Bruce Vilanch, RuPaul guests at 2007 Reeling Festival Nov. 8-18 at seven city-wide venues

Legendary comedy writer and actor Bruce Vilanch, who has ties to Chicago, appears during the Nov. 8-18 Reeling 2007: The 26th Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival.

Vilanch will appear Nov. 13 at the Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema in connection with the screening of his movie adaptation of “Naked Boys Singing,” the long-running musical.

Reeling offers 46 features and documentaries and 21 themed shorts programs, from 28 countries, in genres ranging from romantic comedy to esoteric experimental.

The time Vilanch worked as an entertainment writer for the Chicago Tribune proved to be the pivotal point of his career.

After he reviewed a 1970 performance by Bette Midler, she called him. As they talked, Vilanch suggested that she ought to put more jokes into her act. When Midler asked him for some comic lines, Vilanch, who was moonlighting as a cabaret performer, offered some. Midler hired him to punch up her act, prompting an inevitable move to Los Angeles.

Vilanch has been the chief writer for 46 award shows in every conceivable genre?Oscars, Tonys, Emmys, Comedy, Fashion. He has appeared in 54 movies and TV shows either as a character actor or portraying himself. A few years ago he toured as Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray.”

RuPaul, the outrageous 6’7″ drag diva, actor, and songwriter R will be another special guest, taking the stage (in full drag) after the Nov. 14 screening of the comedy “Starrbooty,” starring RuPaul, and directed by Michael Ruiz.

Directors of many of the features are expected to attend, and the festivities will continue long after the theatres darken with after-parties, many of them themed to the movie just shown.

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