Squeezebox! The Movie -Documentary
Once upon a time (like the mid-'90s), a party promoter named Michael Schmidt had a novel idea: drag queens dumping the lip-synching routine to sing rock and roll live onstage. No one knew what to expect when they first opened the doors to Don Hill's on the fateful night that SqueezeBox! was born in downtown Manhattan. With Mistress Formika presiding as hostess and den mother, the drag queens rocked New York nightlife in a way no one had ever seen before. But what began as a place for queer misfits who'd rather hear a guitar riff than a disco beat turned into a pansexual free-for-all. Straight or gay. Preppy or punk. Man or woman (or somewhere in between). All were welcome at SqueezeBox! as long as they were there to have fun. Though celebrities like John Waters, Debbie Harry, Liv Tyler, Cherie Currie and Bob Gruen were regular fixtures, the movie stars, drag queens, punks, and everyone in between partied elbow to elbow, waiting for a glimpse of what would happen next on stage.
It was 1994 and Rudolph Guiliani was just starting his first term as mayor of New York City. New York was in transition... still suffering the financial hangover of the economic devastation of the 70's. A deal had been cut years ago to turn the porn palaces of Times Square into the family friendly mall that it is today. Downtown was in flux too. The music scene shifted from the Ritz and Palladium to the much smaller Brownies, Mercury Lounge and the marginalized CBGB's. In this vacuum, a group of gay rock and rollers sought to create a place where they would feel comfortable. As outcasts from both the gay and rock worlds, they wanted a place where rock bands ruled in a drag-centric gay environment. The only rule was there was to be no lip-synching.
Join us with Squeezebox house band member and co-writer of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Stephen Trask for a Q and A following the film!
Amsterdam 1072 GN
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