Staff Recommendation – Stonewall Uprising (film)

Stonewall Bar 1969 – Disturbance at Sheridan Square, NYC. Scenes at Christopher St. and 7th Ave. South with police trying to clear crowds. Pictured, Stonewall Inn which was raided one day last week. July 2, 1969

In 60s-era New York, homosexuality was pathologized, criminalized, and punished by law enforcement. The American Psychiatric Association still classified it as a mental disorder, gay sex was punishable by fine or 20 years to life in prison, and routine police raids were conducted of any bars, baths, and spaces queer people were known to frequent.

Despite this, New York was still the big city, and by the 1960s there was a significant queer population that called the Greenwich Village area home, carving out a culture and place for themselves. Yet they were under constant threat.

On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a Mafia-owned gay bar, was raided by police on a routine attack. After several arrests were made, the patrons of the bar, as well as the growing crowd outside snapped – after years of oppression, enough was enough. Sparked by some of the most vulnerable within the queer community – trans people and cross-dressers – the crowd began refusing arrest, physically defending themselves, and attempting to drive the police away, trapping some within the bar itself. The scene became one that some people described as an all-out rebellion which continued for days. In the months that followed, queer liberation organizing sprang into high gear, sparking a seminal event in the American LGBTQ rights movement which drove forward social progress in the coming decades.

Produced as part of the PBS American Experience series, Stonewall Uprising is a collection of interviews and stories by those that lived these events. Archival documents, narrative commentary, and, most of all, eyewitness accounts give shape to this important story throughout the film. There is no better time than Pride Month to learn more about these events where it all began, and how they still reverberate in today’s politics and culture.

This film is available through the library’s subscription database, Academic Video Online (Alexander St. Press), in a series of parts.

— Mike Romano, Music Circulation Assistant

Digital Resource of the Week: BBC Four Collections

BBC Four, one of the television and radio stations of the British Broadcasting Corporation, has made many of its programs available online. Called BBC Four Collections, they include:

All American programs aired in the mid 1960s and have continued through 2011. Most are a half hour to an hour in length and cover topics such as The Devil’s Music (that would be the Blues), an interview with Maya Angelou, a profile of Jackson Pollock, and the sex scandal of New York’s Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

 

Victoria Spivey sings the Blues
Victoria Spivey sings the Blues

Army: A Very British Institution is about the history of the British Armed Forces.

Radio 4 Collections is broken into 4 areas: art, history, science, and society. There are interviews with theater actors and playwrights and programs about the ancient world.

Talk, a radio broadcast series, includes interviews with influential contemporary figures such as actor Nigel Hawthorne, artist Henry Moore, and film director Orson Welles.

 

Salvador Dali on Melancholic British Art
Salvador Dali on Melancholic British Art

Library staff recommendation: Bag It

Bag It
Directed by Suzan Beraza
Greenfield DVD GD1027

The plastic bag, the plastic water bottle, the plastic liner in your to-go coffee cup.
Ugh!

The plastic grocery bag is the number-one consumer item in the world: 500 billion bags are used every year. Made out of a non-renewable product (oil) that takes 70 million years to create, used for a few minutes, it lasts just about forever in the landfill. This informative and entertaining documentary takes an eye-opening look at the ultra-thin plastic bag and other plastic convenience items and the price we pay for them. You’ll never again see that bag caught in the tree or blowing down the street in the same way.

Recommended by Sara MacDonald

Library Staff Recommendation: Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968

Casey Murphy
Casey Murphy

Casey Murphy, Greenfield Circulation Assistant, recommends:

Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968

GD916
Greenfield DVD

Full of terrific archival footage and interviews with the curator, artists, and historians, this documentary shines a light on some of the most intriguing artists in art history, the women of Pop. This documentary is a multifaceted gem of facts and curiosities about each artist and the work represented.
If you like this, take a look at the exhibition catalog:
Seductive Subversion : Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968