WaterTower to host free screening of ‘Raid of the Rainbow Lounge’

Joanie Schultz, the still-new artistic director of Addison’s WaterTower Theatre, announced that the theater company will host a free screening of the documentary Raid of the Rainbow Lounge on July 10 at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre in the West Village.

 The 2012 documentary, by local filmmaker Robert L. Camina, chronicles the events in Fort Worth on June 28, 2009 — coincidentally, the 40th anniversary of the start of the Stonewall Riots that launched the modern gay rights movement — when Cowtown police raided the new gay bar, bludgeoning at least one patron and triggering a national dialogue about police and the targeting of gays. Many local activists are profiled in the film, which won numerous festival awards. The Rainbow Lounge was just again recently in the news when a fire burned down the club, a hub of gay life in Fort Worth.

The screening is planned to coincide with Hit the Wall, Ike Holter’s play about Stonewall, which Schultz added to the theater company’s schedule and which she will direct. Hit the Wall opens July 28.

The free Raid screening will take place at the Magnolia at 7 p.m., and will be followed by a Q&A with Schultz and Camina. Seating is limited, and on a first come, first served basis.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Raid of the Rainbow Lounge’ debuts today on DVD

Officers have someone on the floor inside the barIt was six years ago last week — the 40th anniversary of Stonewall as it so happens — that Fort Worth’s Rainbow Lounge was raided by police, setting off the most vocal struggle between cops and the gay community in Cowtown’s history. Filmmaker Robert L. Camina jumped into action that same day, and began putting together a documentary, Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, which had a successful run on the festival circuit. But until today, you couldn’t find it on DVD.

Now, though, you can, with the home video release, thanks to TLA Video. You can purchase a copy by clicking here.

In addition, Camina has recently completed a follow-up documentary about an historic moment in the gay experience: The arson that burned down, 42 years ago, the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans, which killed 32 people, including two gay clergyman. Upstairs Inferno received its world premiere last month in the Crescent City, and is now scheduled for a week encore screenings July 10–16 at the Prytania Theater there. And look for it to make its may to a film festival soon.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Upstairs Inferno’ sets premiere date, Rice will narrate

DSC_6794Dallas filmmaker Robert L. Camina, who caused a sensation with his documentary Raid of the Rainbow Lounge three years ago, announced that out novelist and New Orleans native Christopher Rice — son of vampire chronicler Anne Rice — will narrate his newest documentary, Upstairs Inferno. The doc, which details the largest mass-death of gays in the U.S. — a fire at a New Orleans gay bar on June 24, 1973 — will have its world premiere in NOLA on the 42nd anniversary of the deadly blaze.

The gala screening, which will take place at the Prytania Theater on June 24, will include a Q&A with Camina and some yet-to-be-released guests. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Teaser for gay documentary ‘Upstairs Inferno’

DSC_6813For the past year, Dallas-based filmmaker Robert L. Camina — who came to prominence with his documentary about the raid of the Rainbow Lounge — has been working on another doc, about an arson case in 1973 New Orleans that killed more than two dozen gay people, yet is barely known today. Camina has released his first teaser trailer for Upstairs Inferno, which he hopes to premiere this fall, which you can see below. And there’s still time to contribute to his fundraising campaign to get the film completed.

UPSTAIRS INFERNO – Teaser Trailer from Camina Entertainment on Vimeo.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Are you smarter than a gay guy?


Nguyen Pham

Chances are, if you’re not an idiot, you’ve heard of Mensa, the international group whose members are all high-scorers on standardized IQ tests — that is, they are geniuses. Well this weekend, American Mensa is holding its annual gathering in Fort Worth. (Question: What kind of genius plans a convention over a mid-week national holiday?) Mostly the events accessible only to members, but some events are open to the public.

But what’s interesting to us is that the largest special-interest group (SIG) within the organization is Gay SIG which, of course, is made up of an LGBT membership. Frankly, we’re not surprised. It takes a lot of intelligence to learn early on which guys are hitting on you and which want to bash you. Anyway, the group will be screening the Fort Worth-based gay documentary Raid of the Rainbow Lounge on Thursday. Then on Friday, the (non-gay) Mr. Mensa Contest takes place (again, members-only) with the master of ceremonies Nguyen Pham (pictured in his NOH8 Campaign photo), a gay guy who, you can expect, will be hosting in stilettos.

What does this all mean to non-members? Well, first, you can go to the convention on Wednesday and Saturday morning to take a test to see if you’re eligible to become a member. And even if you don’t qualify, merely taking the test comes with a one-day admission pass.

Even if you don’t do that, keep in mind: There will be a lot of smart gay guys cruising around the bars in Cowtown and Dallas this weekend. That gives you a chance to show some hot gay nerds that everything’s bigger in Texas … and not just IQs.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Rainbow Lounge’ documentary to screen at UNT film fest Saturday

It’s been nearly a year since North Texas filmmaker Robert L. Camina first screened his documentary feature Raid of the Rainbow Lounge for Texas audiences. The 103-minute documentary, narrated by out TV star Meredith Baxter, chronicles the raid by TABC and Fort Worth police on the newly opened gay club, which happened to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the raid of the Stonewall Inn, which sparked the modern gay-rights movement.

Along the way, the film has been back a few times to Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as 20 film festivals (some gay, some mainstream), winning awards in the process: Audience Choice awards in Fort Worth, Cincinnati and Indianapolis; Best GLBT Film from the Breckenridge Festival of Film, the Platinum Reel Award from the Nevada International Film Festival and a host of others. In addition, it has been shown at special screenings for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the North District of Texas and at the request of the U.S. State Department.

Now, it’s latest local screening — and who knows, perhaps final — will be at UNT on the Square in Denton. Camina will be in attendance at the screening, which will take place Saturday, Feb. 9 at 4 p.m. on the campus of the university. You can get tickets at the festival’s website. ThinLineFilmFest.com.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

“Raid of the Rainbow Lounge” wins yet another award at film festival

Dallas filmmaker Robert L. Camina’s documentary, Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, has snagged yet another festival award, this time Audience Choice Award for Feature Documentary at the CNKY Scene Film Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio. Members of the Cincinnati police department and city council, including a recently elected out councilman, were in attendance with Camina and the film’s narrator, Meredith Baxter. This is the fourth award for the documentary about the Fort Worth/TABC raid on a Cowtown gay bar in 2009, which sparked a national debate on gay rights. It’s set to screen at about a half-dozen more festivals (gay and mainstream) before the end of the year.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Rainbow Lounge panel to feature FW police chief, TABC captain, Queer LiberAction founder

An “unprecedented” panel discussion focused on the Rainbow Lounge raid and its aftermath will follow a third-anniversary screening of Robert Camina’s documentary film about the raid on Thursday in Dallas.

The panel discussion will feature Fort Worth police Chief Jeffrey Halstead, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Maj. Charlie Cloud, TABC agent and LGBT liaison Leigh Ann Wiggins, Queer LiberAction founder Blake Wilkinson, Fairness Fort Worth spokesman Jon Nelson and Camina himself. The 30-minute panel discussion will be moderated by yours truly.

“I really do think that the panel discussion is unprecedented, where all these people are getting together in one room to talk about it,” Camina said.

Tickets are still available for Thursday’s screening of Camina’s Raid of the Rainbow Lounge at the Magnolia Theater, which will precede the panel discussion. The screening is the third and last scheduled for the award-winning film in Dallas.

Doors open at 7 p.m., and the screening begins at 7:30. Those who’ve seen the film but want to attend the panel discussion should arrive by 9 p.m.

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased here. Use Coupon Code ETT87D to get a $3 discount. For more on the film, go here.

—  John Wright

“Raid of the Rainbow Lounge” wins awards, books anniversary screening at Magnolia

Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, the documentary about the event that triggered a renewed passion for gay rights in North Texas, has won two recent awards. Earlier this month, it took the Audience Choice Award at Fort Worth’s Q Cinema; then a week later, it took Best GLBT FIlm at the 32nd Breckenridge Festival of Film in Colorado. The latter, mind you, is not a gay film fest at all, but a mainstream one with a gay category.

The film has already screened thrice North Texas — at a world premiere this past spring in Sundance Square, a Dallas premiere in April and at Q Cinema on June 1 – but you still have another chance to see it: Raid will screen in Dallas on June 28 — the third anniversary of the actual raid — at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring many of the actual parties involved in the raid and its aftermath. You can purchase tickets in advance exclusively here.

View the trailer of the film, narrated by out TV icon Meredith Baxter, after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

“Raid of the Rainbow Lounge” premieres tonight in Fort Worth

Anatomy of a raid

“I made the decision right away to make a short film about the raid,” director Robert Camina says.

That “short film” never materialized. Instead, as the rumors and recriminations flew, as Fort Worth’s gay community came together surprisingly quickly to voice its outrage and as facts slowly emerged, Camina realized there was something here much bigger than he could boil down into a 20-minute documentary.

Now, nearly three years later, Raid of the Rainbow Lounge — a full 100 minutes long — gets its world premiere March 15 at the Palace AMC Theatre in Sundance Square.

“I’ve worked on [this film] in some capacity almost every single day since then. I am ready to birth the baby!” says Camina with a laugh.

Read the entire interview with Camina here.

DEETS: Palace AMC 9, 220 Third St., Fort Worth. Doors open at 7 p.m. Screening at 7:30 p.m. followed by Q&A. $20. RaidoftheRainbowLounge.com

—  Rich Lopez