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 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Minstrel Blood
SUMMER MOVIES: IN FLAT KANSAS
by Alix Dobkin
2001-12-19

This article shared 1220 times since Wed Dec 19, 2001
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Our brand-new house on its brand-new dead-end street in the new Johnson County Kansas suburb stood and baked in the July sun. Depressingly fresh-paved blacktop, piles of gravel and patches of raw clay confronted me once again. The single young sapling on the front lawn echoed my gut-wrenching migration from New York to Philadelphia, sending waves of despair rising in my stomach.

It was exactly the same sick feeling inspired by the unwelcomed confrontation with that city for which I, nearly 15, now pined. The ranch-style home combined red brick with white siding, driveway, attached garage and picture window looking onto its opposite number across the street. Three basic designs of equally insipid, middle-class houses alternately lined identical streets for white middle-class families who could stand and afford to live there.

About half a dusty mile away there were a few shops, but it was too hot to walk that far. Green grasshoppers and daddy long-legs patrolled regulation suburban backyards wondering where the wheat fields had gone. I saw my first luminous praying mantis and began to explore the neighborhood which lay within the limits of Greater Kansas City, Missouri, actually located in the state of Kansas. Residents were obliged to spend hours explaining that we didn't really live in Kansas City, Kansas which was a different town. Less than a block away across the main road, in the corner of an overgrown strip, I had discovered a perfect nondescript, easily overlooked spot for a quiet smoke. Sheltering weeds and wild thorny brambles offered shade and privacy where I could interrupt boredom and sustain the empty hours. It had been easier to buy my own Luckies back at Lynnewood Drug store, but in a pinch, I'd slip a Pall Mall or Fatima from Mom's pack and tell her I was "taking a walk."

Once off the block, I had only to cross the road, claim my tin-can ashtray from the assorted litter, settle down, light up, and breathe in a lungful of smoke to occupy, if only momentarily, the barren space around my lonely heart. Short-lived as the thrills of cigarettes were, they alone were worth getting out of bed for. And movies. The air conditioning alone was worth sitting through anything anywhere Mom would drive. Although I didn't like opera, I appreciated the intent of Carmen Jones with Dorothy Dandridge. The racist audience ridiculing the "all Negro cast" drove me out of the theater before the film ended. "Kansas City," said Pop, "is a northern town with a southern exposure."

Besides the fact that Victor Mature looked the same smiling as he did frowning in The Robe, but all I remember is one split second when, after a big battle, a dead soldier at the bottom of the cinemascope screen turns his head. Ah ha! But who could I share it with? The Barefoot Contessa story struck me as senseless but then again, Ava Gardner's heavy-lidded appeal did not escape me. Nor did Kim Novak's sultry glances as she batted them towards William Holden in Picnic, her lower lip trembling with vulnerability. The best part of Roman Holiday was when Gregory Peck walks into a palace and notes, "It ain't much, but it's home" to Audrey Hepburn, whose beautiful birdlike fragility reminded me of Mom. That aside, those films stayed with me no longer than the chill of the theater in the blast of afternoon heat. On The Waterfront was the second Hollywood film I knew to deal head-on with political truth as I understood it. The first was Broadway's Born Yesterday, made into a 1951 cinema comedy knockout. As Billie, Judy Holiday screeched "Whaaaaaat?" at Broderick Crawford, called him a fascist to his face and drove him wild with her quirky playing in a classic gin rummy game, where she continually reshuffled her hand and won, game after game. Judy Holliday stole the movie and updated standards for brassy blonde bombshell set by Mae West. At a time when the blacklist ruled, she was a "progressive" who spoke her mind and was denied work because of it and died of cancer before her time. In an industry designating blondes as dumb and submissive, she was neither. Gorgeous, brilliantly funny and powerful, she strengthened my belief in my mind and my respect for smart blondes. Betty Grable and Betty Hutton had vitality, but for me, Judy's personna was stronger, smarter and deeper than any showgirl before or since.


This article shared 1220 times since Wed Dec 19, 2001
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

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.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


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.