2007 Verve Awards

2006 Verve Awards

Best Arts and Culture Blog 2005 Queer Day Awards

Best Gay Blog Nominee 2004 Weblog Awards

Best Arts and Culture Blog Nominee

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


ModFab On...Fabulous!: The Story of Queer Cinema

Starring: Dan Bucatinsky, Jonathan Caouette, Wilson Cruz, Alan Cumming, Marcus Hu, Ang Lee, Jane Lynch, John Cameron Mitchell, Peter Paige, Billy Porter, Guenivere Turner, and Christine Vachon
Directed by Lisa Ades and Lesli Klainberg
Premieres Sunday, July 16th, 10pm on IFC

Despite its rather alarming title (I know -- fabulousity is soooo over), the new TV documentary FABULOUS!: THE STORY OF QUEER CINEMA is a competently down-to-earth affair. What the film may lack in depth (skimming quickly past everything before Stonewall) or in diversity (international cinema gets only cursory attention as well), it makes up for in utilitarian entertainment. As a slighter, sweeter companion volume to the definitive history doc The Celluloid Closet, FABULOUS! is a postscript survey of what has happened to gay cinema of late.

And in a word, what has happened is Sundance. FABULOUS! picks up both speed and energy as it hits 1991, where Todd Haynes' Poison became the first feature to win in Park City. The queer independents that followed it are the main thrust (don't look for The Birdcage or To Wong Foo here, kids...we're on IFC!). Adding color commentary are some smart filmmakers (Patrik Ian-Polk, Rose Troche, John Waters, Gus Van Sant, Jennie Livingston, Don Roos), a mixed bag of critics (B. Ruby Rich on the plus side, Michael Musto and Alfonso Duralde on the negative side), and some gay performers included for no apparent reason (Heather Matarazzo?). No one is working very hard to contextualize gay cinema; FABULOUS!, as the title may suggest, is a purely celebratory affair. A section on "romantic comedies," for instance, avoids the subject of their dubious quality entirely.

So as an exercise in queer studies, FABULOUS! is unquestionably a letdown. But as a popcorn documentary (and checklist for your NetFlix queue), it can be both useful and entertaining. If you're bored Sunday night, click over and check it out.


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