“Beautiful By Night,” a documentary film set at famed San Francisco gay bar, Aunt Charlie’s, shows tonight at the Tenderloin Museum. The film follows three older drag entertainers, Donna Personna, Collette LeGrande, and Olivia Hart at Aunt Charlie’s, over the course of one evening. Directed by James Hosking (The California Sunday Magazine, Mother Jones, The Washington Post) and shot by Vanessa Carr, the film has received a Platinum Award from the Spotlight Documentary Film Awards, was chosen by Vimeo as a Staff Pick, and has been screened at the Boston LGBT Festival, Frameline, Atlanta Documentary Fest.
‘Beautiful By Night’ will be shown alongside ‘Queens At Heart’, a rare and provocative glimpse into pre-Stonewall queer life. Now celebrating its 50th anniversary the 1967 short documentary introduces us to four trans women and explores their histories, travails, and dreams. The film is screened with permission by Outfest / UCLA Legacy Project.
‘Beautiful By Night’ + ‘Queens At Heart’ will be shown on September 14th; reception at 6:30pm, screening at 7pm with drag performances by Donna Personna, Collette LeGrande, and Olivia Hart.
This event is part of our ‘Compton’s Film Series: Queens to the Front’, a four-event series culminating in a final workshop of ‘The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot’, an interactive play directly inspired by the 1966 riot, produced by the Tenderloin Museum.
In the summer of 1966, a drag queen patron of the Tenderloin’s Compton’s Cafeteria threw her cup of hot coffee in the face of an police officer as he made an unwarranted attempted to arrest her. The riot that followed would be come to known as the United States’ first recorded act of militant queer resistance to social oppression and police harassment in history. Three years before the famous gay riot at New York’s Stonewall Inn, the neighborhood’s drag queens and allies banded together to fight back against their ongoing discrimination, beating the cops with their high heels and throwing furniture out of the cafeteria windows.
‘Compton’s Film Series: Queens to the Front’ will consist of works created as a response to the story of Compton’s, the movement that followed, and the Tenderloin’s continued support of queer communities. This history is an integral component of the neighborhood’s identity, and we are honored to recognize the individuals whose tenacious spirit spawned a movement against the long history of discrimination and violence.
Katie Conry is Director of the Tenderloin Museum