The Sons of Tennessee Williams
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The Sons of Tennessee Williams

USA, 2010, 75 Minute Running Time
World Premiere
Genre/Subjects: Aging / Elders, AIDS / HIV, Biography / History, Documentary, Drag, Gay, Theater / Performance Art
Program: Documentary
Language: English


There’s nothing quite like seeing a group of middle-age and senior men strutting around in a swirl of sequins, feathers, rhinestones and duct tape. Interweaving archival footage with contemporary interviews — in the great tradition of films such as The Queen, Paris is Burning and The CockettesThe Sons of Tennessee Williams charts the evolution of drag and politics in the gay Mardi Gras krewe scene. (Krewes are organizations that throw a ball during carnival season.)

Having come of age in New Orleans in the 1940s and ’50s, gay krewe members reminisce fondly of being inspired by the opulence of the Mardi Gras festivities, a hotbed for decadence and dress-up. Seven years before the first rock was thrown at Stonewall, the gay krewes began throwing lavish balls as a sendup of their straight society counterparts and have since become a powerful force in city politics.

Krewe members — many of them now in their seventies and eighties — discuss the importance of creating a safe space to gather at a time of vice crackdowns in gay clubs, gaining a seat at the political table, the toll of AIDS and Katrina on the community, and the importance of passing on the torch to a younger generation. With oversized wigs and costumes à la Beach Blanket Babylon, these unlikely political activists strut their stuff with style.

Text Voting Code: D317

Copresented by

Queer Cultural Center



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