Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: Love Free or Die; K-11; film notes
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2013-04-17

This article shared 3068 times since Wed Apr 17, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


"Saints and Sinners" would be a good title for a double bill of Love Free or Die and K-11, two queer-centric movies both just out on DVD and available OnDemand. Content-wise, these two films—a documentary about Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopalian bishop and a ramped-up jailhouse drama inspired by the gay/transgender unit of the LA County jail—could not be further apart. But the two movies do illustrate the wide range of diversity within the gay community and how we're often perceived—in good and bad ways—by the mainstream.

When we meet Robinson at the outset of Love Free or Die, he and his partner, Mark Andrew, are hanging ornaments on their Christmas tree. It's 2008—five years after Robinson had been elected bishop of New Hampshire—and though Robinson and Andrew put on a brave face as Robinson narrates his own story, the dust has yet to settle on his controversial election. A tireless gay-rights activist and an obvious lightning rod (Robinson wore a bulletproof vest under his vestments at his consecration ceremony following death threats) the bishop seems to take the naysayers in stride, doing so with humor and equanimity. But the bucolic Christmas scene in which the two men shyly talk about meeting and falling in love is underscored by the tremendous snub that Robinson was at that point facing.

The Lambeth Conferences—a once-a-decade meeting of Episcopal bishops presided over by Rowan Wilson, the archbishop of Canterbury in the United Kingdom—didn't invite Robinson to be part of the event because of Robinson's sexual orientation. Sensing a chance to further his goal of seeing gay people accepted into the church, Robinson decided to make the trip on his own, and the film's director, Macky Alston, and his crew follow him there. As the bishops convene, several—including some who attended seminary with Robinson and describe themselves as dear friends of his—defend their conservative viewpoints in the "gentle" terminology often resorted to by religious folks to justify their homophobia. Some speak out in Robinson's favor, but none of them go so far as to boycott the conference or call into question the exclusion of their fellow bishop.

Robinson, literally locked out of the meetings, is gamely glimpsed attending luncheons and other events thrown in his honor about town. At one point, he is interrupted during a service by a religious terrorist who is quickly escorted out of the church. Shaken, Robinson nevertheless presses forward, gently pushing his message of tolerance and inclusion for all. Later, we see him attend a conference in the States in which church officials vote on whether other gay bishops can be elected and if same-sex marriages can be performed by the church. Again, we hear plenty of rhetoric on both sides about why this is either a good or bad thing but at no point do we see any direct conflict or confrontation—something the exceedingly polite film could use.

Robinson (who retired at the beginning of this year) certainly paved the way for others and the election of a lesbian bishop at the film's conclusion is proof of the quiet storm that Robinson helped generate within the church. But the filmmaker's polite approach—Alston's aversion to taking to task the prejudicial viewpoints expressed by the religious leaders they film for example—which mirrors Robinson's own soft pedal manner—undercuts the power of the message and diffuses the urgency the movie's title suggests but never actually presents.

K-11 is also a terrible title for a movie that purports to reveal the shocking, incendiary goings-on inside a primarily gay/transgender ward of the L.A. county jail. After viewing the stereotypical characters and situations in writer-director Jules Stewart's debut feature, "K-Y" seems a more appropriate moniker—copious amounts of which you'll need to utilize in order to take in this lousy movie (and yes, I'm purposely being as vulgar as the movie itself—or trying to).

Stewart, mother of actress Kristen (whose leaving the project made headlines), has crafted something that seems to have been inspired by the worst parts of Caged, Fortune and Men's Eyes, and a raft of other dreadful exploitative prison pictures (Pam Grier always seems to be lurking just out of frame). The violence and sex are ramped up, while the decision to set the movie, which has no real storyline, in the LGBT ward seems nothing more than a blatant grab for the attention it wouldn't otherwise receive.

Poor Goran Visnjic—an interesting actor in films like The Deep End and who played Christopher Plummer's boyfriend in Beginners—is cast here as Raymond Saxx, a drugged-out record producer who might have killed one of his star acts while high. Tossed, for unexplainable reasons, into the queer pen while awaiting trial, Raymond, who is straight, is quickly confronted by Mousey (Kate del Castillo), the brazen, transgender queen of the cellblock who holds sway (literally, in her stripper heels) over the other misfits and the horny, drug-addicted, corrupt prison guard with a shoe fetish (D.B. Sweeney) who wants to get with her again—and the sooner the better.

There's a raid on the pharmacy, a fashion show, the repeated rape of a young girl by a child molester, and lots more to add to the sleazy vibe but K-11, which is a sort of cross between a rat-infested episode of Oz and RuPaul's Drag Race, offers none of the camp or salacious pleasures of either of those—which might be this supposedly outrageous movie's biggest offense.

Film notes:

—Mad Men, AMC's hit show that follows the exploits of Jon Hamm as ad man extraordinaire Don Draper against the backdrop of the ring-a-ding-ding 1960s, is back for its seventh season. As the show has progressed, moving from the early '60s to 1968, viewers have seen Draper go from the king of Manhattan—an inveterate, hard-drinking womanizer whose faults are written off time and again because of his ability to come up with unforgettable ad campaigns for his firm's uptight clients.

Who knew that we were watching the story of a real-life mad man, aka photographer Bert Stern, whose career in advertising and photography has included Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sophia Loren, Natalie Wood and Truman Capote among his subjects, and whose legendary status was assured with his iconic pictures from the last photo session with Marilyn Monroe before her untimely death in 1962?

Stern is the subject of Bert Stern: Original Mad Man, a tremendously entertaining portrait of the 80-year-old photographer by Shannah Laumeister, a comely blonde who—no surprise—is another of Stern's conquests. Stern narrates the outlines of his Hugh Hefner-like career (only Stern himself took the pictures of the beautiful women), and his daughters and former wife are among the interview subjects. The movie is filled with an endless array of Stern's tremendous photographs and background on his 1958 masterful documentary take on the Newport Jazz Festival, Jazz on a Summer's Day. The film will screen Thursday, April 18, at The Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St. www.siskelfilmcenter.org

—Chicago International Movies and Music Fest (CIMM): The annual fest returns April 18-21 with a host of music-themed movies and live music events—more than 70 films and dozens of live performances. The fest is celebrating 50 years of the Rolling Stones on film with a retrospective that includes a bevy of rare concert, video and documentary glimpses into the seminal band's unprecedented career. The fest also includes three movies with a decided queer bent: Peaches Does Herself (a transsexual rock musical), the lesbian-flavored And You Belong and Asphalt (a 1929 German silent movie) with live scoring by Yael Archer. Check www.cimmfest.org for venue and ticket information.

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitymediagroup.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter website.


This article shared 3068 times since Wed Apr 17, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Reeling Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Fest coming Sept. 22 - Oct. 6 2022-08-17
-- From a press release - The 40th edition of the Reeling Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival will run from Sept. 22 to Oct. 6, 2022, two weeks of powerful filmmaking with over 100 films from LGBTQ+ filmmakers all over the world. ...


Gay News

Actor Ezra Miler seeking treatment for mental-health issues 2022-08-16
- After troubling behavior that has included charges of harassment and felony burglary, as well as allegations of assault and abuse, non-binary actor Ezra Miller (Justice League; The Perks of Being a Wallflower), said they are seeking ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2022-08-14
- "Steven Spielberg recently remade West Side Story and bent over [backward] to respect ethnicities and ended up pleasing nobody. And it's too bad, because the original musical was written by Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents and Leonard ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'The L Word,' drag queens, Tanya Tucker, Wanda Sykes, David Bowie 2022-08-14
Video below - Showtime announced that Grammy and Emmy nominee Margaret Cho, Joey Lauren Adams and Emmy nominee Joanna Cassidy will guest-star in the third season of the series The L Word: Generation Q, along with previously announced Grammy-nominated ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: Movie short, 'Kaepernick,' ice cream and more 2022-08-14
- —Fraud: Non-binary director Zen Zadih Pace's debut narrative short, Fraud—starring trans actress Dana Aliya Levinson (STARZ's American Gods) and Babak Tafti (Showtime's Super Pumped)—was selected for ...


Gay News

Actress Anne Heche dies at age 53 2022-08-13
- Anne Heche—the actress who starred in a string of high-profile late '90s movies including Six Days Seven Nights, Donnie Brasco and Wag the Dog as well as Emmy-winning TV shows such as Men in Trees and ...


Gay News

Haven Chicago presenting first-ever Festival Au Cinema on Aug. 26-28 2022-08-09
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (August 8, 2022) — Haven Chicago is pleased to present its first annual Festival au Cinéma, the company's new platform for visionary and innovative filmmakers and media artists staking their claim in the future of ...


Gay News

Chicago filmmaker releases documentary about activist, writer Joseph Beam 2022-08-09
- A Chicago filmmaker's desire to learn more about the quote "Black men loving Black men is a revolutionary act" led him to a community of writers and activists who helped tell the story of the man ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jane Lynch, Dwayne Johnson, 'Star Trek,' Beyonce, Shea Coulee 2022-08-07
- NBC has renewed the Jane Lynch-hosted game show Weakest Link for a third season, Variety noted. Season three will run for 20 episodes. The series is based on a British format distributed by BBC Studios that ...


Gay News

TELEVISION 'They/Them' cast members reflect on making the film 2022-08-06
- They/Them (pronounced "They-slash-Them") is a new 2022 film from Blumhouse Productions in which the terrors of an LGBTQ+ conversion camp invade the lives of a diverse group of young people who spend a summer together. The ...


Gay News

Actress Anne Heche in critical condition after car crash 2022-08-06
- Actress Anne Heche reportedly crashed her car into a house in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles on Aug. 5, setting both the vehicle and the house on fire, according to CNN. She is now ...


Gay News

TELEVISION Darwin Del Fabro ('They/Them') talks horror, love scenes and inner strength 2022-08-04
- Queer Brazilian singer/actor Darwin Del Fabro is one of the cast members of the horror movie They/Them (pronounced "they-SLASH-them")—a slasher movie (get it?) set ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Cabaret' coming to Metropolis Arts on Sept. 15 2022-08-02
- Musical Broadway classic and hit film Cabaret re-creates the decadent and complicated world of 1929 Berlin at the Arlington Heights venue Metropolis Performing Arts Centre on Sept. 15-Oct. 22. Cabaret is Kander and Ebb's legendary musical ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2022-08-01
- "Mike, you's in danger, man."—Whoopi Goldberg paraphrases her line from Ghost (or, as Barbara Walters always called it, The Ghost) in response to Pence's former aide Marc Short revealing what almost happened to the VP on ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Comic Con, WNBA player, Timothee Chalamet, Kate McKinnon 2022-07-31
- Out Magazine listed at least seven LGBTQ+-related characters and projects that were unveiled at San Diego Comic Con. Some of them include Michaela Coel (from TV's I May Destroy You) as a queer character in the ...


 



Copyright © 2022 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


 

Sponsor


Donate


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.