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concordia 13/12/2017 - 03:24PM

Fake it until other people make it

A packed house of Queercore fans cheered for its matriarch G.B. Jones a few Monday evenings ago on November 20th, who’s short film THE TROUBLEMAKERS opened the Canadian premiere of QUEERCORE: HOW TO PUNK A REVOLUTION.

Shot on Super8, THE TROUBLEMAKERS is grainy and intimate, even as Jones’s friends (the founders of the Queercore movement) are lensed through reflections in mirrors or in the dark light of her apartment, where most of the film takes place. The cult icon mentioned in her introduction that her films present an aesthetic of poverty (which includes itinerant racoons peering through damaged ceilings in artist flats), not as an artistic choice, but as a necessary consequence of being broke. Demonstrably reflecting this sentiment, during the intro Jones paused to bend over and pick up a dime off the stage floor. All aspects of the film seem to stem directly and organically from Jones’s life. It stars her friends Bruce La Bruce and Caroline Azar and doesn’t stray all that far from the punk quotidian: going to the store, shoplifting, hanging around at Jones’s apartment, piercing each other, watching out the window as two guys argue after a car crash. THE TROUBLEMAKERS is the presentation of a lifestyle, more than anything else, and as such it was a great introduction to the evening’s feature documentary, QUEERCORE: HOW TO PUNK A REVOLUTION.

QUEERCORE (the film) documents the movement by the same name started by Jones and her friends almost as a joke. Disenchanted with both the straight-laced conventional gay scene and the macho punk scene in Toronto, they decided they might as well make their own, and so Queercore was born. The “movement” was, like THE TROUBLEMAKERS, just a small group of friends creating a scene they wished actually existed. The group put out a zine, called J.D., and wrote articles that made Queercore sound like a global phenomenon when in reality it was mainly Jones, LaBruce and a couple others making zines and short movies in Jones’s apartment, among the racoon visitors.

QUEERCORE is not about finding your community, it’s a film about making it yourself, and most of the movie traces the building of the Queercore community. Likeminded people all over the continent got their hands on J.D. and, assuming it to be a real movement, they wanted in. So the “movement” really was adopted by people all over the world, many of them famous; the film features interviews with John Waters, Kathleen Hannah, Kim Gordon and more. During the post-film Q&A, Jones discussed with ambivalence how the movement that she created grew bigger than she ever would have thought and changed in more ways than she thought were possible. She settled, apologizing for the corniness, on something to the effect of “if you love something, set it free.” Queercore has moved far past its 1980s Toronto roots, but the appeal of its attitude and approach remains.  

The semester is over, but we’ll be back in January! If you’re itching for more political cinema during the holidays, check out our CP On Demand service and use the code CPGIFT2017 until December 31st for a limited half-price deal. See all you punks in 2018!

 

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