Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-08-07
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

All roads lead to Pajak's Quearborn & Perversion
Extended for the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Richard Knight, Jr.
2009-10-14

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Two years ago I experienced one of those singular cinema experiences that any film fanatic lives for—the catharsis that occurs when what is happening on screen is experienced simultaneously by the audience, magically transformed by the flickering images in front of them into one shared consciousness. The occasion was a screening at the Chicago History Museum of Quearborn & Perversion, a late entry into that year's Reeling Film Festival. Sitting in the dark with my audience of fellow queers ( of all stripes and shapes ) , we embraced director Ron Pajak's moving, insightful, painful and often very funny social history of Chicago's gay history.

Since that screening, out filmmaker and native Chicagoan Pajak has tinkered with his baby—a decade-long labor of love—until it is now ready for its world premiere. This will occur Sunday, Oct. 18 at 3:30 p.m. and again on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m., both at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport. Pajak, who will appear at both screenings, was excited to talk with Windy City Times about Quearborn & Perversion. ( The title is the nickname for Chicago's onetime infamous hustler cruising spot located at Dearborn & Division. )

Windy City Times: Why has it taken over 10 years for the film to come together?

Ron Pajak: I knew it was going to take a while because early on I made a decision that I wanted it to be as diverse as possible. If I wanted to make a white, gay guy movie I would have been done nine years ago because that was easy to find. But I just didn't want to do that. I had no connections to people of color or to older lesbians and that's what took a lot of patience and time. A lot. But eventually it worked out. Once I got the critical mass of my subjects is really when I started diving into doing the research regarding all the archival materials and the photos to go along with the stories that I had collected.

WCT: Where did you go to do that?

RON PAJAK: Well, that added another layer of complication and another reason why it took so long because there's just no resource for "I want pictures of gay men in the 1940s." Libraries don't have that. Books like that don't exist. So it was really a lot of private investigative work. Most of the archives were just personal archives from subjects or word of mouth. They came from people who aren't in the film but are of the era. But they're all from Chicago—everything you see in the film is from Chicago. I was a stickler about that. I was pretty much asking almost everyone I ran into in my life whether they knew someone who had archive material—it just became this pitch and every so often I got lucky with someone who had home movies or photographs. I wasn't going to start editing the film until I had a comfortable amount of archival material because what I didn't want was the film to be just a "talking-head film."

WCT: Was the Gerber/Hart Library a resource for you at all?

RON PAJAK: Yes it was, but a bigger, primary resource was the Chicago History Museum. They were a wonderful resource for many things. They also have an incredible archival staff that did a lot of work for me. They're a co-producer on the film and this is one of the few they've done that on.

WCT: Did you run into some people who were reticent to talk to you?

RON PAJAK: Sure, it's not like everyone I talked to said "Yes." I was rarely refused personally but people who I met would say, "Oh, I've got friends" and then they would talk to the friends and some would and some expressed no interest at all. It was definitely more difficult early on with older women. I think that women, in general, are a little bit more camera shy or not as narcissistic—really. Even more interestingly, many more women than men were married and had families. Even though they've been out for decades, they had children or grandchildren—and I think that gave them pause regarding being on camera. It just took some connections.

WCT: When I first saw the film at the History Museum as part of the Reeling Festival two years ago that was such a stunning revelation—those home movies were like a hidden history revealed.

RON PAJAK: Thank you. What I showed at Reeling was really a work in progress and I believe that what I've put together now is a little bit tighter, a little bit more polished. I put in some material that wasn't quite ready yet. There is new material toward the end of the film—the African-American sequence and the lesbian/feminist sequence. Then I went through and pared down each of the sequences so I could fit in the new ones and not have a six-and-a-half-hour miniseries. The goal was to get it down under two hours.

WCT: You must have some amazing extras that didn't make this final cut.

RON PAJAK: Oh, an incredible amount. It was so painful to cut things out. It was like killing my own children [ laughs ] because there were so many things that couldn't be in the final version because people just don't want to sit that long for this kind of piece. It's not a narrative piece where you have sexy, big stars on the screen. It's a historical documentary and it's pretty dense. There was just no way around so yeah, there's going to be some wonderful DVD extras at some point—I hope.

WCT: The film ends with Chicago's first gay pride parade, which sets us up perfectly for a sequel. Will you go on to do a part two to cover what came after?

RON PAJAK: My original plan was to do a trilogy. Part two would be the liberation-disco era right up until we got AIDS. Then part three would start with 1987, when Chicago passed the gay-rights ordinance, which also happened to be when HIV/AIDS really exploded here. But making this film—my first feature—has shown me that it's just really difficult to get funding. I have the vision but trying to get the appropriate amount of funds to make these kinds of films was difficult before the current economic downturn and now, it's pretty much impossible. But if someone came along and sponsored me I'd sign up immediately.

See www.musicboxtheatre.com and www.quearbornandperversion.com .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Tituss Burgess, IMDb, Halsey, Stephen Colbert, 'Queer As Folk' 2019-08-21 - Quibi has greenlit Dishmantled—described as "a high-octane cooking competition that will literally blow your socks off," with Tituss Burgess ( Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; ...


Gay News

10 Questions with Vic Featuring Xabiani Ponce de Leon 2019-08-15 - It's hard to stand out as an actor during a film festival such as Outfest where over 150 films are screened within nine ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Elm Street,' 'Crime Story,' Tab Hunter, Lady Gaga 2019-08-14 - Gay actor Marc Patton is returning to the big screen, as himself, with the documentary Scream, Queen: My Nightmare On Elm Street, The ...


Gay News

Reeling LGBTQ film festival announces film line up 2019-08-12 - ( August 12, 2019 - Chicago, IL ) Reeling, the second-oldest LGBTQ film festival in the world and a beloved Chicago cultural institution ...


Gay News

UPDATE: Travolta to attend Wizard World Comic Con 2019-08-12 - This year's Wizard World Comic Con Chicago will take place Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 22-25, at Rosemont's Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River ...


Gay News

FILM Fawzia Mirza, Kathy Griffin and much more at Outfest 2019-08-06 - Founded by UCLA students in 1982, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit film festival Outfest celebrated 37 years of bringing LGBTQ stories to the screen. ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Comic-book heroes, Cara and Ashley, Chris Pine, Pride Summit 2019-08-06 - The animated character Aquaman was confirmed to be LGBT+ on the latest episode of Young Justice: Outsiders—the DC Universe's animated show about teenage ...


Gay News

Gene Siskel Film Center to present Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am Aug. 23-29 2019-08-06 - As a venue that celebrates all art forms and a public program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Gene ...


Gay News

Pride Films and Plays to produce A Man of No Importance 2019-08-02 - Chicago, IL - Pride Films and Plays will stage the first Chicago production in more than a decade of A MAN OF NO ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Lil Nas X, classic TV shows, Janelle Monae, NFL player 2019-07-30 - The country-trap smash "Old Town Road" ( by out rapper/singer Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus ) has broken the record for ...


 



Copyright © 2019 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

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

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.