Monday, February 26th, 2024

The World of Radical Glamour “SUNDAYS AT CAFÉ TABAC” Chronicles The Legendary Lesbian Night In NY’S East Village (1993-95)




It is no secret that lesbian bars and spaces in the US are rapidly disappearing. Back in 2020, Queerguru ran a review of The Lesbian Bar Project about there only being 15 left (see https://queerguru.com/15-lesbian-bars-left-in-the-us-join-the-fight-back/).

With the progress of LGBTQ rights, visibility and safe spaces, and social life considerably shifted over onto the flat screens of our tech devices, is physical queer nightlife still necessary? Does nightlife have any impact past last call when the lights are flipped on and the night itself is over? Or is it an antiquated vestige of the past, as ephemeral as a swipe or a click?

Queerguru has just across a compelling new film “Sundays at Café Tabac,’ which is a crucial part of documenting this alarming trend.  The Sunday Night parties were a beacon during the height of lesbian nightlife in downtown NYC in the early ‘90s. In its time, they generated excitable media buzz and evolved a unique community of creative women who decades later, continue to celebrate it. It was decided this film would be their tribute to it and its decades-long lasting impact. 

Queerguru has always been passionate about sharing the history of our community but will fess up to the fact that it is too often from the gay male perspective. What is particularly interesting in this project is  as the filmmakers began the interviews, the layers of the story unraveled something that stretched way beyond what they ever knew lesbian nightlife could hold. It simply started with the one word that every subject consistently used to describe it… “Beautiful.”

At the Café Tabac itself, the crowd included supermodels  and the  media went so far as to call it the “birthplace of lesbian chic.” But it was something beyond and deeper than that.   Even in the trailer below one is struck to realise that for once this was not a ghettoized LGBTQ reality confined to those walls, or to gay Greenwich Village even. Lesbian visibility in the mainstream media was a phenomenon whose likes had never been seen before, and it was making an impact beyond our then-isolated communities. Additionally, many of the players in the public eye were also in the room on Sunday nights (and Madonna, then at the height of her visibility and coolness, would even be spotted there, which was a really big deal at the time).

Queer history buffs will love the  60+ original filmed interviews of Café Tabac patrons (which include filmmaker/activists Maria Maggenti, Rose Troche,Guinevere Turner, Catherine Gund; models Jenny Shimizu, Eve Salvail, Patricia Velazquez; writers Jacqueline Woodson, Sarah Schulman, Linda Villarosa; comedian/actor Lea Delaria; musicians Meshell Ndegeocello, the band BETTY; downtown & fashion icons Patricia Field, Edwige; curator Shari Frilot, as well as writers Hilton Als, Michael Musto and so many more).

With so many stories shared, we discovered how that night alone, changed lives, created a community, and through them, influenced LGBTQ history and culture at large. The fact that the party’s hosts, Wanda Acosta and Sharee Nash, were Nuyorican-Latina and African American, was also a distinguished factor in this night’s impact.

The film still needs to be finished and released AND THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN 


Follow and like them on social media @cafetabacfilm and help spread the word! Party with them at one of their fabulous fundraisers! You’ll get 100% bragging rights for supporting this cool queer documentary before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon! Oo la laaa!

To make your TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION, click below.

Posted by queerguru  at  11:42


Genres:  documentary

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