Sunday, March 17, 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Sunday, March 18, 2012
As Greg Youmans explains, Word is Out (The Mariposa Film Group, 1978) is the most important documentary regarding the visibility of gay and lesbian people produced up to the date of its release....Youmans’ monograph is a work that is filled with richness and contradiction, elements that fill our daily lives.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Thursday, January 5, 2012
BAY AREA REPORTER
Author Greg Youmans will launch his Word is Out: A Queer Film Classic (Arsenal Pulp Press) at a free event on Jan. 10 at the San Francisco Public Library. The book is about the history, politics, and aesthetics of the groundbreaking 1977 gay and lesbian documentary Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives. The film was the first feature-length documentary about lesbian and gay male experience that was made by lesbians and gay men. It brings a series of intimate, individual interviews together into a national portrait of gay people during the gay-rights struggles against Anita Bryant, John Briggs and others. Word Is Out was very much a Bay Area production: its six makers (the Mariposa Film Group ) were based here, as were its community funders and most of its onscreen interview subjects.
At the book launch (Tues., Jan. 10, 6 p.m., Koret Auditorium, SFPL Main Branch), Youmans will present rarely seen Word is Out materials from the 1970s (from the Peter Adair papers, housed at the library), including clips from the video pre-interviews that the filmmakers conducted with more than 100 LGBT people before choosing the final cast. A roundtable discussion will follow with Janet Cole , who was involved in the film's promotion, as well as four of the filmmakers: Nancy Adair, Andrew Brown, Lucy Massie-Phenix, and Veronica Selver. Word is still out!
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
I saw this film for the first time in Manhattan. I was so moved by the stories and felt so much strength, power and camaraderie that I went back the next day with a friend.
At that point, I was married and living in the South. I couldn't imagine ever talking with anyone in my very conservative family about a quiet thread that had been running through my life for several years. Many of the people featured in the film were my age when I first saw it.
Today, I was so excited to open the new DVD version and revisit this brave, powerful and beautiful film. I'd previously shared a VHS version with my partner, but this time, especially with the follow-ups and extras, it just broadened the experience so much. I found myself in tears at several places, thinking of how grateful I was to the filmmakers and to the people who were interviewed. And how exciting to see the film on the day that gay marriage was legalized in the state of NY.
I was stunned at the impact it had on me, once again. This time, I couldn't help thinking about my gay friends who had lost their lives to AIDS...and with those in this film, it had clearly taken a heavy toll.
My partner and I have been together 21 years. We have 6 grandchildren, we've taught the confirmation class at church. I'm even out now in my Southern family, and we're both welcomed and accepted with open arms. When I was honored in Who's Who in American Women, I listed my partner's name. There are times, when I’ve been at the library, that I’ve pulled that volume down and seen both of our names. It was our small way of going down in history.
I guess I wanted to say thank you to everyone who was part of this experience. You've all done a powerful thing and touched a lot of people, especially me.
Monday, July 18, 2011
As you’ve heard so many times, this film was the first gay anything I had ever seen, and what a positive model for this scared 17-year-old. I’m ever grateful for the collective’s courage which saved so many of our lives and psyches.
I was curious about Whitey and Cynthia not wanting to be interviewed in the 30th Anniversary edition. Of course they have a right to their privacy, but I can’t get a resounding “Why?” out of my head. Would appreciate if there is any official reason given.
Monday, May 16, 2011
I fell in love with the people who shared their stories. But much more importantly, when I saw the film, I became real. I became a real person. I knew what I was was real, and that I shared an experience with other people —even in far away, exotic places like San Francisco— and I was a little bit less alone in the world than I had been before I saw the film.
I have thought about the film all my life since I first saw it. I have thought about how daring and powerful the people were who allowed themselves to appear in the film back in 1977. I have wondered if everyone has been able to find satisfaction and a measure of happiness in their lives after the film was made. I have marveled at how both the pessimists and optimists were right about how little and how much we have progressed since the 1970s.
In short, the film was a watershed moment in my life. I only wish I had a more eloquent way of thanking the filmmakers. On a personal level, I thank them for producing the film at just the exact moment when I needed it most, and on a cultural level, I thank them for preserving our history for generations to come.
I send greetings to you, with great affection,
HERBERT J. BRANT, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Spanish
Department of World Languages & Cultures
Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives; 30th-Anniversary Edition. color. 132+ min. Peter Adair, Mariposa Film Group & Milliarium Zero, 800-603-1104; www.wordisoutmovie.com. 2010. DVD ISBN 9781933920184. $29.95; acad. libs. $195. Public performance. GENDER STUDIES
Claiming to be the first feature-length film about gays and lesbians by a gay filmmaker, this 1978 documentary offers interviews with 26 people who talk about their lives. Probably most well known among them is Mattachine Society founder Harry Hay, also the subject of the recent excellent The Temperamentals. It is a tribute to director Adair’s talents that the film’s stark and bare style still mesmerizes as these 26 lives unfold before our eyes. The flawless editing weaves the stories into a single fabric. Younger viewers, especially those who identify as GLBT, may be shocked at the tales of forced marriages, police harassment and beatings, electric shock therapy, and societal exclusion. Older viewers will be reminded of the blatant discrimination of a time not so long ago, some of which still exists. Extras include updates on the participants. A timeless film; highly recommended. [See Video News Briefs, LJ 6/1/10.]—Gerald A. Notaro, Univ. of South Florida Lib., St. Petersburg
Monday, January 10, 2011
“Word Is Out” (Restored by Ross Lipman for the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Outfest Legacy Project and distributed by Milestone.)
The American Library Association award for 2011 Notable Videos for Adults!
Congratulations to all the filmmakers and the participants!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
This restored 30th anniversary DVD release is exquisite with several bonuses that truly complement the film, especially a then-and-now documentary that brings the interviewees into the present. Revelations that many succumbed to AIDS are absolutely devastating, hanging a haunting specter over the film’s hopeful histories. Grade: A"
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Philip Martin in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives may be the most important movie you’ve never heard of, much less seen. It was the first feature length documentary about gay people, made by gay people, and one of the first to treat homosexuality as a naturally occurring phenomenon...
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Monday, December 15, 2008
It brings such a wide range of emotions into the forefront of ones conscientiousness, it should be considered a movement unto itself and repeated for every generation of gays to come. They say that a good movie is one that is talked about when you leave the theater. What about one that is talked about for days or weeks after you leave the theater. I will be sharing my experiences with everyone I know because everyone I know will be able to identify with some part of this movie.
Even though I am a gay man, who could not have identified with the hispanic lesbian in the first scene. The discomfort that she shows, the lack of complete eye contact, and her scratching at her arms. That discomfort is something that we all have faced at one time or another due to our lack of understanding of what it means to be gay, or who might know we are gay. Further on into the movie, when she sees that her blouse is unbuttoned, she buttons it up, but then unbottons the top botton instead-Brilliant! Her accceptance of who she is, and who we all are, can be summed up in those split seconds. It might have provided some comic relief initially, but the realization of not knowing why or who we might be and then becoming comfortable with who we really are can be profound.
Bravo to all the filmakers!
Brent Viklund, firstname.lastname@example.org
I remember particularly the young man who said he had never been in love, and then in college suddenly developed a crush on another young man. I had had heterosexual crushes on various people in my teen years, and the lightbulb went on, "oh, THAT'S how it works!" I suddenly realized two things -- that gays couldn't select who they were attracted to any more than I could, and that I didn't want the young man in the documentary to have to live without love in his life. The message was so easy to understand, I was just sorry that the film didn't have wider distribution during the following 30 years.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I wrote Peter's obituary for the Sunday SF Examiner and I remember one quotation from my interview with Peter. I knew he was dying, and I knew I would write his obituary, so I walked over to his house in Bernal Heights and sat down with him and said, "Peter, I'm going to write your obituary and I want you to tell me what you want me to say." As you know, Peter was the kind of rare bird with whom one could have such a conversation. And, being Peter, he warmed immediately to the task. "Why did you make Word Is Out?" I asked, and he responded with something to the effect of, "I set out to create and shape a gay and lesbian consciousness."
Of course the film was a collaborative effort, and Peter knew that as well as anyone. At the same time that he was never one for false modesty and he knew perfectly well that on one's deathbed one may legitimately claim a certain...generosity of memory. And there's enough truth in his statement that I kept it and used it in the obituary.
I am so very glad that you are bringing Word Is Out to the attention of a new generation, many of whom have never seen it or heard of it. It will serve them as well as it served us.
Best of luck, many bows to all of you,
Fenton Johnson, email@example.com
*Editor's note: Haney Armstrong became Peter's business partner a few years later.
Friday, September 7, 2007
After putting together the brilliant Mariposa Film Group, Peter completed a film that soared beyond all expectations, full of emotion and wisdom, laughter and tears. I received a one-sheet for the film, which I framed. It has given me pleasure for four decades and counting.
In 2006, I showed my VHS tape of Word Is Out as part of a documentary film series I programmed at my local church, a predominately LGBT United Church of Christ congregation. Only two other people present had ever seen the film. When the lights came up, eyes were teary and folks were clearly in awe of the accomplishment of the Mariposa Film Group so many years ago. I am thrilled that new audiences will get to see Word Is Out . I hope the new DVD will gain the widest possible distribution.
Thank you all so much for bringing Word Is Out back to life and to new generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgezander people, our families and friends.
Rev. Bill Johnson, Ed.D., JohnsonB@chhsm.org
Years later, when I was working at The American Film Institute in LA, I had the good fortune to meet Peter Adair and thank him. Recently I found an original poster for the movie, had it linen mounted and added to my collection of favorite movie posters.
I am very curious to know what became of those wonderful men and women featured in the film. They unwittingly became by heroes and role-models. I am sure I will be saddened by some of what I learn, but I hope your 30th anniversary DVD will shed some light on the future of those beautiful people.
I've been happily out for three decades and I have a very good life now with my partner of 23 years. It is not an overstatement to say that Word Is Out played a big part in my finding happiness.
Thank you to everyone involved in the creation of Word Is Out ... then and now.
Ron Geatz, Rgeatz@aol.com
Monday, June 25, 2007
The film had an incredible impact on me -- it was my first exposure to the diversity of our community, after having had the 'I'm the only one' feeling for so many years. It helped me realize I could be who I felt I was and did not have to be constrained by any one stereotype. Later, in my travels, I came across the Word Is Out book in a used bookstore, and snapped it up. Each portrait brought back memories of being seventeen years old and the expansive awe I had first felt when watching the film.
Zoom forward almost twenty years. I'm still living in Vermont and become friends with a local guy, Freddy, who, after one confusing connecting-the-dots conversation years into our friendship, I discover is Freddy from the film! 'I have a book with you in it!'
We recently celebrated his 60th birthday, at which I put up copies of his portrait from the book. I joke with him that I met him twenty years before he met me.
Jay Schuster, firstname.lastname@example.org
When my Mom asked me what I thought of the film, I didn't know how much there was behind that question. I didn't know that the counselor I had seen in junior high school had told her he suspected I was homosexual (without discussing the subject with me), or that she had long harbored suspicions of her own. I do remember that I panicked, and said something about how the film showed how important it was for all people to have equal rights in society, or something to that effect. And I remember that we talked for a while about some of the people in the film and how moving, funny, or tragic their stories were. I was trying to be calm, but inside I was bursting with exuberance (to have found others like me), grief (over the torture some of them had endured), and confusion (about what gay life would mean for me). But more than anything, I was elated that this film existed.
I especially loved the diversity of the people interviewed and their leadership by example. The women and men of Word Is Out taught me more clearly than anyone I had known how ordinary people could become absolutely heroic by virtue of who they are and the lives they lead. They gave me hope, for the first time, that I could have a loving relationship and a meaningful life as a gay man. They taught me that my tribe had a living history deserving of deep, abiding respect, and that lesbian and gay identity was inextricably tied to all the political debates that were (and still are) raging around race, ethnicity, gender identity, class, age, and nationalism. They taught me that there is no single way to be as a gay man or lesbian, and that a whole world of possibilities existed. And they taught me that in this living, organic civil rights movement, much work remained to be done, and the path ahead would not be a clear one.
The faces and voices of the "cast" of Word Is Out were indelibly printed in my memory and I have never forgotten any of them (including my crushes on David and Dennis!). They inspired me as a budding gay activist in college, and in the decades since. I had the great pleasure of meeting Betty Powell about five years ago, and have often wondered what became of the others in the film. I look forward to hearing their stories and hope that these many years have found them happy, fulfilled, and pleased to know that their strength and courage have inspired countless others worldwide to live open and proud lives as LGBT people in the quest for full and equal rights.
Doug Edelson, email@example.com
I also remembered that the student interviewed in the movie was carrying on a long distance relationship with a man he had met off campus. I had just had a wonderful sexual experience with a man from Boston, and the film inspired me to have the courage to call him up and tell him I'd like to continue seeing him.
David Finkelstein, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I hope times have changed.
When I finally got to see it I noted that one of the most important figures interviewed in the film is Harry Hay, original founder of the gay rights movement with the Mattachine Society in 1950 and later founder of the Radical Faeries in 1979.
I think of Harry as our George Washington, possessing a level of courage I can hardly imagine for myself.
Alan SF, email@example.com
Friday, May 11, 2007
The Dutch delegation raised the topic of intolerance against homosexuals, at the time a still underdeveloped theme on the level of the Council of Europe and in the organised youth structures of Europe.
We thought that the movie Word Is Out could give a nice introduction to the theme also for a European young audience.
We hired a copy through the Dutch distributor of Word Is Out and took it along to Strasburg.
We arranged a showing in the centre’s viewing room and made a handwritten announcement on a poster board in the hall of the centre.
To our great indignation we found out, when we returned from a conference session outside the Centre that the Dutch permanent representative to the Council of Europe, Mr Jan Breman, had tore off the poster and crumpled it up, uttering screams like ”a shame, scandalous” and worse. He threw the crumpled poster in a corner and headed for the Director of the centre to lecture him.
A staff member of the Centre with a great sense for history had saved the crumpled paper and handed it over to me giving me all the details of the enragement of the Dutch permanent representative (= ambassador). His behaviour was so much more surprising as the Dutch foreign policy had already committed itself to equal treatment for gays and lesbians.
The participants of the conference reacted with indignation, but the showing went on that same evening. The head of the Dutch Delegation Ad Melkert (who himself is not a gay man, and is now working for United Nations Development Programme in New York) on behalf of the members of the Dutch delegation addressed Mr Breman and suggested to him that he apologize, case closed.
But Mr. Breman refused and once more caused indignation with the other members of the Dutch delegation and among the participants of the conference. One of the members of the delegation (Jan Herman Veenker, a well known Dutch gay activist and in later years AIDS activist) contacted his MP (Member of Parliament) in The Hague and the next day the matter was raised in the Dutch Parliament. The Dutch Foreign Minister of those days, Chris van der Klaauw, swiftly reacted and summoned Breman to withdraw from the conference at once. The Dutch government had been one of the initiators of the Conference and could not tolerate that it should fall short of expectations or worse fail.
The conference adopted a document that included homosexuality as a behaviour that should not lead any longer to intolerant attitudes.
The whole incident even had a greater impact. The day after the conference I received a mysterious phone call from the Secretariat of the Council of Europe. The secretary to the Political Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council, told me he had followed the incident with great interest and asked me to take up contact with a Dutch Member of the Assembly who was just preparing the first political document in an International governmental structure (the Council of Europe). The MP, Mr Joop Voogd was reported ill at the time and the secretary of the political committee had found out that conservative colleagues of Mr. Voogd tried to kill the document in his absence. He urged me to warn mr Voogd to have the vote postponed in committee in order to save the document. It all worked out well, the document was saved and is to my knowledge the first time that a very well respected international governmental human rights organisation took a positive stand on LGBT rights.
Mr Breman was transferred to his next diplomatic post in Saudi Arabia. According to Dutch foreign office circles it was considered a heavy punishment for him and even more for his glamorous wife.
Well Word Is Out!
For myself the whole story was the beginning of a long period of international gay activism, but that's another story!
Hein Verkerk Amsterdam, Blog
Willi Wolf, firstname.lastname@example.org
Okay, I'd enjoyed furtive gay sex, but could not accept that I was
gay, simply because no role models were available, apart from a
couple of very effeminate comedians on British television - and I
STILL hate "Are you being served?". which I know is a favourite of
many of my gay friends in the USA, simply because the John Inman
character effectively helped keep me in the closet for more years
than were necessary.
And then, out of curiosity, I went to see Word Is Out. There, up
on the screen, was a selection of lesbians and gay men who were 'normal', who were like me, and with whom I could thus identify, even if they were American and I am British. I just cannot express my gratitude to the makers and distributors of this movie. They helped open the door for me to a very fulfilling life as a gay man. I hope that, in turn, my witness can help other younger gay men and lesbians.
Bernard Bucan, email@example.com
Word Is Out. I loved the film, because of its professionalism, its
message, its likely public appeal, the memorable stories of its cast
members, and the fact that I knew and respected some of them.
Later, when an older activist friend of mine died in the late 1980s, I
was fortunate enough to receive his framed copy of the beautifully
designed Word Is Out poster, which I still prize.
A lot of things were happening in the late 1970s--for instance, I recently observed the 30th anniversary of taking part in the first White House meeting on gay rights--but I hadn't realized until now that Word Is Out is already 30 years old, too. I'm delighted to know of the forthcoming DVD and will be glad to help with a contribution.
William B. Kelley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Flipping through channels (we only had about a half-dozen back then, in the pre-cable-TV days), I ran across Word Is Out just starting on Chicago's PBS station, WTTW.
I was so mesmerized I forgot to sit down for a good twenty minutes; I just kept standing there, watching the screen.
About halfway through Word Is Out , I started crying, because I realized I Wasn't Alone. There were other people in the world who Felt Like Me, and it was called Being Gay, and it wasn't A Terrible Thing. (Teenagers think a lot in Capital Letters.)
I think I cried for a good two hours, because after the first set of tears dried, and the documentary was over, I realized "OK, I'm gay. Now what?" and started crying again.
I won't go into the story here of how I ended up being outed to my parents (the local gay men's health clinic did it by accident) and moving to San Francisco.
I will say that if I hadn't seen Word Is Out when I did, it's not an exaggeration to say I probably would have ended up as another teenage suicide statistic.
Thank you for producing the film 30 years ago. I can't tell you enough how much it's touched my life, and changed me for the better.
Allan Hurst, email@example.com
I am not gay but when I saw that show I remember being very intrigued with the subject.
I was raised in a very macho military culture and all I knew of homosexuality was "faggot" "queer" to the point that as a small child I had thoughts that all faggots should be killed. That show pretty much altered that thought process immediately. I think I was open to it but needed to see it in order to explore my own individuality and embrace my quirks and accept and embrace the quirks of others.
I had forgotten how influential that show had been on me. It's a great movie that should be required viewing. Young gay people are dying in droves because they are so ostracized by the people they grew up loving. Maybe if their families saw Word is Out
I support your project and only wish you could reach those young people in crisis. I just read a piece online where a young girl was outed as bisexual and was rejected by her family and then she killed herself. This is devastating to me that something so harmless as individual sexuality carries such weight.
I wasn't thinking "this is me", but I felt drawn to it...even as it scared the shite out of me. I was 13.
John P Egan, Vancouver BC