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Directed by Jean Donohue

Oregon 2017 92 mins. In English

In 1960s Kentucky, the old-world gay scene took a dramatic turn towards the future as the The Pagan Babies, a loosely connected group of artists and drag queens, set out to challenge the conservative, southern gay society with guerilla theater and outlandish costumes and behavior. Through interviews, archival footage, and photography, director Jean Donohue guides viewers through a 150-year lineage held together by storytelling traditions of the South. Drag queens and artists Bob Morgan and Bradley Picklesimer tell of little-known characters and heroes from gay history and mythology, including the cross-dressing Civil War guerilla soldier Sue Mundy; Sweet Evening Breeze, a black drag queen born in the 1880s; the infamous madam Belle Brezing; Henry Faulkner, artist and long-time friend of Tennessee Williams; and Lee Majors and Rock Hudson, who once owned the only gay bar in town. The Last Gospel of Pagan Babies is a sweeping story of growing up in the closeted, genteel old South and of rural Kentucky; of gay liberation in the sixties and seventies, up through the grip of fear at the rise of the religious right during the Reagan era, and the harrowing HIV/AIDS pandemic of the eighties and nineties.

Come early for a reception at 6pm and stay for a question and answer with director Jean Donohue.

Presented in partnership with Q Center.

Genres: Documentary

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.