The Sons Of Tennessee Williams Opens Tomorrow

Categories: Film


No, the brilliant playwright didn't have children, unless you count Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski (and I do).

But his work and spirit have long loomed over the gay inhabitants of New Orleans, as captured in a new documentary opening tomorrow at the Quad.

The doc remembers back to the time when just putting your hand on a same-sex person's knee could land you in jail, especially if the same-sex person was a cop.

It also documents the incredibly creative gay community that arose in the face of this oppression, everyone dressing in full drag with skyscraping headdresses as they launched the eye-popping tradition known as the gay Mardi Gras.

The movie is very sweet as it captures the heart and soul of what has become a sort of Boys Gone Wild as Girls parade.

Do Papa Tennessee a favor.

Put on your Sunday clothes, top them off with three layers of feathers and bugle beads, and check out this movie's look at a class menagerie.

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Southern Dave
Southern Dave

Just remembered:  Roy Haylock/Bianca Del Rio is all through "Sons of Tennessee," too, emceeing the post-Katrina ball that provides a framework for the film.

And underneath the feathers and sequins and make-up, these are all  crazily courageous guyz. Carnival balls cost mucho to stage and are ephemeral, like theater. They also satirize the straight "krewes" (organizations that stage major balls and parades populated by society debs, their rich families, celebrities and Just Folks). This tradition began as a parody of actual royalty.

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

I've seen this doc, even have a copy of it and it's fabulously funny,  stirring and inspiring .

Incidentally, the "Candle Dance" mentioned in passing was performed by the late, great Jay Kleindorf, one of the legendary actor/performer/queens of New Orleans.

And Mickey Gil, who once had a cabaret in Noo Yawk, is the Carnival Queen with the fireworks going off in back of him. Mickey was fearless! He was in the Israeli Air Force, was a kept boy for a time, learned to cook in Vienna at the Sacher Hotel and, with his longtime partner George Patterson, supported every theater company in New Orleans. He discovered Karen Akers and was the most glamorous man this city has ever known.


Even Katrina couldn't wash all those headdresses away.


This sounds really special. Finally a movie worth leaving the house for.