While we’re on the subject of gatekeepers in the film industry, let’s talk about theaters, shall we?
Landmark Theatres is (according to Wikipedia; if someone can find me a better source, hit me up) “the largest art house movie theater chain in the United States”. They don’t control a lot of theaters, but their holdings are a key distributor of all those cool indie flicks folks dig.
I remember when Pariah came out, several people made the very good point that while they wanted to support the movie, they couldn’t afford the steep-ass art house theater ticket prices to go in (here in NYC, I think the ticket was like $15 at least).
That this film centering Black queer women got limited distribution is not a surprise. That this film got limited distribution through Landmark Theatres, who to my knowledge did not do any outreach to Black queer communities in advertising the film, let alone offer reduced-rate admission to groups like FIERCE (trans and queer youth, particularly trans and queer youth of color, need to see themselves on screen, period) is really important.
I want these men visible. I want these circumstances visible. I don’t want to shadowbox concepts; I want the structure of USian film, from distribution to casting, to fundamentally change, and it can’t do so unless we can call names.
“Sylvia Rivera kicking ass on stage after some radfems & transphobes tried to refuse her the right to speak at the 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Day rally. Said radfems then had their own march in part protesting trans participation in Pride. A precursor to today’s Dyke March.”
It is women like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson who started the Stonewall riots and queer liberation. 43 years later, trans women of color, the people who started the movement, are the people maligned and left behind by it.
In Sylvia’s words, “What the FUCK is wrong with you all?”
[[Trigger warning: suicide]]
Sylvia went home that night and attempted suicide.
Marsha Johnson came home and found her in time to save her life.
Sylvia left the movement after that day and didn’t come back for twenty years.
this is incredible, she is incredible, I highly recommend watching it
but I think the addendum re: the effect of this day on sylvia is really important
so often we valorise decontextualised moments of tough, articulate resistance and rage
and the suffering of the people who embodied them is not acknowledged, it’s uncomfortable, it’s not inspiring, we want them to stay tough and cool and stylish forever
which is particularly terrible when I think about how sylvia felt like that because of women like me — women who are now watching this video and feeling inspired and impressed and maybe a bit pleased with ourselves for finally having watched a speech by the famous and really cool to name-drop sylvia rivera
rebloggin for the true as fuck commentary (bolding mine)
n like, on one hand this moment is decontextualized as fuck, but on the other hand a lot of ppl try to hyper-contextualize it to make it “history” and a very specific historical moment, so we (cis women) can be like “oh so sad that’s how it was in the 1970s, radfems were so awful, but it was only the whole second-wave scene that was the problem, glad that’s over.”
Like have we forgotten the fact that Sylvia only died in 2002? And she died young, if she were still alive she wouldn’t even be 65 yet. I know hella older ppl in NYC who knew her personally, and hella “leaders” of the NYC queer scene pulled horrific shit on her constantly in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, like literally until the day she died (ppl from Empire State Pride agenda literally went to St. Vincents to beef with her on her death bed) Where are the video tapes/memorializing of that shit?
N now the Manhattan LGBT center on 13th st has a room dedicated to her memory, despite the fact that very center permanently banned her in 1995 for daring to suggest they should let homeless QTPOC sleep there in sub-zero weather.
N now there’s a whole homeless trans youth shelter on 36th st named after her, Sylvia’s Place, that kicked my TWOC friend out on the streets for testing positive for marijuana; failing to recognize how fucked up that is in a shelter named after a woman who struggled with addiction all her life, and was very vocal about the relationship between drug use and the stress of living under constant threats of violence.
N from the late 90s onward rich gays and lesbians openly fought against Sylvia to try to shut down 24/7 access to the piers that she n hella other QTPOC cruised and lived on bc they were bringing down the property values of their multi-million west village apartments.
N like 90% of the individual people who perpetuated fucked up violence against Sylvia are still alive and high-profile leaders in the NYC LGBT “community” today.
So like yes, good, remember the oppressive weight of our history of transmisogyny…but also remember that this shit specifically ain’t even history, it’s the current reality of the NYC queer/trans hierarchy today—like not even figuratively, literally the same people who pulled shit like this on Sylvia are still alive n well n all over NYC cutting the ribbons to the newest Sylvia Rivera memorial n eulogizing her like they never tried to fucking kill her themselves.
Incredible commentary all over this post
i know i reblogged this before, but check out all this on point commentary
important historical knowledge.
How does a film like this not get more attention? It has more cinematic artistry than half the crap that’s been nominated for Oscars this year….
I interviewed Andrew Dosunmu recently, and we spoke about Mother of George and the portrayal of immigrants in film among other things. He dropped some gems, which might elucidate as to why magnificent films like this do not get the attention they deserve. A lot of it has to do with cliches of immigrants in America, expectations of how Africans are supposed to be represented (usually without complexity) and the fact that people want familiar Hollywood names, and not the best person for the job who might be an unknown.
Read the interview here.
Stuart Hall | Interview on multiculturalism
Thinking Allowed, BBC Radio 4, March 2011
"I’m not surprised that identity has become a political question, but I’m in despair, and also ironic, about the actual forms that takes…I mean St George’s Day, can you imagine? I think those are pretty ridiculous. But, at the same time, globalisation has greatly overplayed the decline of the nation state and national culture. These two things work hand in hand, so the question of, well, ‘what are we attached to?’, especially for a society which has constructed its history to suggest that, you know, these are special people - they came out of the North Sea already tolerant, liberal, open-minded, addicted to freedom etcetera. It’s horrendous distortion of what the national history has been, as our story, which is going on right now. We’re about to teach a version of it that says the only thing is really that we did come out of the sea civilized. I think all of that is not amusing at all. A difficult and dangerous preoccupation, and its a preoccupation that Paul Gilroy called ‘[postcolonial] melancholia’ a kind of mourning for a lost object, and its an unrequitable mourning because it’s not going to come back in that form.”
We are all dependent on others to varying degrees. A language that denies this fact fuels a system that obscures the ways in which other people care for us. Words such as independence, self-reliance and self-made help create, and are created by, a dynamic within which people are ignored and devalued. Joan Tronto reminds us that by “not noticing how pervasive and central care is to human life, those who are in positions of power and privilege can continue to ignore and degrade the activities of care and those who give care.”
Independence is perhaps the most fundamental of our cultural myths; it supports the organisation of our society and justifies the distribution of goods, real and ideal. The labels independent and dependent, rather than reflecting empirical reality, are myths used to justify inequality.
Lynn May Rivas, ’Invisible Labors: Caring for the Independent Person’ in Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy ed. Barbara Ehrenreich & Arlie Russell Hochschild p.83
If I want to know something about the African influence on dance, then I need to know Mississippi and go to Cuba, Brazil, and Spain, because that’s how you connect the dots. I can’t connect them in my living room. So when I’m thinking about a project, I’m thinking about the dots; the way in which something starts small and radiates out to points of contact. If I can see things and understand them with my mind and body, I might be able to use them. It keeps me out in the world, even when I would prefer to be home, in bed and near my husband.
Carrie Mae Weems by Dawoud Bey, BOMB Magazine, Summer 2009
In one way or another, my work endlessly explodes the limits of tradition. I’m determined to find new models to live by. Aren’t you?
Carrie Mae Weems by Dawoud Bey, BOMB Magazine, Summer 2009
by TOM PRICE
"There’s a real lack of first-hand representation or self-representation of a black man in a neutral state – if that can exist – something like them not being heroic, not being a type, not being recorded as some sort of ethnicity.
It’s like they’re saying ‘I’m here and I don’t care if you are’. The sculptures never meet your gaze, they don’t have their shoulders back – they stand like they don’t want to be seen.” - X
Tom Price (1970) is a Black British artist who works in performance and sculpture. These works are bronze and mounted on perspex and wood. More work by this artist.
The process of gentrification in New York is not about people moving into a neighbourhood and other people moving out of a neighbourhood. The process of gentrification is about corporations sectioning off large chunks of those neighbourhoods and then planning out their long-term development. And In that process one is also planning out the removal of large numbers of people whose community attachments are there, it’s actually about tearing down neighbourhoods and building different neighbourhoods. And the idea that this city doesn’t have a role in making sure that the collective aims of the people are actually achieved in development is obscene.
Prof. Wilder is a historian of American urban and cultural history, born and raised in Bed Stuy. This is a fantastic documentary that really helped me understand the process of gentrification beyond the buzzwords.
One of the many things that makes me sad about Selena’s early death is that her boutiques, Selena Etc, never got to continue to flourish. Opened in 1994, she earned $5 mill from these stores/boutiques/salons marketing her designing talents and more. 3 boutiques were made, 2 in Texas and 1 in Mexico (however the Mexico one was never opened because she died before it was finished setting up.) One existing boutique in Corpus Christi, Texas remained open after her death as a museum, but was closed in 2009. Knowing what a style icon she was, this would’ve been a really great industry to see spread.
Debashree Roy in Unishe April (1994). Me minus my Punjabi side (2014).
“I’m still asked, what good is science fiction to Black people? What good is any form of literature to Black people? What good is science fiction’s thinking about the present, the future, and the past? What good is its tendency to warn or to consider alternative ways of thinking and doing? What good is its examination of the possible effects of science and technology, or social organization and political direction? At its best, science fiction stimulates imagination and creativity. It gets reader and writer off the beaten track, off the narrow, narrow footpath of what “everyone” is saying, doing, thinking - whoever “everyone” happens to be this year. And what good is all this to Black people?”
- Octavia Butler, POSITIVE OBSESSION