Take the Gay Train: A Documentary Dreamscape












Three stops to decadence

"Take the Gay Train" charts the progress of gay sensibility during the Harlem Renaissance through a poetic use of historical stills, contemporary filmmaking, scholarly accuracy, and music of the period. Each cultural artifact is prefaced by an explanation putting what follows in historical context. Part 1, ‘Shadow,’ features a poem by writer and illustrator, Richard Bruce Nugent. Part 2, ‘Smoke, Lilies and Jade,’ dramatizes an infamous Nugent short story of the same name, the first gay romance in American literature. Part 3, ‘Rockland Palace,’ recreates a highly stylized version of the period drag balls hosted in Harlem’s dance hall of the same name as fundraisers for the Odd Fellows Society. Traveling on the Gay Train, the passenger makes stops along the stages of an emerging gay identity: from hidden anguish, to a first kiss, to a fully blown camp culture which feels contemporary 80 years later.


Official Selection:

Hollywood Black Film Festival

Reeling: The Chicago Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Oakland International Film Festival

Queens International Film Festival

Reel Affirmations (Washington, DC)

Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Cine Slam (Southern Vermont)

Queer Black Cinema Film Festival (Harlem)