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Take The Gay Train (2008) | Shoga Films

Take The Gay Train (2008)


Three stops to decadence

Subtitled a documentary dreamscape, ‘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)

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  1. Singing the Lesbian Blues in 1920s Harlem - 18. Jul, 2013

    [...] 2008 he finished his first film, “Take the Gay Train,” which traces the threads of gay sensibility running through the Harlem Renaissance. Often, [...]

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