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Grit and Glitter: Before and After Stonewall

Jun 21 — Jul 14, 2019

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and celebration of World Pride, MoMI presents Grit and Glitter: Before and After Stonewall. Organized by guest curators Donal Mosher and Michael Palmieri (October Country, The Gospel of Eureka), the thirteen films in this series were chosen for both their personal impact on the renowned filmmaking duo and their continuing contribution to queerness in cinema before and after this watershed moment in American society. 
All descriptions were written by Mosher and Palmieri.

“The Stonewall uprising is understood as the straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back–catalyzing event in June 1969 that led to days of protest and unrest, and effectively launched the gay liberation movement and gay pride. With this series, we’re interested in the films and filmmakers whose ideas reflected the cultural shifts bubbling under the surface that led to Stonewall, as well as the effect it had on the cinema and culture that followed. In these films you’ll find a multitude of approaches, even contradictions, but they all share a subversiveness, a strain of rage, a rejection of social and cinematic norms, and a deep well of empathy. These films are clarion calls to me as a filmmaker, and they serve as a constant reminder that rage and empathy can co-exist, and that they are powerful tools to work with.”—Michael Palmieri

“Some films are suffused with a special light that does not come from its projection or the backlit screen—a light made visible only by their encounter with the viewer. Being a rural gay kid, my source of queer presence and history mostly came from viewing media stereotypes and news reports about AIDS—save for the rare films that were illuminated windows into a queer world happening, waiting, and calling from the other side. Since then I’ve spent my life seeking and, hopefully, on occasion, creating such illuminated moments. We now live in a time when LGBTQ+ representation is so mainstream that the Stonewall riot can be rewritten as a triumph of whiteness and the life of Freddie Mercury can be retooled to support normative family values. To me, though, the films in this program shine with a disruptive, beacon-like power. Some are celebratory, some problematic. Some are highly crafted, some crudely made. Some are all of these things, which is why the light they radiate is not a single reductive beam but a necessary iridescence—multifaceted, shifting, reflecting the visions of both vast communities and the single, lonely viewer in the dark.”—Donal Mosher 


Mosher and Palmieri’s film The Gospel of Eureka (2018, Kino Lorber Films), will screen on Saturday, June 22, as part of the ongoing New Adventures in Nonfiction series.