Capturing the Struggle in New York's Most Diverse Community: Frederick Wiseman on In Jackson Heights

Rich Juzwiak · 11/06/15 03:09PM

Few communities are more culturally rich than the Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights, which boasts some 167 spoken languages, a strong LGBT presence, and some of the greatest restaurants in the city. Frederick Wiseman, the 85-year-old director of observational documentaries (whose narratives are never forced with on-camera interviews, but merely suggested through motifs and editing), turned his camera on Jackson Heights for about nine weeks, during the summer of 2014, to capture the neighborhood’s diversity and the looming threat of gentrification.

"Coming Out, What Does That Mean?": A '50s Teen Idol On His Life, Sexuality, and Right to Privacy

Rich Juzwiak · 10/14/15 01:05PM

Sixty years ago, actor/singer/heartthrob Tab Hunter was outed. The story goes that in 1955, Hunter’s first agent Henry Willson sold Hunter out to gossip rag Confidential so that the magazine wouldn’t publish a piece outing another client of Willson’s, Rock Hudson. Despite being something that at the time was virtually inconceivable—especially for all-American boys—Hunter’s career thrived.

Amy: The Agony and the Ecstasy (and the Crack Cocaine) of Amy Winehouse

Rich Juzwiak · 07/01/15 03:10PM

The question at the center of Asif Kapadia’s new documentary Amy is: Can gossip foster compassion? Throughout the sensitive, 128-minute probe into the life of singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, we see footage of (and presumably shot by) the paparazzi that plagued her, the performances that defined part of her career, the public inebriation that overshadowed it.

Amy Winehouse's Father Mitch Is Full Of Shit

Rich Juzwiak · 06/30/15 04:17PM

For months, Mitch Winehouse has waged a public battle against Asif Kapadia’s documentary Amy, which premiered in May at the Cannes Film Festival and opens Friday in select theaters. In chronicling the ascent to fame and downward trajectory of Amy Winehouse, Kapadia’s film does not paint Mitch in the best light. Through his behavior and other people’s reporting of it, Mitch comes off as an opportunist who enabled his daughter’s self-destruction and who prioritized her fame over her health. The last bit seemed to have been corroborated by Amy herself in the hit single “Rehab”: “I ain’t got the time and if my daddy thinks I’m fine,” she sang in a reference to an intervention staged by her then-manager Nick Shymansky. It ended, according to accounts in the film, when Amy sat on Mitch’s lap, acting like a little girl, and he told her that she didn’t have to go to rehab if she didn’t want to. Shymansky says that if she had gone to rehab, her seminal Back to Black album may have never happened.

Paris Is Burning Screening Sparks Furor, Calls for Boycott

Rich Juzwiak · 05/14/15 12:51PM

Last week, arts organization BRIC announced a June 26 screening of the seminal 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning as part of its Celebrate Brooklyn! program. Invited to help present the screening was the movie’s director, Jennie Livingston, musician/artist JD Samson, who was to perform a DJ set, and exactly zero queer people of color or members of the ballroom community. That community of mostly black and Latin gay men and trans women who compete in pageant-like balls while voguing and wearing all kinds of drag provided the basis of Livingston’s doc and thrives today. It would have been extremely easy to reach out—I attended a PIB screening in November at a very tiny film festival (we watched it in a church!) and Milton Ninja (of the Legendary House of Ninja) spoke after the movie. These people are around and they’re still eager to share their experiences.

The Backstreet Boys Documentary Is the Movie You Never Knew You Needed

Dayna Evans · 01/29/15 01:15PM

Nick Carter is freaking out. Around a conference table with the other adult members of the Backstreet Boys, he is out of his chair, stabbing a finger in the direction of Brian Littrell, yelling coarsely and without self-control: "You shut the fuck up, you shut the fuck up, I swear to god. Don't talk to me that way." The other people at the table try to calm him down but he is resolute in his anger.