We're proud to announce a very special upcoming event at Curzon Soho: on Tuesday 3 May we will be hosting a special screening of Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, followed by a panel discussion on the impact of recent urban development on Soho's LGBTIQ community.
For this unique event we are combining our celebrated documentary strand #DocDays with the UK's top documentary distributor Dogwoof, plus two organisations very close to our hearts, Stonewall and Positively UK, and two amazing guest speakers - Prof Gavin Butt from Goldsmiths, University of London and journalist, researcher and campaigner Ben Walters.
Later this month, Dogwoof are releasing Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures a brilliant documentary about maverick photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Directed by acclaimed filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, the film is the first and most complete documentary about the artist since his death, offering unprecedented unlimited access to his archives and work.
Robert Mapplethorpe's unique and controversial work was at the core of the New York underground scene in the late 1960-70s. He collaborated with Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois and Patti Smith, shooting iconic self-portraits alongside memorable photographs of male nudity, explicit sexuality and still life images - finding beauty and shock in each one in equal measure. Mapplethorpe's creativity blossomed in the spaces where sex meets magic, pursuing both with insatiable dedication and artistic devotion until his untimely death from AIDS-related illness.
Much like Curzon Soho, a number of iconic LGBTIQ social and entertainment venues are either under threat of demolition, or have recently been closed in the name of urban development. In its overview of 1970s New York's gay scene, Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures clearly shows the importance of spaces like these to generate and preserve a thriving LGBTIQ cultural context where sexuality and creativity can be expressed freely - and safely.
The panel will respond to the ideas and themes of the film, as we fight to save Soho’s rich and diverse cultures, as well as a significant piece of the social and political history of London.
This very special event is presented as part of the campaign to Save Curzon Soho and takes place on Tuesday 3 May 6.15pm at Curzon Soho. Join the discussion!
Ben Walters is involved in several campaigns responding to the untimely closure of queer spaces in London, including RVT Future, #WeAreTheBlackCap and Raze Collective. He wrote the 30,000-word application to Historic England that resulted in the Royal Vauxhall Tavern becoming the UK's first LGBTQ listed building. Ben works as a journalist, producer, programmer and filmmaker focusing on cabaret, moving image, queer and DIY culture. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Queen Mary University of London, researching Duckie and queer fun. Ben blogs at NotTelevision.Net.
Prof Gavin Butt, Goldsmiths, University of London
Gavin Butt is Professor of Visual Cultures and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is author of Between You and Me: Queer Disclosures in the New York Art World 1948-1963, and co-director of This Is Not a Dream, a documentary film exploring artist’s DIY use of moving image technology. Between 2009 and 2014 he was co-director of "Performance Matters", a creative research project on the cultural value of performance. He is currently completing a book, Anti-Gravitas, on seriousness in queer art and performance.
Robbie DeSantos, Stonewall
Robbie is Head of Campaigns at Stonewall, Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, working to create a world where every single person can be accepted without exception. It campaigns to eliminate homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in communities, and empowers LGBT people and their allies to be role models wherever they live, work, shop, socialise or pray.
Marc Thompson, Positively UK
An activist, mentor and film buff Marc Thompson is the National Coordinator of Project 100, the national peer mentor programme being managed by Positively UK.
Marc is also a co-founder of PrEPster.info, a community based intervention that aims to educate and agitate for PrEP access in England and beyond.
Marc has been living with HIV for 30 years and worked in the Public Health, specifically sexual health, for 25 years and has worked within the NHS and at various community based organisations including, GMFA, Big Up, Living Well and THT.
Marc has been involved in work advocating for social justice for throughout his career, with a focus on Black minority and ethnic communities, sexual health and HIV. He is particularly interested in the intersection of race, sexuality and HIV and the impact it has on individuals and society. He is a freelance trainer and public speaker who speaks and provides training at conferences, corporate events, schools, colleges and universities on race and sexuality, sexual health and living with HIV.
Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (18) opens at our cinemas on Friday 22 April.
Visit Curzon Mayfair (now until 21 April) and Curzon Soho (from 22 April) to see a special display of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe.
With thanks to Dogwoof, Stonewall, Positively UK, Gavin Butt and Ben Walters.