What it is:
What do sex without consequence, men in towels and Bette Midler have in common?
The Continental Baths was a seminal gay New York City hotspot that existed from the late sixties to 1974. The baths themselves were a lavish Roman style affair, which were opened in the late 60’s in a newly post-stonewall NYC. Owner Steve Ostrow wanted to create a decadent and luxurious clubhouse where newly liberated men could explore with wanton abandon.
“A gay man with $15 can get both sex and entertainment at the Continental and know he is mixing with the beautiful people. He might still turn up to work on Monday and be fired for being a fag” – Dennis Altman-1971
Along with the baths, The Continental was home to glamorous shows that attracted first class performers such as Cab Calloway, Peter Allen, Wayland Flowers, Patti Labelle and a then unknown Bette Midler, who (with her piano player Barry Manilow) became ringmaster to the revelry.
Continental is a stylish examination of a lively and lascivious piece of real estate that transcended sexual identity and acted as a beacon to the hip, beautiful and infamous. Housed at the former site of the legendary Ansonia Hotel at 230 W. 74th St., the Continental ultimately became one of the most important metropolitan keystones for a sexual revolution, fostering an environment of tolerance and indirectly contributing to a level of mainstream gay acceptance the likes of which has never been seen again.
Told through archival footage, photographs, music and the voices of owner Steve Ostrow as well as patrons, performers and opponents,Continental will be a thorough examination of a time and a place not so long ago when the word positive wasn’t so negative.
Directed by Malcolm Ingram (Small Town Gay Bar – Sundance 06, Bear Nation --SXSW 10)
What we are up to:
We are looking to put together enough money to get our project off the ground and go film our initial set of interviews. Most importantly our interview with Steve Ostrow who now lives in Australia. This interview will create the spine for the documentary.
Why 'Continental' ?:
Having had the privilege of making a documentary a few years back on the proud owners and patrons of some gay bars in the South called 'small town gay bar', I began to realize how important it was to present as many varied voices of my community as possible. Documenting our history while the key players are still around isn't only an opportunity...it is a duty.
Continental existed in a very unique period, post Stonewall - pre Aids. That little window when gay ruled the zeitgeist and Continental was the clubhouse. Its a story of sex, celebrity, politics and most importantly...it is part of our history
How this works:
Kickstarter is an ingenious concept that allows people like us to find people like you. I have worked in the arts for over 20 years now. Telling stories like this continues to get more difficult. I have turned telling these stories into my life's work. After traveling the world with my past two documentaries it has become quite clear that despite what the industry may say...people still want to hear these stories
Help prove me right.
The way it works is you figure out how much you are willing to help us with. We have created incentives to thank you for your generous support. And you donate. It is our job to ensure we find enough donors and reach our funding goal. If we don't...aside from the obvious egg on our face. It just makes it that much harder to tell the tale.
I feel this is a tale worth telling
Who's with me?
For further info:
Any questions, comments, suggestions, complaints, marriage proposals (offer valid Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts , New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington D.C)
please e-mail - ContinentalDocumentary@gmail.com
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- (30 days)