During its heyday, Wu Tsang’s Wildness party was known as the most inspiring queer nightlife spot in L.A. But the influx of hipsters at times led to clashes with the bar’s main clientele - trans women from local immigrant communities. Tsang’s pulse-pounding doc chronicles Wildness’s complex effect on all the attendees, one of whom was video artist and Kunq Collective DJ D’hana Perry, who says, “The film itself is so beautiful and captures the complexities of inhabiting multiple layers and identities as human beings in physical space(s), over a period of time. The implications of gentrification, gender expression, age, and race are examined, all while creating a love letter to the legacy of a space that had become a home for those who needed it.”
After nude photos threatened to derail Marilyn Monroe’s burgeoning career, the starlet decided to take a series of dramatic roles to showcase her talent as an actress. This eerie, off-kilter psychological thriller meets film noir, in which Marilyn plays a very unusual babysitter working in an intrigue-filled NYC hotel, was one of her more successful efforts. To say more about the plot would spoil things, but our guest tonight, celebrated artist Louise Fishman, summed up the effect the film first had on her: “After seeing it at the tender age of 13, I fell in love with Marilyn and knew sexual passion for the first time.” A ringing endorsement if we ever heard one!
A possibly gay man (Paul Newman) and his wife (Elizabeth Taylor), turn on each other during a visit to their family home in this high octane adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ monumental play. Though the play’s overt depiction of homosexuality was toned down, audiences read between the lines. Tony-nominated director and playwright Moisés Kaufman (The Laramie Project, Gross Indecency) saw the film in Venezuela at age 12. He writes, “Brick’s struggle with his sexuality echoed much of my own experience growing up gay in Latin America in the ’70s. And hearing Big Daddy address his son so bluntly, and so compassionately, created for me a concrete image of what was possible.”
Donnetta Lavinia Grays presents THE INCREDIBLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF TWO GIRLS IN LOVE
Maria Maggenti’s beloved lesbian love story stars Laurel Holloman (“The L Word”) as a tomboy whose romance with well-off Nicole Ari Parker (BOOGIE NIGHTS) faces resistance from friends and family. Can their relationship survive? Or are the pressures too great? Acclaimed actress and playwright Donnetta Lavinia Grays fell for the film in college. She writes, “It captured the innocence of young love and self discovery, and the familial dynamics of opposing economic and cultural backgrounds really stood out. Most of my writing deals with this moment of discovery in young queer women and the definition of family, so the film has definitely stuck with me.” You won't want to miss this rare 35mm screening!
The great Marlon Riggs spent the final year of his life composing this extraordinary exploration of Black identity that finds the director traversing the country talking to people about what constitutes “Blackness”, while critiquing prejudices like homophobia that affect the community. Performances by Bill T. Jones and Essex Hemphill, plus appearances by cultural icons including Angela Davis, bell hooks and Cornel West deepen the ever-relevant conversations. Ever since screening TONGUES UNTIED in the first year of Q/A/F, we’ve been waiting for someone to select this film, and thanks to our guest presenter, the brilliant poet Erica Davis, that day is here. Don’t miss it.
Jamie Babbit’s cult comedy classic uses John Waters-style camp to skewer ex-gay conversion camps in hilarious fashion. Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan, a lesbian cheerleader who’s sent to a reform camp filled with wacky characters played by RuPaul, Cathy Moriarty, Melanie Lynskey, and Eddie Cibrian. But it’s Clea DuVall’s Graham who steals Megan’s heart, forcing her to find self-acceptance. The film is a favorite of performance artist and Ballez artistic director Katy Pyle,who writes, “It’s the first film I saw that had actual lesbians playing lesbians. The work I do now is centered on having queer people playing queer roles, so it definitely relates to my practice.” Bring your pom-poms!
A man in a hellish, otherworldly city is thrust into a horrific nightmare when his girlfriend gives birth to a deformed baby. David Lynch’s visionary debut feature was trashed by critics, but soon became a smash in the midnight movie circuit. Our guest presenter, artist Neil Goldberg, adores it: “From the first time I saw it, I felt like it was articulating some of the central obsessions of my life and art, principally the fascination and horror of embodiment. I know Lynch is a big old straight guy, but for me the film is powerfully queer in the way it positions itself ‘against nature’ and repudiates marriage and procreation.” Essential viewing for Lynch fans and newbies alike.
Dennis Lim presents O FANTASMA
O Fantasma (2000, João Pedro Rodrigues) 35mm print courtesy of the Cinemateca Portuguesa-Museu do Cinema.
May 2, 2016
João Pedro Rodrigues’ dark debut is the twisted tale of a sexy garbageman who spends his time cruising public toilets and stalking straight guys. But when Sergio finds a latex bodysuit in the trash, it begins a process of de-volution in which man gradually becomes beast. Rodrigues’ sexually-explicit fever dream is a favorite of our guest presenter, Dennis Lim, Director of Programming at Film Society of Lincoln Center, who calls it “Irma Vep meets Tom of Finland,” adding, “No other contemporary filmmaker engages the complexities and mysteries of desire as fully and forthrightly as Rodrigues. His stunning debut remains his most confrontational work: an anatomy of lust in the form of a trance film.”
Shinjuku Boys captures the neon glamor of the New Marilyn, an onnabe club in Tokyo, where women disillusioned with cis-gendered male heterosexism mingle with hosts who live their lives as men. Following three of the club’s most sought-after personalities who speak candidly of sex, transvestitism and gender roles long before “the transgender tipping point,” Shinjuku Boys is a gripping look at the valencies of female sexuality in Tokyo’s bustling club scene. “Through my experiences in Japan, I felt how restrictive gender roles have been,” writes artist, publisher and performer Ginger Brooks Takahashi, co-founder of LTTR. “Seeing the lives of Japanese gender queers and butches was like learning about a secret world. It blew my mind.”
Thanks to a great screenplay by gay director, playwright and screenwriter Arthur Laurents, and the performances of Shirley MacLaine, Anne Bancroft and future ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov (making his big-screen debut), Herbert Ross’s THE TURNING POINT received 11 Academy Award nominations in 1977, and became a cult classic amongst dancers and enthusiasts. But despite its reputation, THE TURNING POINT hasn’t been screened in New York theaters in years, which is why we’re so thrilled that our guest presenter, celebrated young New York dance artist niv Acosta has chosen it. In Ross’s acclaimed drama about the world of professional dance, MacLaine and Bancroft play two ballet dancers whose lives take dramatically different turns. Years ago, DeeDee (MacLaine) left the company to raise a family and open a dance studio, while Emma (Bancroft) became a world famous ballerina. Conflict arises when DeeDee’s daughter is accepted into Emma’s company, leading to major changes for both women.
In this powerful and provocative anime from the legendary Studio Ghibli, a race of magical, shape-shifting dogs who resemble raccoons band together to fight back when capitalist developers threaten to build over their home. The film is a favorite of DarkMatter, (Alok Vaid-Menon & Janani Balasubramanian) the South-Asian trans performance art duo dedicated to challenging the standard cultural conversations surrounding trans and non-binary people of color in both straight and LGBT communities. They write, “Raccoons are associated with trash, nighttime, danger, and disease...In this film they are powerful, creative, imaginative, and community driven -- all while under incredible economic and environmental duress from human civilization…” You won’t want to miss this post-screening discussion.
Brad Callahan (BCALLA) presents SLAVES OF NEW YORK
This fabulously fun adaptation of 80’s NYC it girl Tama Janowitz’s hit short story collection follows a quirky fashion designer (Broadway legend Bernadette Peters) as she tries to find love and success in the kooky downtown art scene. The film’s story, soundtrack, and - most importantly - wardrobe, was an inspiration to our guest presenter, fashion designer Brad Callahan (BCALLA) whose wild and outrageous creations are favorites of Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and every fashion-forward drag queen in Brooklyn. “The Stephen Sprouse fashion show in the middle of the movie is major,” Callahan writes, “and a gallery scene inspired my ‘Drawing is Fun’ collection.” Join us as we kick off 2016 in style!