JP Howard presents STORME: OUR LADY OF THE JEWEL BOX & DREAMS DEFERRED: THE SAKIA GUNN FILM PROJECT
STORME: OUR LADY OF THE JEWEL BOX & DREAMS DEFERRED: THE SAKIA GUNN FILM PROJECT 1987/2008. US. Directed by Michelle Parkerson and Charles B. Brack.
August 20, 2018
Poet, mother, and educator JP Howard presents two rarely screened must-see films that offer contrasting images of black lesbian identity and experience. DREAMS DEFERRED tells the story of Sakia Gunn, a masculine-presenting teen who in 2003 was stabbed to death on the streets of Newark in a brutal act of hate. STORMÉ, meanwhile, offers a portrait of 1950s male impersonator, civil rights pioneer, and emcee of the legendary Jewel Box Revue: Stormé Delavarie. “Gunn’s death did not receive the same attention as Matthew Shepard,” Howard notes, while finding it “empowering to see Stormé, a biracial, butch-presenting lesbian, talk confidently about her life's path."
Robert O'Hara presents SCHOOL DAZE
SCHOOL DAZE 1988. US. 121 min. Directed by Spike Lee.
July 23, 2018
This early ‘deep cut’ from Spike Lee depicts political and emotional turmoil between radically conscious frat and sorority members of a fictional black college. Tonight’s presenter, playwright Robert O’Hara, remarks on the portrayal of “physical intimacy of men all up in each other’s faces, violating private space, paddling each other...and being--as my mother would say--‘tooted up’.” Despite its glittering cast of men, it is the struggles depicted by the women of SCHOOL DAZE that resonate most profoundly as they battle the misogyny and toxic masculinity of the Greek System. A dramedy with song and dance numbers--made with love for the Michelle/Barack generation!
Erica Cardwell presents PARIAH
PARIAH 2011. US. 86 min. Directed by Dee Rees.
June 11, 2018
Groundbreaking for its compelling and unique portrait of a black lesbian coming of age in Brooklyn, PARIAH was the directorial feature debut of Dee Rees (who was recently nominated for an Academy Award for MUDBOUND). The film is not only remarkable for how it addresses topics of identity, freedom, acceptance, and sexuality, but for its depiction of complex relationships within an African American family structure. For tonight’s presenter, writer and Black Lives Matter activist Erica Cardwell, the film “helped to end my dance with shame and really freed something inside of me." Join us for this powerful film with breakout performances by Adepero Oduye and Kim Wayans!
David Barclay Moore presents NAZ & MAALIK
NAZ & MAALIK 2015. US. 89 min. Directed by Jay Dockendorf.
May 14, 2018
NAZ & MAALIK centers around two closeted Muslim teens living in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn whose daily mix of family responsibilities, street life, and raging hormones is interrupted by an undercover FBI agent who suspects them as terrorists. For tonight’s presenter, New York Times bestselling author David Barclay Moore, the film challenges many clichés of gay coming-of-age storylines associated with its genre. “Black queer people navigate our lives while wearing a multitude of masks, depending upon their circumstances,” Moore writes. “The two young actors in this film portray a wide variety of emotion and perspective throughout, helping it feel sympathetic, real, and timely.”
Queer Media Database Canada-Québec presents IL ÉTAIT UNE FOIS DANS L’EST
A masterpiece of Quebec and Queer World Cinema, Andre Brassard’s extraordinary comedic-drama weaves together in Altman-esque fashion a diverse group of characters enmeshed in 1970s Montreal’s queer nightlife, including drag queens, lesbian couples and more. Based on the plays of Michel Tremblay, Il était… has been compared to The Boys in the Band, La Cage aux Folles and Outrageous! but with a more gritty, social realist edge. Canadian queer film critic Thomas Waugh also calls the film “a pioneering manifesto of queer desire...as cruel and exhilarating, loud and tender, as when it was released.” Il était... has almost never been screened in New York since it premiered at MOMA in 1975, so we’re especially thrilled to partner with Queer Media Database Canada-Québec to present a brand-new restoration you won't want to miss.
After almost two decades of writing and revisions, Gus Van Sant shared the screenplay of MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO with Keanu Reeves, who then drove his motorcycle from Canada to Florida in order to hand-deliver the script to River Phoenix. Both actors would go on to star in this landmark film of the New Queer Cinema. The film follows Mike Waters (Phoenix), a narcoleptic street hustler, and his best friend Scott (Reeves) as they journey from Idaho to Italy in search of connection and personal discovery. For tonight’s presenter, award-winning queer theater artist and resident playwright at New Dramatists Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, seeing the film for the first time was transformative. Deen writes, “It opened my mind both to how stories were told, as well as to what stories were told. I can remember vividly the final image of the fish swimming up river, and just staring at it trying to process what I had just seen, knowing I had been moved profoundly by something, and at the same time, not really sure what had happened to me.” Screening on 35mm, this iconic queer adventure movie is not to be missed!
Tiona Nekkia McClodden presents I DON'T WANT TO SLEEP ALONE
I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (Ming-liang Tsai, 2006)
February 12, 2018
Director Tsai Ming-liang (The River), one of the most celebrated Second New Wave film directors of Taiwanese cinema, returned to his birthplace in Malaysia to make I DON’T WANT TO SLEEP ALONE, a romantic drama about a young man who nurses an injured homeless man back to health after being brutally beaten. For tonight’s presenter, visual artist, filmmaker, and curator—Tiona Nekkia McClodden—the film “rocked me to my core with the way it presented desire and loneliness”. McClodden’s work explores and critiques issues at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and social commentary. McClodden writes, “As a queer filmmaker I'm always looking for a way to bend the narrative of my work in a way that challenges the form and structure of film… Ming-liang has taught me how to enter a narrative by leaving what comes before and after up to your imagination.”
Split Britches presents A QUESTION OF SILENCE
A Question of Silence (Marleen Gorris, 1982)
January 8, 2018
Can murder ever be justified? That’s the central question at the heart of this controversial 1981 feminist classic by Marleen Gorris (Antonia's Line). A QUESTION OF SILENCE follows a psychiatrist (Edda Barends) as she interviews three female strangers who mysteriously joined together to kill a male shop owner in a fit of spontaneous rage. The film is a favorite of legendary theater artists Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver, together known as Split Britches (who will be at LaMama ETC with their new show Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) January 4th-22nd). Shaw and Weaver write, “A QUESTION OF SILENCE has had huge impact on our work in terms of finding a queer feminist solution to issues and problems. We always refer to it at some point in our process.” Rarely screened in theaters, Gorris’ film should provoke a fascinating conversation in the wake of the recent surge of the #MeToo movement.