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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Reeling Review #8: See Skanks and Peter de Rome: Grandfather of Gay Porn at Chicago's LGBT Film Festival

Since I assume that many of my readers appreciate both musicals and gay porn, here are two documentaries worth seeing on each topic.

Director David McMahon's Skanks follows a community theatre in Birmingham, Alabama, as they put on a show called Skanks in a One Horse Town, a musical written and directed by a gay man named Billy Ray Brewton. This slice-of-life documentary introduces us to some colorful characters, including gay cast members Chuck Duck (who actually has an uncle named Donald) and Juan Carlos Batlle (whose hilarious "fisting" conversation with his father is worth the price of admission). We also get to know what it's been like for these men to grow up in conservative Birmingham where football and religion reign supreme. As for the musical, it's about three skanks (played by three guys in drag) at Studio 54 in 1978 who get sent back to the Old West of 1878 by a time-traveling disco ball. If that sounds like you're kind of show, then I think you might enjoy spending time with these Skanks.

Another person worth getting to know is erotic filmmaker Peter de Rome, whom director Ethan Reid spent time with in 2012. Mr. de Rome made many gay porn shorts in the 1960s and '70s, including The Fire Island Kids (1970), Hot Pants (1971) and Underground (1972), which features a sexual encounter between a hippie and a young executive that was shot on a NYC subway train at four in the morning. And I was not aware before that actress Greta Garbo's final screen appearance was in de Rome's first full-length film, Adam & Yves (1974), in which he inserted footage of her walking in New York City. Sadly, de Rome passed away in June at age 89, but Reid's interesting documentary gives this groundbreaking "grandfather" the credit that he deserves.

Show time: 1 pm, Saturday, September 20, at the Landmark's Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark)
Running time: 84 minutes

Peter de Rome: Grandfather of Gay Porn
Show time: 1:15 pm, Sunday, September 21, at the Landmark's Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark)
Running time: 97 minutes

Other films I recommend seeing at Reeling32: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival are (click on the title to read my review):

Boy Meets Girl, which is the Opening Night film at 7:30 pm tonight.

Tom at the Farm at 7 pm, Friday, September 19

BFFs at 7:15 pm, Friday, September 19

The Foxy Merkins at 9:15 pm, Friday, September 19

If We Took a Holiday at 3 pm, Saturday, September 20

The 10 Year Plan at 9:30 pm, Saturday, September 20

Waiting in the Wings: The Musical at 9 pm, Tuesday, September 23

Appropriate Behavior at 7:15 pm, Thursday, September 25

For a complete schedule of films at the festival (which runs through September 25), go to You can purchase tickets online (click here) or in person at Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark) Monday - Friday 10:30 am - 6 pm. You can also get the latest festival news by following Reeling on Twitter and Facebook.

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