Four Gay Movies Shown At SXSW 2013

3.12.2013

By Andrew Belonsky

A jazz legend, a drag queen and a heartbroken trick walk into a gay bathhouse...

PJ Raval's Before You Know It was just one of several of the gay-themed movies that screened during Austin's SXSW. Here's a rundown of four other notable LGBT flicks shown at the annual arts and music conference.

BAYOU MAHARAJAH: Director Lily Keber trains her eye on the late, great New Orleans musician James Booker (pictured above), a man, as every review points out, jazz legend Dr. John called "the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced." Featuring interviews with performers like Henry Connick Jr., Irma Thomas and Hugh Laurie, this is the movie for anyone who wants to get into one of the underrepresented musical geniuses of the 20th Century.

PIT STOP: Can a one-night stand heal two mens' broken hearts? It's a topic frequently explored in gay cinema — Weekend stands as a memorable recent example — but not as poignantly and honestly as in Pit Stop, Yen Tan's film about two gents trying to figure it all out and keep it together in a small Texas town. Above, a trailer for and clip from Pit Stop.

CONTINENTAL: In this Kickstarter-funded documentary, Malcolm Ingram, director of the celebrated Small Town Gay Bar, explores the legendary Continental Baths, the bathhouse that from 1968 until 1975 served not only as a sexual playground for New York City's burgeoning gay communities, but as an artistic epicenter for performers like Barry Manilow and Bette Midler. Above, video of Ingram and his awesome mother pitching the then-in production documentary, as well as some video of Midler performing at the baths in 1971.

I AM DIVINE: Fresh off his work on Vito, director Jeffrey Schwarz now turns his eye to Harris Glenn Milstead, the actor and performer otherwise known as Divine. Through interviews with Divine's friends and colleagues, Schwarz gives fans and new viewers alike an unprecedented view into the fabulous and full-figured life. Speaking with the New York Times about the project and Divine herself, Schwarz remarks, "He helped people be comfortable with who they were, no matter what they looked like or no matter what society told them was wrong with them. He was able to turn all that around and empower himself. Anybody who feels like a freak, for whatever reason, can really find a role model in Divine. And so that was really what touched me about the story." Above, a teaser for I Am Divine.

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