This will be shown as part of the Women Over 50 Film Festival in Brighton, UK October 1, 2016.
Sep 18 2016
This will be shown as part of the Women Over 50 Film Festival in Brighton, UK October 1, 2016.
Sep 10 2016
Shoddy sensationalist press trying to discredit Scottish Queer International Film Festival for the festival’s porn workshop
“Faggot Girl Gets Busy in The Bathroom”
“Like A Riot”
“Like A Riot” 2m
Here’s a rundown of some of my activities this summer, and some festivals coming up in the fall. (In reverse order of things happening.)
I was able to catch my friend Saul in Philadelphia, and he let me record him and Veronica talking about Informe-SIDA. They tell the story of how their HIV/AIDS information service began — in Texas, where consensual gay male sex was illegal, and there were no health services in Spanish. That is just the kind of history that I try to make sure doesn’t get lost. I hope someone will make an even bigger/better record of their important and lifesaving work. I started Dykeumentary as a way to make a record of people, especially my queer friends, in their own words, and owned by them.
I am working on my first commissioned movie! Wotever DIY Film Festival, based in London, asked me to make a Faggotgirl short to play at their 2016 festival, happening the DIY Space For London September 3-4, 2016 — an accessible venue! I’m flattered and I am happy that I have made a movie that addresses the issue of bathrooms AND accessibility. Everyone has bathrooms on the brain because of the hateful North Carolina HB2 bill, and I figured while we are thinking about bodies in bathtrooms, why not use the political will of this moment to make sure truly ALL bodies enjoy the privacy and accessibility of public restrooms?
My movie “Like A Riot” was chosen to show at Wotever DIY Film Festival on 3-4 September 2016, and the Scottish Queer International Film Festival, in Glasgow, Scotland on September 29 – Ocotober 2, 2016, to be shown as part of their feminist shorts program. Hilarious. They sent me laurels and everything. I wish I could go, I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland.
This weekend,“Faggotgirl Does(n’t Do) The MTA” showed at GAZE International LGBT Film Festival in Dublin, Ireland, as an example of Wotever DIY films. The WDIYFF has been doing an outstanding (and international) job of promoting DIY film, and I am very appreciative of their work. I’m happy that something I made showed in Ireland, because both sides of my family emigrated (unhappily) to America from Ireland in the 20th century, as Roman Catholics from the British-controlled northern counties. I hope they are all having a good laugh and a drink that their great/granddaughter is poking fun at oppressive abuses of power.
There was also this big lezbo camping fest, LFEST, that i absolutely MUST go to one day, and Theresa Heath curated the film tent. She showed “The Genesis of Butch and Femme” and reported that the audience laughed at all the appropriate places!! Triumph!
AND “Until Justice Rolls” was shown in Scotland as part of “Queers In The City” curated by SQIFF. “A selection of shorts looking at the relationship of LGBTQ+ people to cities. In depicting anonymous cruising, lamenting gentrification, showing cities as a backdrop to loneliness and personal pain, and creating comedy subversion of urban imagery, these films recognise the unique place of queers in the city space. Featuring work by both international and local artists plus a filmmaker Q&A”
“Until Justice Rolls” was an Honorable Mention at the Superhero Film Festival, but other than that, I’ve been rejected from 23 film festivals. Becky and Ellen laugh at me every time I am sad to be rejected, and now that its happened so many times, I understand what they were saying.
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We believe that the honoring of GOAL is antithetical to the spirit and history of Pride, which grew out of the commemoration of the Stonewall riot — a riot against police violence — started by black and brown trans women and drag queens, who were then and continue to be the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community.
This choice is not only grossly ironic. It also participates in a revision of history that erases queer and trans resistance to state violence as well as the ways in which the majority of queer and trans people have had to literally fight for survival in a system that has used every mechanism, including and particularly policing, to marginalize and harm us.
It is our understanding that GOAL grew out of a desire to recruit LGBTQ individuals to the police force. We are aware that institutionalized and interpersonal workplace transphobia, homophobia, and racism harm LGBTQ police officers. We support all queer and trans people in their struggle for freedom from violence and oppression. However, we refute the notion that LGBTQ cops’ ability to be out on the job is a measure of our movement’s progress, when the police, as an institution, continue to carry out racist and transphobic violence.
Just last month, the Boston Pride Parade revoked the invitation for an openly gay police officer to serve as a grand marshal after it was discovered that the officer had written racist messages online shaming poor residents of Boston. As civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer said, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
In the midst of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which affirms the value of black life and fights anti-black racism and police violence, choosing GOAL as the grand marshals for 2016 is a move that is at best privileged and isolated, and at worst directly undermines this critical work. It indicates a disturbing lack of awareness for the existence of marginalized queer and trans people of color and ignores both the symbolic and practical consequences of such a decision.
The Pride festival at Penn’s Landing is already financially inaccessible to many due to its entrance fee, but to literally place the police (gay or not) at the front of the parade through the gayborhood into the Pride celebration creates an environment that is unwelcoming and even unsafe for many members of our community. Additionally, it creates yet another barrier to accessing the critical resources available at Pride, such as free condoms, HIV testing, case managers, and information on community organizations for those who need them the most — including LGBTQ youth.
So, as the theme of this year’s Pride celebration is, “Are You Connected?” we ask the organizers of Philly Pride Presents: What connections do you value? For at least the second year in a row, the marshals and friends of the parade have been chosen from the same pool of people, primarily centered in Center City and City Hall. Yet Philadelphia does not lack for inspiring leaders who are creating a new vision for the future. We are fortunate to have LGBTQ communities full of people and organizations doing transformative work to improve the lives of LGBTQ people, to create more space for marginalized voices, and to work towards a world with greater freedom from violence for us all.
It is for these reasons that we cannot condone Philly Pride Presents’ celebration of an institution that continually targets queer and trans people of color with deadly state violence. Instead, as stated above, we urge the staff and volunteers of Philly Pride Presents to rescind this decision, as well as listen to and engage with members of our communities who are working to dismantle the root causes of violence and create a new future for queer and trans liberation.
Dean Spade is an Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law and the author of “Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law.”
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“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.” – Audre Lorde
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I’m also blessed to enjoy some personal success (in these troubled times). I made the cover art for Dr. Rebecca K Givan’s book, published by Cornell University Press.
I’ve been working very hard on a remake of Todd Haynes’ film “Carol.” I hope it will premier in London this summer, and so I haven’t made it available yet.
The panel features Hye Yun Park creator and star of Hey Yun; Jen Richards, writer, producer, and star of Her Story; Sara Zia Ebrahimi (LTA ’14, ACG ’11, ’09) writer and director of Bailout, activist; Tayarisha Poe (ACG ‘15,’ 14) writer and director of Selah and the Spades: an Overture; And activist, Sharron Cooks will speak about the media representation of transgender women. Moderated by Laura Deutsch (ACG ’10), Director of Education & Production at PhillyCAM.
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Feb 08 2016
Hello all, and I hope you are enjoying this mild winter as much as I am.
So it is difficult to focus on making movies during this time of intense eldercare. I have been writing screenplays and fiddling around with a remake of “Carol” when I have a few moments to myself. I also signed up for Film Freeway and so have been sending my videos to festivals for consideration. I am most excited for a project about my childhood, when we learned my best friend’s sister was a lesbian.
It has been exciting to see all the action figures of women in the news lately. I am glad that Faggotgirl has some Super Friends. I hope they have superpowers, and are not just to be looked at and dressed up. More later!
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Nov 01 2015
Gender Reel 2015
Scottish Queer Film Festival: Queer Women In Love
BFI/Scottish Queer Film Festival’s Women in Love: The Virgin Machine
Screening with short films Fingers by Sandra Alland and 1987, Summer by Krissy Mahan. Fingers features a British Sign Language (BSL) poetry performance by Alison Smith about love, longing, and the sexiness of touch. 1987, Summer is about a a baby dyke who has landed in a gay resort town during the AIDS crisis. She plays softball, goes clubbing, sleeps with lots of women, and learns about who she is and what she wants.
WORLD AIDS DAY 2015
It is such an honor, and so humbling, that my movie will be screening on World AIDS Day 2015, because it is about me and my friends trying to figure out the world as gay men were dying around us. We were kind of blaming ourselves AND feeling guilty AND trying to not get AIDS AND trying to figure out a political response AND trying to be young, gender-non-conforming people when we had no analysis of gender or trans issues or sexism generally. We did all of that badly, I am sad to say. But I want to talk about that, and see how far we all still have to go on those issues, including a comprehensive response to AIDS.
Max is a too-cool-for-school young lesbian woman stressing over the fact she hasn’t had sex for ten months. After first dismissing hippy, excessive drinker of tea Ely, Max goes on a date with her, leading to a long-term mutual infatuation and a ‘will they, won’t they’ romantic trajectory. A collaboration between Guinevere Turner (The Watermelon Woman, Itty Bitty Titty Committee) and Rose Troche, Go Fish features a supporting cast of lesbian waifs and strays, including Ely’s sex addict roommate Daria and Max’s roommate Kia, whose girlfriend Evy has been kicked out her home by her homophobic mum.
Screening with short films Dyketactics and Summer, 1987. Dyketactics by Barbara Hammer is a sensuous, bold look at women’s desire and sexuality from a seminal lesbian filmmaker. Summer, 1987 by Krissy Mahan is set in summer in the late 1980s when a baby dyke has landed in a gay resort town during the AIDS crisis. She plays softball, goes clubbing, sleeps with lots of women, and learns about who she is and what she wants.
Part of SQIFF presents: Queer Women in Love, a season of films by and about lesbian, bisexual, and queer women. Part of BFI LOVE, in partnership with Plusnet bfi.org.uk/love.
BFI/Scottish Queer Film Festival: Queer Women In Shorts
This is how accessibility, and information about it, is done well!
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Sep 09 2015
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern has been granted a Grade II listing in London. This is a victory.
There is a lot of interest these days about “vanishing queer spaces.” In 2010 I was part of a team that was fighting for the survival of The Starlite Lounge, the only Black-owned, non-discriminating, gay-friendly bar in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. A documentary about this bar is making the festival circuit this year, and it will be playing in Scotland this month. I have questions about the filmmakers’ process in making it.
Wortzel and Kunath gathered the Starlite community’s stories, and are selling those compelling stories to festival audiences. The Starlite community is priced out of their own history, their own story isn’t available in their own neighborhood. I have been trying to watch their completed documentary (finished years after the fact) and can’t find it except for at festival screenings. The NYC screening was not held in Crown Heights. How can Crown Heights residents watch this film? Have the Starlite regulars been present at screenings to tell their history themselves, or have the white directors flown to festival screenings, and talked “for” the customers of this traditionally Black bar?
Brookyn had the highest percentage of enslaved people of African descent per capita in New York State. After slavery was ended, people of African descent were only legally allowed to live (not own any property) near the area that became Crown Heights. Through the years this area suffered unbelievable civic neglect. So when white filmmakers gentrify this particular neighborhood, it is eliminating the only place where Black people have ever been even allowed to subsist in Brooklyn. White filmmakers are NOT just the “the next wave of immigrants,” no matter how good their intentions are. What is the filmmakers relationship to this historical reality?
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This “Letter To The Editor” was the first I’d heard about an attempt to “tart up” the Camden incinerator, and there isn’t any other public record of thie plan. I thought it must be a joke, but indeed, I guess it is not. when that incinerator is burning trash, you can smell it and see the dust everywhere. It also creates a toxic plume in whichever way the wind is blowing, usually over poor, Black Camden.
“$438 Million in Funds Headed for Contaminated Site Cleanups in New Jersey from Major Bankruptcy Court Settlement
(New York, N.Y. – Feb. 2, 2015) Money from a historic settlement reached with Anadarko and Kerr-McGee has now been disbursed for cleanups across the country, including $438 million that will go toward paying for past and future cleanup work at two New Jersey Superfund sites. The settlement funds will be used at the Welsbach Superfund site in Camden and Gloucester City, New Jersey and reimburse the federal government for substantial cleanup costs at the Federal Creosote Superfund site in Manville, New Jersey.”
“The Welsbach Company and the General Gas Mantle Company used radioactive material thorium from the late 1890s to 1941 to make the gas lamps manufactured at the facilities glow brighter. It is believed that thorium-contaminated waste from the manufacturing process was used as fill in surrounding areas. As a result, the soil and buildings on the Welsbach and General Gas Mantle properties, as well as surrounding properties, were contaminated. Approximately $222 million will be paid to EPA for cleanup of thorium contamination at the Welsbach Superfund site in Gloucester City, New Jersey. Among ongoing efforts related to the site, EPA has removed more than 200,000 cubic yards of radiologically contaminated soil and building materials from more than 140 properties in the Gloucester City and Camden areas and has investigated more than 900 properties.”
To the Editor (of the Courier-Post, Camden, NJ);
The planned rooftop bird nests at the Covanta waste-to-energy plant in Camden City are nothing but “green cover” for a dirty incinerator.
The pollution from this incinerator is not healthy for the birds or the people. One of the largest sources of air pollution in Camden is emissions from this facility. This kind of incinerator is inefficient, and poses risks to residents’ health and overall air quality.
This plant releases greenhouse gases and toxic ash, and is a major source of pollution. Incinerators like these raise particulate levels, both from plant itself and from the trucks using it.
Most problematic for the birds nesting on Covanta’s roofs are that the metals and mercury released can bio-accumulate in their bodies. This incinerator provides anything but clean energy. To really “go green,” we must end incinerators’ operations, and protect residents’ lungs and the environment.
Instead of incineration, New Jersey must increase recycling efforts to 75 percent recovery. This will not only save us money, but decrease toxic pollution. We can reduce, reuse and repurpose, and eliminate the need for dirty incinerators.
New Jersey must require composting and implement a “bottle bill” to provide a minimum refundable deposit on containers.
Covanta’s incinerators undercut recycling because they need to get enough trash to keep these dinosaur plants running. That’s why we should force them to close. Building a bird nest on top of an incinerator is like putting toxic lipstick on a pig.
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