RuPaul’s Christmas Ball

EPFC | December 7th, 2016

guest curator: Erica Magrey

December spews forth a tumultuous wave of colder, darker realism and discomforts of every persuasion, tempered only by the simultaneous rush of shine and sparkle and pep, a promise of something warm and golden. In the pursuit of Ye Olde Holiday Spirit we on occasion craft a product lush with hope and humor and song and sweet sweet somethings that are whispered into an elf’s ear. This rare delicacy, a very peculiar format, should be studied and appreciated for its often jumbled collection of elements that form a glorious feast when amassed. I invite you to join me at the table so we can break bread and share the elusive bird – cue spotlight – THE HOLIDAY SPECIAL! In our studies we will examine a sampling of those that evoke blushing cheeks on the face of the holiday genre.

We’re stepping on the gas today with RuPaul’s Christmas Ball, a Channel 4 production that aired on British TV in 1993. Ru is a delight – fierce and funny, bending, transcending, and upending the season in bawdy fashion. The Downtown Drag Time Players, a motley crew of more- and lesser-known performers, co-star in several roles: elves putting sweaters on teddy bears, cracked out Tic Tac addicts, aliens-turned-capitalist socialites, and solo bits and bumpers that tickle and giggle throughout. RuPaul and LaToya jackson battle as evil stepsisters, while Eartha Kitt gets schooled by Ru’s outrageous Hattie Ruth. Elton John and Ru duet, sharing a closetful of ass-kicking couple’s ensembles. Boy George performs an oh-so-mellow “Everything I Own” and Fred Schneider cameos as the future agent of Ebony Scrooge, Ru’s washed up future self if she doesn’t change her current tune. Indeed, goodwill is alive and well in this satirical but still very real holiday lovefest. Strong and smart performances abound, so do relish the ingredients of Ru’s stew.

Undocumented and Unafraid

EPFC | November 28th, 2016

guest curator: David Zlutnick

This month’s theme is “Documenting the Movements,” featuring short video covering contemporary struggles for social justice. This week’s selection is on the subject of the struggle for immigrants’ rights, and specifically the efforts of undocumented youth to push for the DREAM Act.

With President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to deport up to 3 million undocumented immigrants upon taking office, the fight to protect immigrant communities will be heating up. This short film by Joshua Davis, “Undocumented and Unafraid,” chronicles one small part of a much larger fight by undocumented students across the country to push for the passage of the DREAM Act. Obama did eventually establish protections for these students under an executive order – DACA – which is now threatened to be undone by a Trump administration.

Watch “Undocumented and Unafraid”




Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock

EPFC | November 21st, 2016

guest curator: David Zlutnick

This month’s theme is “Documenting the Movements,” featuring short video covering contemporary struggles for social justice. Initially I had a different short film picked out for this week, but late last night news broke from the Standing Rock encampment, which is protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Police have reportedly moved in on protesters last night in freezing conditions using water cannon, rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades. Dozens have been injured and there have been some arrests. 

Given the recent developments it seems fitting to highlight a spectacular short documentary about the #NoDAPL water protectors and the ongoing efforts by Native American nations to oppose the pipeline. Divided Films’ “Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock” takes you to the camp and interviews indigenous leaders on why they’ve taken a stand against the oil and gas pipelines pushing their way through sovereign tribal territory.

Watch “Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock”

And for more info on the clashes at Standing Rock last night:

“Standing Rock protest: hundreds clash with police over Dakota Access Pipeline”…/standing-rock-protest-hundred…

“Police deploy water hoses, tear gas against Standing Rock protesters”…/police-deploy-water-hoses-tear-gas-ag…/

Be Free: Black Lives Matter

EPFC | November 15th, 2016

guest curator: David Zlutnick

This month’s theme is “Documenting the Movements,” featuring short video covering contemporary struggles for social justice. With the election of Donald Trump this is proving to be a more fitting theme than I initially imagined – or hoped it ever would be. While failing to secure the popular vote, the President-elect managed to win the electoral college, ushering in a frightening new age in American politics. And let’s be quite clear: it is a politics that champions authoritarianism, white supremacy, and patriarchy. It is one that threatens to cause immense damage to communities of color, women, LGBTQ+, immigrants, Muslims, and countless others. And so it is a time when strong movements for justice are needed more than ever – ones that are intersectional, based in a politics of solidarity, are participatory and include more of us than ever. Clarifying the moment, some of this has already been seen in the unprecedented protests that have been taking place since election night.

It was already my intention for this week’s video to be focused on the Black Lives Matter movement, a choice that is now even more appropriate. In the coming days/weeks/months/years there will be protests and organized resistance across the country. Much of that seems possible largely because of the imaginative and powerful forces of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has taken this country by storm and forced a conversation on race and power that is needed now more than ever. In recognition of that, this week’s selection is Be Free: Black Lives Matter by Ralston Smith (

Two years ago this month it was announced that police officer Darren Wilson would not face charges for killing Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In Washington DC, like dozens of cities across the US, people poured into the streets expressing their rage and despair. Filmmaker Ralston Smith was there and documented the protest, capturing the sites and sounds in a raw and emotional video that calls on all of us to scream “Black Lives Matter.”

Watch Be Free: Black Lives Matter here:

See you in the streets.

Into The Streets

EPFC | November 7th, 2016

Guest curator: David Zlutnick

This month’s theme is “Documenting the Movements,” featuring short video covering contemporary struggles for social justice. With tomorrow being Election Day, it seems to many (and it may very well be true) that the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Yet oddly enough there were three 90-minute presidential debates during which not one question was asked about climate change, an issue that really could doom humanity unless urgent action is taken. As such I figured it was appropriate to lead off this month with a short documentary looking at the environmental justice movement, and specifically the global movement for climate action.

In September 2014 hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of New York City to participate in the People’s Climate March, demanding global action against climate change. Though several international mass actions have taken place since, it was and remains the largest ever protest for climate justice. The Meerkat Media Collective (, based in NYC, produced an excellent short documentary about the march, capturing beautiful images from the day along with a diverse mix of voices from those participating.

Watch Into the Streets here: