Saturday, June 29, 2013
Recalling "The Boys in the Band: and the how much times have changed since "Before Stonewall"
In picking something for my movie’s blog, Netflix popped up “Making the Boys” today, and I had totally forgotten that I had seen it at the West End in early 2011 with a QA, until I saw the stage accounts mentioning Barbara Walter’s apartment, and recognized the elder Mart Crowley. This refers to the 1968 play and 1970 film, "The Boys in the Band", even them a tribute to immutability.
Nevertheless, rewatching the 2011 meta-documentary film in Instant Play, with its account of life before Stonewall (and then an account of Stonewall itself), reminded me of how far we have come since my coming of age. Times have changed, and change has accelerated, just like in calculus class. In the early 1960s, many people in the general public viewed homosexuality as more dangerous to society than adultery or prostitution. Why this would have been the case sounds like a mystery now – unless you’re dedicated to demanding an investment in procreation or other generations from everyone, no matter what, and believe everyone must “pay his dues” no matter what. That was the moral thinking of my own upbringing.
Director Crayton Robey unearthed a lot of 1950’s era anti-homosexual propaganda film (in black and white) put out by the old LAPD, as well as clips from the horrible CBS special in 1967 by Mike Wallace, “The Homosexuals”. I’ve seen Robey’s other documentary, “When Ocean Meets Sky” (2003), about Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove, on Logo.
As I explained Thursday on the Books blog, I saw ending the military ban as more critical than gay marriage, back in the mid 1990s when I wrote my first “Do Ask Do Tell” book. I’m a bit surprised, even in retrospect, how quickly and suddenly the progress on marriage equality has come down.
Is it possible that another lawsuit could challenge the right of states to ban gay marriage? Could it work? Could Marshall-Newman come down?
Remember, the “marriage penalty” can now also apply to gay couples.
And the next big social issue may be filial responsibility laws, as the population ages. This can certainly affect the childless disproportionately.
By the way, I watched another film, a “gay sci-fi” film. Review coming tomorrow. There are some undervalued actors out there. Not everybody in Tinseltown is rich.
The Stonewall Inn now has regular shows upstairs.