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No Matter What Sign You Are

Station Museum



No Matter What Sign You Are
When: Wednesday, June 5, 7:30PM
Location: Aurora Picture Show
2442 Bartlett St., Houston, TX 77098
ph: 713-868-2101

Co-presented by Aurora Picture Show and The Station Museum
Free Admission

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, Aurora and The Station co-present this selection of rarely-seen documentary and experimental short films reflecting Queer expressions and the struggle for LGBTQ rights since that catalytic protest. Referencing the Supremes song that was a jukebox favorite at the Stonewall Inn when it was raided by police–No Matter What Sign You Are includes rarely seen short films by Jack Smith, Nikolai Ursin, Barbara Hammer, Marguerite Paris, and Jim Hubbard. The program also features director Travis Johns’ short documentary The Trouble With Ray about the Houston activist and provocateur Ray Hill who passed away in November.

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Song for Rent, Jack Smith, 16mm, 8 min, 1969
Made in 1969 and shown as part of a live film, slide, and record performance at the Elgin Theater, this film features Jack Smith himself appearing as alter-ego matron “Rose Courtyard,” inspired by Rose Kennedy. Dressed in a red satin gown and clutching a bouquet of dead roses, Rose sits among trash and decaying corpses while two rounds of Kate Smith’s “God Bless America” plays.

“Behind Every Good Man” (1966) by Nicolai Ursin

Behind Every Good Man, Nikolai Ursin, 16mm, 8.5 minutes, 1966
Filmed in 1965, this independent vérité film document provides an intimate glimpse into the life of an African American transgender woman in 1960s Los Angeles. The subject’s fluid conceptions of gender and sexuality and director Nikolai Ursin’s positive depiction lend Behind Every Good Man a queer expansiveness that few films of its era can claim.

“Sisters” (1973) by Barbara Hammer

Sisters!, Barbara Hammer, 16mm, 8 min, 1973
Combining rare footage of the first Women’s International Day march in San Francisco and of the second National Lesbian Conference at UCLA with images of women doing all types of traditional “men’s” work, Sisters! is a joyous and vital landmark in feminist, queer, and lesbian film from Barbara Hammer, who passed away in March (credited here as “Agressa”).

All Women Are Equal, Marguerite Paris, 16mm, 15 min, 1972
Made in Nottingham England by lesbian filmmaker/artist Marguerite Paris, All Women follows Paula as she engages in daily routines and speaks frankly about life as a transgender person and the challenges around her choices to live authentically. Paris’ film is a uniquely intimate, non-critical representation of 1970s trans life.

Two Marches, Jim Hubbard, 16mm, 8 min, 1991
Scenes shot at two national gay marches on Washington, DC are juxtaposed to reveal some of the devastating changes in the gay movement between 1979 and 1987, as hope is replaced by frustration and mourning. Through Hubbard’s roving footage we follow the shifts in spirit, age, and racial composition of the demonstrators as well as the difference in protest spectacle.

Happy Birthday, Marsha!, Tourmaline and Sasha Wortzel, digital, 14 min, 2018
This new fiction film imagines black trans woman, activist, and performance artist Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson and her life in the hours leading up to the Stonewall riots in 1969. Mya Taylor stars as Johnson, with lush cinematography by Arthur Jafa.

“The Trouble With Ray” (2014) by Travis Johns

The Trouble with Ray, Travis Johns, digital, 22 min, 2014
This short documentary by director Travis Johns and producer Jarrod Gullett celebrates the life and legacy of legendary Texas LGBT rights activist and ‘citizen provocateur’ Ray Hill, who died in November. His recollections of organizing, rabble-rousing, and civil disobedience are intercut with moralizing 1960s educational film and other archival material.