I Am Divine

Joan Rivers

When Joan Rivers died last week, a common refrain resounded throughout the movie sphere of Twitter: “Watch Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.” It was good advice. Anyone who wants to understand her importance as a media figure, or just as a person, would do well to check out that documentary. And after seeing it, you might have a hankering to check out more docs about entertainers who are devoted to making people laugh. Here are ten, including the Rivers film, to catch up with: Elaine Stritch at Liberty (2002) and Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me (2013) The Broadway legend kept working right up until her death earlier this year. At Liberty is Elaine Stritch in her own words, a filmed version of her acclaimed one-woman show. She won an Emmy for her riotous recounting of her life and work, a two-hour cavalcade of memories shot by a team of directors led by D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. Shoot Me is Stritch as viewed through someone else’s lens. While the actress and singer is still on point with her defiant rambunctiousness, director Chiemi Karasawa delivers a more raw, vulnerable side of her. Footage of Stritch without makeup, lying in bed due to sickliness, are the sort of thing that you don’t get from a performer just talking about it on stage. It’s a funny but moving look at reflection in old age while still pursuing what one loves. READ MORE AT NONFICS

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frameline 2013

You might think, with all the acclaim pouring in for Michael Douglas and Matt Damon’s performances in Behind the Candelabra, that the film industry’s “gay moment” has arrived. The proliferation of LGBT-themed movies achieving wide release now might seem to signal that the credits are rolling on what film historian Vito Russo called the celluloid closet and that the gay genre can now dissolve itself to join the rest of the movies as simply that — movies. But the state of things isn’t actually that far along. Neither Douglas nor Damon are themselves gay, nor are there comparable gay stars who could have led that movie. And even though Behind the Candelabra was directed by Steven Soderbergh and featured blockbuster movie stars, no distributor would buy the film. It had to air on HBO. In reality, though there has been immense progress in the past few years, the LGBT community still has far to come in Hollywood. That’s why the Frameline International LGBT Film Festival is so significant. The oldest and largest film festival in the world devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender programming, Frameline is a showcase for the best work that you still won’t see in the cinemaplex, an opportunity to reflect on the history of our community and its contribution to the movies, and just a gay old time. In its 37th year, the festival runs from June 20th to 30th, ending with Pride, and screens a panoply of fascinating films at the Castro, Roxie, Victoria […]

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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