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Virtual screening set for restored doc about queer San Francisco history

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Image courtesy of Tenderloin Museum

Quarantined documentary fans can get a rare glimpse at pre-Stonewall queer history next week, thanks to San Francisco’s Tenderloin Museum and Roxie Theatre, who are joining forces to present a digital screening of a rarely-seen film delving into the Tenderloin’s early queer movements during the ’60s and ’70s.

“Gay San Francisco,” created by filmmaker Jonathan Raymond, gives an unabashedly raw window into queer life decades ago. “A true mondo film with no shortage of pornographic material,” according to publicity materials, it offers “scenes from San Francisco’s thriving LGBTQ culture, interviews with gay men and transwomen, and rare pieces from a Halloween drag show at the historic On The Levee gay bar, emceed by the legendary Charles Pierce.” Tackling “gay and erotic themes with a respect and humor that was all but unheard of at the time of its shooting,” Raymond’s unusual movie “gives a shockingly complete depiction of homosexual life in […] the Tenderloin, San Francisco’s first queer neighborhood.”

The obscure documentary was discovered by filmmakers Susan Stryker and Victor Silverman, who used material from it in their Emmy-winning documentary “Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria,” after being presented with the original 16mm film by its cinematographer, Ed Muckerman. Restored from the original print and transferred to digital in a collaboration between Tenderloin Museum and California Preservation Program, this extended version features, among other new scenes, lesbian subject matter and a fetish “tickle sacrifice” scene.

The virtual event will feature an introduction by Stryker, who in addition to being a filmmaker, is a lauded historian and longtime Tenderloin Museum collaborator, She will be joined by fellow San Francisco queer history expert Kirk Frederick, the author of “Write That Down! The Comedy of Male Actress Charles Pierce” and co-author (with Christopher Stone) of an upcoming book, “The Gayest Generation,” that looks at the people, places, and events of the ’70s that propelled the Gay Rights movement forward in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Kirk Frederick, pictured with Charles Pierce (R) in a production photo from the ground-breaking queer play “Geese” in 1969. Frederick served as Pierce’s stage manager for 20 years and later authored a book about the iconic “male actress.” (Photo courtesy of Frederick)

Both Stryker and Frederick will participate in a Q&A immediately following the film’s screening.

Presented by TLM Online and the Roxie Virtual Theatre, “Gay San Francisco” will screen digitally on Tuesday, April 20, from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PDT. Tickets are free, though a donation of $10 is suggested from those who have the means, and can be reserved on Eventbrite.

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Photos

PHOTOS: Night of Champions

Team DC holds annual awards gala

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Team DC President Miguel Ayala speaks at the 2024 Night of Champions Awards on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Team DC, the umbrella organization for LGBTQ-friendly sports teams and leagues in the D.C. area, held its annual Night of Champions Awards Gala on Saturday, April 20 at the Hilton National Mall. The organization gave out scholarships to area LGBTQ student athletes as well as awards to the Different Drummers, Kelly Laczko of Duplex Diner, Stacy Smith of the Edmund Burke School, Bryan Frank of Triout, JC Adams of DCG Basketball and the DC Gay Flag Football League.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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PHOTOS: National Cannabis Festival

Annual event draws thousands to RFK

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Growers show their strains at The National Cannabis Festival on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The 2024 National Cannabis Festival was held at the Fields at RFK Stadium on April 19-20.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Theater

‘Amm(i)gone’ explores family, queerness, and faith

A ‘fully autobiographical’ work from out artist Adil Mansoor

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Adil Mansoor in ‘Amm(i)gone’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. (Photo by Kitoko Chargois)

‘Amm(i)gone’
Thorough May 12
Woolly Mammoth Theatre
641 D St., N.W. 
$60-$70
Woollymammoth.net

“Fully and utterly autobiographical.” That’s how Adil Mansoor describes “Amm(i)gone,” his one-man work currently playing at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. 

Both created and performed by out artist Mansoor, it’s his story about inviting his Pakistani mother to translate Sophocles’s Greek tragedy “Antigone” into Urdu. Throughout the journey, there’s an exploration of family, queerness, and faith,as well as references to teachings from the Quran, and audio conversations with his Muslim mother. 

Mansoor, 38, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and is now based in Pittsburgh where he’s a busy theater maker. He’s also the founding member of Pittsburgh’s Hatch Arts Collective and the former artistic director of Dreams of Hope, an LGBTQ youth arts organization.

WASHINGTON BLADE: What spurred you to create “Amm(i)gone”? 

ADIL MANSOOR: I was reading a translation of “Antigone” a few years back and found myself emotionally overwhelmed. A Theban princess buries her brother knowing it will cost her, her own life. It’s about a person for whom all aspirations are in the afterlife. And what does that do to the living when all of your hopes and dreams have to be reserved for the afterlife?

I found grant funding to pay my mom to do the translation. I wanted to engage in learning. I wanted to share theater but especially this ancient tragedy. My mother appreciated the characters were struggling between loving one another and their beliefs. 

BLADE: Are you more director than actor?

MANSOOR: I’m primarily a director with an MFA in directing from Carnegie Mellon. I wrote, directed, and performed in this show, and had been working on it for four years. I’ve done different versions including Zoom. Woolly’s is a new production with the same team who’ve been involved since the beginning. 

I love solo performance. I’ve produced and now teach solo performance and believe in its power. And I definitely lean toward “performance” and I haven’t “acted” since I was in college. I feel good on stage. I was a tour guide and do a lot of public speaking. I enjoy the attention. 

BLADE: Describe your mom. 

MANSOOR: My mom is a wonderfully devout Muslim, single mother, social worker who discovered my queerness on Google. And she prays for me. 

She and I are similar, the way we look at things, the way we laugh. But different too. And those are among the questions I ask in this show. Our relationship is both beautiful and complicated.

BLADE: So, you weren’t exactly hiding your sexuality? 

MANSOOR: In my mid-20s, I took time to talk with friends about our being queer with relation to our careers. My sexuality is essential to the work. As the artistic director at Dreams of Hope, part of the work was to model what it means to be public. If I’m in a room with queer and trans teenagers, part of what I’m doing is modeling queer adulthood. The way they see me in the world is part of what I’m putting out there. And I want that to be expansive and full. 

So much of my work involves fundraising and being a face in schools. Being out is about making safe space for queer young folks.

BLADE: Have you encountered much Islamophobia? 

MANSOOR: When 9/11 happened, I was a sophomore in high school, so yes. I faced a lot then and now. I’ve been egged on the street in the last four months. I see it in the classroom. It shows up in all sorts of ways. 

BLADE: What prompted you to lead your creative life in Pittsburgh? 

MANSOOR: I’ve been here for 14 years. I breathe with ease in Pittsburgh. The hills and the valleys and the rust of the city do something to me. It’s beautiful, it’ affordable, and there is support for local artists. There’s a lot of opportunity. 

Still, the plan was to move to New York in September of 2020 but that was cancelled. Then the pandemic showed me that I could live in Pittsburgh and still have a nationally viable career. 

BLADE: What are you trying to achieve with “Amm(i)gone”? 

MANSOOR: What I’m sharing in the show is so very specific but I hear people from other backgrounds say I totally see my mom in that. My partner is Catholic and we share so much in relation to this. 

 I hope the work is embracing the fullness of queerness and how means so many things. And I hope the show makes audiences want to call their parents or squeeze their partners.

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