Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Pansy Division Life in a Gay Rock Band|
Actor: Pansy Division
Director: Michael Carmona
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Queer Rock and Roll
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 02/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Pansy Division: Life in a Gay Rock Band"
Queer Rock and Roll
I have long been a fan of Pansy Division. I once had all of their CDs, their singles and their satiric video of "Bob and Ted's Homosexual Adventure". All of that is gone with Katrina now...but then I read that Pansy Division made a movie and all of the memories came back. I spent a while looking for a way to get a copy only to learn that it has nor yet been released commercially and was make the gay film festival rounds. That did not stop me however and I went to the PD website and wrote them a letter--not only for my own selfish desires but also I thought it would be a great way to open this year's film festival. Alas, I got no answer but being persistent, I tried again and waited and waited and finally I got a note from band member Jon Ginoli, who actually remembered me and the DVD was on its way. When it arrived last Friday, I cleared my schedule and sat down to watch.
I did not realize how long Pansy Division has been around. The band was founded in 1991 and it is here that the documentary begins. The guys in the band were out of the closet when few others dared to admit to being gay. They began to perform coast to coast with their special brand of queer rock and roll and became an influential act over the last twenty years. In fact, the band was the pioneer group of the phenomenon known as "Queercore" and they continue right up to the present day. What is so amazing is that they did this with no major record label to back them and no airplay on the radio.
"Life in a Gay Rock Band" is a fascinating look at the band and the guys that make it up. We watch as the band began in its early days as an underground group in San Francisco and later emerged as a band to be reckoned with as an opening act for Green Day on its stadium tour. We see the band as it went through changes and we witness the prejudice that it faced. The band, like the GLBT community, faced issues of the world such as AIDS and it matured as the gay world did.
We hear the songs that distinguish Pansy Division and we listen to the sometimes irreverence of their lyrics and the raciness of what they have to say. It was the aim of Pansy Division to be "happy and celebratory" as well as raunchy. At first their audience was made up more by punks who saw themselves as liberal; the gays did not flock to hear them. It took a while before the band became the leaders of the queerpunk movement. Because Pansy Division was labeled as being too gay, they were not signed to a major recording label,
The band went through 12 drummers to back Ginoli and Chris Freeman who have been with the band since the beginning.
Director Michael Carmona pulls the film together through interviews and footage of performances as well as allowing us to hear some of the band's songs and the irony of the band is that we see a gay band without a gay audience. We go behind the scenes of both the band and the music industry and we watch the guys as they travel on the road to success. The film wins you over and if you were not a PD fan, you probably will become on. The film is compelling thanks to Carmona's excellent direction as well as the history of the band whose history is inspirational. What the film is really about, it seems to me, is that each of us must be who we are and true to ourselves and how important it is for each of us to stand up for what we believe in. The film is a great introduction to those who do not know Pansy Division and a wonderful look at the guys for those of us that do.