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Sign of Protest Restoration

The Outfest UCLA Legacy Project is always working to preserve LGBT film history. As part of that ongoing mission, we have recently begun restoring Sign of Protest (dir. Pat Rocco, 1970), which documents a Gay Liberation march opposing the “Fagots [sic] stay out” sign that hung at Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood until 1984. (One of the original signs is now held by the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, snap!)

The film is an invaluable document of our history and struggle, and, as you can see in the pre-restoration images here, it is desperately in need of some TLC! The preservationists at the UCLA Film & Television Archive are working on a full digital restoration of the image and soundtrack using the film’s best surviving element—a badly faded 16mm print.

Sign of Protest marks the fourth Legacy Project restoration of a Pat Rocco film. It will have its world premiere at Outfest Los Angeles in July as part of an event we’re calling Pat Rocco’s Birthday Party! in honor of the incredible filmmaker, activist, and all-around human being’s 80th birthday this year. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, Rocco directed dozens of gay-themed erotic short films and erotica, in addition to extensive footage of the burgeoning gay rights movement in Los Angeles and beyond. He’s a living legend and we’re thrilled to bring him back to LA for this very special event—don’t miss it!

More information about Outfest Los Angeles will be announced soon. Keep checking Outfest.org for updates.

The Cockettes and Kiss of the Spider Woman

A still from <i>The Cockettes</i>
A still from The Cockettes

Currently boasting over 34,000 works, The Outfest UCLALegacy Project’s vast archive of LGBT moving images (AKA The Legacy Collection) is always growing. With a collection that size, we can obviously only share a small portion in the form of public screenings—although anyone can watch films from the collection on campus at UCLA’s Archive Research & Study Center—so we want to highlight some exciting recent additions here to keep you in the loop on all things Legacy.

Filmmaker David Weissman has deposited over 60 hours of tapes from the making of The Cockettes, the 2002 documentary he co-directed with Bill Weber. The film tells the story of the legendary psychedelic San Francisco performance troupe of the same name, and it won Best Documentary Film from the LA Film Critics Association. If the exuberant, outrageous, incredibly entertaining footage that made it into the film is any indication, these 60 additional hours will surely be a treasure trove for researchers and fabulousness enthusiasts alike!

The Legacy Collection also now holds a 35mm print of Kiss of the Spider Woman (dir. Hector Babenco, 1985)! Kiss is an intimate, enthralling character study of Luis Molina (William Hurt, in an Academy Award-winning performance), a gay man imprisoned for immoral behavior, and Valentin Arregui (Raul Julia), an activist and political prisoner, who share a prison cell in a junta-ruled Brazil. It is a landmark in LGBT representation on film and we are thrilled to have it in the collection.

Other recent acquisitions include:

  • Scream Teen Scream (dir. Josh Rosenzweig, 1996)
  • Ernest & Bertam (dir. Peter Spears, 2002)
  • Divine’s Home Movies
  • Transgender Peepshow footage
  • A collection of VHS tapes from the UCLA LGBT Student Center

Please join us on June 22 for the next installment of the Legacy Project Screening Series—a double feature of Brother to Brother (dir. Rodney Evans, 2004) and Tongues Untied (dir. Marlon Riggs, 1989)—and stay tuned to outfest.org for monthly Legacy Project updates!