Wednesday, March 13, 2019

"Into the Streets": LGBT history in Cinerama at the Newseum

I visited the exhibit at the Newseum today called “Rise Up” on level 6.

On level 5, in the superwidescreen auditorium, the theater played a 30-minute short film giving gay history since the 1950s, “Into the Streets”, directed by G. Wlliamson, essentially filmed in Cinerama, as in the 1950s.

The centerpiece of the film is the course of the Stonewall Rebellion at the Stonewall bar in NYC on 7th Avenue and Christopher, on June 28, 1969, with emphasis on the silly and negative way the press covered them.

The film also went back to the 1950s with the Truman and Eisenhower purges of gays from the government and the history of Frank Kameny.  In the mid 1960s, the atmosphere started to change, although you wouldn’t have realized it from the CBS special with Mike Wallace, “The Homosexuals”. Starting in 1970 in NYC (and 1972 in Dallas) there were big pride marches.

Homosexuality as practiced in private became much more acceptable in the 1970s, despite Anita Bryant.  The film covers the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and Reagan’s indifference, and the surprising fight over gays in the military, up to the time of Obama’s repeal in 2011.

Lou Chibbaro, from the Washington Blade, seems to do most of the narration.

There was also an eight-minute short film “The Hollywood Effect” in one of the booths on Level 6.

The short showed that gay material became acceptable on cable television and then indie film sooner than in large Hollywood films.

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