Boombox's Benefit 'Pride' Screening for NSRAP Tonight!

Posted by Wayves volunteer 19/02/2014

By Hugo Dann

UPDATE: Wayves has just been informed that tonight's screening is SOLD OUT!

Let me begin by stating that I wholeheartedly endorse every word of praise that appears on the Pride promo poster pictured above. “Terrific?” You betcha! “Indescribably wonderful?” No argument here! “You’ll laugh as much as you cry?” From my personal viewing experience, I can attest to having sore (but happy) ribs and a substantial pile of teary crumpled Kleenex by the movie’s end.

From the old pros like Bill Nigh (a master class in eyebrow acting!) and the always exceptional Imelda Staunton and Paddy Considine, to the fine work from the younger cast, including Ben Schnetzer and Andrew Scott (Moriarty on Sherlock); from Stephen Beresford’s tender but snappy script to a fab queer 80s soundtrack and some diva disco moves from Dominic West, Pride is pure cinematic delight.

Based on a true story, Pride is set in 1984, when British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was waging simultaneous war on unions by crushing the coal miners’ strike, and on the gay rights movement with a legislative agenda that’d make Vladmir Putin blush for shame.

Realizing that they share common foes in Thatcher, the police, and the conservative tabloid press, a small group of London-based gays and lesbians begin collecting donations in aid of the striking coal miners, forming the group Lesbians & Gays Support the Mners (LGSM). Just as homphobic as Thatcher's Conservatives, and afraid of negative press, no one in the union or the labour movement wants to touch their pink pounds sterling.

At least not until they reach out to the small Welsh mining community of Onllwyn. Then begins a journey in cultural exchange and consciousness raising for queer and straight alike. As Dominic West’s character, Jonathon, observes on setting out for Wales, “All aboard the deviants’ bus!”

Despite winning multiple awards at film festivals, including the Queer Palme at Cannes, and a host of glowing reviews, Pride didn’t get a long run in Halifax movie theatres. Like many people, I watched it via the Internet, at home alone. Now, thanks to Scott Gillard’s event box office company, Boombox, and the Bus Stop Theatre, I can see it on a bigger screen with a roomful of fellow queers and allies, laughing together, passing the kleenex, and no doubt sharing a few stories as well.

All the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP), an organization for which I proudly volunteer as a member of the Board. While some of our work is funded through grants. A great deal of what we do, including supporting other groups and smaller initiatives, is entirely dependant on what we can raise from the community. I am both touched and very grateful that Boombox and the Bus Stop are supporting NSRAP in this way.

In addition to the film, there will be information and folks on-hand from local organizations and the screening  will be followed by an open discussion led by Kyle Buott (Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council) and Kevin Kindred, community activist and former Chair of NSRAP about what it means to be and have allies, specifically on the importance of the relationship between labour and queer communities.

There is a message implicit in the film Pride that, as an activist for queer/trans liberation, is very dear to my heart; that hearkens back to the earlier years of our struggle for civil rights in Nova Scotia, when we made common cause with other social justice movements: that LGBTQ people have more in common with other minority and liberation movements than separates us.

Of course, I don’t expect everyone (or anyone, really) to view Pride through activist-tinted lenses. But if you get a kick from seeing some of the best actors in Britain playing at the top of their game, if you want to see some of queer history that a lot more gay and a lot less revisionist than The Imitation Game, if you just like a good story and a good laugh and you want to share it with some friends, even if you just come to see the amazing 80s hairstyles, I can virtually guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

Editor’s note: Hugo Dann has had a plethora of gay jobs in Halifax (some paying, some not), including a gig (paying) as Towel-Boy at Sea Dogs Sauna & Spa. He also volunteers with Wayves.

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