Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



Knight at the Movies: Stonewall Uprising
by Richard Knight, Jr.

This article shared 4881 times since Wed Aug 4, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The Stonewall riots, the beginning of the gay-rights movement in this country, are similar to other singular moments in history in that many of the details of what exactly happened—when and how it happened, as well as who was involved—have become buried within the momentousness of the incident itself. We mark June 28 each year, but beyond the overview about what occurred in that tatty little bar in New York called the Stonewall Inn more than 40 years ago, much has become blurred.

There have been other documentaries and examinations of the riots that ensued when the disenfranchised patrons of that little bar fought back after the cops came in for one of their regular raids. But Stonewall Uprising—the documentary by the husband-and-wife filmmaking team Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, based on the David Carter book Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution—attempts to present the details and the timeline of the events of June 28, 1969, itself.

The movie utilizes eyewitness testimony; the scant extant footage and photos, recreation and "educational" period films; and other clips of the era to dramatize what happened. That the result is, ironically, a bit unfocused as it lays out the details of the crucial first night of the riots doesn't prevent it from being an important addition to Our gay cinematic history. And for the uninformed, there is much here that will illuminate the incident that was the epicenter of Our movement.

Davis and Heilbroner remind us at the outset that homosexual acts were a crime nationwide ( except within our fair state ) in 1969, when the riots occurred. With that fact in mind, we proceed to an overview of the plight of gay Americans during the '50s and '60s leading up to Stonewall. An almost invisible population shunned, reviled, openly hunted and subjected to horrendous psychological and physical persecution with almost a religious fervor when discovered by the public at large, it's no wonder that, as writer Eric Marcus comments, for gay people " [ t ] here was no 'out.' There was just in."

Slowly, urban centers—especially Greenwich Village in Manhattan—became meccas for gays and lesbians. But even in these liberal pockets queers weren't embraced. As another participant in the film recalls, "It was free but not quite free enough for us." Segregated into mafia-owned bars, the "twilight people" ( who only came out at night ) nevertheless endured and, as the film reveals, a perfect storm of circumstances coalesced on that fateful night ( and for several nights—accounts vary as to how many—thereafter ) .

Throughout the movie the various talking heads provide a wealth of reminisces but, maddeningly, the filmmakers provide little or no background on these participants so it's often hard to place them in context ( and it doesn't help that after a quick graphic with a name and sometimes a designation like "writer," "historian," etc., the talking heads are never identified again ) .

Two of the on-camera subjects, however, are easy to recall: Seymour Pine, the 90-year-old "morals inspector" who led the raid for the cops and the former New York City Mayor Ed Koch—both of whom are given a lot more camera time than seems necessary. ( Also, why the hell it was important to include Koch, longtime enemy of Our People, is beyond me; it's not like he's needed for balance. )

Most powerful, of course, are the memories of the gay people who were there. At one point, one of them, John O'Brien, comments about the half dozen or so cops trapped inside the Stonewall Inn with the growing, angry mob outside: "It must have been terrifying for them. I hope it was." O'Brien's fury is still fresh after 41 years. In moments like that Stonewall Uprising transcends its sometimes fuzzy construction and the spark that ignited a revolution becomes tremendously palpable and galvanizing.

Get Low

"'Bout time for me to get low," Robert Duvall as Felix Bush, a hated and feared backwoods hermit says to a speechless Bill Murray and Lucas Black, as Frank Quinn, a slick funeral home director and Buddy, his naïve, eager to prove himself assistant. After 40 years alone on his land, Felix wants to have a funeral party while he's still alive and for everyone in the county to come and share their stories about him. Felix's unusual request sets in motion one of the most pleasurable movies of the year.

Set in the late South in the 1930s, Get Low—from director Aaron Schneider ( making his feature debut ) and writers Chris Provenzano and C. Gaby Mitchell—finds us deep within Eudora Welty-Truman Capote-Harper Lee territory and the richly constructed characters, period detail and the compelling story, based on a real incident, offer the equally rich cast the chance to act their heads off.

Leading them all is Duvall as the eccentric Felix, giving one of those legendary performances that can only come after decades of legendary performances. ( Even his breathing has gravitas. ) He is matched in scene after scene by Murray ( delightfully droll ) ; Sissy Spacek, whose character has an old, mysterious connection to Felix; and the one actor who gives Duvall a run for his money—a stubborn mule ( literally ) who has shared Felix's self-imposed hibernation on his backwoods land. As the gigantic party approaches complications arise, lives are transformed, old hurts trotted out and the mystery deepens.

At one point Felix comments about his vast land holdings, "You leave things alone, they'll know what to do"—perfectly stating the theme of the film, the trust that the director places in his cast and perhaps more importantly, his audience. Like Felix and that stubborn mule, Get Low moves at its own measured, confident pace, intensifying your responses to it as it progresses ( like falling in love ) . It's one of those rare film experiences that both everyday moviegoers and longtime film critics like myself hope for each time the lights go down. It reminded me of the essential joy and transformative power that many great movies share ( and that almost always take me by surprise ) , and I was delighted and moved from beginning to end by this aptly self-described "true tall tale."

Check out my archived reviews at or . Readers can leave feedback at the latter website

This article shared 4881 times since Wed Aug 4, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

2023 REELING REVIEWS 2023-09-21
- Reeling: The 41st Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival kicks off Sept. 21. As is our annual tradition at Windy City Times, writer Steve Warren took a look at a few of the festival highlights this year. ...

Gay News

Reeling premieres a queer coming of age story told through a Southern Gothic lens 2023-09-21
- Ganymede, a Southern Gothic horror film that explores a teenager's experiences as he discovers his sexuality, will premieres Sept. 23 as part of the 41st Reeling Film Festival. The film, according to Chicago filmmakers Colby Holt ...

Gay News

WORLD French fund, mausoleum, Abrazo Grupal, Biden, Billie Jean King 2023-09-21
- French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced a fund to help promote the rights of LGBTQ+ people, French24 reported. She made the announcement at the 15th anniversary of an LGBTQ+ group at the United Nations at the ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ John Waters, Madonna, Miriam Margoyles, Angelica Ross, 'Cassandro' 2023-09-21
- Openly gay film director John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Serial Mom, Cry-Baby) received his star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, The Hollywood Reporter noted. (Actors Ricki Lake and Mink Stole as well as photographer Greg Gorman were ...

Gay News

WORLD Quebec lesbians, violence study, Rugby World Cup, Ugandan bill 2023-09-15
- The hidden history of Quebec lesbians is being explored, the CBC reported. Between 1985 and 1996, a group of lesbians leased the Plateau-Mont-Royal school and ran it as a community center. The school was also home ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Kim Petras, LGBTQ+ movies, TIFF, canceled shows, yachts 2023-09-15
Video below - Ahead of her Feed the Beast world tour, Grammy-winning international trans pop singer/songwriter Kim Petras has shared reimagined, symphonic, seven-piece string-ensemble performances of fan favorites from her debut album Feed ...

Gay News

THEATER Queer actor Kyle Patrick reflects on leading 'American Psycho: The Musical' 2023-09-14
- American Psycho—both the Bret Easton Ellis novel and the Mary Harron-directed film led by Christian Bale—would seem ripe for a musical treatment, given the omnipresent campy elements (despite, or maybe because of, the gore). And, in ...

Gay News

SAG-AFTRA and WGA join GLAAD in releasing Studio 11th Responsibility Index 2023-09-14
--From a press release - Hollywood—Sept. 14, 2023 — GLAAD released its annual Studio Responsibility Index in a joint press event in Hollywood alongside the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio ...

Gay News

Lesbian chef Susan Feniger coming to Chicago for Reeling 2023-09-13
- Susan Feniger. FORKED—a verite-style documentary by award-winning filmmaker Liz Lachman that captures moments and the impactful career of her life partner: culinarian, author, entrepreneur and James Beard Award winner Susan ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Sex Education' star, Rotten Tomatoes, Jessica Lange, Queer/Art 2023-09-08
Video below - Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa officially came out during an interview with Elle UK, according to Out. "I remember being at Manchester Pride, going through the streets with all my boys, shaking my cha-chas, living it ...

Gay News

WORLD Couple's win, attack in Beirut, German military, gay ski week 2023-09-08
- In Strasbourg, France, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Bulgaria violated the rights of a same-sex couple (Darina Koilova and Lili Babulkova) by not recognizing their marriage abroad, RFE/RL reported. Rights groups lauded the ...

Gay News

'Saltburn,' 'Rustin' to be shown at Chicago International Film Festival 2023-09-06
- The 59th Chicago International Film Festival announced select highlights of this year's festival, running Oct. 11-22. Films will be presented at venues throughout the city, including the AMC NEWCITY 14, the Music Box Theatre, the Gene ...

Gay News

Screening of queer film 'Chocolate Babies' at Facets on Sept. 28 2023-09-06
Video below - Facets Film Trivia will return Thursday, Sept. 28, to the venue, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave., with a screening of the 1996 queer film Chocolate Babies. According to a release from Facets, "Occupying the space between fantasy, ...

Gay News

Billy Masters: Billy unlocks the DaVinci Code 2023-09-04
- "Mmmkay! And I'm 110lbs and a virgin! I'm not a scale or a doctor but I have spent some time beneath 215 lb. men and Tiny was not one of them." —Stormy Daniels' Tweet about the alleged weight of the former president. ...

Gay News

Matthew Shepard film to be shown ahead of 25th anniversary of his death 2023-09-01
- Ahead of the 25th anniversary of Matthew Shepard's death, a new two-hour documentary has been announced to honor the posthumous impact made by the gay college student who died after being abducted, beaten and left for ...


Copyright © 2023 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.




About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
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     
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.