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



Knight at the Movies: Pit Stop; film notes
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

It's early morning in a rural, small town in Texas. As usual, Gabe ( Bill Heck ) is stopping by the local convenience mart/gas station in his red pick-up to fill his coffee thermos before heading off to work. As Gabe leaves, he doesn't take notice of Ernesto ( Marcus DeAnda ), who is pulling next to him in the parking lot in his silver pick-up, intent on doing the same thing. For the bulk of the next 80 minutes, these two lonely gay men approaching middle age will inadvertently bypass each other at that gas station in their search for love as the audience patiently waits for them to get together.

The wait will be worth it. In Pit Stop, out director Yen Tan's slow-moving but insightfully observed film, it's all about trying to mend the fractured connections that life throws at us and the importance of small details that audiences recognize from their own lives. The movie, which won raves on the gay film-festival circuit last year ( including Reeling ), is just out from Wolfe Releasing.

This isn't the cinema of scenery-chewing in a family drama like August: Osage County, or a gay variation on the urban-based dishfest of Sex and the City and its ilk. Nor is it one of those guilty gay-themed indies featuring pleasurable guys with no shirts or pants—not that there's anything remotely wrong with those movies ( all of which I love ).

What I find refreshing about Pit Stop, which Tan and David Lowery co-wrote, is not just its naturalistic approach ( which is nice but hardly novel ), or that it's so well-written, acted and directed ( rarer, but still not an anomaly ). No, the movie's great rarity is that it has been so carefully constructed that not a moment of it feels false. We are given characters and situations so recognizable that a sense of emotional deja vu envelops the movie from beginning to end ( heightened by the judicious editing of Don Swaynos and the subtle, dream-like music of Curtis Glenn Heath on the soundtrack ). Who hasn't had setbacks like these in the search for meaningful connection?

Gabe—with his long, thin, bearded, kindly face and lithe body—is a closeted construction worker living with his ex-wife, Shannon ( Amy Seimetz ), and their young daughter. After a liaison with a married man has fallen through, he's quietly pursuing a male relationship on the side. So, although he's furious when Shannon reveals he's gay to a teacher at the high school, Gabe agrees to a movie date in nearby Dallas because, well, you never know…

On the other side of town Ernesto—a Latino with sensual lips; a compact, muscular frame; and eyes that can't disguise a great deal of torment—nightly visits to a previous lover who is in a coma in the hospital, reading to him selections from his favorite advice magazines. Ernesto has been allowing Luis ( Alfredo Maduro ), another ex-lover ( this one much younger ), to stay with him until he can make other arrangements. But one night after coming home from the hospital, Ernesto loses his patience and insists that Luis needs to go.

While the focus is on Gabe and Ernesto, who are separately pursuing romance, the movie gives each of the supporting characters—no matter how small ( some with only one scene )—a chance to make their mark with the audience. ( It shares this rarely achieved ability with The Kids Are All Right. ) Each of these actors memorably shines in his brief screen time and there's not a wasted frame in the picture ( yet another rarity ). And Heck and DeAnda give luminous performances as Gabe and Luis, with their unstated but strong yearning for love and connection so palpable from the outset. When the two finally meet ( back at that all-important convenience store/gas station ) the ensuing scenes unfold like a delicious payoff and the exaltation of Gabe and Ernesto—each quietly elated and hopeful at his unexpected good fortune—is achingly poignant. Pit Stop is one of those small miracles that cinemaphiles justly revel in and it's a supreme addition to the queer-cinema canon.

Film notes:

—Jobriath A.D.—the fascinating documentary examination of glamrock's self-proclaimed "rock 'n' roll fairy," the talented and tragic gender-bending Jobriath ( Bruce Wane Campbell )—is playing at Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave., until Thursday, Feb. 6. Kieran Turner's extraordinary movie was one of my favorite films of 2012 and this Chicago theatrical run is long overdue. Don't miss it.

—African-American LGBTQ filmmaker and actress Cheryl Dunye, renowned for her groundbreaking 1996 film Watermelon Woman, will be present for a reception, screening and audience Q&A of the movie on Thursday, Feb. 13, at the University of Illinois at Chicago/Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St., beginning at 6:20 p.m. UIC's Gender and Sexuality Center and Team 101 Chicago are presenting the evening.

On Friday, Feb. 14, Dunye's 2001 TV movie Stranger Inside will screen along with a sneak preview of her newest film, the forthcoming Black Is Blue. The screenings will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St.

—G.B.F., the delightful queer-themed high school Mean Girls-meets-Glee comedy and the AIDS drama Dallas Buyers Club, with Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto ( both frontrunners for this year's Oscar race ), are both just out on DVD, and are essential adds to your collection.

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.


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 ...

Gay News

Sinfonietta concert screening of 'Get Out' Sept. 21 2019-07-30 - Chicago Sinfonietta will perform a live concert screening of Jordan Peele's 2018 smash film film Get Out, conducted by score composer Michael Abels, ...


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.







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.