The Little Joe Clubhouse at the Fringe! Gay Film Fest

Little Joe are a London based publication and film club that “look at film from a new perspective.” Light Industry described the work of Little Joe as “mapping the subterranean canon of gay and lesbian cinema, past and present.”

As well as self-publishing a beautiful, witty and rigorously intellectual magazine, Little Joe hold regular film clubs at The Rio in Dalston and The Cinema Museum in Lambeth. Recently they screened Nigel Finch’s 1991 BBC Arena documentary on Kenneth Anger’s Hotel Babylon and Jack Hazan’s 1973 filmic portrait of David Hockney A Bigger Splash at The Cinema Museum.

Especially for Fringe! The Little Joe gang built their very own clubhouse in the Richmix cinema in Bethnal Green, East London as a pop up fixture for the festival. A self-published reader is being sold to accompany the space:

Perhaps you’re ensconced in our cosy little Little Joe Clubhouse right now. Welcome! And indeed welcome to this The Little Joe Clubhouse Reader (…) a textual annexe to the Clubhouse or, rather, a friendly guide to the cinematic menu on offer.

So the opening paragraph of the reader begins, it is an important accompaniment, giving context to the challenging, beautiful and provocative Clubhouse programme. Films like Derek Jarman’s The Queen is Dead (1986),  Jean Genet’s Un Chant d’Amour (1950), gorgeous 16mm prints of Warren Sonbert and Wendy Appel’s Amphetamine (1966) and Bill Rose’s public education film Meeting Strangers: Red Light, Green Light (1969) projected via a briefcase 16mm projector. The films are as challenging as they are delightful, with the cruel and shocking Les Minets Sauvages (1984) causing much discussion around the intellectual value of hard-core.

Stuart Comer, curator of film at the Tate Modern writes the introduction to Warren Sonbert’s Amphetamine providing important socio-historical context to the film “shot when Sonbert was nineteen, approximately three years before the Stonewall riots, the film provides an important glimpse at the types of  sexual experimentation that would propel queer youth to the front lines of the radical social transformations that were already underway”. Sonbert, influenced by Kenneth Anger and Warhol in the avant-garde as well as Hitchcock and Douglas Sirk in the mainstream “defined a style that was uniquely his own”, capturing in rhythmic montage an innocent and aesthetically sensitive window onto teenage transgression.

Amphetamine was projected in 16mm on the wall of the clubhouse, and like all of the films Little Joe screened it was free and in an intimate and unashamedly personal space. Look out for their future events and make sure you get your hands on a copy of the magazine.

Read another lovely article on the Clubhouse by blogger magnificentsomething here

One comment

  1. Pingback: Little Joe & LUX – Cinema as a Subversive Art: An All-Night Filmic Wake for Amos Vogel « Real|Reel Journal

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