The final Queens’ Vernacular screening of the academic year will take place next Tuesday, May 15, at 6:30pm. We’ll be screening Jeffrey Schwarz's award-winning documentary Vito, about Vito Russo.
Russo was a pioneer of queer film criticism who combed through Hollywood archives for coded and closeted queer actors, characters, and subtexts. He did this work largely without academic support, and he presented his findings in community lectures and clip shows before assembling his findings into his landmark 1981 book The Celluloid Closet. Next week's screening of Vito is an opportunity to think about the relationship between film criticism and larger currents of queer activism: in addition to his research on movie history, Russo was involved in the Stonewall rebellion, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). He died of AIDS in 1990.
Here's a link to Vito in full activist glory, giving a speech at an ACT UP demonstration in Albany, New York, on May 9, 1988—that’s right: 30 years ago today.
Vito (dir. Jeffrey Schwarz, 2011)
Tuesday, May 15, 6:30 p.m. at Pickford Film Center, only $3
And here’s the Pickford screening page, where you can also buy tickets in advance. Last month’s screening of Chavela sold out (yay!), so please consider buying tickets ahead of time. If you prefer to wait though, you can also click through on the Pickford site as if to buy tickets and it will tell you how many tickets are still available.