Tourists staying at the W Times Square Hotel might get a lesson in 20th-century New York club culture on Monday night. The hotel bar, which occupies a 1918 theater building at Broadway and 47th Street, is the location for a screening of “It’s a Jackie Thing,” Charles Atlas’s 1999 documentary about the gender-bending party Jackie 60 that ran for most of the 1990s in the meatpacking district.
Why the W? In the early ’90s the building was home to Club USA, a megaclub designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and run by Peter Gatien, the former New York nightlife impresario who also owned the Limelight, the Tunnel and the Palladium. Club USA, whose décor played on the theme of a gritty, bygone Times Square, was filled on many nights with club kids and drag queens. Its Sunday-night party, Bump, was popular with gay men. The club closed in 1994, and W turned it into a hotel in 2001.
For Bradford Nordeen, showing the film in a building with a New York nightlife past brings together several interests — art and architecture, film history, gay culture — that are driving forces behind “Dirty Looks,” a monthly series of gay-themed film and video screenings he first produced last year. For a special summer program running throughout July, Mr. Nordeen is staging “Dirty Looks: On Location,” an ambitious project that marries 31 film and video works with 30 sites across New York City. Mr. Nordeen and a committee of 12 curators selected the works and scheduled screenings at bars, hotels, parks and other sites that in some way speak to the city’s gay past. Even in cases in which no trace remains of that past.
“The locales have this history that may not be evident to the people going through the spaces now,” said Mr. Nordeen, a St. Louis native who moved to New York three years ago after earning degrees from CalArts in Los Angeles and King’s College in London. “The concept of haunting is really important.”
Still to come are screenings of
This article originally appeared on: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/09/art-films-trace-gay-history-around-new-york/