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50th Anniversary of Stonewall
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50th Anniversary of Stonewall - 6/28


On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, one of the few local bars in New York City that openly welcomed members of the LGBTQ community. The Greenwich Village bar was often raided by police to arrest citizens, but this night proved different as patrons fought back, which sparked a series of violent protests and demonstrations that became known as the Stonewall Riots. A number of activists organized, thus beginning the gay liberation movement in the U.S. TCM celebrates this moment in history with a night of films set in and around gay establishments in Greenwich Village.

Some of My Best Friends Are... (1971) is set on Christmas Eve 1971 in a gay bar called "The Blue Jay," where the clientele and staff interact and reflect upon their lives and relationships. Mervyn Nelson wrote and directed, and the cast includes such future TV stars as Rue McClanahan, Gary Sandy, Fannie Flagg and Gil Gerard. Also featured are Carleton Carpenter, [Andy] Warhol Superstar Candy Darling and singer Sylvia Syms. Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times that, "At one point or another, Mr. Nelson manages to discover and exploit every stereotype of homosexual literature."

The Ritz (1976), a film version of the successful Broadway comedy of a year earlier, features members of the Broadway cast such as Jack Weston, Jerry Stiller, F. Murray Abraham and Tony winner Rita Moreno in a farce about the frenetic carryings-on in a gay bathhouse in Manhattan. Treat Williams and Kaye Ballard also are in the cast. The movie earned Golden Globe nominations for Best Musical or Comedy, Best Actor (Weston) and Best Actress (Moreno).

Torch Song Trilogy (1988) stars Harvey Fierstein in a movie reincarnation of his Tony-winning Broadway tour de force. Fierstein plays Arnold, a female impersonator searching for love and respect in New York City during the 1970s and early '80s. His key relationships are with a closeted school teacher (Brian Kerwin), a young male model (Matthew Broderick) and a demanding yet loving mother (Anne Bancroft). Paul Bogart directed from Fierstein's adaptation of his play.

by Roger Fristoe