Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 17, 1995)
ju st o u t ▼ fsb ru ary 17, 1 0 9 5 ▼ 15
Gay (though not generally out at the time)
director John Schlesinger scored an X in 1969 for
Midnight Cowboy, with Bob Balaban and Barnard
Hughes playing pathetic queers, and an R two
years later for the upscale bisexual drama Sunday,
Bloody Sunday, in which Peter Finch and Glenda
Jackson were rivals for Murray Head’s affection.
That was the era of bisexual chic and the sexual
revolution, when even U.S. Filmmakers, with vary
ing degrees of enlightenment, attempted to tell our
stories: The Boys in the Band, The Fox, Something
fo r Everyone, The Sergeant, Myra Breckinridge,
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and The Killing o f
Sister George appeared between 1968 and 1970,
followed two years later by Cabaret. There was
also a wave of lesbian vampire movies (e.g., The
Vampire Lovers, Daughters o f Darkness) in this
John Waters practically created the midnight
movie circuit in 1972, because when else could
you watch Pink Flamingos and his other pre-
Polyester Films? The Rocky Horror Picture Show
(1975), with its pansexual gender bending, became
the ultimate midnight movie, still running to this
day in some cities.
In 1973 A Very Natural Thing attempted to tell
a gay love story, independently and
unapologetically, for perhaps the First time, as
Desert Hearts would do for lesbians 11 years later.
Folles p la y
a Cage aux Folles (1978) remains one of the
top-grossing non-English-language Films of
all time, in part because its gay lovers are
nonthreatening (i.e., not physically demonstra
tive) and the story is really about family values,
though allowing that gay men can be part of a
family. Mike Nichols is scheduled to direct a U.S.
remake, Birds o f a Feather, possibly with Robin
Williams and Nathan Lane.
The backlash against the sexual revolution be
Hector Babenco (center) directing William Hurt (left) and Raul Julia in Kiss of the Spider Woman
gan in 1978, when Halloween ushered in the age of
the slasher movie, in which anyone who had sex
was bound to meet a grisly end. AIDS added fuel
to the fire. As Mangin points out, “any deviation
from the sexual norm,” be it adultery, homosexu
ality or whatever, is shown to be potentially lethal
in such Films as Fatal Attraction.
Through the ’80s and into the ’90s we could
usually rely on foreigners (e.g., Doha Herlinda
and Her Son) and American independents (Part
ing Glances) for positive gay and lesbian images,
while the major Hollywood studios—except for
the Making Love experiment—used us primarily
for cheap laughs in comedies (Robin Hood: Men in
Tights) and murderers in thrillers (Basic Instinct),
HAL JONES AUTOMOTIVE
and occasionally as good neighbors (The Butcher’s
Wife, The Prince o f Tides, Single White Female).
It was business as usual in 1994, except for
Four Weddings and a Funeral, Threesome pre
sented a nominal bisexual triangle, but heterosexu
ality proved more equal than homosexuality.
Backbeat was similar, but at least had a historical
basis. Reality Bites was about four friends, but the
queer one remained in the background. Desperate
Remedies had a twist—the two women wound up
together—but it was barely released. Ace Ventura,
Pet Detective was full of fag jokes but too stupid to
be truly offensive. In No Escape one prisoner was
betraying all the others in the camp: cherchez le
queer. Quiz Show insinuated that cheater Charles
Van Doren was gay. And, of course, Gus Van Sant
bombed big time with the lesbian comedy Even
Cowgirls Get the Blues, which was as bad as Go
Fish was good.
Then came the transgender explosion. It was
too soon to be a reaction to Mrs. Doubtfire, as all
the projects were underway before that sleeper hit
the box ofFice bull’s-eye, but suddenly the screen
was awash with transvestites (Ed Wood, Just Like
a Wotnan), transsexuals (/ Like It Like That), or
both (The Adventures o f Priscilla. Queen o f the
There have been lesbian and gay Filmmakers as
long as there have been Films, but most are hidden
in the closets of history. We may never be sure why
William Dickson Filmed those two men dancing in
1895, but we have a pretty good idea. We also
know—or think we know—about George Cukor,
James Whale, Dorothy Ar/.ner, Mitchell Leisen,
Jean Cocteau, Kenneth Anger, Pier Paolo Pasolini
and, in the newer crowd, Schlesinger, Waters, Van
Sant, Franco Zeffirelli, Rose Troche,Todd Haynes,
gregg araki, Paul Bartel, Jennie Livingston, Joel
Schumacher, James Ivory, Marc Huestis, Nicole
Conn, Pedro Almodôvar, Norman René, Rosa von
Praunheim, Christopher Miinch, Tom Kalin and
the late Bill Sherwood, Rainer Werner Fassbinder,
Arthur J. Bressan Jr. and Derek Jarman.
Yet some of the best Films about us are made by
avowed heterosexuals: Stephen Frears (Prick Up
Your Ears, My Beautiful Laundrette), Hector
Babenco (Kiss o f the Spider Woman), Jonathan
Demme (Philadelphia), Mike Newell (Four Wed
dings and a Funeral), Sidney Lumet (Dog Day
Afternoon), John Sayles (Lianna) and Neil Jordan
(The Crying Game, Mona Lisa). And a special
mention to Paul Mazursky. In his underappreciated
Scenes From a Mall ( 1991 ) the sight of two women
dancing romantically was the spark that triggered
a reconciliation between Bette Midler and Woody
After 96 years, we’re still just dancing.
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$300 fee includes lodging and most meals
We love our Just out
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2519 E. BURNSIDE, PORTLAND
C A L L 2 3 3 -5 0 0 1