A showcase for documentaries focusing exclusively on LGBTQ stories, QDoc presents a lineup that’s small but varied. I always have a hard time deciding which movies I want to screen ahead of time—even film critics can only watch so much. This year, without even realizing it, I ended up watching QDoc’s movies about gay and lesbian nightclubs. Maybe I need to get out more?
Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution (screening Fri May 18) feels scrapped together like one of the zines that erupted out of the movement. Homocore, or queercore, developed from the fringes of punk scenes in the ’80s, so it’s fitting that Queercore isn’t polished—it’s a bunch of parts taped together to make one anti-establishment package. The film contains loads of hand-drawn dicks and nipples, which are cool, as well as some white power imagery, which is not cool. (While many aspects of the movement are thoughtfully explored, its skinhead roots never are.) But if Queercore’s filmmakers intend to raise eyebrows, they do it well.
My voyage through gay clubs next took me to Shakedown (Sat May 19). Named for a Black lesbian strip club enterprise in California, Shakedown shares years of backstage interviews and private footage. These women were ahead of their time—the dance moves they created 25 years ago were only just ripped off by Miley Cyrus.
I ended up in the Arkansas drag scene of Eureka Springs, the same small town as an elaborate stage production of Jesus’s life and death. The Gospel of Eureka (Sun May 20), from Portland-based filmmakers Donal Mosher and Michael Palmieri, offers a tremendously entertaining mash-up of the theatricalities of drag and church.
There’s plenty of serious topics in QDoc’s 2018 offerings, including HIV and AIDS (Quiet Heroes, Sun May 20), civil war (Mr. Gay Syria, Sun May 20), and military service (Breaking the Silence, Fri May 18). But take it from me: Sex and dance make for a good lineup, too.