Posts tagged ‘gay history’
Here is the trailer for the new film Milk about the life of LGBT hero Harvey Milk. Harvey was the first openly gay person elected to office in the U.S. when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. The film, which opens in November, is one of the few gay films to have a big Hollywood budget.
Milk and S.F. Mayor George Moscone were murdered by Supervisor Dan White in 1978. White’s legal defense team at the time claimed that depression and the consumption of a large amount of junk food diminished White’s mental capacities and therefore he was not capable of premeditating the murders. Because of what became known as the “Twinkie defense”, White was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder and sentenced to seven years in prison.
Sean Penn plays Harvey Milk, James Franco play Scott Smith, Harvey’s partner and Emile Hirsch plays activist Cleve Jones who would later go on to found the AIDS Quilt.
As an antidote to the straight-washed version of history foisted on us by traditional media and educational institutions, I present to you 10 Gay Documentaries Everyone Should See. These ten films only begin to scratch the surface of the rich and amazing history of LGBT people. Find out more at the GLBT Historical Society.
If you have other suggestions of gay documentaries that people should see, leave the titles in the comments section.
1. Before Stonewall – shows that gay history did not begin with the Stonewall Riots, but in fact existed far before it. Through the use of archival footage and interviews, the film shows vividly what life was like when gays were forced to hide their sexuality for fear of reprisals.
1. The Celluloid Closet
2. Big Eden
3. Sordid Lives
4. Touch of Pink
6. Parting Glances
7. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
8. Gods and Monsters
9. The Sum of Us
10. The Full Monty
11. And The Band Played On
12. The Laramie Project
Following up on my list of 10 Books Every Gay Boy Should Read, here are 10 Films Every Gay Boy Should See.
This list is in no particular order and captures some of the most diverse images of gay men on film. There are undoubtedly other films that have special meaning to you, please share them in the comments.
1. Gay Sex in the 70s – is a fascinating look at gay life in NYC after the Stonewall riots in the period often referred to as the golden era of gay sexual liberation before the AIDS epidemic unleashed its hellacious fury on gay men.
I’ve often thought of how great it would be have a gay version of Big Brothers/Big Sisters in which older gay men would mentor younger gay men as they grew from bois to (ideally) healthy and happy gay/bi men. The papa gay would help the baby gay through the coming out process and learn about gay history, gay culture and the crucial differences between Madonna and Britney and Christina.
Unfortunately this kind of program does not exist and I don’t have the smarts ie the cash to make it happen. I do have a gorgeous MacBook and the public square that is the gayosphere. Hence my list of 10 (Non-Fiction) Books Every Gay Boy Should Read.
Mel Cheren, widely consider the “Godfather of Disco”, died on Friday at the age of 74 of AIDS related complications. Mel was the founder of West End Records, which released some of the pioneering records in disco music, and of the legendary dance club Paradise Garage:
From the New York Sun:
In 1977, Cheren and his companion, Michael Brody, opened the Paradise Garage, a seminal nightclub on King Street in the West Village in a former parking garage — a ramp led up to the dance floor. Smoke machines and music videos lurked in the corners and one of the most sophisticated sound systems in the city pumped out DJ Larry Levan’s selections. As it was a private club and sold no alcohol, the dancing could continue far into the night, sometimes even until noon the next day. The endless throbbing at Paradise Garage is often cited as a precursor to house music and similar modern styles. Despite the onset of AIDS and the “death to disco” or “disco sucks” movement of the early 1980s, the Paradise Garage managed to stay open until 1987. Today it is again a garage.
Mel also was widely known for HIV/AIDS advocacy including helping to build gay Men’s Health Crisis and founding 24 Hours for Life in 1987 to raise critically needed funds for HIV prevention and education.
In his memoirs My Life and the Paradise Garage, Mel tells what he calls “a story of my gay generation, the world we built, and the world we lost.”
Its easy these days of openly LGBT elected officials, celebrities, athletes and gay kids coming out at younger and younger ages to forget just how important disco was to the development of gay culture and the creation of a stronger, more vibrant and more visible community. Check out this clip from a BBC documentary called Love Saves the Day: The Birth of Disco for a glimpse of the connection between the gay liberation movement and disco music. The clip does not mention Mel, but his influence on disco and gay culture is something that should never be forgotten.
Much love: Joe. My. God.
Frank Kameny, the seminal gay activist who coined the phrase “gay is good,” released a blistering letter in response to Tom Brokaw’s new book Boom! Voices of the Sixties. In his book, which probably should be called Boom! Voices of the Absolutely Not Gay Sixties, Brokaw white washes the social movements of the Sixties of any hint of gayness.
Brokaw ignores the amazing work of Kameny, Harry Hay, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. He fails to include the sexual orientations of crucial leaders in other political movements such as Black activist Bayard Rustin who was a key figure in the organizing of the 1963 March on Washington.
Thank God for Frank. He comes to the rescue and schools Brokaw in some of the key gay events and activists in American gay history in the letter that you can read below:
November 26, 2007
Mr. Tom Brokaw
c/o Random House Publishing Group
Ms. Gina Centrello
Random House Publishing Group
Ms. Kate Medina
Executive Editorial Director
Random House Publishing Group
New York, New York, 10019
Dear Mr. Brokaw and Mmes. Centrello and Medina:
As a long-time gay activist, who initiated gay activism and militancy at the very start of “your” Sixties, in 1961; coined the slogan “Gay is Good” in 1968; and is viewed by many as one of the “Founding Fathers” of the Gay Movement, I write with no little indignation at the total absence of any slightest allusion to the gay movement for civil equality in your book “Boom! Voices of the Sixties”. Your book simply deletes the momentous events of that decade which led to the vastly altered and improved status of gays in our culture today. This change would have been inconceivable at the start of the Sixties and would not have
occurred at all without the events of that decade totally and utterly ignored by you. Mr. Brokaw, you have “de-gayed” the entire decade. “Voices of the Sixties”??? One does not hear even one single gay voice in your book. The silence is complete and deafening.