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Muff Dives: The Dyke Bar in Cinema

Introduction by Melissa Anderson
  • Mona’s Candle Light

    Directed by Unknown.
    US, 35mm, color, 8 min.
    Print source: UCLA Film & Television Archive

This amateur short takes us inside the eponymous San Francisco lesbian club, which operated from 1948 to 1957 and whose clientele also included Bay Area bohemians and slumming straights. On this particular night, singer Jan Jansen entertains the crowd with some Cole Porter.

  • Stormé: Lady of the Jewel Box

    Directed by Michelle Parkerson.
    US, 1987, 16mm, color, 21 min.
    Print source: Academy Film Archive

Parkerson’s detail-dense tribute to Stormé DeLaverie traces the butch icon’s trajectory from a singer and emcee at an all-drag revue to her role as the self-appointed “guardian” of West Village lesbians. We catch her in action, standing sentinel outside the Cubby Hole, one of many NYC dyke bars where she worked as a bouncer for decades

  • Simone Barbès or Virtue (Simone Barbès ou la vertu)

    Directed by Marie-Claude Treilhou.
    With Ingrid Bourgoin, Martine Simonet, Michel Delahaye.
    France, 1980, DCP, color, 77 min.
    French with English subtitles.
    DCP source: La Traverse

An unforgettable Paris fantasia, Treilhou’s film tracks one long night of its protagonist, an usher at a Montparnasse porn theater. Her shift over, she heads to the lesbian nightclub where her girlfriend works—an outlandish cabaret that showcases Amazonian acrobats, a snowy-haired butch playing a squeezebox and a dance-punk polemicist.

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