For seven years I had an apartment on Christopher St. and Bleecker in New York’s West Village just one and a half blocks from the historic Stonewall Inn, site of the first riots for gay rights and birthplace of the Gay Liberation Front. Although there was a pretty good drama (Stonewall) that came out 15-years ago, it’s great that a proper documentary finally got these stories on tape to set the record straight. I really look forward to seeing this film.
“It was the Rosa Parks moment,” says one man. June 28, 1969: NYC police raid a Greenwich Village Mafia-run gay bar, The Stonewall Inn. For the first time, patrons refuse to be led into paddy wagons, setting off a 3-day riot that launches the Gay Rights Movement.
Told by Stonewall patrons, reporters and the cop who led the raid, Stonewall Uprising recalls the bad old days when psychoanalysts equated homosexuality with mental illness and advised aversion therapy, and even lobotomies; public service announcements warned youngsters against predatory homosexuals; and police entrapment was rampant. At the height of this oppression, the cops raid Stonewall, triggering nights of pandemonium with tear gas, billy clubs and a small army of tactical police. The rest is history.
Long after I’d given up hope of seeing anything even close to a principled stand by a Republican, something incredible happened. It’s amazing to me that the party responsible for my wonderment is the same attorney who represented George Bush in the Bush v. Gore election caper, former Solicitor General, Theodore Olson.
Last year, Ted Olson joined with David Boies, the opposing lawyer in Bush v. Gore, and a staunch Democrat, to bring a federal lawsuit against Perry v. Schwarzenegger challenging Proposition 8, the California constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage. This odd couple of ideologically opposed lawyers, of course prevailed in overturning Prop. 8.
This morning on Fox News Sunday, Olson appeared with Chris Wallace to discuss the recent defeat of Prop 8 in a California courtroom. I find Chris Wallace to be the single toadiest, most craven, ass-licking employee of Fox News. That’s really saying something, I realize, but Chris Wallace is a nauseating one-man wind-up toy of Republican talking points. He’s not a journalist, he’s a weenie. He’s not a conservative, he’s a Republican and as Olson proves in the following clip, there is a very big difference between the two. Republicans used to have a credible reputation for being anti-statist and wanting to keep the government off the backs of the people and out of their lives. That was then and this is now. Now, who the fuck knows what they stand for except for the interests of the ruling class and abject stupidity? If the Republicans got smart and ran someone brilliant like Olson instead of ignoramuses like Sharron Angle and Sarah Palin, maybe they’d have a chance in general elections, but that’s not going to happen, not for a long time:
Olson: (to Wallace) Well, would you like your right to free speech? Would you like Fox’s right to free press put up to a vote and say well, if five states approved it, let’s wait till the other 45 states do? These are fundament constitutional rights. The Bill of Rights guarantees Fox News and you, Chris Wallace, the right to speak. It’s in the constitution. And the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the denial of our citizens of the equal rights to equal access to justice under the law, is a violation of our fundamental rights. Yes, it’s encouraging that many states are moving towards equality on the basis of sexual orientation, and I’m very, very pleased about that. … We can’t wait for the voters to decide that that immeasurable harm, that is unconstitutional, must be eliminated.
By 1937, surrealism was in its second decade as a movement. Its artists and filmmakers were making inroads into London and New York galleries, and becoming media stars. The surrealist bug also bit on the West Coast, and underground gatherings like the Hollywood Film and Foto League screened European avant-garde films regularly.
Such gatherings attracted politically minded actor Harry Hay and Works Progress Administration (WPA) photographers Roger Barlow and LeRoy Robbins. After seeing a magazine ad for a short film contest, these jokers sprung into action, making Even—As You and I, a short depicting themselves as broke filmmakers who cobble together clichés from their fave avant-garde films into a dorky film-within-a-film spoof called The Afternoon of a Rubber Band. In a “D’oh!”-style ending, the three realize they’ve missed the contest’s midnight deadline.
A damn clever little underground film moment. Hay—the curly-haired guy in the group—would go on to become the godfather of gay activism, founding the Mattachine Society in the early’50s and the Radical Faeries in the early ‘70s.
Nothing like a good banning to warm an old gay punk’s heart—especially in the internet age. Looks like Australia’s classification of Toronto-based filmmaker Bruce LaBruce’s latest bit of hardcore underground gay gore, L.A. Zombie as pornography has prevented it from being screened at the Melbourne Film Festival. According to Melbourne talk-radio station 3AW, LaBruce couldn’t be happier:
‘‘My first thought was ‘Eureka!’… I’ll never understand how censors don’t see that the more they try to suppress a film, the more people will want to see it. It gives me a profile I didn’t have yesterday.’’
Virtually all of LaBruce’s films—from the skinhead-fetishizing No Skin off My Ass from 1991 through to the political-porno-zombie flick Otto; or Up With Dead People—have managed to shock and scandalize straights and gays alike with their violence and satirical stereotyping. It’s good to know there are some areas in the Western world that aren’t immune.