BANDWAGONESQUE: Mart Crowley’s play THE BOYS IN THE BAND is 51, but Friedkin’s movie is only 49

Those two years make all the difference. Turning 49 this year, The Boys in the Band is a work that has straddled Stonewall for its entire life. You might be surprised at how fresh she sounds. You’ll want to rush out and see it before it’s cancelled again, because this is a truly wonderful film, an ensemble of unforgettable performances, and a film that divides opinion and continues to pit friend against friend, just like the cruel party game at its heart.

So much has been written about the queer politics of The Boys in the Band that the discussion threatens to dessicate the film’s more universal qualities. In much of the criticism of the film, a division is imposed, pitting broad humanism against identity politics. Writer Mart Crowley boldly rejected the notion that mainstream audiences wouldn’t care about a play comprised primarily the banter of eight gay men. Some assumed that interest in this gay lifestyle play would be merely prurient. Yet in 2019, The Boys in the Band looks both more politically relevant and more universally humane than that other party that devolves into shouting, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which Mart Crowley admits inspired him to write this very personal story.

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The Feminism of Flash

Artwork by Adam Loomis

Looking back, the character base developed in The Wizard of Oz has become the “golden standard” for some of the most iconic science fiction/fantasy plot lines that would follow its release: a brave heroine conquers the ruler of an evil kingdom with the help of friends in a far off foreign world. And while the details of such “good versus evil” stories can vary, such as the likes of Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, one thing rings true in all of them: the earth would surely perish without women.

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A Dark, Weird Future: Reconsidering FORBIDDEN PLANET

Artwork by Adam Loomis

MGM’s Forbidden Planet is glittering midcentury eye candy, a 1950s pulp magazine cover come to life. It’s amazingly entertaining stuff, but modern viewers are going to find a darker and more sex-obsessed film than they might have been expecting. Like all sci-fi films, it tells us much more about the era in which it was made than it does about the future it tries to imagine. Released in 1956, when the United States was at the zenith of its political and cultural power, the movie wears this optimism on its (military) sleeve.

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NOTE FROM THE PROGRAMMER: Magnificent Desolation

The way I see it, the intersection of space travel and cinema is one of the defining elements of the 20th Century. These technologies changed our view of ourselves and expanded our imagination beyond our planet. They came to being alongside the fallout of the Industrial Revolution—the fall of the Russian and Ottoman Empires, the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the warming of the oceans.

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Peter Fonda’s Inventive, Ultra-Rare Idaho Transfer Starts Sunday

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Peter Fonda’s Idaho Transfer is a strange and inventive little film that has gained something of a cult following over the years, though it remains stubbornly elusive. The Trylon, working with the Minnesota Historical Society, has gotten hold of the only known print of the film, making this something of an event. While it’s a flawed movie, it’s also an intensely interesting one: a parable of human frailty and stupidity, and an elegant eulogy to the shattered dreams of the 1960s.

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