The Sons of Tennessee Williams

Release date:October 7, 2011
(NY; LA release: Oct. 15)

Studio:First Run Features

Director:Tim Wolff

MPAA Rating:N/A




Plot Summary:

Mardi Gras, drag royalty and a glittering civil rights revolution - where else could these elements come together but in the city of New Orleans? Interweaving archival footage with contemporary interviews, Tim Wolff's documentary film "The Sons of Tennessee Williams" tells the story of New Orleans' outrageous gay Mardi Gras over five decades and uncovers the history of the earliest civil rights for gay people in the U.S. In January 1959, during the height of anti-gay laws that criminalized public association for gay people in this country, a group of men in New Orleans decided to throw a Mardi Gras ball of their own. Mardi Gras organizations in New Orleans, called Krewes, are social clubs comprised of members who celebrate the annual Carnival season together. Every Krewe has their own festivities, including parties and parades, usually ending with a formal ball and the coronation of a King and Queen. But years of travails ensued... "The Sons of Tennessee Williams" is the result of 15 years of research through 120 hours of archival ball footage, still pictures and interviews from some 20 of the "SONS" themselves, ending with contemporary HD coverage of the Krewe of Armeinius 40th anniversary ball in 2008. We travel through the pathos of 1950s era persecution and arrest to the uncommon freedoms in the decades that followed as the gay krewes' popularity and political power began to emerge. A full decade before the Stonewall riots, these men, who are the embodiment of the archetypal "southern bachelor gentleman," complete with the cast-iron fortitude, worked directly with the public to create an open, accepted gay cultural event. Soon, "society matrons begged for ball tickets from their hairdressers and everyone in New Orleans wanted to go to the ball, gay, straight, even the Mayor of the city!"

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