Anika Noni Rose presents Shirley Chisholm
The odds were always stacked against Shirley Chisholm. She was a woman and she was black, which means that the corridors of political power were not built or maintained for her. But in 1968, she became the first black, female member of Congress, representing New York’s 12th Congressional District from 1969 to 1983. In 1972, she was the first major-party black candidate for President, though she did not receive her party’s nomination. She was, in short, a political hero who broke down doors and championed LGBT rights well before it was considered politically prudent to do so. And now, Tony Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose (The Princess and The Frog, Dreamgirls) will produce and star in a film about Chisholm’s life, appropriately titled Chisholm. The production team is in place, but that’s all we know about casting right now, and no word on when we’ll all get to lay eyes on it. In the meantime, you can do your homework with director Shola Lynch’s 2004 documentary, Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed, and catch up on the facts of this remarkable woman’s life and career. Chisholm died in Ormond Beach, Florida at the age of 80 in 2004.
Howard’s End, The Extended Remix
The only thing better than a period film about British aristocrats and their existential troubles is a period miniseries about the same thing. Here’s why: it is much, much longer. That means more costumes, more sumptuous locations, more sly sabotage from servants, and – most importantly – more sighs, stares and muted longing. The grand papa (say it like pa-PAH, please) of this genre may be Brideshead Revisited, but for our money Howard’s End is the most satisfying. Complex, satisfying and tragic, the 1992 film adaptation is one to revisit whenever one has time in between the pressing tasks of the ruling class. So it is a great pleasure to learn that E.M. Forster’s story of three families – two of means, one not – will become a new BBC miniseries directed by Hettie Macdonald (Beautiful Thing, Fortitude). Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count On Me) is handling screenwriting duties, and production begins this summer. Do be attentive to its air date, which will probably take place in 2017.
Chaz Bono gets Dirty
Truth be told, we missed Chaz Bono’s two-episode arc on The Bold and The Beautiful, but we’re glad he did it. We were, frankly, unaware of his sporadic visits to the world of acting. But if the upcoming July 12th release of the film Dirty is any indication of his intentions, we’ll start paying more attention. The gritty crime thriller is from first-time director Daniel Ringey, and concerns a couple of “dirty” cops who lose their stolen stash of drugs and money to some even more unsavory crime-people. Roger Guenveur Smith (Chi-Raq, the upcoming The Birth of A Nation) and Paul Elia (Lady Dynamite) play the cops in question, and Bono stars as someone known as “Jerry the Hoarder,” which sounds delightfully seedy. The film is being delivered directly to streaming services (a smart weapon of choice for indie film these days) and on its release day, the cast will be live-Tweeting a Q&A at 7 pm ET, using the hashtag #dirtythemovie. And listen, gay dudes, keep the questions about Mom to a minimum.
Jewel’s Catch One kept the beat alive
If you’ve never been dancing in Los Angeles, and more to the point, if you are not a queer person of color, then there is little reason for you to know much about The Catch One. You may have heard that it was Madonna’s visits there in the 1980s that allegedly introduced her to voguing, but otherwise, the Los Angeles nightlife institution that hosted celebrities like Sandra Bernhard, Bonnie Pointer, Sharon Stone and Jenifer Lewis is probably not on your radar. This will change when you watch the utterly vital documentary, Jewel’s Catch One, from filmmaker C. Fitz. Full of interviews and archival material, the film digs deep into the life of the club, and of its owner Jewel Thais-Williams, the black lesbian who started it in 1973, as a spot to dance in for people who’d been denied entrance to the whiter, straighter locations in her city. And though the club closed in 2015, Thais-Williams’ local legacy is still alive, and her influence is strongly felt: she started The Minority AIDS Project in the ’80s, took care of Los Angeles’ black gay community, created a non-profit health clinic, and, as the film shows, she’s not done yet. When your area LGBT film festival screens it, show up and get familiar with this vibrant queer figure.
Photo Credit: tmz.com
Romeo San Vicente has style, grace, and gives good face.