savor your dose of Maeve via “television for women” until SON returns in February 2008.

The splashy after-party for the premiere was held at the club Eleven in West Hollywood and featured some very flexible go-go dancers and nifty gift bags. People lined up in droves to snatch up the commemorative Dante’s Cove underwear!

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