Category Archives: GLBT documentary

“SPIDER MITES OF JESUS, THE DIRTWOMAN DOCUMENTARY”— Donnie Corker, a Richmond, Virginia institution and Cult Figure in the LGBT Community

“SPIDER MITES OF JESUS, THE DIRTWOMAN DOCUMENTARY”

Donnie Corker, a Richmond, Virginia institution and Cult Figure in the LGBT Community

Amos Lassen

Jerry Williams’ documentary about Donnie Corker, “Spider Mites of Jesus, the Dirtwoman Documentary” is a look at a man who lived his life like as a cult figure right out of a John Waters movie. I had never heard of Corker before so I had no idea what to expect from this film. It took me quite a while to understand the title but it all made sense when I learned that Corker’s mother in trying to speak about his childhood illness found it difficult to say spinal meningitis. Regardless of the issue, Corker managed to live a life that insured that he would be remembered by his home town. He was a very big and very loud drag queen with few inhibitions. He was a well-known (and well-loved) fixture of the LGBT community in central Virginia.

Donnie seemed to have always been big—as an adult he weighted 300+ pounds and he seemed to have always had a big mouth and loved to wear women’s clothing. Naturally this caused him to face problems growing up and he was thought to be mentally disabled. Others picked on and tormented him for being gay and was raped by several men. Yet he showed his strength and his defiance was to proudly walk the streets looking for sex and he would protect his neighbors by being able to defusing criminal encounters. The cops even looked to him as a guy with street smarts who kept them informed of oncoming trouble.

This film shares all of this with us by using a combination of interviews and shots of Corker on the street living as he did. We see how he was named (you’ll have to see the film), his performances when he danced and some pretty horrible episodes of his life. He hungered for fame and found it in strange places (or it found him).  His last days were not happy and his death was unpleasant but we also feel the love the filmmaker has for him.

I can’t say that I loved this film but I found it both interesting and fascinating. I just wish that some of the stories we see and hear do not seem any point. There is also something said about respecting diversity and we realize that our world is made up of all kinds of different people and we can learn to accept them all. Donnie died in 2017 and he is missed by many. He was a local legend who will not be forgotten soon.

“5B”— Courage and Compassion in San Francisco’s First AIDS Ward

“5B”

Courage and Compassion in San Francisco’s First AIDS Ward

Amos Lassen

Beginning with a Blondie-scored introduction, we are taken through a short introduction about the gay liberation movement of the 1970s when  San Francisco war he place to be for out-and-proud living. Directors Dan  Krauss and Paul Haggis also give brief establishing notes on how AIDS was initially referred to as “gay cancer” when first detected and reported back in the last days of disco. There is another deeper narrative that begins in “1983, with the founding of  5B, a dedicated AIDS unit in San Francisco General Hospital and spearheaded by nurse Cliff Morrison. It was a landmark innovation at a time when many healthcare professionals across the country did not want to treat AIDS patients. Info about how the disease was spread was filled with  reckless misconceptions. We see a hospital warning sign reading “Caution: Biological Hazard — AIDS.”

Morrison and a number of his ward colleagues are seen as present-day talking heads, reflecting on the unorthodox methods that made 5B a safe haven for victimized patients  who had been spurned by other facilities, and/or even their own families. “You had to get out of the mode that you were here for curing people; you were here to care for people,” one observes — and thus did the staff endeavor to make the ward a comforting home away from home for its residents, with a more informal, intimate bedside manner than was standard elsewhere in the hospital.  We see archive video of ward parties and hear from entertainer Rita Rockett who shares thoughts of her days as 5B’s roller skating cheerleader of sorts. Her morale-boosting Sunday brunches for patients became legendary.

Not everyone was on board with the humane, up-with-people approach of Morrison and his colleagues — many of them in the LGBT community themselves — as other doctors and nurses in the hospital and beyond complained of a “homosexual hierarchy,” accusing the 5B staff of preferential treatment for AIDS patients and insufficient safety measures. The film also the ramifications of this institutional homophobia, and it is here that we find the film’s most fascinating content here. We become acquainted with the case of Mary Magee, long known to the media only as “Jane Doe,” a 5B nurse who contracted HIV after an accidental needlestick that exacerbated a national wave of discriminatory care policy — to the point where 56% of the polled American public supported quarantining AIDS patients on a separate island.

The film’s biggest surprise may be the story’s clear villain: Dr. Lorraine Day, former chief of orthopedic surgery at San Francisco, whose high-profile lobbying for mandatory AIDS testing on all surgical patients made her something of a figurehead for homophobic fearmongers across America. She not least when she referred to AIDS as “a loaded gun under a coat.” She remains a critic of 5B’s practices 30 years later: “What is it they supposedly did that was so fantastic?” The film’s archive footage and the testimony of its living interview subjects answers that question as Day incriminates herself with her multiple bigoted statements. (She is also known as a Holocaust denier.)

The ravages of the AIDS crisis, the stigmatization of its victims and the shameful prolonged indifference of the Ronald Reagan government have been widely chronicled in both narrative and nonfiction features. But the heroism of the nurses and volunteer caregivers manning the frontlines is a largely overlooked aspect that’s worth remembering. Here is  first-person oral history and extensive archival footage that honors the pioneering work carried out in ward 5B which opened at San Francisco General Hospital in direct response to a state of emergency still being widely ignored at that time.

This is a straightforward conventional style documentary with a series of talking-head interviews and it has an inclusive perspective covering both the selfless contributions of people fighting the good fight — gay and straight, men and women, medics and nonprofessionals — as well as the conservative forces who tried to discredit the efforts of 5B staffers to bring dignity and compassion to what at that time was a death sentence. Making up the rules as they went along, the nurses reset the standard boundaries of clinical detachment to make human contact the focus, rejecting the alarmist precaution of hazmat suits prevalent even among medical professionals elsewhere.

The images of handsome young men transformed in a matter of weeks into skin and bones or covered in lesions are emotionally powerful even thirty years later, when the revolution in antiretroviral drugs has dramatically cut the number of fatalities. It is still shocking to hear the undisguised homophobia in news reports when cases first started surfacing in 1981, pointing to “the lifestyle of the typical male homosexual that has triggered a rare form of cancer.”

In those days it was clear that as  there was really no medication that could deal with the onslaught of the diseases that HIV caused and  that inevitably all the patients would die.  Some much quicker than others.  As one of the nurses said  “It was a wonderful place where you could go to die — but it doesn’t take away from the fact that they died.”

Let me warn you—this is a very difficult film to watch if you were alive during AIDS. I wept almost constantly but I also loved many of the characters we meet here. A good cry can be cathartic and it was indeed so here.

In a year when the LGBTQ community is focusing so much on how the Stonewall Riots 50 years ago went on to significantly shape our lives. it is also good to remember that the pain of the AIDS crisis will never really go, but as this film shows, it gives us hope that if we keep standing together as a community we can survive and be our true selves.

“A NIGHT AT SWITCH ‘N PLAY”— Satirizing It All

“A Night at Switch ‘n Play”

Satirizing It All

Amos Lassen

At a neighborhood queer bar in Brooklyn, the experimental drag and burlesque show “Switch n’ Play” is host to inventive drag kings, experimental burlesque dancers, and more traditional drag queen acts as well. “A Night at Switch ‘n Play” is a new documentary about the queer collective.

Switch n’ Play is a queer performance collective that stages fabulous subversive drag and burlesque shows. The ensemble blows up traditional gender roles, pushing the limits of what drag and burlesque can be. But more than that, the performers are a tight-knit family of outsiders who welcome queer audiences into their world and create a safe space where everyone can be themselves. In the film we meet the diverse members of the collective and see live performances. 

Directed and edited by Cody Stickels, and features performances from collective members Divina GranSparkle, K.James, Miss Malice, Nyx Nocturne, Pearl Harbor, Vigor Mortis, and Zoe Ziegfeld. This is probably the queerest film I have seen in long time and it is a look at an extraordinary queer performance collective who take over a small neighborhood bar in Brooklyn to shock the eager audience into ecstatic applause.  The acts include experimental burlesque queens,  innovative drag queens, some shockingly performance artistes, and others that defy description.

They play with both their gender and sexuality and refuse to be defined by it in any sense of the word. In their acts they satirize traditional role-playing, and even though this in itself is a serious personal issue to them,  it is done with humor.

The  Collective has created this safe queer and very welcoming space where everyone can be themselves whilst watching the most outrageous performances that are the result their imaginations.

Their performance space looks like someone’s slightly shabby living room and is hosted by Miss Malice, a glam self-confessed queer femme performance persona and “femmecee”. Her sidekick is Zoe Ziegfeld, a partially dressed burlesque dancer and general nightlife mischief-maker with a wicked sense of humor.  Pearl Harbor is a femme looking drag queen with a bizarrely creative act/performance which includes their own poetry

 Switch ‘n Play has been going since 2006 and is not the faint hearted or  mainstream audience : it is for any queers along the spectrum by a group of enlightened and talented  queers. The performances are audacious and very funny and they radiate a sense of family. To go to their show is akin to visiting them at home.

“STATE OF PRIDE”— The LGBTQ Movement and Pride

of Pride

“State of Pride”

The LGBTQ Movement and Pride

Amos Lassen

 Directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s documentary, “State of Pride”  looks at the LGBTQ movement and Pride celebrations as we stand ready to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising this summer.

Activist Raymond Braun tells the tales on camera including his his own emotional story with regards to his coming out. We feel empathy for his pain. To see how Pride has changed, we look at different communities (Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Salt Lake City, Utah and San Francisco, California and others. We get a diverse look at people from all walks of life who are members of the LGBTQ community. San Francisco celebrates Pride for an entire weekend— the Trans March is Friday, the Dyke March is on Saturday, and finally, the weekend wraps up with Pride on Sunday.  In the Deep South, there is Black Pride taking that also takes place.

We meet Jackie, a trans woman who is celebrating her first Trans Pride after coming out the previous August.  She realizes how lucky she is because of her relationship with her family and having the economic resources available to live as she does.  Thanks to Braun, she’s meest Our Lady J, who was  the SF Pride Celebrity Grand Marshall.

While speaking with Raymond Braun, Our Lady J Pride says “Trans Pride feels more like a protest than a celebration.  I think it’s because we still have so far to go.”  In response, Jackie says that she loves the protest part so much when it comes to Pride. 

“In many ways, we’re still fighting for our rights.  The transgender community alone deals with an unproportionate amount of violence.  We really see this with transgender people of color.  We don’t get much more than a glimpse at our community and realize how many members chose not to appear. This is where our work must focus next.

“GAME GIRLS”— A Love Story

“GAME GIRLS”

A Love Story

Amos Lassen

“Game Girls follows couple Teri Rogers and Tiahna Vince, who over the course of the documentary, deal with the hardships of life on the street in order to find a secure full time job and affordable housing for the two of them.

There are problems ranging from prison time to alcoholism and recurrent mental health issues, yet the pair manage to move away from the streets. Unfortunately, like so many other African Americans who live just above the level of poverty, a place to live doesn’t put an end to their predicament.

Director Alina Skrzeszewska doesn’t avoid portraying the most horrible aspects of life on the streets, even if they are just tales being recounted at group therapy sessions (part of a workshop the director herself founded to help women within this community). Some of what we see is very disturbing particularly accounts of graphic sexual violence including one that was left ignored by the victim’s parent. Society has ignored these women, the horrors they’ve faced have largely gone under reported or just not reported at all.  It’s difficult to listen hear these stories but it’s important that they are finally heard.

The film beautifully balances light and the dark. There is the theme of social unrest being caused by deep-rooted inequality to the sheer sexuality of the individuals and this indeed has major ramifications in their search for a home. Nonetheless, their  relationship still feels heartwarming. Skrzeszewska shows the downsides in their relationship  but doesn’t exploit personal moments yet managing to depict a couple in the midst of an intimate, romantic happiness despite everything else.

Game Girls” may be a bit too intimate for some viewers; Skrzeszewska simply depicts the hardships of the pair’s lives, letting the viewers connect the dots to wider political connotations this a political film but above all else it is a sensitive humanist film that is frequently difficult to watch, but is very worthwhile. The effectively depicts the human cost of regressive social policies is an achievement that chronicles the many ups and downs (mostly the latter) of an African-American lesbian couple in L.A.’s Skid Row neighborhood.

When the film begins, one of the women, Teri, is coping with mental illness, while the other, Tiahna, has been locked up in jail for drug dealing letting us know that this is not an easy film to watch.  We seem to have unlimited access to the lives of Teri and Tiahna over the course of a year or so— we follow them from their happy union after Tiahna’s release to the difficult days they spend trying to scrape by on Skid Row — an area made up of 55 city blocks in downtown Los Angeles, and whose homeless population is estimated to be around 10,000. (None of these figures are provided in the film, which gives us zero background information as it plunges us into the world of its two protagonists.)

Teri is the older and rougher of the two, we see her first dropping a litany of f-words and trying to pick a fight in the street. But they manage to find solace and tenderness in each other’s arms, although soon enough anything seems like an excuse for a major fight. Things seem to be going good for a while, until they quickly go bad again, and the film’s most disturbing scene happens late in the game when the two get in the kind of violent domestic dispute that one often sees on episodes of Cops.

More interesting is how we see the two navigating Los Angeles city bureaucracy in order to receive public assistance, and, later on, the possibility of affordable housing outside the Skid Row area. Neither of the women seems to have gainful employment, with Teri unable to hold down a job due to an (unexplained) behavioral disorder. Yet the city does offer them a way out of the slums, while also allowing them free counseling in the form of group therapy sessions where they act out personal stories using toys.

Teri and Tiahna have a lot to overcome, and the fact that, on their best days, they manage to make things work is a testament to their resilience. But Game Girls doesn’t really go beyond its fly-on-the-wall approach to its heroines, offering us lots of intimacy but nothing that really sets its story within a greater social or political context.

 

 

“KILLING PATIENT ZERO”— Zero, the Man and the AIDS Epidemic

“Killing Patient Zero”

Zero, the Man and the AIDS Epidemic

Amos Lassen

Most of us are aware of the phrase “Patient Zero” as the man “responsible” for bringing AIDS to the United States and who has become increasingly forgotten over time. He was so-named in journalist Randy Shilts’ influential nonfiction book “And the Band Played On” which brought the AIDS conversation into the mainstream several years after it began. A French-Canadian flight attendant named Gaetan Dugas was widely believed to be the first person who brought the disease to the USA and around the world. He died three years before the book’s publication, and so didn’t live to see how his place as a footnote in the wider story of the epidemic was so twisted that he became something of a manipulative villain who deliberately spread the disease. Shilts, who died of AIDS related complications himself in 1994, was accused by many of internalized homophobia due to these negative (and seemingly sensationalized) portrayals of Patient Zero within his work.

Dugas may look irresponsible in retrospect in that he refused to take medical advice and continued with his sex life until he had concrete proof as to how the virus was spread. He was not intentionally evil but he was foolish on a catastrophic level, as opposed to being an evil man with intent to harm others. Eventually, it was revealed he was one of many people with the virus and not the originator, but this was years later and the damage had been done— the myth of patient zero has left a lasting impact while the truth of the man has been forgotten.

Director Laurie Lynd looks at “Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic” by Richard McKay and this film is the result. While the film criticizes  Dugas for his actions, it is dedicated to his memory. It puts his reckless behavior in the context of the gay liberation movement and shows why so many gay men refused to give up one of the few joys they had in a culture hostile to their existence. 

Lynd has conducted more than 40 interviews for this documentary, many of whom were subjects in Shilts’ original book. He was searching for the truths behind the harmful myths. The media’s depiction of the “gay cancer” at the time was seemingly designed to reinforce harmful stereotypes of gay men and their sex lives, with conservative governments across the world refusing to even acknowledge the crisis due to a hatred of gay people. As many interviewers state that if this were disproportionately affecting straight men, there would have been an urgency to find a cure a lot sooner. An interview with Shilts’ original publisher, who convinced him to divorce the minor Patient Zero story from the book and sell it to the conservative tabloid the New York Post, shows that in order to get this story into the public consciousness, the worst stereotypes had to be indulged to make headlines. A man who wanted to find the human story behind the headlines had to sacrifice his own findings to get noticed, and the result was harmful to the LGBT community.

Much of the film’s first half is dedicated to discussing the sexual freedoms of the 70’s, following the Stonewall riots that closed the previous decade. Within this context, it makes the spread of the disease and the reluctance to step away from sex lives understandable if not justifiable. It puts the promiscuity considered by many people in polite society at the time to be a sinful trait under a lens that removes all judgement. For years, trips to nightclubs and bathhouses were the only joys in life away from the scorn of the wider world, you can see why there’d be a reluctance to step away from that lifestyle. Through various talking head interviews, Lynd helps younger audiences understand why this disease was able to spread so widely, without judging as to the reasons why this was able to happen.

“Killing Patient Zero” is important to our understanding of the AIDS crisis.  “People who are young do not understand in any real way, even if they know the fact, that homosexuality was against the law,” says author and activist Fran Leibowitz in the film. “It was against the law—not just that your parents didn’t like you or people you went to school with didn’t like you. It was actually a crime.” Leibowitz encapsulates the pervasive homophobia that allowed the AIDS crisis to devastate the gay community while the powers that be failed to take action. More significantly, Leibowitz’s comment highlights the significance of the period of euphoria that shortly preceded the AIDS outbreak as gay men and women enjoyed hard fought sexual liberation after being considered criminal deviants simply for whom they loved. It’s in this context that one must appreciate the life of Gaétan Dugas, who didn’t waste a second of his freedom.

Forget everything you thought you knew about the man known as “Patient Zero.”  “Killing Patient Zero” says goodbye to the falsehoods that have characterized Gaétan Dugas, who unwittingly became the “face” of the AIDS crisis when a typo marked him as the point of origin for the virus as it devastated the gay community in the 1980s. Dugas was not the catalyst for the deadly contagion, but rather, like far too many members of the queer community, a victim of it. The film explains how the “zero” that marked Dugas like the scarlet letter was actually an “O” to signify him as “Out of California” in an elaborate cluster graph charting early known cases of HIV/AIDS. Lynd’s film reveals that Dugas was labelled “Patient O” (not “zero”) because he provided invaluable help to researchers trying to study and understand the virus. 

This film puts Dugas’ personality and joie de vivre at the forefront and  humanizes a man who has been demonized throughout history. Dugas’ peers rebuild “Patient Zero” as a young man who was flamboyantly and vivaciously open about his sexuality and could pick up any man he wanted, gay or straight, and enjoyed an incalculable number of partners during this era of free love. They all speak of him with uniform positivity.

Despite appearing in only 11 pages of “And the Band Played On, Dugas life was stolen and re-framed. The film shows us the complexity of the falsehoods that compounded one another as misinformation spread while researchers tried to understand the virus in its early phases. 

The film contextualizes the social movements that preceded the AIDS outbreak and inspired Dugas to live openly and fully. The interviewees   share some wonderful and heartbreaking coming out stories and tales of finding relief in the ability to live without feeling like they were hiding. There are open and candid discussions of sexuality, the opposite of  the kind of bashfulness that prevented a swift response to the AIDS outbreak. 

“BECOMING LESLIE”— Keeping Austin Weird

“Becoming Leslie”

Keeping Austin Weird

Amos Lassen

Leslie Cochrane was a very loud middle-aged scantily clad cross-dressing homeless man who was the self-styled leader of a movement called “Keep Austin Weird”. Tracey Frazier’s documentary takes us behind Leslie’s very public outrageous displays of self-promotion and his more serious social activism  to show that Leslie was a man who was trying to forge a future by suppressing what we eventually learn was his very dark past.

 

Leslie got to Austin in 1996 and the city was moving out of recession and wanted to reclaim the downtown area back from the homeless people that had moved in.  Rather than creating a social program to facilitate this, the City Council  passed a law that made it illegal for any homeless person to sit in a park bench let alone sleep on the streets.  Leslie took on the cause which started his running battle with the Police and his countless arrests which made him famous.

 Leslie ran for Mayor three times and became such a local celebrity that people paid to have photographs taken with him, and somebody even developed a dress-up-doll fridge magnet set based on his colorful persona.  He attracted both followers and friends but away from the street he was  difficult and demanding and because of this, his friends felt fell away.

 

Leslie refused to talk about his past so director Frazier  had to dig dip to piece it all together from the few clues she had.  Leslie was born in Miami and  suffered sexual and physical abuse by both of his parents, had briefly lived as a roadkill scavenger known as Trapper Al in Oak Creek, Colorado  where he had the first of two) very traumatic head injuries. He unwittingly committed bigamy when he wed an already married drug addict. Leslie declared he had never touched drugs but he was a very serious alcoholic and this was the real reason he was often arrested since his intoxication made him a danger to himself.   His inability to stop drinking contributed to his failing health at the end.

Frazier had a wealth of archival material to work with thanks mainly to local photographer/hairdresser Ruby C. Martin who began filming Cochran in 2005 when interviewing him in exchange for cutting and styling his hair.  What she found was man who was very skilled at putting on a brave face and never sharing his pain even when he was demanding more handouts from his friends.

Leslie’s sexuality was never spoken about and beyond the mention of a marriage, there was no talk of any other sexual partners.  He was a flamboyant cross-dresser in an era before the whole dialogue about gender identity was ever begun. When he died in 2012 at the age of 60, Leslie’s funeral and memorial service were packed and the Mayor even officially declared it was Leslie’s day. 

This is a compelling film, and as much as we so fascinated by Leslie the man, we see that he was extremely difficult to be with at times. Leslie  was a balding, goateed man who hung out on street corners wearing skirts and fake boobs, often accompanied by a giant handwritten cardboard sign detailing some injustice done by local police officers. He was often drunk.  He made it clear how little he wanted to discuss his real identity or his youth. We know that he left home at 16 and put himself through high school, then joined the Navy. In the film we see how Austin reacted to this  thong-wearing drifter who arrived in 1996 on a three-wheel bicycle. From the very beginning, he created friction — getting roughed up when he’d loiter in the parking lots of businesses that didn’t want him. The real antagonism arose between Leslie and the Austin Police Department. The police had to enforce a controversial new anti-camping ordinance and officers arrested Leslie many, many times.  Frazier has photos of him parading around in a thong with “APD Kiss This” written on his butt. In their defense, officers were often just keeping a very intoxicated Cochran from getting himself hit by a car or suffering similar mishaps.

Frazier interviews the many tolerant locals (mostly women) who let Leslie camp in their backyards or loaned him money when he needed it (We’re told he was good about repaying these debts.).  Nearly all his benefactors would ban him from time to time, growing tired of late-night scenes, but many forgave him later, and describe him as a warm, more sincere man than the character he was on the streets.

The film moves toward the years of decline. Cochran was hospitalized for a head injury in 2009 — perhaps the result of an attack, maybe a seizure — and as his health deteriorated he began, as one friend puts it, to look like an ordinary homeless person. It’s unpleasant to see Leslie age rapidly in these scenes, though even here, there’s more to the story than outside observers knew.

“CONFESSIONS OF A GAY POET”— Meet Wade Radford

“Confessions of a Gay Poet”

Meet Wade Radford

Amos Lassen

Several years ago I met Wade Radford on line and learned that he was a young actor and poet. I reviewed some of his work and was impressed but then he disappeared. His reemergence came with this film, “Confessions of a Gay Poet”, a documentary about his life and work as a poet, underground filmmaker and actor. Radford became known for his controversial role in “Twink” as well as other film gay film credits like “Sex Lies and Depravity”, “1 Last Chance at Paradise” and the “Boys Behind Bars” series. He is never afraid to push the envelope just a little more than others. We go behind the scenes with Wade and learn that he has been releasing poetry anthologies and spoken word recordings for the last eight years. This film explores the themes of Wade’s work and introduces the audience to this complex and candid individual. Up until now Radford has hidden behind the mask of his work; but those days are over and he is now out to the world. He is now preparing for his latest anthology release “Disequilibrium” and will be hitting the open road in the hope that he can finally close some of the chapters of love, heartbreak and disillusions that have haunted his most recent works.

His film is an exploration of his life’s journey of love and loss, triumph and tragedy and it is very personal, inspiring and moving. This is a candid, poetic exposé into a complex soul who is an “LGBT Voice, Loud, Proud and Uncensored.”

Those who know Wade Radford known him for his controversial roles in his films. I personally find him delightful and a breath of fresh air.

“DUDE FOR A DAY”— A Workshop

“DUDE FOR A DAY”

A Workshop

Amos Lassen

We are all aware of the attention on gender identity these days. It seems more people are now focusing inwards and looking at themselves on a scale and in a manner that would have been unthinkable a decade ago.  One of the options of doing this are workshops like the one we see here and that is  run by Tracey Erin Smith, the director of Soulo Theater in Toronto.  Smith explains that her one day course “Dude For A Day” is not about transitioning but for the women participating to find an energy that may have been latent and dormant and allowing it to come out and make a fuller person.

It is a full day of immersive experiences and in the film we see the diverse group of women start by sharing their personal stories and some of their hopes and dreams  and as the day unfolds Smith has them dressing and acting in drag to bring out their inner ‘man’ so they can for once experience a masculine stance on life.

This is both intriguing and enlightening and although this may not be the way for everyone questioning gender, it certainly seems to suit this particular group that we see here.

“BIGGER LIKE ME: THE EXTENDED DIRECTOR’S CUT”— Is Bigger Better?

“Bigger Like Me: The Extended Director’s Cut”
Is Bigger Better?
Amos Lassen

“Bigger Like Me: The Extended Director’s Cut” with emphasis on “extended” is a look at the age old topic of penis size. Greg Bergman is a straight comedian who is obsessed with the small size of his penis and is determined to enlarge it. (That’s it, that’s the movie). Bergman has had several failed experiment— using pills, pumps and other so-called methods, so he decides. to travel to a surgeon in Tijuana, Mexico, where he risks everything (his marriage included) to do what he feels he must and to fulfil what he sees as his destiny. There is no plot per se but what there is plenty of humor. The film has been described as a “straight dude’s dark descent into phallocentric delirium.” It is often dark but, all in all. It is fun. I wish I had more to say about it other then sit back and enjoy the face that not just gay men are size queens.