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By Film Threat Staff | January 27, 2005

Last year’s Park City sleeper hit, the Queer Lounge, will make its triumphant return to the city this January during the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals, January 21st – 29th in downtown Park City just off Main Street at the Gateway Center. Queer Lounge became a phenomenon in its freshmen year as a hospitality-event venue that held impressive parties and discussion panels. As the hub for queer and queer-friendly festival-goers, Queer Lounge has a reputation for being a uniquely accessible environment for everyone – gay or straight.
“I’ve run into so many straight people who said they were at the Queer Lounge last year and had a great time,” explains Queer Lounge founder Ellen Huang, sharing surveys that show that one in three people attending were straight. “While most events and parties in Park City have exclusive VIP lists, the Queer Lounge was created to be all-inclusive. Anyone who’s friendly is welcome.”
With strong support from the Park City community and corporate donors, the Queer Lounge has expanded their festivities for 2005 to include a music series/concert line-up – including a live performance from Cake on Monday, January 24th and a Scissor Sisters’ performance on Tuesday, January 25th (both shows at Club Suede), parties for various films at the festivals and exclusive discussion panels (all to be announced at a later date).
Even though the Queer Lounge is not affiliated with Sundance or Slamdance, the festivals have been welcoming to the hub. “Slamdance is thrilled that Queer Lounge is back for a second year,” expresses Slamdance Director Kathleen McInnis. “We love sharing Main Street with such a dynamic organization. The Queer Lounge transcends definition and offers a home for everybody and we’re excited to share our home.”
A bit of history: The Queer Lounge is the first space created for film festival gurus (queer and straight) who can learn more about queer and queer-content films that are screening as part of the January “Dance” film festival frenzy. Last year, over 4,000 people visited the hub to relax, attend panel discussions or celebrate at one of the five hit parties held at the venue, including a Showtime party for the premiere of “The L Word,” a party for Sundance entry, “Harry and Max,” and a revival of the legendary “Homos Away From Home” party with John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) spinning.
“The obvious fear of many in the ‘straight crowd’, myself included,” explains film journalist Chris Perry, “is that the Queer Lounge is somewhere they wouldn’t be welcome, or fit in. I had the same thoughts, but I have to say that it was my experience that this was perhaps the most accepting, comfortable, clique-free party place in Park City.”
Also, last year the Queer Lounge made local and national headlines during the festivals when a Salt Lake City theater cancelled a theatrical engagement of the film “Latter Days”, a movie about a gay Mormon missionary. TLA releasing held an emergency press conference at the Lounge where representatives from GLAAD, Equality Utah and Outfest vocalized their support of the film, eventually finding a theatrical venue for the film to exhibit.
For more info, visit the Queer Lounge website.

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