Hello Hastac Scholars and Bloggers -- I'm currently wrapping up a brief literature review proposal for my documentary thesis project: Labor of Love -- a story about lesbian space in D.C. The film follows and documents the D.C's Women's Initiative attempt to launch a physical space to connect existing lesbian organizations in D.C come March 2013. While filming their meetings and day-to-day actions, the documentary will also feature historical vignettes of previously existing lesbian organizations in D.C throughout the film. This vignettes will show how important these spaces were for the foundation of LGBT existence in D.C. today. My sample of personal interviews will consist of 15-20 lesbian leaders, from the past or present. The women present in the film will come from the following lesbian spaces: the Gay Women’s Alternative (1980-1993), Mautner Project (1989 – Present), Whitman Walker, The Washington Blade (1975-Present), and more.
Since this is an interdisciplinary thesis project -- I'd love to read some tips on literature or films, from you, that may help inform my project. Below you can find what I have so far:
Labor of Love explores the relationship of lesbian community space to cultural memory in documentary form. The film will draw from and add to literature from urban studies, women and gender studies, and film and media studies. Scholars in urban studies have illustrated the importance of bars and other public spaces to lesbian communities because they provide “a setting for the formation of intimate relationships” (Adler & Brenner 1992). Since the emergence of the Web, however, online spaces have become essential meeting points for LGBT community development and identity exploration (Munt et al, 2002; Szulc & Dhoest, 2012; Wasserlein & Sween, 2005;). Yet, today, Internet scholars (Pull & Cooper, 2011) argue that as lesbian and queer online communities, such as social networks, forums, and calendars, continue to grow it will limit the need for establishing new offline community social spaces (Pulle & Cooper, 2010).
Despite the growth of the Web, scholars in Gender Studies continue to demonstrate the importance of physical space to lesbian communities (Davis, M. & Kennedy, E. (1986); Morris, 2000; Lynne (2007); Lewin & Leap, 2002; Weston, 1993). To contextualize and revela the importance of physical events and spaces, scholars write ethnographies and make films using oral histories, interviews, memos, and film. A key concern in this field is LGBT documentary ethics. How can a member of the community accurately represent the community from an objective point of view? (Lewin & Leap, 1996, 2002); Vaugh 1991). Documentarians want to accurately represent the collective of gay and lesbian communities (e.g. lesbian separatists, black lesbian community, queer communities, and purely gay communities), but often times, for a text or film to be successful, it must focus on specific individuals directly related to the phenomena documented.
Documentary filmmakers also struggle to find historical documents because the archival infrastructure that supports LGBT documentaries is ephemeral, affective, and volunteer-run (Lynne 2007). Lynne notes, “If these [documents] remain in the filmmakers closets and basements, they will eventually deteriorate, suffer damage, or be discarded or lost” (Lynne, 2007, p.134). Drawing from Lynne’s use of documentary as “ephemera” this documentary thesis will explore what personal memories can be drawn out from and added to D.C.’s Rainbow History Project by interviewing subjects that are connected to the documents. In this way, the documentary visualizes memories that would otherwise remain invisible to D.C.’s LGBT community.
The evolution of Gay and lesbian documentary style has shifted from historical understandings of what it means to be out and gay (Word is Out (1997) Before Stonewall (1984), to specific struggles that accompany unique groups, such as butches, bisexuals, and Drag Queens) within the LGBT community (The Aggressives (2005), Bi-The Way (2008) I-Exist (2003) Paris is Burning (1990). But little has been documented about the specific processes and politics that go into building a ‘physical’ LGBT space for existing groups to come-together. Labor of Love will add to the documentary archive, by documenting the challenging process of establishing a physical space for pre-existing lesbian organizations to come together in March 2013.