What we're about

Welcome to our gay men's movie meetup and the art of conversation. Cinema Gaze is designed for gay men to meet while discussing significant and insightful films from around the world. We connect via two formats: Zoom and in-person conversations.

Our Zoom conversations focus on the cinematic art of complex and challenging international films.

Our in-person conversations take place on the first Sunday afternoon of every month at Center-On-Halsted in Chicago. These conversations frequently use a particular (and often more mainstream) film as a way of sharing our personal experiences and opinions about LBGTQ+ issues. After our conversations, we often walk to restaurants or bars on Halsted Street to continue socializing.

Regardless of venue, before our conversations about films, we have unstructured time to meet, socialize, and connect.

Take a look at our past events and upcoming meetings to get a flavor of what we're about. Scroll through the list of films we've discussed over the past year and a half.

We use the following criteria to guide our selection of films:

1. Our films investigate multidimensional gay characters and/or gay issues and interests.

2. Our films have artistic merit.

  1. A variety of racial, ethnic, national, and cultural identities are shown over the course of a year.

4. The audience experiences thematic depth and emotional involvement in the majority of our films.

5. Over the course of a year, a variety of genres, styles, and topics are represented in our films.

We ask that you always give at least 24 hours' notice of cancelation; however, we understand that emergencies arise.

Much of "Cinema Gaze: Gay Men Discus Gay Films" was founded on the following research:
About the Queer Gaze: \

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-ca-mn-lgbtq-filmmakers-love-simon-20180316-story.html
More film analysis of the Queer Gaze: \

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/276030604_Transperance_Me_I_Want_to_be_Visible_Gay_Gaze_in_Tom_Ford%27s_film_A_Single_Man/fulltext/5734f1bd08ae298602df0610/Transperance-Me-I-Want-to-be-Visible-Gay-Gaze-in-Tom-Fords-film-A-Single-Man.pdf?origin=publication_detail

Upcoming events (4+)

"THE WIZARD OF OZ" Zoom Online Conversation

Online event

Please join us on Monday, May 23 for our Zoom conversation of "The Wizard of Oz." Join us as we discuss this seminal story of an outcast who lands in a fabulous Technicolor world and creates a family by choice. Heartbreaking is the youthful Judy Garland comforting the Cowardly Lion as he critiques himself: "If I weren't such a dandy lion." Join Dorothy in her flamboyant new shoes as she realizes her own potential and becomes the actual tornado ripping through Kansas (Remember, Dorothy's last name is Gale: a windstorm). Watch Dorothy realize her personal agency in one of classic Hollywood's only films that depicts a world (Kansas and Oz) run by women. Toto's the only male with any balls in the film.

Social time will begin at 6:30PM CDT, and our film conversation will start at 7:00PM. Please watch the film beforehand.

"The Wizard of Oz" is available on HBO Max, YouTube, Apple TV, Vudu, and Amazon Prime.

Trailer for "The Wizard of Oz": https://youtu.be/njdreZRjvpc

According to The Hollywood Reporter's review in 1939: "The Wizard of Oz will, beyond question, be accorded recognition as a milestone in motion picture history. It scintillates with artistry, yet it possesses such an abundance of qualities which predict broad audience success that there can be no question of its being headed for spectacular playing time and grosses. The MGM picture will undoubtedly reflect great credit on the motion picture industry at large. It is a creation entirely out of the usual order, brilliantly inventive and arrestingly beautiful and dramatically compelling to the eye, the ear and the emotions. Somehow in its lavish creation, producer Mervyn LeRoy has captured a spirit of earthy drama of a strong moral flavor, and combined this with outright fantasy and with striking effect. The production is remarkable in every department. Its cast is superb, its music delightfully tuneful, its settings as remarkably effective as they are unusual. Costuming, special effects and photography add embellishing touches which further clinch the picture’s claims to highly significant achievement. Remarkably few liberties have been taken with the familiar fairytale dealing with the adventures of a Kansas youngster tossed by a cyclone into a fantastic world peopled by amazing but familiar characters. Judy Garland gives the role lyric charm and a wholly competent performance dramatically, ably justifying her selection for the key role. Her performance will undoubtedly advance her career vitally.
Linked with her most intimately are Frank Morgan as the Wizard, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion and Jack Haley as the Tin Woodman. Additionally Billie Burke as Glinda, Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch and Toto, the dog, are importantly identified in the cinematic version.
Lahr’s performance is scintillatingly outstanding, principally of course, for its comedy effect. Haley’s is likewise richly drawn, and Bolger completes an amazing trio. The combination of the three Haley, Lahr and Bolger with Miss Garland is peculiarly fortunate, for it is the collusion of talents, highlighted by the peculiar tricks of each which makes their efforts constantly delightful, individually and collectively. Miss Garland’s singing of “Over the Rainbow” is one of the delights of the musical. In a comedy vein the lyric laments of the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Lion, and the bursts of song shared by the three with Miss Garland, add divertingly to the picture.
Miss Hamilton’s grotesque Witch is neatly drawn to gain dramatic effect without overpowering repulsiveness. Morgan’s Wizard is rich in humorous innuendo and delivery, and Miss Burke is perfectly cast."

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"LOVE, SIMON" In-Person Conversation at Center on Halsted

Center on Halsted

Please join us at John Baran Hall in Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago for our in-person conversation about "Love, Simon." We'll have social time at 2:00PM CDT, and the film conversation will begin at 2:30. Please watch the film beforehand.

"Love, Simon" is available on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Hulu, Apple TV, and Vudo.

Trailer for "Love, Simon": https://youtu.be/E0cbWdlQg_8

According to The Guardian: "With its sheer warmth, openness, likability and idealism, "Love, Simon" won me over. It takes all the corniness and tweeness of the coming-of-age genre and transplants new heart into it. A high-school kid is about to come out as gay. This is Simon, played by 23-year-old Nick Robinson, and his story puts a smart new spin on straight romcom classics such as The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail, with their anonymised romances. This movie’s storyline does come carefully encased in an unassumingly small-c conservative plot superstructure, and in the real world not everyone in Simon’s situation has such a well-off home, sophisticated and pricey vinyl collection or impeccably liberal, non-bigoted family and circle of friends, whose reactions are never in doubt. Here the hostility is carefully quarantined to a couple of obviously homophobic boys, whose narrative function is to be trounced and then tacitly forgiven. The only other out gay kid in the school is almost impossibly witty and well-adjusted, nearly middle-aged in his droll composure. In real life, things are a bit more muddled than that. But what a smart, fun, engaging film. Simon’s personal life comes to a crisis when he starts having an anonymous email conversation with a boy known only as “Blue”; he calls himself “Jacques”. They fall in love. But who is Blue? The mystery becomes trickier when drama-club nerd Martin (Logan Miller) discovers Simon’s secret and agrees not to publicize it in exchange for Simon’s help in his doomed mission to impress the hottest girl in school, Abby, played by Alexandra Shipp – Storm from X-Men, Apocalypse. Martin isn’t supposed to be a bad guy, just desperate, but his temporary blackmailing nastiness is something that the film has to finesse, reasonably successfully. It all rolls up to a happy ending that feels entirely deserved. What a thoroughly intelligent and good-natured film."

Our in-person conversations frequently use a particular (and often more mainstream) film as a way of sharing our personal experiences and opinions about LBGTQ+ issues. After our conversations, we often walk to restaurants or bars on Halsted Street to continue socializing.

"CIRCUS OF BOOKS" Zoom Conversation

Online event

Please join us for our Zoom conversation about the documentary, "Circus of Books" on Monday, June 20 at 7:00PM CDT. Social time will be from 6:30 to 7:00PM CDT. Please watch the film beforehand.

"Circus of Books" is available on Netflix.

Trailer for "Circus of Books": https://youtu.be/XijRv5g0QCA

According to the New York Times: "Internet killed the video store in the documentary “Circus of Books,” which examines the history of a long-running porn shop and adult goods store in West Hollywood that closed in 2019. When the film begins, Circus of Books is on its last legs. But 30 years ago, it was not only one of the biggest distributors of gay pornography in the area, but also one of largest gay porn producers in the country. Perhaps the most surprising piece of the story was that it was run by Karen and Barry Mason — a straight couple who kept it a secret from their synagogue, friends and family. The documentary (streaming on Netflix) is directed by the couple’s daughter, Rachel, and it promises an inside view of the pair’s double life. But as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the people who are least equipped to thoroughly profile Karen and Barry are their children. The family business went undiscussed at home for years; even though the curtain has since been drawn, Karen and Barry still compartmentalize. They are strictly business when they discuss their most impossible decisions, even shrugging off the choice — presented as Karen’s to make — to have only Barry face the charges brought against them during the Reagan administration’s crusades against obscenity. But the film blossoms when it focuses on interviews with employees, longtime customers and the stars of the porn the store financed. These members of the community reflect on a bygone era with wit and warmth, and the film supports their memories with golden-lit archival footage of the neighborhood in the 1980s. It also grounds the store in its political history, including the devastation of the AIDS crisis. The remembrances are the movie’s heart — not a family secret, but a community’s pride."
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"Auntie Mame" In-Person Conversation at Center on Halsted

Center on Halsted

Please join our conversation about the gay sensibility and ideology within the 1958 classic: "Auntie Mame." We will look at the coded drag images within this film and examine some of its female archetypes as images of gay and trans sensibilities. We'll have social time from 2:00 to 2:30PM and begin the film conversation at 2:30. Come to John Baran Hall at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Please sign up on the Cinema Gaze meetup site that you'll be attending.

Using the pseudonym "Patrick Dennis," Edward Everett Tanner III from Evanston, IL published the novel, "Auntie Mame" in 1955. It became immensely popular and soon afterward was turned into a Broadway hit and Hollywood blockbuster, both starring Rosalind Russell as the titular character.

The witty film is peppered with dialogue such as:
Mame: "Who told you that?"
Patrick: "That English lady."
Mame: "Oh, she's not English. She's from Pittsburg."
Patrick: "She sounded English."
Mame: "Well, when you're from Pittsburg, you have to do something."

So come join the fun as we look at "Auntie Mame" with our gay cinema gaze and unearth what's really going on underneath such flamboyant dialogue.

"Auntie Mame" is available on Vudu Movie & TV Store, Prime Video, VUDU, Apple TV, YouTube, or Redbox. Please watch the film beforehand.

Trailer for "Auntie Mame": https://youtu.be/NZXi_vOkMyU

According to Rotten Tomatoes: "Possibly the greatest comedy of all time, with a performance by Rosalind Russell that can only be described as 'bravura'."

Our in-person conversations frequently use a particular (and often more mainstream) film as a way of sharing our personal experiences and opinions about LBGTQ+ issues. After our conversations, we often walk to restaurants or bars on Halsted Street to continue socializing.

Past events (40)

Photos (300)

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