Ladyfest Philadelphia Film Series!
Wednesday, May 1
16mm Short Film Screening
at AUX (319 N. 11th Street, 3rd floor)
8:00 PM; Free (donations welcome)
The first screening in the series consists of short 16mm films by women made before 1980. These classics include the first film by an openly lesbian filmmaker (Barbara Hammer’s Dyketactics), innovative computer animation techniques pioneered by Bell Labs artist-in-residence Lillian Schwartz and the sarcastic Pop Art shorts of Gunvor Nelson. The films will be projected in their original 16mm format.
Friday, May 10
Ladies and Gentlemen… The Fabulous Stains
at International House Philadelphia (3701 Chestnut Street)
8:00 PM; $9 general admission, $7 students/seniors, Free for IHP membersBuy tickets
Directed by Lou Adler, US, 1982, 35mm, 87 minutes — rare 35mm archival print!
With an introduction by rock critic Sara Sherr
The original riot grrl film, Ladies and Gentlemen… The Fabulous Stains was tepidly made and not-actually-released by Paramount in the early 1980s. A tumultuous production and disastrous preview showings led the film to be shelved. When it later ended up on late-night TV and in repertory theaters it became a cult hit, inspiring rockers like Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill and Courtney Love to pick up their instruments.
Recently orphaned Corrine “Third Degree” Burns (a 14-year-old Diane Lane) enlists her cousin (Laura Dern) and sister to launch a punk rock band, The Stains. Three rehearsals later, the band scores the opening slot on a cross-country tour with aging metal act The Metal Corpses and British punk rockers The Looters. The Stains meteoric rise—and equally lightening-quick fall—owes more to TV exposure than to talent. Featuring real-life punks (Paul Simenon of The Clash, Steve Jones and Paul Cook of The Sex Pistols), outrageous fashions and The Stains’ post-punk hits “Waste of Time” and “Join the Professionals,”Ladies and Gentlemen…The Fabulous Stains is a sarcastic and hilarious look at the early 1980s punk scene.
Sara Sherr is a Philadelphia-based rock critic and host of Sugar Town, a 12-year-old monthly music series for female and female-identified musicians, performers, and DJ’s. She co-ran independent booking agency Plain Parade from 2002-2006 and is an organizer for the Phreak N Queer Arts & Music Festival and Ladyfest Philadelphia.
Friday, May 17
The Watermelon Woman
at AUX (319 N. 11th Street, 3rd floor)
8:00 PM; Free (donations welcome)
Directed by Cheryl Dunye, US, 1997, DVD, 85 min.
Cheryl Dunye’s debut feature is as controversial as it is sexy and funny. Cheryl is a twenty-something black lesbian working as a clerk in a video store while struggling to make a documentary about Fae Richards, an obscure black actress from the 1930’s. Cheryl is surprised to discover that Richards (known popularly as “the Watermelon Woman”) had a white lesbian lover. At the same time, Cheryl falls in love with a very cute white customer at the video store (Guinevere Turner from Go Fish).
Such are the complexities of race and sex in this startlingly fresh debut, which has been attacked by conservative Congressmen for having been funded by the NEA and lavishingly praised in the editorial pages for being charming and courageous.
Thursday, May 23
Women’s Cinema in the 21st Century
at AUX (319 N. 11th Street, 3rd floor)
8:00 PM; Free (donations welcome)
The final evening in the Ladyfest Film Series, this program highlights recent perspectives on gender oppression, liberation and contemporary cinema. Multiple experiences are represented in the selection of short films by directors from Eastern Europe, France and the US. All made in the 21st century.
Black Gay Pride Festival
When: April 21-28
Where: Various locations in Philadelphia
More info: www.phillyblackpride.org
From parties and poetry slams to networking and dating events and more, Philadelphia’s Black Gay Pride Festival, now in its 14th year, is set to take place from Sunday, April 21 to Sunday, April 28.
The weeklong festival begins with the Mr. and Miss Philadelphia Black Gay Pride Pageant on April 21 at 7 p.m. at the Philadelphia Ethical Society. Watch some of Philadelphia’s finest strut their stuff down the runway in hopes of being crowned Mr. or Miss Philadelphia all while enjoying drinks and snacks from vendors. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.
A handful of festival events encourage youth engagement, as well. On Monday, April 22 at 7 p.m., young people ages 13 to 29 are invited to learn, hang out and even get tested (those who are tested are entered to win a brand new tablet) at the Youth Round-Up event.
Fans of reality personality NeNe Leakes should take note, too. The star of The Real Housewives of Atlanta,Glee, The New Normal and The Apprentice is set to join in the fun with an appearance at Devotion nightclub (formerly Shampoo) on Saturday, April 27 at 10 p.m.
The full schedule of events is available here.
Bonus: Discounted hotel rooms are available for festival guests at the Double Tree Hotel.
Love and Money:
A Reading by Lisa Henderson
When: Monday April 22, 2013. 5 pm
Where: Giovanni’s Room Bookstore (345 S. 12th Street, Center City)
NOTE: In this book, Henderson has a wonderful reading of By Hook or By Crook!
Love and Money argues that we can’t understand contemporary queer cultures without looking through the lens of social class. Resisting old divisions between culture and economy, identity and privilege, left and queer, recognition and redistribution, Love and Money offers supple approaches to capturing class experience and class form in and around queerness. Contrary to familiar dismissals, not every queer television or movie character is like Will Truman on Will and Grace–rich, white, healthy, professional, detached from politics, community, and sex. Through ethnographic encounters with readers and cultural producers and such texts as Boys Don’t Cry, Brokeback Mountain, By Hook or By Crook, and wedding announcements in the New York Times, Love and Money sees both queerness and class across a range of idioms and practices in everyday life. How, it asks, do readers of Dorothy Allison’s novels use her work to find a queer class voice? How do gender and race broker queer class fantasy? How do independent filmmakers cross back and forth between industry and queer sectors, changing both places as they go and challenging queer ideas about bad commerce and bad taste? With an eye to the nuances and harms of class difference in queerness and a wish to use culture to forge queer and class affinities, Love and Money returns class and its politics to the study of queer life.
Lisa Henderson is the author of Love and Money: Queers, Class, and Cultural Production (NYU, $23 pb).
Monica Enriquez-Enriquez’s work brings up a lot of ideas about the intersection of queerness and nationality, but very specifically, it deals with the process of changing nationalities as a queer person. That issue seems to be really generally overlooked by both immigration reform activists and gay activists.
Of course, the HRC has no stance on the issue, but what I think I’ve found most surprising was actually how resistant to it most immigration reform organizations were. As Timothy Randazzo points out, “While it is still difficult for many gay, lesbian, and transgender immigrants to find support and advocacy from gay and lesbian rights organizations, neither can they always rely on immigration organizations and attorneys.” Major organizations like FAIR ignore queer people almost entirely. In fact, I’ve personally had many conversations with leaders of immigration reform organizations who have said explicitly that they would not include queer people in their platform or even acknowledge support from queer organizations, because they felt it damaged their campaigns. (The strategy has for a long time been to focus on highly religious communities, because they tend to have the most power in the South where immigration is most relevant. Queer acceptance then posed a threat to relationships with those communities.) Obviously, that’s terrible and it’s bullshit and it’s yielding to the politics of respectability and it’s not equality and it’s something that no reasonable social justice activist should support, but it’s real, and in the eyes of straight people, it is a good thing.
In class we touched a little bit on how being queer will almost certainly negatively affect a person’s chances at asylum, even though it’s a reason to be granted asylum. If you aren’t the right kind of gay or the right kind of beaten, you probably won’t be able to stick around. Extending the conversation further, though, immigration is hard for queers, period. Certain paths of citizenship like marriage and childbearing are basically non-options for queer people, and the discrimination in housing, healthcare and employment that queer people face will make it significantly harder for them to carve a path. Finally, the “invisibility” of the queer community may make it more difficult for queer immigrants to find people they can relate to, in a way that is not true for, say, African immigrants. So then the issue for queer activists (or immigration activists, or anti-racists, or feminists, etc.) is to recognize the common aspects of our struggle and work together. Equality for some is not equality.
Randazzo believes that LGBT activists should be concerned about immigration reform because “even seemingly neutral policies… have a disproportionately harsh impact on gay, lesbian, and transgender asylum seekers,” and because the inclusion of queer discourse in immigration brings “issues of sexual orientation and gender identity to the forefront of legal and public discourse.” Additionally, in Enriquez-Enriquez’s piece, un/binding desires, the voiceovers reveal the way that oppression of queer people is frequently compounded by insecure national identity. One interviewee reflects on his reluctance to embrace his sexual desires because of the judgment or shame he originally felt for his difference (though he did ultimately learn to appreciate difference). Another interviewee expresses the difficulty of accepting her queerness while in a foreign country and realizing that in order to stay she would need to marry her transsexual partner. This caused problems not only for the interviewee who was basically forced into marriage, but for her partner whose transsexuality was inspected in order to verify its authenticity, which is absurd and invasive.
Tackling further issues of intersectionality in immigration, Rachel Lewis addresses the issues of lesbians and queer women. Because of cultural standards that deny many women access to public forums, travel, or autonomy, women around the world are often not given the credit that men are when trying to defend themselves in court. Laws are inherently biased against women. When trying to immigrate, and especially when seeking asylum, that misogyny evinces itself. As Lewis explains,
“lesbians… file fewer asylum claims than gay men, making it more difficult for asylum advocates to invoke legal precedents in the context of lesbian asylum cases…. Unlike gay male asylum applicants, many of whom experience traditional human rights violations in the public sphere, the limited information we possess about lesbians internationally suggests that they are particularly vulnerable to abuse in the private sphere at the hands of non-state agents.”
This creates a serious dilemma and revelation in queer immigration (and queer rights, in general) of how we even define what an abuse is. Is the economic disadvantage that LGBT people face not just as real as the physical abuse they experience? Are private human rights violations less real than public ones? Going back to the concept of seemingly neutral policies, we’re forced to understand that no policy in our world is really neutral. The very foundational structures of our societies serve to advantage some people and disadvantage others; they serve to normalize some experiences and not others. When you inhabit a marginalized body, you are essentially a foreign object. Immigration and asylum is in a sense, the ultimate act of assimilation. It is literally giving up one legal identity in favor of another. But what if it didn’t have to be? What if immigration could allow for difference? I think that’s the ultimate queer thrust of this issue.
Lewis, Rachel (2010). “The Cultural Politics of Lesbian Asylum.” International Feminist Journal of Politics, 12:3, 424-443.
Randazzo, Timothy. “Social and Legal Barriers: Sexuality Orientation and Asylum in the United States.” Queer Migrations: Sexuality, U.S. Citizenship, and Border Crossings. Eds. Eithne Luibheid and Lionel Cantú Jr. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.
The Dangerous Life: Being Mythic in America
Friday, March 29
Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College
Hear Dorothy Allison speak in an event hosted by Gender & Sexuality Studies in collaboration with the Swarthmore College Queer and Trans Conference. Dorothy Allison is an award-winning author and longtime feminist and queer activist. She has won two Lambda Literary Awards, the American Library Association Prize for Lesbian and Gay Writing, and the Ferro Grumley prize. Her newest novel, She Who, is forthcoming from Penguin Putnam. The talk will be followed by a reception.
Reelblack Presents EARLY WORK (Philly Edition) 4/22 at Cinedelphia Film Festival
Monday, April 22, 2013, 7:00 PM
REELBLACK presents EARLY WORK
A compilation of student films by Philly-based filmmakers of color, curated by Reelblack.
at PhilaMOCA 531 N. 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123
EARLY WORK features films by Reelblack Founder Mike D, Chinonye Chukwu (AlaskaLand), Rel Dowdell (Changing The Game), Tanya Hamilton (Night Catches Us) and Nadine Patterson (Tango Macbeth). All have gone on to make feature films and will be on hand to discuss how film school and short filmmaking proved to be an integral step in their development. Most of these films have not been shown on the big screen since their original festival runs and are not available on YouTube.
The program will feature:
- THE HARDEST PART (1994, NYU, Dir. Michael Dennis, 11 min, 16mm)
- THE KILLERS (1995, Columbia University, Dir. Tanya Hamilton, 20 Minutes, DVD)
- TRAIN RIDE (1996, Boston University, Dir. Rel Dowdell, 30 min, 16mm)
- RELEASE (2005, London Film School, Dir. Nadine Patterson, 13 min, DVD)
- THE DANCE LESSON (2010, Temple U., Dir. Chinonye Chukwu, 14 min, DVD)