Tag Archives: gay cinema

Gay History -April 14: “Oh Connie Casserole!” WATCH: “The Boys In The Band” (1970) HD.

 Mart Crowley’s play, “The Boys in the Band” opened in New York on April 14, 1968, at the off-Broadway Theater Four and ran for 1002 performances before being adapted to a successful motion picture. At a time when gay characters were seldom seen in commercial media except as crude stereotypes, although later in history some in the LGBT community would say that is indeed what Crowley’s play presented

The setup is pure theatrics. A  melange of gay men assemble in the apartment of catholically damaged Michael for   the birthday celebration of Harold a   self-proclaimed “32-year-old ugly pockmarked Jew fairy.” These boys were the last ones chosen for P. E., and the first to survive by wits. Tribal unity has the ironic element of verbal onslaughts as Crowley glories in a subculture’s   artful engagement with its own dialect.

Then came the backlash in the early 1990’s with a revival production by San Francisco’s Theater Rhino company when fearful of the characters images some LGBT advocates denounced it as Uncle Tomism because they were worried about the LGBT organizations attempts to assimilate the community into straight society ignoring what a groundbreaking piece of LGBT history the play was for the 1968.

The Boys in the Band  is among the first major American motion pictures to revolve around gay characters and is often cited as a milestone in the history of LGBT cinema.

Loved by some, hated by others the plot is a simple one:  The film is set in an Upper East Side apartment in New York City in the late 1960s. Michael, a Roman Catholic and recovering alcoholic, is preparing to host a birthday party for his friend Harold. Another of his friends, Donald, a self-described underachiever who has moved from the city, arrives and helps Michael prepare. Alan, Michael’s (presumably straight) old college roommate from Georgetown, calls with an urgent need to see Michael. Michael reluctantly agrees and invites him to come over.

Michael, who believes Alan is a closeted homosexual, begins a telephone game in which the objective is for each guest to call the one person whom he truly believes he has loved. With each call, past scars and present anxieties are revealed. Bernard reluctantly attempts to call the son of his mother’s employer, with whom he’d had a sexual encounter as a teenager, while Emory calls a dentist on whom he’d had a crush while in high school; both Bernard and Emory immediately regret having made the phone calls. Hank and Larry attempt to call one-another (via two separate phone lines in Michael’s apartment). Michael’s plan to “out” Alan with the game appears to backfire when Alan calls his wife, not the male college friend Justin Stewart whom Michael had presumed to be Alan’s lover. As the party ends and the guests depart, Michael collapses into Donald’s arms, sobbing. When he pulls himself together, it appears his life will remain very much the same.

While the movie adaptation originally received less than stellar and even sometimes hostile reviews compared to it’s widely acclaimed play counterpart because of the paradigm shift that happened with the Stonewall riots. Today it is seen as a classic of gay cinema.  Both the play and the movie were  groundbreaking.  Despite the cries of stereotyping. No one had ever seen gay people portrayed so boldly.  In The Boys in the Band, the characters dealt with homophobia whether it was internalized or came from the “straight world”. The Stonewall riots pushed gays to fight back against homophobia and not to be complacent. While the play opened in 1968, one year before the Stonewall Riots, by the time the movie adaptation was released in 1970, the gay liberation movement had moved past complacency and wanted more than what The Boys in the Band had to offer.

Bill Weber from Slant Magazine wrote “The party-goers are caught in the tragedy of the pre-liberation closet, a more crippling and unforgiving one than the closets that remain.”

The Boys in the Band showed how we, as gay men, queers, fairies, faggots and homosexuals were not alone and while compelling  and at times brutally grim at times, it is a view into the dark night of the per-Stonewall gay soul.

The Boys in the Band is the essential gay drama and a piece of our history that gay person should experience.

Watch the FULL 1970 movie below.

B2S's Friday Night Movie - WATCH "Parting Glances" (1986) Starring: Steve Buscemi

B2S’s Friday Night Movie – WATCH “Parting Glances” (1986) Starring: Steve Buscemi

Parting Glances (1986) takes a realistic look at urban gay life in the Ronald Reagan era and at the height of the AIDS crisis, many film critics consider it an important film in the history of gay cinema. It was also one of the first American films to address the AIDS pandemic. 

As Michael and Robert, a gay couple in New York, prepare for Robert’s departure for a two-year work assignment in Africa, Michael must face Robert’s true motives for leaving while dealing with their circle of eccentric friends, including Nick, who is living with AIDS.

Parting Glances gave Steve Buscemi his first major movie role. “It is to both his and the film’s credit,” wrote Janet Maslin in her New York Times review, “that the anguish of AIDS is presented as part of a larger social fabric, understood in context, and never in a maudlin light.

"Buddies" The First Feature Movie About The AIDS Epidemic Restored After 33 Years

“Buddies” The First Feature Movie About The AIDS Epidemic Restored After 33 Years – TRAILER

“Buddies,” was the first feature film about AIDS released in 1985, preceding An Early Frost  by two months.  It was a snapshot of the incredible struggle and fight between life and death for gay men in New York City during the darkest hours of the epidemic.

The movie made its debut at the Castro Theater in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 1985, and then went on to independent art-house runs in New York, Boston, Chicago and other cities before being lost and forgotten for over 30 years.

“Buddies” is about  Robert (Geoff Edholm), a 32-year-old gay man dying of AIDS, who is visited at the hospital by David (David Schachter), a 25-year-old volunteer “buddy.” Man gay men (and lesbians) volunteered as “buddies” in New York City to take care for the many gay men who were alone and came down with the deadly disease . Robert and David develop a friendship that eventually becomes intimate. The film ends with Robert’s death; David, emboldened by Robert’s activist spirit, pickets the White House.(Ronald Reagan who was President at that time turned his back on thousands of gay men who were dying from the dreaded disease.)

Vinegar Syndrome, in collaboration with the Bressan Project, has released a new digital restoration of “Buddies.” on Blu-ray/DVD via Vinegar Syndrome and  Amazon and o plans are underway to make it available for streaming next year through Frameline Distribution.

The film is also available for exhibition at film festivals, colleges and other venues via Frameline Distribution — just click here for more info.

*HT to NYC gay activist Christopher Leonard

 

Forgotten Gay Cinema – WATCH: The Dead Boys Club (1992) – Short Film

Writer-director Mark Christopher who would go on to make the feature film 54, won praise Christopher won praise for Dead Boys Club, a short film about a young gay man living in New York, haunted by visions of the gay scene in the 70’s, and a generation lost to AIDS.

It’s the early 1990s. Toby, just out of college in Wisconsin, comes to Manhattan to spend the summer with his older cousin, Packard, a gay man whose lover John R. has just died of AIDS. Toby is shy, the openly-gay society around him makes him nervous. Packard gives Toby a pair of John R.’s shoes; when Toby puts them on, he has powerful visions of the pre-AIDS scene in the 1970s, as if he’s there. He also takes on a different personality when he wears the shoes, more sure of himself, able to express his interest in men.

 

Gay History Month: WATCH “The Lavender Lens: A Hundred Years of Celluloid Queers” – Video

In David Johnson’s The Lavender Lens: 100 Years of Celluloid Queers, we see gay characters haunting the corners of the film frame.

“An enticing compilation” Richard Corliss. Time magazine: “Rare archival film footage unseen in decades and a very high camp sensibility.”- “Funnier and Smarter than “Celluloid Closet

An amazing assortment of film clips from silent film to the 1990’s that document our history on the screen.

Weekend — Trailer


From writer and filmmaker Andrew Haigh comes ‘Weekend’. Audience Award winner at South By Southwest, this is a interesting look into gay life, casual sex, and what may come. From the website:

A one-night stand that becomes something more – an unconventional love story between two young men trying to make sense of their lives.

On a Friday night after hanging out with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a nightclub, alone and on the pull. Just before closing time he picks up Glen. And so begins a weekend – in bars and in bedrooms, getting drunk and taking drugs, telling stories and having sex – that will resonate throughout their lives.


I cannot recommend this film enough! I was lucky enough to see it in London, and fell in love with it. If you get the opportunity, do see it.

WEEKEND – Best Gay Film of the Year?

“Winner of Audience Awards at both SXSW and Outfest 2011 and the opening night selection of Brooklyn’s acclaimed BAMcinemafest, WEEKEND is a startlingly authentic love story, featuring the talents of two incredible new actors and the unique work of a fresh new voice in filmmaking, Andrew Haigh.

After meeting one lonely Friday night at a bar, Russell (Tom Cullen) and Glen (Chris New) find themselves caught up in an lost weekend full of sex, drugs, and intimate conversation. Although they have conflicting ideas of what it is they want from life and certainly how to get it, they form a startling emotional connection that will resonate throughout their lives.”


Sources The Advocate and Sundance.