I'm Kenney Mencher. I'm an artist who left a tenured professorship in 2016 to pursue making art full time. This blog is about art, art history, with a emphasis on human rights. I make homoerotic art featuring bears, otters & other gay wildlife.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
QUEER|ART|FILM CLUB: FREE YOUR MIND January - April on Zoom
QUEER|ART|FILM CLUB: FREE YOUR MIND A New Season of QUEER|ART|FILM
Organized by Curators Adam Baran and Heather Lynn Johnson
The third “stay-at-home” season of Queer|Art|Film— titledQueer|Art|Film Club: Free Your Mind— focuses on the art of cinema as it arrives at a challenging crossroads. During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, funding, production and distribution opportunities changed dramatically in a variety of ways. As we enter year two, we'll be talking with five filmmakers at different phases in their careers about the unique challenges they've faced in the pursuit of their art, and how they envision the future of film. What does it mean to be a queer filmmaker during the COVID-19 pandemic? How can LGBTQ movie makers continue to get their stories and voices heard in a content-cluttered media landscape? And can the cinema of the past offer clues and guidance for how to move forward into uncharted territory? Join us for another thought-provoking season of groundbreaking films and conversation. All discussions begin at 8:00 pm EST, on Zoom.
WINTER LINEUP January 25th - Gustavo Vinagre and Fábio Leal present VEREDA TROPICAL, FILM FOR A BLIND POET, and DAYTIME DOORMAN February 22nd - Tourmaline presents THE MATRIX March 22nd - Frédéric Tcheng presents TEOREMA and A SUMMER DRESS April 12th - Patricia Resnick presents THE GRADUATE
MONDAY, JANUARY 25TH, 8PM Gustavo Vinagre and Fábio Leal present VEREDA TROPICAL, FILM FOR A BLIND POET, and THE DAYTIME DOORMAN (Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, 1978; Gustavo Vinagre, 2012; Fábio Leal, 2016)
Our first guests this season are queer Brazilian filmmakers Gustavo Vinagre and Fábio Leal, whose films are unabashedly bold, sexually-explicit and confront the realities of living under repressive dictatorial regimes. Their new documentary GOD HAS AIDS shines a light on the little known history of Brazil’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s via interviews and performances by contemporary HIV+ artists. For this program, Vinagre and Leal have chosen to screen Joaquim Pedro de Andrade’s short film VEREDA TROPICAL, which features a man who develops an erotic obsession with fruits and vegetables. Made during the military dictatorship in the 1970s, the film was quickly banned for its subversive portrait of liberation. Though it features a heterosexual protagonist, Leal and Vinagre both feel it is a queer film which uses humor and sexuality to break down barriers.
To accompany this short, we’ll also be screening Vinagre’s short documentary FILM FOR A BLIND POET, about blind sadomasochistic poet Glauco Mattoso, and Leal’s narrative short THE DAYTIME DOORMAN, about a complicated affair between a gay man and the doorman who works at his building. The program will include a live screening of all three films, followed by a discussion and Q&A with Vinagre and Leal.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22ND, 8PM Tourmaline presents THE MATRIX (Wachowski Sisters, 1999)
For our second program this season, activist, filmmaker, and writer Tourmaline will present the Wachoski Sisters’ 1999 cult classic, THE MATRIX. Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, and Carrie-Anne Moss, THE MATRIX renders the liminal space in a future where the oppressors are hidden and the masses are satiated with simulations. Co-director Lilly Wachowski, describes this turn-of-the-century favorite as “a metaphor for transgender identities” and explains that, “when you talk about transformation, specifically in the world of science fiction, which is just about imagination and world-building…the idea of the seemingly impossible becomes possible.” In the Wachowski Sisters’ dystopian future, the physical body is only an avatar to the limitless power of the mind, as many of us on the gender spectrum have realized. For our guest presenter Tourmaline, THE MATRIX elicits a “compelling invite to shift the beliefs we hold to be more aligned with the world we want.”
MONDAY, MARCH 22ND, 8PM Frédéric Tcheng presents TEOREMA and A SUMMER DRESS (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1969; François Ozon, 1996)
Filmmaker and producer Frédéric Tcheng hosts our third program this season, leading discussions on two films: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1968 classic, TEOREMA and François Ozon steamy narrative short, A SUMMER DRESS. The cinematic dreaminess of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema brings a 1968 Italian middle-class family to the silver screen. The film portrays a family, spiritually bereft but living a comfortable life of complacency, social status, and corporate idealization—with no passion for life until a visitor arrives. Known for depicting sexuality as a tool to render everything from hypocrisy to the heroic, in this classic, Pasolini explores sexuality to narrate the 1968 political movement, Il Sessantotto. The movement, which comprised protests driven by the working class, opposed traditional Italian values and called for an end to consumer capitalism and patriarchal structures. For Queer|Art|Film Club: Free Your Mind, guest presenter Frédéric Tcheng will explain how the “sexual tension, the religious overtones, and Silvana Mangano’s glamour” in TEOREMA inspired his personal career as a filmmaker, editor, and producer.
Tcheng will explore these themes and more in dialogue with François Ozon’s 1996 narrative short, A SUMMER DRESS, which he considers to be “an irresistible haiku on the circulation of desire and the fluidity of gender.” Regarded by many as the “first mainstream French queer filmmaker,” François Ozon has inspired generations to come with his flirtatious and evocative portraits of queerness.
MONDAY, APRIL 12TH, 8PM Patricia Resnick presents THE GRADUATE (Mike Nichols, 1967)
In Mike Nichols’ groundbreaking 1967 classic, floundering college grad Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) is seduced by a married female friend of the family (Anne Bancroft), but complications ensue when his parents pressure him to date her daughter (Katherine Ross). THE GRADUATE’s impact was monumental, making a star out of Dustin Hoffman, becoming the top-grossing film of the year, and scoring seven Oscar nominations and one win for Nichols’ brilliant direction. For acclaimed screenwriter Patricia Resnick (9 TO 5, 3 WOMEN, TALES OF THE CITY), who watched the film repeatedly while working at a movie theater, the film was deeply resonant. Resnick developed a teenage crush on Bancroft and deeply identified with Hoffman’s intense generational anxieties. Resnick writes, “I so related to the main character Ben’s feeling completely lost and adrift post college...Over the years I’ve gone back to THE GRADUATE, showing it to my nieces and nephews and then my own kids. They all loved it. I’ve found that it remains as funny and moving as it ever was and if anything the theme is even more apt for millennials than it was for boomers like me who had way more opportunities.”