What a great year 2016 has been for books. It’s been especially good when it comes to books by and about queer people. That’s why these outstanding titles in poetry, fiction, non-fiction and even picture books should make holiday shopping a breeze.
Let’s face it queer folks, dance music was never our exclusive domain. Attend an electronic dance music festival or concert and you’re likely to see as many straight people as you’d see at the Vans Warped Tour. Our straight brothers and sisters are not only dancing to it in growing numbers, they’re making it, as well.
Back in 1987 director John Boorman gave us the charming wartime, slice-of-life Hope and Glory which was a semi-autobiographical take on his own childhood growing up in England during World War II. That film had a specific look that made one feel they were watching a film from the 1940s. The new World War II romance Their Finest has that same look and feel, and the results are just as charming.
In 1990, documentary filmmaker Jennie Livingston premiered her film uncovering the wild and unique “Ball Scene” that predominated N.Y.C. Harlem queer culture in the 1980s. Long before Ru Paul became the drag queen zeitgeist, drag royalty – Pepper LaBeija, Angie Xtravaganza, Willi Ninja, and Dorian Corey were tearing up Harlem in a celebration of gender fluidity and protest. The documentary film Paris is Burning is the story of these important pioneers of drag in the years before the AIDS crisis ravaged the gay community. Weekly, contestants would gather in dilapidated gymnasiums and auditoriums in Harlem to compete in runway shows. The politics were complex in this world where queens are divided into “houses” similar to the great fashion houses in Paris (e.g., the House of Chanel). While the competition was intense, the support was endless for these young people wrestling with sexual orientation and gender conformity. It is in Livingston’s film that we learn terms like “werking,” “walking,” and “reading,” as well as the roots of “voguing” long before Madonna hit the dance floor.
President Barack Obama has just designated the area around the Stonewall Inn in New York City as the nation’s first national monument to LGBTQ rights. As you know, The Stonewall Uprising is largely regarded as the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ movement for civil rights. And our Pride celebrations grew out of that movement.
Every single one of John Waters’ movies has its memorable and quotable lines. Mink Stole, an actress who has appeared in every Waters feature has had the privilege of saying many of them. In Serial Mom (Shout! Factory), for instance, as Dottie Hinkle, a woman being relentlessly harassed by someone calling her and spewing a string of obscenities. Dottie finally has her fill and, in a hilarious courtroom scene, unleashes her own nasty mouthful. Serial Mom, in which Stole co-starred alongside Kathleen Turner as the titular murderous mother, holds up well nearly 25 years after its theatrical release, providing plenty of laughs and gross-out moments. I spoke with Stole about the collector’s edition Blu-ray reissue of Serial Mom in April 2017.
REACHING OUT TO THE GAY AND LESBIAN COMMUNITY?
ADVERTISE IN BALTIMORE OUTLOUD WITH PRIDE!
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