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Theatre Pub showing film about gays and straights

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Laramie and Aubree Holliman's love story is familiar in many ways — two young people obviously smitten with each other who get dressed up for their walk down the aisle.

Their story is "so typical of what's promoted in our culture," said Seattle filmmaker Drew Emery — except that the couple are lesbians.

The Hollimans' courtship and self-described marriage is one of the stories in "Inlaws & Outlaws," a documentary that will be shown Monday night at the Kelso Theatre Pub.

Emery's film is designed to show the similarities between gay and straight couples. But in narrowing down his filmed interviews for the final cut, Emery said in a phone interview he was drawn more towards the gay couples. "I found myself pulled towards the strories we haven't heard," he said. "So I didn't need as much of the straight stories because they're more familiar."

The life stories of several couples in the film are particularly powerful. Tammy Snow and Dayna Tolman are young Utah Mormons who keep their relationship alive despite objections from family and faith. Tolman even marries a man — with her lesbian partner as her maid of honor. Eventually, Tolman realizes she would rather have a female partner and the two women have an informal ceremony among friends in a basement.

Emery also interviewed Chuck Lazenby of Seattle about his 50 years with a late partner, though neither lived as openly gay.

The director also interviewed several new and not-so-new heterosexual couples, divorced people, and those who have chosen to stay single.

Most of the movie is made up of sit-down interviews, with some footage and still photos provided by the subjects themselves. Emery said he tried not to shape what his subjects had to say.

If you go
What: Showing of the movie "Inlaws & Outlaws," a documentary about gay and straight couples.
When: 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Where: Kelso Theatre Pub.
Cost: $6.

"I think people are hungry for real stories about love, not the Hollywood version," he said.

"Inlaws & Outlaws" focuses on personal stories, not the political battles being fought over gay marriage. But the topics are inseparable. Heather Andersen and Leslie Christian, one of the couples featured in the movie, were plaintiffs in a suit challenging Washington's prohibition of same-sex marriage. The state Supreme Court upheld the prohibition on gay marriage last year.

After the film premiered in 2005. a Seattle Times reviewer called it "charming and heartfelt." The film has since been shown at film festivals around the country. "We've been hitting a lot of colleges," Emery said. "It fills a need that hasn't been filled before."

The Longview United Methodist Church, which welcomes gay members, and Lower Columbia Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays are sponsoring the Kelso showing.

But Emery rejects labeling "Inlaws & Outlaws" as a "gay movie." "I see it as a human movie that has gay people in it," he said.

Emery hopes sexual preference isn't the deciding factor in who attends on Monday.

"The best audiences by far have been mixed audiences."


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