Small town gay bar

  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Mar 09, 2008 4:27 PM GMT
    I just finished watching through Small Town Gay Bar, a 2006 documentary that explores gay / LGBTQ bars in rural Mississippi, and wonder if anyone else here has seen it (it has received a few awards, so I presume that there are at least a few).

    I enjoyed it. The documentary style it uses (an impersonal style where the filmer / interviewer does not appear on camera or voice-over*, minimizing the distance between the audience and the interviewed persons) works well for the film. I have little to no clue on LGBTQ bar life (I am a reclusive homebody), and STGB helps highlight how important LGBTQ bars can be for the otherwise disunified LGBTQ community.

    The segment on the murder of Scotty Joe Weaver feels a bit out of place, even though it is relevant to the location STGB focuses on. Some discussion about it by persons outside of the Weaver family would have helped contextualize it.

    The inclusion of Fred Phelps is smart; he's stupidly forthright and is a man obsessed with the darker / more violent aspects of the Abrahamic Bible and with homosexuality. I frequently laughed out of surprise over his statements, and I would now be less surprised if he later revealed himself and his mission to have been Kaufmann'esque theatrics. Phelps' use of the Bible is heavily reliant on the Old Testament and, quite frankly, refreshing. While I am more symphatic to Scotty Joe's brother and his position, Phelps clearly has a firmer grasp on the Bible.

    [lack of transition duly noted]

    I also like how the film works toward a message of hopeful possibility, as it ends with the re-opening and re-envisioning of a bar (the change from Crossroads to Different Seasons in Meridian) and the transfer of ownership of Rumors.

    If you haven't seen, I recommend checking it out, if only to have a peek at the lives of our rural brethren.
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    Mar 09, 2008 5:58 PM GMT
    I watched the first 15 or 20 minutes - it seemed devoid of substance or entertainment value.
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    Mar 09, 2008 6:00 PM GMT
    I watched it a week or so ago and agree with you that it was pretty interesting.
  • farfle

    Posts: 105

    Mar 09, 2008 6:22 PM GMT
    I've not seen it, but I will definitely seek it out. I grew up in a very small town, and am living in the same place again. The bars were what brought our community together, for good or bad, so I'm interested in seeing what this film has to say. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Nick.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Mar 09, 2008 6:29 PM GMT
    It's certainly lightweight in terms of dealing with the subject; there is little in terms of detailing the people involved with bars (such as Jim / Alicia, who presents some of the locations a la Vanna White; in terms of personal exposition, he only presents some older pictures and his dogs). The brief inclusion of two closed-down bars highlights Small Town Gay Bar's focus on quantity (number of LGBTQ bars in Mississippi) over quality (the details of a particular bar and its owners and patrons).

    One aspect I wished that it would detail is how closely knit the bars and their respective founders are and how this functions as a form of leadership within the local LGBTQ community. I would also have liked some exploration as to the ending of some bars by their owners and their reasons for closing them down (such as the one bar from the 1980s that was burned down by its owner: why did he do it? was it a crime or legal? what did he / she do afterward? what did the patrons do afterward?).

    Substantive comparisons between the rural LGBTQ bar scenes and the urban LGBTQ bar scenes could have helped it as well.

    Its one strong point (and, I suspect, the reason it has received some rewards) is that it deals with a subject that may be considered "out there" from a mainstream urban viewpoint.
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    Mar 09, 2008 6:34 PM GMT
    NickoftheNorth saidI would also have liked some exploration as to the ending of some bars by their owners and their reasons for closing them down (such as the one bar from the 1980s that was burned down by its owner: why did he do it? was it a crime or legal? what did he / she do afterward? what did the patrons do afterward?).


    That reminds me of the old joke:

    Two men, shop owners, meet in the street. The first one says sympathetically, "I'm so sorry, I heard all about the fire that destroyed your whole shop."

    The second one says, "Shhhh! It's tomorrow!"