The Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival—the only lesbian and gay documentary festival in the nation—returns to the Clinton Street Theater this week for four nights of closet-axing. Here are four highlights:
City of Borders [OPENING FILM, DIRECTOR ATTENDING] The options for queer nightlife in Jerusalem in 2007 were limited. Actually, the options were one place: Shushan, a gay and lesbian bar that looked like Scandals with more yarmulkes. Its proprietor grew accustomed to being served the occasional Molotov cocktail: In Jerusalem, Jews, Arabs and Christians put aside their differences to loathe gays. Director Yun Suh's profile captures the unique madness of a sacred city—the footage of an Orthodox man flailing with a giant knife through rainbow flags is hard to shake. When will a pride parade be held without vile threats? Next year, next year in Jerusalem. AARON MESH. 7:30 pm Thursday, May 28. Director Yun Suh will attend. Opening-night party follows at Savoy and Broder.
It Came From Kuchar [DIRECTOR ATTENDING] Jennifer Kroot is a former student and current friend of George Kuchar, the subject (along with his twin brother, Mike) of her loving insider documentary. She lays out George's life as neatly as possible, given that he's a cult-film legend who once wondered why you never see people in Hollywood films going to the bathroom and subsequently crafted poop for his own actors out of dog food. The Kuchars are masters of derision and deflection (their sexual orientation was a mystery for years); any demons Kroot attempts to dredge up are blithely disregarded. We end up with a pleasant portrait of two underground innovators, accompanied by footage from their staggeringly deep filmographies. ALEX PETERSON. 9 pm Friday, May 29. Director Jennifer Kroot will attend.
Training Rules [DIRECTOR ATTENDING] So, let me get this straight: You run a college women's basketball program, and you want to ban lesbians? This seems like an ill-conceived strategy, but it was the policy of Rene Portland, who for 27 years as the coach of Penn State's women's hoops program blackballed any player who didn't like cock as much as she did. Am I being mean-spirited? Well, Portland was downright monstrous, threatening to end students' careers if they ventured toward the closet door. Dee Mosbacher and Fawn Yacker's doc reveals a sports culture where bigotry is still a recruiting tool. AARON MESH. 6:30 pm Saturday, May 30. Co-director Dee Mosbacher will attend.
Pansy Division: Life in a Gay Rock Band [SUBJECT ATTENDING] This loving look at the career of the self-proclaimed "buttfuckers of rock 'n' roll" is more home-movie scrapbook than big-screen event, but it's a necessary document of one of the most important bands of our time, as well as a nostalgic prick (so to speak) of pop-punk joy. I speak as someone who, in the mid-'90s, was the biggest Pansy Division fan in Fremont, Calif., so consider me somewhat biased, but I'll bet you a beer and a BJ that you won't be able to resist the bravery and humor and beauty of these pop pioneers. C'mon, join the "Cocksucker Club." CHRIS STAMM. 9 pm Saturday, May 30. Band founder Jon Ginoli will attend.
Clinton Street Theater. Thursday-Sunday, May 28-31. Tickets $6-$8, festival passes $75. Visit queerdocfest.org for additional films.