Tag: documentary

New Documentary: Americans in Bed

Posted by – August 12, 2013

So this looks interesting:

. . . wide-ranging interviews with subjects who are filmed in the comfort of their own beds, asking probing questions about what people look for in a partner and how they know when they have found it. From a couple that has been together for 71 years to a pair of fresh-faced newlyweds, she encourages her subjects to open their hearts and minds as they share candid and touching insights into their relationships, underscoring the fact that no union is as simple as it seems on the surface.

Each couple gradually discloses intimate thoughts about the sometimes painfully private issues that affect every relationship, including passion, fidelity, family obligations, separation, conflict, negotiation and illness. As they talk about how they met and fell in love, some even surprise each other with feelings long held back, while others revisit old hurts as if they had happened yesterday.

Americans in Bed premieres Monday, August 12 (9:00 ET) on HBO. There’s a trailer here.

Two Spirits

Posted by – July 2, 2012

The people who made the documentary Two Spirits – about the Native American tradition of recognition of the kind of people we call LGBTQ – are trying to get more copies of the movie into schools and libraries across the country. Why?

According to the Youth Suicide Prevention Program (YSPP), gay teens are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. And Native American youths have the highest rates of suicide among all ethnic groups.

So do donate if you can.

Genderf*kation

Posted by – April 8, 2012

This one actually looks interesting, no?

Two Trans Lives

Posted by – May 9, 2011

There’s the celebrity version of Chaz Bono and a puff piece about him and the documentary of his transition in The New York Times which is unsurprisingly vapid, predictable, and full of gender essentialism and stereotypes about trans people.

This other article, however, in a Madison alt weekly called Isthmus, focuses not so much on Rhiannon Tibbetts’ transition but on her activism and the inequalities and injustices in trans people’s lives.

I prefer the latter, especially as the journalist actually spoke to someone who knows about the trans: Anne Enke, who teaches Gender Studies at UW Madison. It’s not just that, either — it’s that the focus is on what the trans person in question does much moreso than about who she is, per se.

You’d think The New York Times might not suck occasionally, but they keep doing godawful coverage of trans stuff: not just Chaz Bono’s story but the recent Renee Richards myopic was covered in a sloppy article by Maureen Dowd that presents every old saw about the unhappy, regretful trans person, and somehow connects it to the recent abuse suffered by Chrissy Lee Polis in that Maryland McDonald’s. As a writer, what I see in this article is Dowd at her desk, a press release from Richard’s producers on her desk, and the viral video of the attack on Polis on her laptop. Brilliant, Dowd: that took about 12 seconds of research. Maybe you should forward the check to Mary Ellen Bell who actually did some work.

The Gender Puzzle Documentary

Posted by – January 14, 2010

The Gender Puzzle is a 45 min documentary about intersex that can be seen on YouTube; it’s worth watching if you’re new to intersex issues. You can also check out a 10-min. version.

You can buy a copy here, check out a t r u t h o u t column about it (& Caster Semenya), or check out the filmmakers’ website.

Face in the Mirror

Posted by – December 19, 2009

Just caught the tail end of a documentary called Face in the Mirror about David Reimer. Has anyone else seen this? I can’t seem to find any more info about it online. Now there’s one on about pumping parties called Lethal Beauty.

Meat or People

Posted by – December 18, 2009

There’s a great video about how women’s bodies are represented in media that was just brought to my attention. It’s in Italian with English subtitles and worth watching. That said, some of the images are really upsetting (and all were broadcast on Italian television).

Kumar: Indian Drag Queen in Singapore

Posted by – July 25, 2009

Kumar is an Indian drag queen who works & lives in Singapore. A documentary about hir was broadcast in 2006 that’s found its way to YouTube.

and you can see hir do a bit of stand-up that’s also in three parts

but may be harder to understand without subtitles – and as zie points out, zie talks fast, on top of the regional humor about the first family of Singapore, Malaysia, and the Chinese in Singapore, but I think the joke about rooster eggs translates okay.

From a Child of a Trans Parent

Posted by – July 22, 2009

This is B.’s reaction to the Chloe Prince documentary that was on the other night. Since I’m a partner, & have a soapbox from which to talk about my reaction as a partner, I thought I’d open my blog to the child of a trans parent on her feelings.

She’s 15, and her father, now female, transitioned about five years ago. She was about the same age as Prince’s eldest when she as told of her father’s imminent transition.

At first all I really felt was sadness for the children and the wife. The poor woman had to watch her spouse say on TV that she thought she might not have transitioned if she had stayed with her ex-girlfriend, something that must have felt awful and been humiliating to watch. I was shocked that the children’s reaction to the fact that their father was going to become a woman had been recorded in the first place, let alone aired on TV. As the child of a transgendered person I would be horrified if my initial reaction was shown to people all over who I didn’t even know. It’s an incredibly private moment that the rest of the world doesn’t have any business in watching.

As the show progressed I started to feel increasingly angry, and not just because she seemed to me a parody of a woman, intent on acting like a stereotype of how a woman “should be” and appearing very feminine, or because despite this femininity she still did all the “masculine” chores around the house, and we got to see pictures of her working with tools and at her job (I would have expected someone who had undergone a male to female transition to not be sexist).

I wanted to punch a hole in the wall every time it was mentioned that the children had “lost” a father. I never lost my father, just because she’s a woman doesn’t make any difference to the fact that she is my father. A sex change operation doesn’t change that. Chloe had no right to be upset about being missed out on the mother’s day photo- it was for mother’s day, not father’s day. Those children are going to have a hell of a time growing up now, and will have to deal with people they don’t know recognizing them and even judging for something they didn’t even do.

Thanks very much B. for sharing your thoughts with us. I would love to read comments from other trans people with kids, if their kids watched, what they thought.

Alcohol Poisoning

Posted by – July 22, 2009

I’ve been drinking.

Sadly, it was a lot of the same old same old: cursory interest in parent, partner, & children. The kids were adorable. The wife was determined. The father was exhausted.

  • Multiple shots and references to surgery, instead.
  • Trans woman discovers surprising, sudden interest in men.
  • Expresses longing to be mother while wife is pregnant.
  • Voiceover talking about wife meeting her husband for the first time “as a woman” post Thailand, even though the husband had been living in female gender role for a year as per SOC.

Atypical trans documentary bits?

  • Added insult to injury for wife, while trans woman wonders – fleetingly – if she’s married her ex-girlriend if she’d have needed to transition. Fleetingly, stressed by Prince, but goddamn do wives of trans women everywhere hate her for that one. Yeah, thanks, it’s our fault you needed to transition. Do you really think we don’t wish, sometimes, that you’d married your ex-girlfriend, too?!
  • Newly female husband going up telephone pole in gear
  • “  “  ” mowing lawn with reference to still “wearing the pants”
  • ‘out of the mouths of babes’ testimony that natal female still does all the parenting and housework
  • bee stings lead to discovering of IS condition which justifies transition. (the years of crossdressing certainly don’t count for shit, right?)

So yeah, I’m drunk.You?

They all seem like reasonably nice people. I hate documentaries about teh trans. Hate ‘em. I hate the way our lives our distilled into reverse camera angles and earnest questions across kitchen tables. I hate how the beauty of a trans woman admitting that she still sees her wife the way “he” did is degraded by the “sudden interest” in men. I hate the sad, confused, tendentious quality of trans women’s wives who are obviously overwhelmed with the whole business and still in love with their spouses.

* sigh*

Having been someone who has done shite like this, my only excuse is: it was in my contract. Not that that’s much of an excuse, but you do usually have a clause saying that you will in good faith blah blah blah consent to blah blah blah that will help sell the book. I’m not sure there’s any other reason to do these things anymore, but I hope, for Rene’s sake, & the boys’ sake, & the dad’s & Chloe’s, that this one will be forgotten when it’s Sweeps Week next year or in five years. Not because it’s bad, but because it isn’t. There are things I said and wrote at the time of My Husband Betty that embarass me now, as well as plenty that I”m still happy about. But I wrote a book, so when I”m lucky, you can see its brown spine in the LGBT section of bookstores these days. But a show like this is going to be dredged up at 3am for a few years, and every once too often, Rene and Chloe and her boys and dad will be online at the supermarket / drugstore / in the waiting room / at the doctor’s office / showing up for parent teacher night when someone they’ve never met couldn’t sleep and saw them on the TeeVee. And then, well, then is when you wish you could change your name and move to Timbuktu.

My best to all of them. Can we stop making these now?

Trans Documentary Drinking Game

Posted by – July 20, 2009

In light of the documentary about Chloe Prince that will air tomorrow night, I thought we should all be prepared for what looks like it’s going to be a doozy of a predictable documentary.

So, the rules, such as they are, for watching a trans documentary:

  1. Putting on makeup. Two drinks for reverse camera shot into mirror.
  2. Doing anything better done in jeans and sneakers in heels and a skirt. Examples: cleaning the house, shoveling the sidewalk, yard work, walking the dog.
  3. Before picture shown. Two drinks for picture in stereotypical male mode (sports team, facial hair, military, wedding tux)
  4. Camera shot putting on or taking off a bra.
  5. Photo of any wig, breast form, padding, etc.
  6. Surprise disclosure, when a trans woman is introduced and then partway through the piece, her secret is revealed.
  7. Camera focus on masculine body parts: hands, feet, Adam’s apple, height, etc.
  8. Any reference to genital surgery that refers to “becoming a woman” or “finally a woman”
  9. Minor chords played softly on a piano
  10. talk show host saying “you go girl”
  11. any discussion of plumbing or electricity
  12. black and white childhood shots, MTF with cap gun and cowboy hat, FTM as ballerina.
  13. Trans woman saying, “I am not a crossdresser. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
  14. Trans woman clutching large teddy bear in hospital bed.
  15. Birthday balloons after surgery.
  16. Trans woman with new boyfriend (after shot of tearful ex-wife).
  17. Trans woman sitting in chair in above-the-knee skirt, posed so you can see what great gams she has.
  18. Patient wheeled off to surgery …
  19. … lingering shot of the hospital bed with the teddy bear (or wife) left behind.
  20. Shot of protaganist sitting at the computer keyboard, looking at a trans support website or surgeon’s website….
  21. Any helping professional teaching deportment
  22. Camera in the operating room – just drink the whole bottle
  23. Any and all deployments of soft focus = 1 shot
  24. Close up of dotted lines in magic marker on pale fleshy body parts = 1 shot
  25. Earnest surgeon describes his motivation as “to help [girlname] become the woman she’s always really felt herself to be” = 3 shots
  26. Before picture with extreme facial hair – 1 shot
  27. Before picture in uniform – Military, Football, etc… – 2 shots
  28. Video from hair removal session : Laser – 1 shot, electrolysis – 2 shots
  29. Before picture – Last time she wore a dress (F2M) – 1 shots
  30. Breast binding – 2 shots
  31. Taking Hormones – Self-injecting -3 shots, orals – 1 shot
  32. Did anyone mention an arduous and lonely childhood?
  33. Meeting the school bully as “the new me” at the High School reunion?
  34. Looking at the old picture of self and saying something to the effect of “he was a nice guy….” or “Ken was a lot of fun, but his time is over. It’s Ginger’s turn now!”
  35. Trans woman claiming to have IS chromosomal pattern, an affinity for washing dishes, a sudden dislike of sports, etc.

Believe it or not, these are not the most snarky suggestions by some of our mHB board members. Also remember: there are quite a few people who hang out on our boards who have done this kind of media work, including me & Betty, of course, but also Jenny Boylan, amongst others. We need to laugh at ourselves as much as we laugh at the inanity of it all.

Twelve-Steppers should find their own version, of course. Maybe those ice cream poppers? But the point is to feel as physically ill by the end as the drinking crowd.

(Thanks and love to Gwen Smith who wrote her own version of this back in 2005 and to anyone else who has posted their version of this game.)

Korean FTM Documentary

Posted by – June 24, 2009

It’s the 1st Korean film about the FTM experience, & it’s called 3xFTM. Here for more details.

(h/t to Matty)

Ashley Altadonna

Posted by – May 9, 2009

When we were in Milwaukee, we were interviewed for a documentary called Making the Cut. I’m told Julia Serano was, too, when she was there recently as well. The film is being made by a young woman who is trying various ways to raise funds for her own genital surgery, and is in the process raising awareness about the financial issues behind changing genders legally.

Worthy project, no? On top of that, she’s made some other cool films. To help her out, you can make a donation via PayPal via her website, or you can buy another cool short film of hers, or you can pass this message on via Facebook or other social networking sites.

15 Minutes (of Shame)

Posted by – April 29, 2009

I really don’t want to think about the disaster that will be the Susan Stanton documentary on CNN, but now there’s a snippet released and it’s worse than I feared, the same documentary in which she says, and I quote,

“Some of the guys I’ve seen who crossdress just a little… they seem so absolutely content but so unable to be anything but an ugly man… with lipstick.”

Keep it classy, Sue. I probably won’t even watch.

Help Vicki Marlane

Posted by – April 26, 2009

via Susan Stryker:

Michelle Lawler is producing a documentary film about Vicki Marlane, a 74-year-old transsexual woman who is an amazing drag performer, and who still puts on two shows a week at Aunt Charlie’s Lounge in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Drag performance, particularly the traditional “record pantomime” style that Vicki does, is a joyous, subversive, heart-warming art form. Vicki has been doing professional theatrical drag for 50 years. She is a total inspiration to me, and an honored elder of my community.

Michelle and her editor Monica Nolan have completed a final cut of the film, titled “Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight,” (so-called after a line in Vicki’s signature number, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”). We expect the film to premiere at Frameline’s San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival in June 2009–look for the official press release on May 19!

We’re still trying to raise the last few thousand dollars we need to pay for music rights and the final audio mix to finish the film. I’m writing to ask you to make a donation that will help us complete this important film.

You can watch a short clip from the film at our page on the BAVC web site (our fiscal sponsor). Check out Vicki’s performance, too, while you’re at it.

You can make a tax-deductible contribution online from that page or you can make a non-tax deductible donation by sending a check made out to the film’s Executive Producer, Kim Klausner, at 1541 Alabama Street, San Francisco, CA 94110.

All donations — $5, $25, $100, $500 or whatever — will help. Feel free to forward this email to people who might be interested in supporting this project.

Movie Review: Milk

Posted by – November 25, 2008

Here’s a review of Milk, about the life of Harvey Milk, by my friend Doug McKeown. (I haven’t seen it yet but will because of his review.)

Let’s get two questions out of the way. Is Milk entertaining? Without qualification. Is it important? Resoundingly. Also funny, tragic, endearing, and rousing. There is not one false note from any of the actors, nor from director Gus Van Sant, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (I will be seeing this one again just for the screenplay), or photographer Harris Savides. A very complicated story unfolds with absolute clarity, a story as much about the city of San Francisco as about Harvey Milk. I’d say more than that — it’s about the actualization of democracy, about community organizing as the great force for social justice. Take that, Sarah Palin!

I was especially pleased that no attempt is made to be “delicate” about Milk’s personality, either his sex life or his out-sized ego, a forthrightness that makes him all the more heroic, I think. After a stunning opening sequence tossing us in medias res, and a conventional framing device (and foreshadowing), we quickly get to know Harvey Milk through the persona of Sean Penn, a smooth and easy task if there ever was one. He hooks up with a younger guy, Scott Smith, who has the movie star good looks of a — well, a James Franco. It is completely credible that Franco’s Scott goes for the self-deprecating charm of this man with a face so open it hides nothing, who is so comfortably flamboyant, and finally, irresistible. The camera captures not so much sex between them as lovemaking — which is to say, as much warmth as heat. There is even what I would call nuzzling, in close-up. What’s not to like? But there are inevitable strains. While we are ostensibly caught up in the difficulties of their relationship, the larger drama emerges as Scott withdraws into the background. An extraordinary moment in time elevates the Mayor of Castro Street to local hero.

More

Review: She’s a Boy I Knew

Posted by – November 22, 2008

A friend of a friend in Lincoln, Nebraska got to see the documentary She’s a Boy I Knew which I’d heard good things about, so I asked her to write a review.

by Dr. Pat. Tetreault

She’s A Boy I Knew is a remarkably well-made film. It is honest, funny, poignant and real. Canadian Gwen Haworth narrates and directs the documentary about her life, her coming out process regarding her gender and sexuality, and how her transition to become the woman she is meant to be impacts her life as well as the lives of those she loves and who love her. Through the use of home videos and interviews with family members and friends, including her ex-wife, Gwen reveals the depth and range of emotion and the process involved in coming out and in transitioning. Brief animated segments are also included to lighten the film while providing background information. More

Musical Salve

Posted by – November 6, 2008

A group of musicians from all over the world got to play together for a documentary about the unifying beauty of music. Bill Moyers interviews the director and shows a clip from the film. Gorgeous stuff. Like a salve after the bitterness of this election cycle.

Next Stop

Posted by – July 5, 2008

Anyone else catch any of the July 4th Twilight Zone marathon? Great stuff. I just saw Of Late I Think of Cliffordville which is particularly cruel, and stars Albert Salmi, who also played Smerdjakov in The Brothers Karamazov in 1958.

I also caught the only Jack Klugman TZ I’d never seen – Death Ship. & I love Jack Klugman, yes, because of The Odd Couple, but mostly because of Quincy, which, imho, gave birth to all of the forensic shows on TV now (most of which I watch).  But I have to go to sleep, despite the next one up being Printer’s Devil with Burgess Meredith. (It’s a good one.) I used to tape these when the marathons were on WPIX here in New York, but now they’re all on DVD, which makes it a bit easier. (& It took me borrowing the DVD collection to finally see the Buster Keaton TZ, which they never, ever show during these marathons.)

I really do love this series, and love Rod Serling – not just for The Twilight Zone, but because he fought and fought and fought the censorship that came with advertisers’ sponsorship of television, and during an era when they almost didn’t win. As he put it:

“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”

Now there was a fine tilt at an inexorable windmill, but at least he got a few stunning seasons of work done, which we’ll have forever.

Sex in America

Posted by – May 20, 2008

Has anyone been watching Sex: The Revolution on VH-1? I catch it late at night sometimes, and I’m finding it a pretty decent series. Tonight, on Episode 3: Do Your Thing, the pride movement, San Francisco, Anita Bryant & Harvey Milk, and commenting, Susan Stryker. Next up, Episode 4: Tainted Love.

It’s good documentary, imho – concise, good interviews, capturing some major cultural moments through the music & images.