Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NewFest and Performing Outside the Box


A short update to inform NYC Readers about NewFest! NewFest is in its 20th year of providing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movies in its annual film festival. I have been going almost every single night and for a student/senior discount of $7 it’s half the cost of a mainstream movie.

The highlights I have noticed that I STRONGLY urge people to watch out for are below. I may write more specifically about these films later, but I just want to make sure people have the chance to watch them either now, or later when they replay at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the International Film Center in August. There are so many amazing films I did not see – so I urge everyone to go these next couple of nights and support artists that represent a new vision of the world! The theatre is accessible for wheelchair users and people with movement impairments; they also have “hearing devices” at the front desk. I don’t know what they are or if they’re useful. But, there you go.

The World Unseen

U People

Tal Como Somos/Just As We Are

Dreams Deferred: The Sakia Gunn Project

Also, NewFest has ballots at the end of each film. I enjoy writing things like “yay film directed by Black women!” or “yay bilingual film!” when I want to highlight something I think they should be focusing on. I should warn readers that the festival as a whole has a huge gap in representation for bisexual people, transgender and gender variant people, and bilingual films. While I have seen some HIV+ characters visible disability is also underrepresented.

However, you can get some great images of people with disabilities discussing and performing sexuality and disability at Outside the Box: Performing Disability. This is the ending event of the Society for Disability Studies 2008 Conference this June 20th! Featuring internationally known artists such as Mat Frazer (“Seal Boy”), Excerpts from "GIMP" choreographed by Heidi Latsky, featuring Jeffery Freeze, Lawrence Carter-Long (my new favorite person!) and Catherine Long. Also present: Four Wheel City, Krip Hop, Honi Harlow & Mystique presents Bawdville Deaf burlesque, Nancy Ostrovsky, performance painting, and Theatrical Readings staged by Carrie Sandahl (one of the contributors to “Desiring Disability”) and Vicki Lewis, and many other amazing and talented people.

It should be amazing, and I’m hoping to go as well. Yay for a sexually healthy, body affirming event that is only $18 a person! The event will begin at 8 p.m at the Eisner and Lubin Auditorium in the NYU Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, in New York City.

[Pictured: the logo for the night, taken from mediadis&dat. The logo resembles a Matisse-like collage of four black figures outlined in white against a mosaic of blues, greens, and reds. The four figures have various body types and visible disabilities and I believe the far right figure might be a nod to Mat Frazer]
On a side note, my new focus is making sure the few entertainment dollars I have go towards supporting the imagery that reflects my reality. Films made by and staring women, people of color, transgender and gender non-conforming people, people with disabilities, and people who use multiple or non-English languages. So instead of paying for mainstream movies that don’t represent me or the people I love, huge drink tabs that I can’t remember the next day, or club entry fees that explicitly sexist, classist, and ablest I am trying to channel the few extra bucks I make each week toward the people I love. The disTHIS! Film series, NewFest’s films that celebrate women and gender variance as well as national, racial, language, and sexual diversity, Nuyorican poetry slams, and the free art shows of my friends and other queer brown female artists.

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