Same Sex/Different Sex: Queer Identity and Culture

April 29, 2012, 5:00PM
Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028

Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, Screening 24

Special thanks to Kristin Pepe, Outfest; the Getty Research Institute; Anthology Film Archives

The show is free!  Two screenings.  7:30 is already full with reservations, so we have added a 5:00.  Reservations recommended, and will be held until 7:15 pm on show night, at which time they will be released to anyone present.  (or 4:45 for the first show)  Some tickets will become available at the door due to no-shows.

For the film details, please see the 7:30 screening.

Reservations available at

From the 1950s through the 1980s, underground film was an avenue for artistic self-expression for lesbian and gay artists, and also occasionally provided a way for LGBT people to see representations of themselves without persecution.  But the cultural climate changed dramatically over the decades, with the closeted screenings for friends of the earlier period changing to public screenings and well-advertised events.  For example, in 1957 and 1964, the exhibitors at the Coronet Theater and the Cinema Theater respectively were each arrested by the Los Angeles Police for exhibiting obscene works, and both times the police were primarily targeting films with homorerotic (but not explicit) content – Fireworks by Kenneth Anger and Voices by John Schmitz in 1957; Scorpio Rising by Anger in 1964.  Both times the exhibitor was originally convicted, but the conviction overturned in Los Angeles Country Superior Court.  [We’ll be exhibiting the films from 1957 in an upcoming show on Raymond Rohauer and the Coronet Theater.]

By the late 1960s, after various court cases (up to the U.S. Supreme Court), such police action was no longer prevalent.  The 1970s and 1980s brought the rise of identity politics, creating new venues for self-expression.  There soon resulted healthy numbers of works with Queer Identity and culture as the subject by makers such as Pat Rocco, and multiple artists from the Woman’s Building – documentaries; fantasies; activist works; news reporting; experimental films – a full range of media art showing the lives and conflicts and creativity of LGBT artists – a point of view not found in mainstream media of the time.

This program starts with a little-known work from 1962, made by Robert Chatterton, who was also a prominent underground film exhibitor.  Taylor Mead, on one of his occasional visits to Los Angeles, acted in two films by Chatterton, including Passion in a Seaside Slum.  Brought to our attention by Marc Siegel in the Alternative Projections symposium in 2010, Filmforum arranged for the preservation of Passion in a Seaside Slum with the generous support of the National Film Preservation Foundation and the Film Foundation.  This is the premiere screening of this new print.  We are also screening a remarkable short documentary made by Penelope Spheeris and lesbian public service announcements from the Woman’s Building in the 1970s. 

See articles in the LA Weekly and the LA Times!,0,4532498.story

More films to be added!