Ed Wood and Glen or Glenda

May 25, 2024

Ed Wood and Glen or Glenda

As a young kid obsessed with movies and particularly science fiction from the 1950s and 60s, it's hard to say when I first head about Edward D. Wood Jr. Maybe from the Razzies book at the local library, maybe from my dad, maybe from the multiple appearances of his films on MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000. I grew up knowing that he was supposed to be The World's Worst Filmmaker, but even as a kid, I knew something was wrong with than moniker. I liked these movies.

Sure they aren't polished, they're clumsy, they're breathtakingly cheap (you shoot a feature film in two days and see how good it looks) but they've got a special quality. Tim Burton knew this, which is why he made the 1994 biopic ED WOOD, still my favorite of his films. Lots of other folks know this too, and now we're on the cusp of Wood's centennial (he was born in October 1924) and a re-evaluation of his work.

One aspect of Wood's life that is often played for laughs, even by his fans, is the fact that he enjoyed wearing women's clothes. There's so many jokes about Angora (his preferred sweater) that it's easy to lose the transgressive, even revolutionary part of Wood: here was a man comfortable in women's clothing around his friends, comfortable around and working with the queer community in Hollywood. Someone who in 1953 made the film GLEN OR GLENDA, a flawed yet remarkable film about a man's personal journey to be accepted for who he is. Oh and the devil is there too.

On Tuesday, May 28th, in Pittsburgh at Bottlerocket Social Hall, I'm bringing in author Anthony Oliveira from Toronto. Anthony will be reading from his amazing new book DAYSPRING, which re-examines the gospels through a queer lens, and introducing GLEN OR GLENDA, along with a drag performance from Alora Chateaux. It's our attempt to place Wood in pantheon of queer iconography that he deserves. Plus you can get Anthony's new book from White Whale Books!

I know it's a Tuesday after Memorial Day, but folks I really think this will be a special event. If you're in the Pittsburgh area, it would mean the world to me if you join us; oh did I mention that tickets are FREE too? Come kick off Pride Month a few days early; tickets are available here. See you Tuesday!

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