The SF Gay Men's Chorus needed hired security when they took a tour of the Deep South in the immediate wake of the Charlottesville unrest three years back, but get your Kleenex ready for the feature documentary Gay Chorus Deep South that captures their tumultuous trip.
Back in early 2017, the world’s first ever openly LGBTQ choral group, known locally as the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, decided to do a tour of the red-state deep south thinking this would promote some unity in the ugly early days of the Trump presidency. Boy did they have another thing coming, as the White nationalist rally in Charlottesville roiled the nation just weeks before they set off, requiring a much larger security detail than they thought they’d need. They made it unscathed, despite nasty threats at many tour stops, and a documentary about the tour is just now hitting your on-demand streaming options.
Gay Chorus Deep South is now available for streaming on demand if your cable service has Logo or PopTV, or if you use Sling. It's scheduled to remain available on those platforms until February 15, and there’s also a live broadcast of the film at the very suboptimal hour of 9 a.m. PT on Wednesday morning, December 30 on something called PlutoTV.
The holidays are a lonely time for anyone whose family doesn’t accept them. #GayChorusDeepSouth tackles discrimination head-on! Check it out on @PopTV, @LogoTV & @PlutoTV today! And don’t forget to hug your friends in the #LGBTQ community. @SFGMC https://t.co/zxceFWkIh0— Landon Johnson (@LandonHJohnson) December 21, 2020
“There’s three choruses in this film,” director David Rodrigues said in an NPR interview this week. “There’s the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, there’s the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, and there’s the voices of the south. They play an equal role in kind of bringing the story together.”
The Queer Review talks with @Tribeca Audience Award-winner #GayChorusDeepSouth filmmaker David Charles Rodrigues, @SFGMC’s Artistic Director @tgseelig & @OakInterfaith’s Terrance Kelly https://t.co/s5P8NoeKpu— The Queer Review🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈 (@TheQueerReview) December 18, 2020
The doc premieres @PlutoTV @LogoTV & @PopTV 9pm ET/PT sunday Dec 20th
The film has been very well-reviewed, and won the Audience Award at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Peter Debruge writes in his Variety review: “Rather than simply preaching to you-know-who, director David Charles Rodrigues — an equal-rights advocate who draws from his own ‘other’ status as a (straight-identifying) Brazilian American — succeeds in humanizing the individuals on both sides. If anything, the big surprise of the film is how its progressive-minded main characters, the 300 or so San Francisco singers who’ve struggled most of their lives to make peace with their identities, do most of the growing here.”
We would like to dedicate tonight's TV broadcast debut of Gay Chorus Deep South in memory of Jimmy White, who we lost early this year and whose story of reconnecting with his father through the common ground of music was the heart of the documentary. ❤️ @gcds_film pic.twitter.com/9J6CDXgNZ7— SF Gay Men's Chorus (@SFGMC) December 20, 2020
This film is a weepie, alright, but there’s another cause for needing a hankie. One of the film’s subplots is about chorus member Jimmy White, who reunites with the homophobic father who had years before disowned him. We’re sad to inform you that Jimmy White was lost to cancer on February 9 this year.
Image: Gay Chorus Deep South