Gay USA ★★★★

I can't think of a better description for this than the original newspaper tagline: "the politics of celebration." It's easy to write this off as just a pride documentary, but what makes it so interesting is how director Arthur J. Bressan, Jr. (whose hardcore debut, Passing Strangers, climaxed at the 1973 Freedom Day parade) uses a nationwide celebration to probe the issues and feelings within a newly-energized queer community -- not just about figures like Anita Bryant, but about identity, language, and presentation. These parades were 41 years ago, but not a whole lot has changed since -- including the complete lack of trans representation.

I can't even begin to imagine the logistical nightmare of trying to coordinate units in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago, all on a nonexistent budget and on the same day in 1977.

(Bressan actually snuck some of that Passing Strangers footage into this -- keep an eye out for a longhaired Richard Locke in one of the sepia scenes)

Evan liked this review