Directed by Geordan West (USA, 2023, 72 min.).
In the Combat Zone—what was once Boston’s red-light district populated by porno theaters and sex workers—the Playland Café was a queer bar that survived six decades. With a compelling ensemble of queer performers including the Lady Bunny, Danielle Cooper (Pose), and Aidan Dick (When Men Were Men, Frameline46), Playland condenses time and queer experience into a single evening populated by a half century’s worth of the bar’s inhabitants—and all the multitudes they bring with them. Rather than a traditional narrative tribute, the film brings to life the bar’s glory with a series of decadently shot vignettes blended with archival audio and footage, resulting in a film of uncompromising audacity and vision. Feature debut director Georden West takes audiences on a journey through the past century of queer expression, delivering a fantasia of lived-in sights and sounds. As queer bars continue to close across the United States, Playland becomes an abstract and enigmatic requiem for what we lose when we don’t have these spaces.
Followed by a Q&A with the director.