Occasional Evenings: Back-to-School Film Screening—But I’m a Cheerleader

BISR Central
68 Jay Street, #425
Brooklyn, NY 11201

When first released in 1999, Jamie Babbit’s campy, heartfelt teen comedy But I’m a Cheerleader (starring a young Natasha Lyonne) was almost universally panned as shallow, jejune, unsubtle, and unserious, lacking the polish (and joyful rudeness) of the John Waters films that are a clear inspiration—the latter critique courtesy of Roger Ebert. Though Ebert also suggested, and time has borne him out, that the film “might eventually become a regular on the midnight cult circuit.” A curious benchmark against changing social and film industry norms, this tongue-in-cheek coming-of-age parody of gay conversion therapy came out at a time when film critics and legal practices alike were far more straight and narrow than they are today. And it prods playfully, ahead of its time, not only at the complex relationship between sexuality and gender expression, but also at the desire to seek the “root” of either of these in childhood experience. How, more than twenty years later, does this slapstick send-up of hyper-heteronormativity still speak to the social conditions that continue to shape LGBTQ lives?    

Join us Friday, September 15th, for a screening and discussion of Babbit’s queer cult classic But I’m a Cheerleader. Before the screening, BISR’s Joseph Earl Thomas, Paige Sweet, Rebecca Ariel Porte, and Sonia Werner will sit down to talk the film’s style, status, themes, and continued relevance. The event is free to attend, with a suggested $10 donation. Beer, wine, seltzer, and snacks will be served. Please RSVP below.

Event Schedule

Friday, 7:00pm EST
September 15, 2023

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