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UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation present

Out in Public

S.P.R.E.E. on a Spree
August 7, 2020 - 4:00 pm

Watch here

This summer, the natural impulse to be outside, in the sun, in public and sharing that space with others has become embroiled in multiple layers of meaning inflected by the public health crisis of COVID-19 and the public assemblies in support of Black Lives Matter and social justice. Going outside now is political. The dynamic is not unfamiliar to the LGBTQ community for which public visibility, being out in the world, has been central to its own fight for recognition and equality for decades. This program of shorts from the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project highlights different historical moments and ways of being out and queer in public, from a “Gay-In” at Griffith Park to a Memorial Day barbecue at a campsite in southern Illinois. Each shines with the energy of summer revelry while conveying the importance of claiming a public space for LGBTQ identity as the literal and metaphoric grounds on which to build a community and a movement.

Out in Public will begin with a live introduction from UCLA Film & Television Archive Programmer Paul Malcolm and Outfest UCLA Legacy Project Manager Brendan Lucas. It will be followed by a pre-recorded Q&A with filmmaker Anne Chamberlain and other special guests.

Please note: this program contains images of nudity.

The Liberation of Griffith Park, or A Gay Time Was Had By All  (1971) 

A twist on the hippie movement’s spirited outdoor gatherings, Los Angeles’ first “Gay-In”s took place in Griffith Park in the early 1970s. This short is a rare document of both the visions of revelry and bypassing voices of dissent as gays and lesbians first began to publicly celebrate their identities.

Director: Matt Spero. Color, sound, 12 min.

Tales of the Pit  (1997)

Over Memorial Day weekend in 1996, filmmaker, activist and camper Anne Chamberlain turned her camera on the holiday happenings at The Pit, a lake-side, LGBTQ campground in southern Illinois. With The Pit’s gregarious owner proprietors, Hal and Billy, as her guide, Chamberlain captures a moment in its decades-long history creating community one barbecue at a time.  

Director: Anne Chamberlain. Color, sound, 27 min.

S.P.R.E.E. on a Spree  (1970)

Pioneering LGBTQ activist and local Los Angeles filmmaker Pat Rocco (1934-2018) is singularly legendary for using his camera not just to joyfully portray gay love, but also as a tool of direct action in documenting the gay revolution of the late 1960s. Among his myriad community efforts includes the founding of S.P.R.E.E., or Society of Pat Rocco Enlightened Enthusiasts, which grew into a major hub and support system for entertainment artists of various stripes. This 30-minute documentary highlights S.P.R.E.E.’s various activities, beginning with a charitable Christmas party and culminating with five kaleidoscopic, orgy-filled minutes of the S.P.R.E.E. drama workshop’s original production of “Myra Breckinb*tch.”

Director: Pat Rocco. Color, sound, 30 min. 

Total running time: 69 min.

Outfest UCLA Legacy Project Screening Series