Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Knight at the Movies: The Rose is still THE Rose
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times

This article shared 3293 times since Wed May 20, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Mary Rose Foster aka The Rose ( Bette Midler ) gives a tour de force performance in Mark Rydell's 1979 movie of the same name, which the Criterion Collection has just released in a new, remastered version. The Rose—a fictional queen of rock loosely based on Janis Joplin—is a cyclone of conflicted feelings as she embarks on what will prove to be her final concert tour, ending up in her hometown.

Joplin often cited not just the commanding presence and blues wail of Bessie Smith as an inspiration but also her hard-living, take-no-prisoners lifestyle. Smith's stormy life is chronicled in Dee Rees' biopic Bessie ( now playing on HBO ), starring Queen Latfiah, who is tremendous in the title role. Smith's forthright bisexuality was also embraced by Joplin ( Going Down with Janis, by her female lover Peggy Caserta, was a must-read for Our People back in the day. ) The Rose, too, has her own lady-in-waiting—a prim, English lass who uses a sensual shampoo as an attempt at seduction and turns her nose up at The Rose's latest male conquest when he walks in on the women.

That scene, Midler reveals in a new interview included among the special features in Criterion's Blu-ray of the film, was unfamiliar territory for her. It was also one of the few aspects of the character that didn't harken back to her own life, so closely does Bo Goldman's rewrite job on the script weave in aspects of Midler's curious path to fame. For example, when The Rose and her new beau—a down-to-earth chauffeur ( a marvelously understated Frederic Forrest ) who is AWOL from the Army—visit a drag bar, Midler's rise to prominence via her gay bathhouse and bar gigs can't help but underscore the scene.

This segment is just one of the film's many electrifying sequences. ( It offers a rare glimpse of disco singer Sylvester, who impersonates Diana Ross. ) And in a movie filled with more than its share of melodramatic ups and downs—mostly downs—it's blissfully joyful. As the camera whirls around the room, capturing both the performers and the patrons ( a delightful collection of freaks and geeks ) galvanized by the music and the shared camaraderie, the feeling of outsiders united in a fabulous and shared secret underworld is palpable. There it was on the screen more than 35 years ago for all the world to see—the exhilaration of a gay drag bar in all its unapologetic glory. That's one of the reasons why The Rose remains such a singular movie.

The first and foremost reason, of course, is Midler's sensational, powerhouse performance ( which, as I've stated in print at least a dozen times, should have netted her the Best Actress Oscar for which she was nominated ). The movie, directed with a tremendous feel for the rock 'n' roll mileu it artfully captures, was helmed by Mark Rydell. He guided Midler to what remains her crowning movie achievement ( and in 1991 he would guide her to her second-best performance in the underrated For the Boys ). This remastered edition looks spectacular. For the uninitiated, familiar only with Midler's comedies and delightful onstage antics, it will be a revelation. It's available now.

Speaking of bisexuality…

Jack Black and James Marsden play a nebbish loser and the dreamy object of his obsession in Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel's very dark comedy The D Train.

Taking charge of his 20-year high school reunion, Black and his cohorts aren't having much luck convincing their former classmates to join. But when Black spots Marsden ( who was the class jock ) in a suntan lotion commercial, he decides that getting him to the reunion will convince everyone else to attend and in the process elevate his own popularity. What ensues is a bromance that goes beyond bromance when, after a drug-fueled night on the town, Black and Marsden hook up.

The movie has gotten a fair amount of critical drubbing for not being laugh-out-loud funny—a valid criticism—but that view doesn't take into consideration the film's fascinating central focus on Black's discovery that his sexual boundaries aren't what he always assumed and that the hook up is presented without the usual gay panic. The movie, from IFC Films, is now in theaters.

The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name

That's the name of a new film series devoted to Victorian era queer themed movies. The Queer Film Society ( of which I'm president ) and the Chicago Public Library are presenting a quartet of movies the first four Mondays in June at the Bezazian branch, 1226 W. Argyle Ave., at 6 p.m. as a celebration of Pride month.

The screenings include 1945's classic The Picture of Dorian Gray; the 2009 Italian lesbian romance Purple Sea; 1995's Total Eclipse, with Leonardo DiCaprio and David Thewlis as lovers; and 1997's Wilde with Stephen Fry as author ( and gay icon ) Oscar Wilde and Jude Law as his petulant lover. The screenings are free.

Upcoming movie calendar

Highlights from films opening in Chicago, May 22 and May 29 ( or available digitally )

Beautiful Boxer ( 5/21 )—The fifth annual Cinema Q film series continues at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington ST., with a rare screening of 2023's Beautiful Boxer, the jaw-dropping true story of the transgender Thai kickboxer Nong Toom. The Queer Film Society, Reeling, the Legacy Project and the Chicago Cultural Center are presenting the film.

I'll See You In My Dreams ( 5/22 )—Blythe Danner takes center stage in this story of a widow who improbably finds herself choosing between two suitors—her young pool boy and a courtly gentleman she meets at the retirement center home of her best friends. Sam Elliott, Mary Kay Place, Rhea Perlman and June Squibb costar.

Tomorrowland ( 5/22 )—This sci-fi mystery from Disney Studios is purportedly based on their same-named theme park area. George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie and Kathryn Hahn co-star.

Poltergeist ( 5/22 )—"They're here…" said little Carol Ann in Tobe Hooper's 1982 paranormal suburban mystery thriller that Steven Spielberg produced. Now, they've been reimagined in what is reportedly a much darker vision of the original. Sam Rockwell, Jared Harris and Rosemarie Witt co-star. Zelda Rubinstein's character, the diminutive psychic Tangina, has morphed into several different characters.

San Andreas ( 5/29 )—The disaster epic, one of my favorite guilty pleasure genres, strikes again with this man-vs.-the-elements big-budget schlock. Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino head the cast.

Saint Laurent ( 5/29 )—It's a biopic ( the second in the past year ) of the young gay design wunderkind Yves Saint Laurent, who took the fashion world by storm and whose sexual and drug indulgences later threatened to engulf him and the relationship with his business partner and lover.

Unfreedom ( 5/29 )—Director Raj Amit Kumars's debut, which features a lesbian love story set against the background of a terrorist plot, has been banned in India, Kumars's home country, so that it won't "ignite unnatural passions." The film plays in theaters and will be available VOD. The movie's website contains a link to a Kickstarter campaign and a petition to lift the ban and show the film in India.

This article shared 3293 times since Wed May 20, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Superman, TheWrap, Oscar Wilde, Billy Porter, Cher, 'Dragula' 2021-10-17
- The ongoing comic Superman: Son of Kal-El, by writer Tom Taylor and artist John Timms, launched in July and saw Jon Kent officially take up the mantle of the Man of Steel now that his father, ...

Gay News

Wizard World Comic Con returns to Chicago 2021-10-17
- After being canceled last year because of the COVID pandemic, Wizard World Comic Con Chicago returned to Rosemont's Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on Oct. 15-17—and thousands of people attended. People ranging from attendees to vendors ...

Gay News

Jury selection in Smollett trial starts Nov. 29 2021-10-15
- The Jussie Smollett saga continues. Almost three years since out actor Jussie Smollett (TV's Empire; the film Alien: Covenant) was allegedly attacked in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood, Cook County Judge James ...

Gay News

CIFF, featuring LGBTQ+ films, running through Oct. 24 2021-10-15
- North America's longest-running competitive film festival, this year's event expands throughout Chicago with presentations at venues across the city, including at AMC River East 21; the Music Box Theatre; the Gene Siskel Film Center; special drive ...

Gay News

MOVIES Holiday comedy short centers on Muslim family and BIPOC queer relationship 2021-10-13
- The short film The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night follows Noor, a Muslim queer woman, and her experience with bringing her Puerto Rican partner home to meet her family for the first time. When Noor's ...

Gay News

THEATER 'A Rocky Horror Picture Party' at The Den on Oct. 30-31 2021-10-12
- Haven is presenting Science Fiction / Double Feature: A Rocky Horror Picture Party—an immersive Halloween experience that brings to life in vivid technicolor the world of the cult-classic film—directed by ...

Gay News

PBS to air queer documentary 'Things We Dare Not Do' Oct. 25 2021-10-12
- American Documentary | POV announced the national broadcast premiere of Things We Dare Not Do (Cosas que no hacemos), the second feature film from Mexican director and cinematographer Bruno Santamaría, as part of POV's 34th season. ...

Gay News

Madonna's latest concert film, Madame X, now out 2021-10-09
- The concept film to Madonna's acclaimed Madame X Tour has debuted in the United States Latin America, Australia, the Nordics and Canada exclusively on Paramount+, the streaming service from ViacomCBS. Fans outside these markets can watch ...

Gay News

MOVIES Colman Domingo to star in Bayard Rustin biopic 2021-10-09
- LGBTQ+ actor Colman Domingo—who has been in movies such as Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Candyman, and TV shows ranging from Fear the Walking Dead to The Big Gay Sketch Show—has landed the lead role the ...

Gay News

Filmmakers Bennett Singer, Patrick Sammon talk new documentary Cured 2021-10-07
- Producer-directors Bennett Singer and Patrick Sammon have created a new LGBTQ documentary: Cured. The film tells the story of the LGBTQ activists, allies and events surrounding the American Psychiatric Association's ...

Gay News

Sisters in Cinema, DocuClub providing consulting opportunities to filmmakers 2021-10-07
- Sisters in Cinema—a Chicago-based 501(C)3 that aims to center and celebrate Black girls, women and gender non-conforming media makers—and DocuClub, a work-in-progress screening series, have entered into a strategic partnership ...

Gay News

Int'l Film Fest to premiere queer Muslim film directed by Chicagoan Fawzia Mirza 2021-10-05
--From a press release - LOS ANGELES CA - THE SYED FAMILY XMAS EVE GAME NIGHT will have its U.S. premiere at the 57th edition of the Chicago International Film Festival running October 13 - 24, 2021. This comes on the ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Queer/Art,' sports items, Kevin Bacon, Indya Moore 2021-10-03
- Queer|Art—New York City's home for the creative and professional development of LGBTQ+ artists—announced the fall season of Queer|Art|Film, returning in person through Dec. 13, a press release noted. The line-up ...

Gay News

WORLD Movie items, tennis survey, German politics, Thai court 2021-10-03
- Kenya's Film Censorship Board (KFCB) banned I Am Samuel, claiming the documentary—which has a gay protagonist—contravenes Kenyan values, Human Rights Watch noted. In a statement, the KFCB denounced the film ...

Gay News

Pritzker Military Museum, Library to screen TransMilitary doc, Q&A with special guests 2021-09-28
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL (September 27, 2021) On Thursday, Sept. 30, at 5:30 p.m., the Pritzker Military Museum & Library will host the screening of the 2018 SXSW Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary TransMilitary. The program will ...


Copyright © 2021 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      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
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      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      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.