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Thanks for the memories.

Last Call at Maud's * Directed by Paris Poirier * Produced by Karen Kiss Water Bearer Films

Pride Divide * Directed by Paris Poirier * Produced by Karen Kiss * Water Bearer Films

We have a short memory in this country, so thank goodness for filmmakers such as director Paris Poirier and producer Karen Kiss, who take lesbian and gay history seriously enough to preserve it on film--and now on DVD. Their 1993 Last Call at Maud's and 1997 Pride Divide have recently been released on the digital medium, and the two documentaries are as relevant as when they first appeared. Real history, after all, has an unlimited shelf life.

Maud's is ostensibly a remembrance of the longest-lived women's bar in San Francisco, opened by Rikki Streicher in 1966 and staying in business until 1989, when sobriety and a changing lesbian social scene killed its profitability. But the real text of this doc is the changing lesbian styles and mores over those 25 years and how bars provided one of the few places for us to find identity, acceptance--and other lesbians. We hear from the owner, the bartenders, and the patrons, and we can't help but relive our own favorite nights of flirting, drinking, and playing pool at the local lesbian hangout.

Pride Divide covers some of the same historic territory (from queer liberation through AIDS through transgender issues) but focuses on the dissimilar--and sometimes conflicting--politics, aspirations, sympathies, and sexual appetites of gay men and lesbians. Viewpoints are expressed by a range of well-known community figures interviewed by the filmmakers, including congressman Barney Frank, medical researcher Simon LeVay, filmmaker Rose Troche, columnist Michelangelo Signorile, sex educator JoAnn Loulan, ever-provocative writer Camille Paglia, and Daughters of Bilitis cofounders Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. The film ends on a hopeful (and hopefully not Pollyannaish) note: Perhaps we queers will learn from each other rather than maintain divisive, self-righteous encampments.
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Author:Kort, Michele
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Date:Sep 17, 2002
Words:312
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