Reviews of Movies I've seen, especially in the Frameline lesbian / gay / bisexual / transgender film festival
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Monday, June 24, 2013
Continental, dir. Malcolm Ingram, 2013, USA, 95 min.
Monday, June 24, 9:30 pm @ Castro
NYC’s Ansonia Hotel, former location of the Continental Baths
The Continental Baths was a “private men’s club” in New York City from 1968 until 1974. It was a gay bathhouse, but quite different from the other sex clubs of the day: the management took its patrons seriously as guests and clients, rather than as patsies to be exploited, and provided a beautiful setting, rather than a dingy, seedy dive. The Continental Baths also sometimes offered live entertainment, including performers who went on to become internationally famous, including Bette Midler (to whom Ostrow gave the nickname “The Divine Miss M”) and Barry Manilow. The DJ at the Continental, Frankie Knuckles, went on to be acclaimed as “the godfather of house music.” This documentary explores the whole life cycle of the Continental Baths, from its creation to its golden era to going out of business, including frank discussions of everything from orgies and STDs to celebrities in the audience to the payoffs to the two major organized crime syndicates, the Mafia and the NYPD. Steve Ostrow, the founder of the club, provides fascinating insights, as do many of the other interviewees, with Michael Musto reliably filling in the dish. Highly recommended.