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Pride Month Virtual Happy Hour

Kick off Pride Month with AAFF by joining us for a Virtual Happy Hour! It will take place on Zoom on Thursday, June 4 at 7pm EDT. The Happy Hour will feature special guests Harrod Blank, director of the documentary film Why Can’t I Be Me? Around You, and its star Rusty Tidenberg. It will be hosted by former \aut\ Bar owners and longtime AAFF supporters Martin Contreras and Keith Orr and AAFF Director Leslie Raymond.

Admission to the happy hour is included when you rent Why Can’t I Be Me? Around You. For this special presentation streaming is discounted and now available for $10 with the coupon code AAFF-PRIDE!. Those who have already rented the film can attend for free. The film is available to rent on The Michigan Theater website and the coupon code is valid May 27-June 4. 50 percent of the proceeds go to the filmmaker. The film is free for AAFF members.

Those who have rented the film will be sent the link and password to attend the happy hour. If you haven't received the link and password, email us at

The film, Why Can’t I Be Me? Around You, focuses on Tidenberg, an auto mechanic and drag-racing aficionado who shocked friends and family by coming out as trans. Followed for eight years by filmmaker Blank, she guides us through the aftermath of her transition, as growing acceptance among her straight-talking Southwest community still doesn’t ease her romantic and professional woes. Interwoven with lively tales of gender-nonconforming individuals on the art car circuit, Blank’s film is a sensitive and unpredictable love letter to people who fight to be unapologetically themselves.

Why Can’t I Be Me? Around You won the \aut\ FILM Award for Best LGBTQ Film at the 58th AAFF. The award honors the film that best addresses and gives voice to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer issues. Martin Contreras and Keith Orr have supported this award for over a decade to celebrate and validate the diversity of voices that achieve excellence in filmmaking. We are grateful to our community sponsors Affirmations, the Jim Toy Community Center, and Transgender Michigan, as well as our media sponsor Between The Lines. Check out the trailer below.


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