In 1985, Steven Spielberg took a risk, following up his string of blockbusters with a serious adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the experiences of African-American women in 1930s Georgia, starring Whoopi Goldberg (in her debut), Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. Though the film’s merits were hotly debated by critics and fans of the book, THE COLOR PURPLE earned 11 Oscar nominations and over the years became a queer film classic. Tonight’s guest presenter, singer-songwriter Shea Diamond (who’s releasing her debut LP in 2017) most appreciates the way the film depicts “the struggle of African American women, music and overcoming adversity!”
In this 1942 wartime diversion, Dominican camp icon Maria Montez joins the ever-delicate Sabu in a very loose Hollywood adaption of the classic Middle-Eastern stories. As Scheherazade, Montez gives the first of many deliriously over-the-top performances that endeared her to a generation of 1960s queer New York art visionaries, including guest presenter Agosto Machado, a brilliant performer who worked with fellow Montez-worshippers Jack Smith, John Vaccaro and Ronald Tavel. Machado explains, “Even on black and white TV, Montez, aka “the Queen of Technicolor”, gave sanctuary from any reality, opening a gateway to exotic possibilities perfumed with magical dreams.”
Neglected housewife Kathy Bates finds motivation to turn her life around after listening to nursing home resident Jessica Tandy’s captivating tales of the bond between two Southern women (Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson). Jon Avnet’’s adaptation of Fannie Flagg’s acclaimed novel toned down the central lesbian relationship, but queer audiences easily read between the lines. The film’s a favorite of Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra, who spent years searching for a haven for queers and people of color like the film’s Whistle Stop Cafe, before deciding to create that space through her music. Tawanda!
This month at Queer|Art|Film, luminous screen legends collide with Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn (and a little Lucille Ball) playing rivalrous actors living together in an all-woman "theatrical rooming house" in Gregory La Cava's Stage Door. Ambitions and sweethearts entangle; careers plummet and soar. Can friendship survive the turmoils of the theater? Presented by hilarious writer/performer Cole Escola ("Difficult People"), you're sure to find out the answer, and a whole lot more. Escola jokes, "Wisecracking, the desperate pursuit of survival, and looking out for each other? What could be queerer!".