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Revisit a Queer Boston Landmark with West, MFA ’18

Emerson alum, affiliated faculty member, and Student Academy Award winner Georden West, MFA ’18 will take the stage next week when the Bright Lights Cinema Series screens their latest film, Playland.

Playland, called “transdisciplinary in every sense of the word” by the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), uses music, dance, archival footage, tableaux, opera, and performance art to evoke a night at the Playland Café, Boston’s oldest gay bar until it closed its doors in 1998.

The film, “an expressionist and very queer bricolage,” follows “its employees and others who have haunted the space, weaving together a tapestry of personal and community anecdotes across the bar’s existence,” IFFR writes.

West holding student Oscar
Georden West, MFA ’18, won a Student Academy Award. Courtesy photo

West will discuss Playland following a screening on Thursday, Dec. 7, 7:00 pm, in the Bright Family Screening Room, co-presented with Wicked Queer: the Boston LGBT Film Festival, Globedocs, and the Boston Underground Film Festival.

In 2019, West won a Student Academy Award in the Alternative/Experimental category for their short film, Patron Saint. The film, West’s Emerson graduate thesis, reimagines religion and history as queer deities, wearing Jamall Osterholm designs, operate within a mystical landscape.

This Thursday, Nov. 30, Bright Lights will celebrate Native American Heritage Month with a 7:00 pm screening of Lakota Nation vs. the United States. The documentary “chronicles the Lakota Indians’ century-long quest to reclaim the Black Hills, sacred land that was stolen in violation of treaty agreements,” and will be followed by a discussion with Writing, Literature and Publishing Associate Professor Adam Spry (White Earth Anishinaabe) and Jean Luc Pierite (Tunica-Biloxi), president of the board of directors of the North American Indian Center of Boston.

Bright Lights will close out the semester on Thursday, Dec. 14, with a screening of Shortcomings, a comedy directed by Randall Park and followed by a discussion led by comedy writer and Visual and Media Arts Associate Professor Ed Lee.

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