In 1987, the Berlin Wall was still standing, South by Southwest did not yet have a film festival, and Rupert Grint wasn't even born. While the rest of history dragged its feet, 1987 was the year that both AIDS Services of Austin (ASA) and the Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (aGLIFF) were formed.
For 25 years, ASA has beat back the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and provided direct care for folks living with HIV/AIDS. They've also kept prevention in the spotlight. Over the same period, aGLIFF has kept Austin illuminated as a destination for fest-circuit LGBT films.
To understand the impact of these two groups, it's essential to don some 1987 shades. (Might we recommend some Wayfarers or Cazals?) The light at the end of the Reagan-era tunnel was beginning to glow, but the mere existence of groups like aGLIFF and ASA was still a fierce political statement in an era when "gay-friendly" was not en vogue.
This Saturday, the two groups pull out some seriously nostalgic stops to celebrate together. For one night, the Dobie Theater – site of the original aGLIFF – will reopen and screen four landmark LGBT films: Parting Glances (1986, D: Bill Sherwood); Show Me Love (1998, D: Lukas Moodysson); Paris Is Burning (1990, D: Jennie Livingston); and Vito (2011, D: Jeffrey Schwarz), a documentary about Vito Russo, the author of The Celluloid Closet, and early ACT UP activist.
After the screenings, the Mouthfeel DJs will spin an Eighties night gleaming in nuevo glitter. You might wanna have those Cazals handy.
Big Love: AIDS Services of Austin + aGLIFF 25th Anniversary Fundraiser takes place Saturday, Aug. 18, with screenings from 6-9pm, and afterparty, 9pm-mid, at the Dobie Theater & Events Space, 2021 Guadalupe. 406-6100. See www.asaustin.org/BigLove for ticket info.
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