This year's Outfest, Los Angeles' gay & lesbian film festival, includes two very hot tickets: Mamma Mia! and Sordid Lives: The Series.

Mamma Mia! is the screen adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name featuring the music of Swedish disco band ABBA. The play has become a phenomenal success with over 30 million tickets sold worldwide.

Donna (Meryl Streep) is planning the perfect wedding on an idyllic Greek island for the daughter she has raised alone – Sophie. The bride, however, wants her unknown father to give her away. To find him, she invites three men from her mother's past to the island. Singing, dancing, and even romancing ensue.

Mamma Mia! is set for a July 28th release, but Outfest will screen the film on July 10th.

Sordid Lives: The Series is based on Del Shores' 2001 cult hit film Sordid Lives. The show will premiere on cable channel Logo July 23rd, but Outfest attendees can view the first three episodes on July 19th.

Lives is the outrageous story of the Ingram family – Texas white trash – as they shatter Southern notions of family and unconditional love.

Matriarch Peggy Ingram, her chain-smoking sister Sissy and daughters, Latrelle and LaVonda, are living in Winters, Texas. Latrelle is the good daughter, while LaVonda is the wild child. Peggy's son, “Brother Boy,” who has lived his life dressed-up as Tammy Wynette, is locked up in a metal institution where he “recovers”from a bad case of “homosexualism” and a touch of transvestitism.

Latrelle's son Ty is an actor living in Los Angeles where he is struggling to come out to his Republican Southern Baptist family.

Sordid Lives: The Series features an all-star cast including Grammy Award winner Olivia Newton-John (Grease) reprising her role as town bar singer Bitsy Mae Harling and Emmy Award winner Leslie Jordan (Will & Grace) as “Brother Boy.” Rue McClanahan (Golden Girls) will star as matriarch Peggy Ingram.

First season guest star cameos include Margaret Cho, Candis Cayne, and Carson Kressley as Ty's therapists.

The festival also includes an intriguing new documentary on the military's ban on gays serving openly. The policy, titled Don't Ask, Don't Tell, was conceived as a compromise by the Clinton administration in 1993. Since then, 12,000 GLBT soldiers have been discharged under the policy. The issue is currently a hot topic as a recent federal court ruled the Armed Forces could only discharge soldiers determined to be detrimental to the group's mission. That is, a blanket statement that homosexuality is inconsistent with military cohesion and therefore a gay soldier must be detrimental to the group's mission and troop morale is unacceptable. This decision could mark the beginning of the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

The film, Ask Not, by director Johnny Symons focuses its lens on the true national and human costs of the military's ban on gays & lesbians.

Ask Not delivers compelling reasons on the failure of the policy – a group of young gays attempt to enlist openly, interviews with veterans expose hidden flaws, and a video diary from a closeted soldier as he heads off to Iraq vividly unmasks the pain of the policy – making it a must see film.

Outfest, Los Angeles' gay & lesbian film festival, is set to run July 9th - July 21st.

On the net: Outfest website at

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