Still from Marlon Riggs’s “Affirmations” (1990) (Image courtesy of Signifyin’ Works and Frameline Distribution)

Long before the Bay Area became ground zero for the tech industry, it was home to one of the most active and creative queer communities in the country. This legacy, combined with the region’s boundless DIY spirit, provided fertile ground for a thriving independent queer film scene. With deep roots in underground film, art, and music, filmmaker and lecturer Irwin Swirnoff hosts a monthly queer film series at Alley Cat Books in San Francisco, and on Friday, June 30, he’s bringing his program south to Los Angeles for “my gaze /// yr gaze: a sorted assortment of queer film.”

The evening spans over four decades of cinema, from the early 1970s to the present. The earliest film is Curt McDowell’s 1972 short “Confessions,” in which he comes out to his parents, followed by brutally honest interviews with his friends intercut with pornographic images. Over a decade later, Greta Snider documented the SF punk scene in “Hard Core Home Movie” (1989), capturing a down and dirty side of the city that is rapidly disappearing. Marlon Riggs’s “Affirmations” (1990) candidly presents a gay, African-American perspective too often absent from mainstream queer culture. Contemporary films include “Free Jazz” (2015), a compilation of dance performances and improvisations by the Brontez Purnell Dance Company; and Aron Kantor’s “Folsom Street” (2016), a stylized and choreographed vision of the famous San Francisco street fair.

Still from Aaron Kantor’s “Folsom Street” (2015) (image courtesy of Aron Kantor)

When: Friday, June 30, 7:30pm ($5 admission)
Where: Echo Park Film Center (1200 North Alvarado Street, Echo Park, Los Angeles)

More info here.

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.