Stonewall Hub

'Independence Day' Director Roland Emmerich Planning Movie About Stonewall Riots

Director Roland Emmerich is planning a movie about Stonewall, he tells Empire online:

Emmerich“I may want to do a little movie – about $12-14 million – about the Stonewall Riots in New York,” revealed Emmerich. “It’s about these crazy kids in New York, and a country bumpkin who gets into their gang, and at the end they start this riot and change the world.”

Emmerich says John Robin Bates is working on a script that follows the story of a homeless gay teen who finds his way to the Stonewall Inn and "gets caught up in the riots."

Emmerich says Bates owes him 20 more pages on the script.

Empire adds:

“I’ve got more and more involved in the Gay & Lesbian Centre in Los Angeles,” says Emmerich, “and I learned that 40% of homeless kids are gay. So things haven’t changed very much. But I put this together and said, I should make a movie about that, so it starts with a kid who gets thrown out of his home and ends up on the streets of the village, and becomes friends with all these kids. In a weird way, it shows that it’s still something that happens today.

“I read a lot about it and was so surprised,” says Emmerich of the process of discovery he's undertaken on the currently untitled movie. “It was the first time that gay people had shown the police that they should take them serious. And when the riot police came – this has always been fascinating for me – these kids formed a chorus line and sang ‘We are the village girls, we wear our hair in curls!’ It was such a cool thing.”

‘Hit The Wall’ a New Play About the Stonewall Riots, Opens Off-Broadway: REVIEW



How do you go about staging landmark riots considered the birth of the LGBT civil rights movement? Landing your play a stone’s throw from Stonewall Inn, at an Off-Broadway theatre known for its spare, intimate and emotionally raw productions seems pretty much the perfect place to start. In Hit The Wall, which opened Sunday at the Barrow Street Theatre, playwright Ike Holter also throws in a lot of heart, kinetic rage, and sass talk so fast it spins into poetry.

HIT_THE_WALL_FULL-9New York City, June 27th, 1969—it’s hot as hell, the air is thick with civil unrest, and Judy Garland’s funeral draws thousands of loyal fans to the Upper East Side. Downtown, it’s just another smack-talking morning on the neighborhood stoop, where sharp-tongued young hustlers Mika and Tano (Gregory Hanley and Arturo Soria, imposingly fierce) read every unwelcome queen who steps onto their turf.

There’s Roberta (Carolyn Michelle Smith) the righteous black lesbian, shunned equally by the women’s movement and the Black Panthers, pounding pavement trying to start her own revolution. (“Get your a** back to Sarah Lawrence, girl, MOVE.”) ‘The Newbie’—buttoned-up, naïve, and mostly in the closet. (“This is our stoop, this is our spot, you don’t like the pot then spit out the smoke and cough.”)

Mika and Tano meet their match in Carson (Nathan Lee Graham) a seasoned (and by the end of the night, legendary) cross-dressing black diva, who serves them a read so fast and furious their limp tongues snap to the back of their heads. More than just delicious high-camp, Holter makes clear that these queens' vicious attitudes are part of a carefully honed defense against a harsh world. That they reserve the worst of it for each other shows the contentiousness among a splintered group of outcasts not yet thinking of themselves as a group.

HIT_THE_WALL_FULL-180Though they are of course anything but typical, Holter’s cast of characters each stand in for a sort of type—including Cliff (Ben Diskant) a draft-evading drifter, and the unnamed ‘A-Gay’ (Sean Allan Krill), all business suits and discretion. That most of the characters introduced during the day lack fleshed-out backstories seems exactly the point. By the time they’re all dancing in the dark at Stonewall, what matters is we know why they’re there—to drink, get laid, and not worry about hiding themselves.

Under Eric Hoff’s dynamic direction, actions leading from the sweltering day to that fateful night flow one into the next with all the restless momentum and energy of a city street. The historic event is staged with some concern for accuracy, as characters shout out what official reports say happened next.

HIT_THE_WALL_FULL-235Holter’s play doesn’t shy away from showing horrifying trials faced by transgendered patrons at the hands of police who raided the bar. In a wrenching and intimate scene, Carson and Peg (Rania Salem Manganero) are both held back as the bar is evacuated and brutally harassed by the play’s lone cop (an intimidating Matthew Greer).

The riot that follows is choreographed like something of a wild dance. If it seems at moments to descend into theatrical chaos—well, it is a riot, after all. Imagination deserves some rein, as reliable accounts of the explosive events are difficult to come by—aside from those able to say, as these bold characters do: “I was there.”

Dragged out of the bar on her way to the back of a cop car, it’s Peg whose indignant cries rouse an initially complacent crowd into action: “No more watching!” It’s a welcome battle cry for any era.

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Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos: matthew murphy)

Rachel Maddow: Obama's Inaugural 'Stonewall' Shout-Out was for the Supreme Court - VIDEO


Last night, Rachel Maddow and Frank Rich hashed out Obama's Stonewall reference:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

Maddow theorizes that it was a shout-out to the Supreme Court, preemptive of its decision on DOMA and Prop 8. And Rich believes it was specifically for Chief Justice John Roberts.


Continue reading "Rachel Maddow: Obama's Inaugural 'Stonewall' Shout-Out was for the Supreme Court - VIDEO" »

Remember To Celebrate The Stonewall Rebellion, A Night That Changed Our World

Last weekend may have been gay pride for many of us, but today, June 28th, is the 43rd anniversary of the night that started it all: the Stonewall Rebellion.

To commemorate the event, HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse shares his own experience with pride's earlier days.

In June of 1969, I was an eight year-old boy growing up on Long Island, NY. Little did I know that only about 30 miles from my suburban home, a group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were about to change the world for millions of Americans - including me.  These brave citizens had decided that it was time to stand up to harassment from police society in general.

Today, we now consider the "Stonewall Rebellion" or “Stonewall Riots" the beginning of the modern-day LGBT rights movement in America.  The first public "Gay Pride March" in New York took place one year later to commemorate "Stonewall."

As we commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion we must salute those who fought, suffered and died because of society's homophobia and transphobia, but we also must celebrate how far we have come as well.  And, for sure, we must continue to tell the story of Stonewall and continue to fight for full LGBT equality so that today's eight year-olds can grow up free and thrive and enjoy the wonders there are in this world.

Do any of you readers out there have memories either of the Stonewall Rebellion or your first gay pride? If so, please do tell in the comments.

What Occupy Wall Street Can Learn From Gay Pride


With Occupy Wall Street and Gay Pride set to intermingle this weekend, Linda Hirshman at The New Yorker takes some time to compare and contrast the two movements.

She writes that Occupy Wall Street, with its flash mobs and loose central message, could learn a thing or two about the Stonewall Rebellion, an event she notes was just one of many "gay-bar pushbacks."

What made Stonewall so special is the fact that activists from the relatively  timid Mattachine Society hadn't reorganized themselves into the more radical Gay Liberation Front and made a conscious effort to construct a solid message and action.

If not for [Oscar Wilde Books owner Craig] Rodwell, and the Mattachine’s President, Dick Leitsch, two nights of rioting might have been the end. In the previous five years, two similar uprisings in California had come to naught. But the day after Stonewall, a Sunday, teams of activists spread out around the neighborhood, distributing manifestos (“The Hairpin Drop Heard Round the World”). Unlike Occupy Wall Street, the gay activists had a clear list of demands. “Get the Mafia out of the bars,” the leaflets proclaimed. “No more police raids.”

Over the next few months, as the G.L.F. met and debated whether anyone is free until everyone is free and other movement-destroying rabbit holes familiar to the followers of Occupy Wall Street, Rodwell, the bookstore owner, decided to plan a march to commemorate the event on the fourth Sunday in June a year later. Call it the Pride Parade. There have been many gay parades since 1970, but at that time it was a revolutionary notion—that gay people would come out of the closet and into a parade all at once.

Hirshman goes on to say that part of Stonewall's success was the fact that it was simple, rather than involving heady, easily disorganized actions: "[Rodwell] he did not have to get everyone to agree on some lofty mission or to mass in front of a dozen banks to protest everything everybody did wrong, as Occupy did to so little effect on May Day this year. Just come out, as the old gay slogan said. And so they did."

Stonewall Inn Gay Basher Gets Two Years in Prison

Matthew Francis, who pleaded guilty to felony hate crime on September 9 for attacking Benjamin Carver, a DC resident on a visit to New York City, in the bathroom of the Stonewall Inn in October 2010, was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday, the AP reports:

Francis Matthew Francis, 22, didn't speak at his sentencing. He pleaded guilty Sept. 8 to assault as a hate crime and to attempted robbery, but his lawyer said the October 2010 incident at the Stonewall Inn stemmed from drug and alcohol use, not hatred...

...Francis was high on prescription pills and alcohol at the time and hopes to get drug counseling in prison, said his lawyer, Robert DePalma. He said Francis, who has a sister who is a lesbian, doesn't harbor any bias against gays.

"This was an unfortunate incident that arose because of substance abuse," the attorney said. "It was quite a surprise to all of us that it was listed as a hate crime."

In the October 2010 attack, Carver was asked if he was gay and then pinned down by Orlando while Francis beat him, saying, Get away from me faggot. I don't like gay people."

Francis' co-assailant Christopher Orlando is expected to get six months when he is sentenced in January.


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