QDoc is angry. By far the best LGBTQ film festival in town (and the only lesbian and gay documentary festival in the nation), the Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival returns for its fourth year with an outraged political conscience—the result of filmmakers' pained reaction to California and other states changing their state constitutions to segregate wedding vows—along with its usual mind-bending lineup.
8: The Mormon Proposition
A broadside against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which poured its coffers into California's Proposition 8, the 2008 constitutional amendment overturning same-sex marriage. Directed by Reed Cowan and Steven Greenstreet and narrated by Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, this 80-minute counterattack feels overly apocalyptic—8 makes a solid case that the church doesn't deserve tax-exempt status, but it might have taken a less ominous, more satirical approach to the Mormons' unusually centralized religious authority and uniquely stupid beliefs about the afterlife. (That will get me hate mail, but come the fuck on: Mormons object to gay marriage because gays won't be able to populate the Mormons' own heavenly planets. Send letters, please.) A little perspective would be welcome: When one minority group spends $22 million to make a cosmetic dent on the civil liberties of another minority group, it suggests something has gone absurdly awry, though maybe not quite in the way the movie thinks it has. AARON MESH. 58 7 pm Friday, June 4.
Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement
For those of us concerned about which issues the gay agenda should tackle next, allow me to suggest mandating that all citizens be legally required to watch A Very Long Engagement. Vote, if you like, for propositions that deny same-sex couples the right to marriage equality. But first watch this story, of two women being legally united after 40 years of commitment, without weeping openly. Maintain your composure as Thea glides Edie around the dance floor on her wheelchair, reminiscing about how they danced all night together when they first met in 1965. Anti-gay voters, I dare you not to be moved! CAITLIN GIDDINGS. 90 4 pm Saturday, June 5.
William S. Burroughs: A Man Within
While we're on the subject of marriage, some advice: Ladies, do not wed a transgressive novelist with a thing for weapons. To the obvious example of Norman Mailer (wife stabbed, lived), let's add William S. Burroughs (wife shot in forehead during game of William Tell, died). Yoni Leyser's documentary, about the hustler-hunting junkie who served as America's cadaverous undertaker for four decades, is somehow less than compelling, even though it contains interviews with Gus Van Sant, Patti Smith and Burroughs' snake dealer. Maybe that's because everybody loves him. He loved his cats. AARON MESH. 52 6 pm Saturday, June 5.
Le Tigre: On Tour
Like a feminist Bat-Signal, Le Tigre is sending out this documentary of its last world concert tour in 2004 as a way of calling on women to continue the band's queer-punk mission. On Tour starts slow, with loose introductions to performers Johanna Fateman, JD Samson and legendary riot grrrl Kathleen Hanna, then builds to a high-energy, anthemic finish. Whether performing in matching costumes, goofing off at the gym, or sneaking reproductive politics into radio interviews, the band with the roller-skate jams shows that messy is beautiful, and feminism never goes out of style. Keep on living, ladies. CAITLIN GIDDINGS. 81 8:30 pm Saturday, June 5.
The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls
[SUBJECTS ATTENDING] Part Prairie Home Companion, part Hee Haw and part Jack Benny, the Topp Twins are Kiwi lesbian sisters whose yodel-filled country-western act incorporates comedy, political activism and sunshiny sweetness. And they're national treasures to everybody from artists to rednecks. A documentary follows the Topps from childhood into the spotlight, where they fought to end apartheid and anti-gay laws through kindness and humor. While twins Jools and Lynda are great company, it's hard not to think there's a less conventional way to tell such an unconventional success story. AP KRYZA. 67 7 pm Sunday, June 6.
QDoc screens at the Clinton Street Theater Thursday-Sunday, June 3-6. Visit queerdocfest.org for more showtimes.