Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Views: Culture as activism
by Tracy Baim
2009-09-23

This article shared 3184 times since Wed Sep 23, 2009
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


I have always been a fan of "the movies." When I was 14 I snuck a TV into my room and watched In the Glitter Palace ( 1977 ) with Barbara Hershey playing a lesbian. Personal Best and Desert Hearts came out when I was a young adult, followed by other lesbian films: some good, many terribly bad. But even the bad ones provided at least some relief from the constant hetero beat of Hollywood.

As someone who has covered the LGBT community for 25 years, mostly from a news perspective, I have also seen how sometimes our issues can be further advanced by "culture" than by activism. We need it all, of course: People in the streets, people in the board rooms, and people getting a better understanding of us through TV and movies.

A few years ago I started working on a military love story movie, but that got sidetracked to a stage play, Half Life. In 2007, when I had just about given up hope that would become a film, I interviewed Claudia Allen for www.ChicagoGayHistory.org and suggested that her stage plays would make great films. And from there, less than 12 months later, we were shooting Hannah Free in my home on the South Side. Directed by Wendy Jo Carlton, adapted by Allen for film, and involving more than 400 people at some level, this was a labor of love on the scale of Gay Games for me, just in a more condensed timeline.

I served as executive producer, which is a fancy title for basically doing anything from running to the store for water to writing checks and raising money. I learned so much in such a short window of time, and was so lucky to have an amazing support team for everything we needed for the film. Whether it was Martie Marro doing the Web site, sound design and music; Sharon Zurek as editor and post-supervisor; or star Sharon Gless staying in the coach house during filming, everyone pitched in at an amazing level. It took a huge village to make this film, and now I know why there are not a lot of lesbian films—it is a very difficult and expensive process, one that also involves miracles and luck. And every favor you could ever call in with family and friends.

What is it about movies that change our lives? The stories can help society see us differently, but for me it is more important for our own community to see a wide range of stories reflecting our lives. Hannah Free is a "period" movie, told across 60 years in the lives of two women, ending in a 1990s Michigan nursing home. We see young lovers, and we see older women loving one another. How many Hollywood films show older people being intimate, much less two women? Sharon Gless and Maureen Gallagher steam up the screen with their screen chemistry, and it validates the lives of so many long-term couples of all kinds.

As the film has played the festival and theatrical circuit this summer, I have been lucky to attend some of the screenings. The emotions have been very high, with lesbians, gay men and straight couples all responding strongly to the message of love and who chooses a family. The topics are timely given the current healthcare end-of-life debate, and also with the same-sex marriage battles in Maine, California and beyond. Who gets to make decisions about our loved ones? Even the best legal documents have been challenged, and anything short of full equality will mean continued terrible circumstances for some couples.

So Hannah Free is just one offering in a long line of LGBT cinema trying to reflect a portion of our lives. I can't thank Chicagoans enough for the amazing support we received. We did all of our work here, including post-production. And we also received support from outside our city, from house parties and donors across the country. We have seen the tears, heard the laughter, and been proud to represent Chicago as part of a new lesbian film. Please show your support by seeing the film Sept. 25-Oct. 1 at Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. ( See www.hannahfree.com for other cities and countries. ) There are lots of great films to choose from this fall, and your support of this one will send a message to future LGBT filmmakers that our community can support not just the next Hollywood drama, but also independent cinema from us, by us, and for everyone.


This article shared 3184 times since Wed Sep 23, 2009
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

VIEWPOINT Who is my neighbor? 2022-01-20
- The notion of functioning as a Good Samaritan is one that transcends any particular faith tradition. The idea of humans treating humans in a humane way sounds so simple, yet history and modernity are replete with ...


Gay News

Failure to enact Freedom to Vote is a blow to vulnerable groups 2022-01-20
-- From a press release - From Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund: "The failure to enact the Freedom to Vote, John R. Lewis Act is a profound blow to our Democracy. The inability to ensure ...


Gay News

VIEWS Trans women passing the torch 2022-01-19
- I am writing this letter to the editor to compliment Windy City Times on its recent article "Passing the torch: How generations of trans women approach activism, advocacy," by Max Lubbers. The article highlights how the ...


Gay News

Two join races for state office, Personal PAC comments on threats to reproductive rights 2022-01-18
-- From a Personal PAC press release - Chicago, IL — Today, following the news that anti-choice extremists Richard Irvin and Avery Bourne would run as Republicans for governor and Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, Personal PAC President and CEO Terry Cosgrove released the following ...


Gay News

VIEWS Hoarders 2022-01-10
- One TV program that I alternately love and hate is Hoarders. The producers send a team of psychologists, organizers and laborers into a person's home and they all work (and argue) about cleaning the place up ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT For LGBTQ community, the movement behind Jan. 6 is an existential threat 2022-01-08
- The stakes could not be higher. The LGBTQ movement has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams in democratic societies worldwide. Where we have had access to freedom of speech and assembly, remarkable advances have followed. This is ...


Gay News

LETTER Continue the dialogue on racism 2022-01-08
- I am writing this letter to the editor about the article that appeared on the Windy City Times website titled "A look at Northalsted/Boystown bars since 2020 town hall on racism," written by Cris Villalonga-Vivoni. Also, ...


Gay News

LETTER Remembering Archbishop Tutu 2021-12-28
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu passed away in Cape Town, South Africa, on Dec. 26 at the age of 90. In 1984, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts to bring about a peaceful transition to a society with ...


Gay News

VIEWS Remembering our sister-friend bell hooks 2021-12-16
- bell hooks died on Dec. 15, 2021, at 69, in Kentucky. As a Black Appalachian, bell hooks was inarguably one of the nation's prominent feminist scholars and authors, and a friend to everyone she met. Last ...


Gay News

VIEWS Will Smollett's hoax affect public perception of hate crimes? 2021-12-13
- Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett was recently found guilty on five of the six counts of felony disorderly conduct for concocting an elaborate racist and homophobic assault against himself. Each Class 4 felony count can land ...


Gay News

SAVOR Sweetwater Tavern & Grille 2021-12-04
- The popular Loop spot Sweetwater Tavern & Grille—which specializes in contemporary U.S. cuisine, and which is part of the Bottleneck Management stable of restaurants—has a lot going for it. First, there are the views of the ...


Gay News

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Thanksgiving is a time to reflect 2021-11-24
- Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for a God that created us and loves us. The sins of racism, sexism, ageism and classicism are neoclassic examples of how we have fallen short. We have come ...


Gay News

VIEWS Young people need to listen to LGBTQ elders' intergenerational experiences 2021-11-20
- For one of my first Windy City Times assignments, I was lucky enough to spend nearly three hours interviewing longtime LGBTQ+-rights activist Michael O'Connor. As queer individuals living in Chicago in 2021, we had plenty in ...


Gay News

VIEWS Reporting on queers of color needs to investigate absence as much as presence 2021-11-19
- Earlier this month, I pitched a Windy City Times article that sought to explore how role playing games (RPGs), such as Dungeons & Dragons, enable queer people of color (QPOC) to explore their gender and sexuality ...


Gay News

VIEWS In defense of the word 'lesbian' 2021-11-19
- When I decided to come out to my mom, I wanted to wait until I could say the word "lesbian" out loud. But as I sat her down, I tripped over the long string of letters. "Mom, I'm gay," I blurted ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.