State: Tranny flick too racy for park lineup

for The Brooklyn Paper
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A transsexual punk rocker is too racy, but a psychopath with an ax is just fine with state parks officials when they approved this year’s summer movie lineup in Empire–Fulton Ferry State Park.

Three out of eight films selected by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy — “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “The Shining” and “Stand By Me” — were under scrutiny because of their R rating.

But after state parks commissioner Carol Ash viewed the films, only “Hedwig” was barred — and Conservancy director Marianna Koval is still scratching her head.

“Certainly, showing an R-rated film after 9 pm should be considered reasonable,” Koval told The Brooklyn Paper, adding that state officials have never blocked a film during the eight-year-old movie series, which has shown plenty of R-rated flicks, including “Do the Right Thing,” “Coming to America,” and “Fargo,” as well as unrated classics, such as “Double Indemnity,” and “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

A state policy prohibits R-rated movies, but the regulation was not enforced during the Pataki administration, Koval said.

Eileen Larrabee, a state parks spokeswoman, said “Hedwig” was banned because it was inappropriate for public park viewing.

“Our goal is to make sure our parks are accessible, friendly, and inviting to families,” said Larrabee — though showtimes are well after the youngsters are asleep.

“Hedwig” was replaced it with “Cabaret,” which has similar trans-gendered themes,” said Mary Mauro, co-chair of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s film committee.

That film passed muster with the state because it’s rated PG.

The conservancy said the film series draws 2,000-3,000 people per showing each summer, with movies selected under a single theme. This year, the theme is change.

“This summer, you’ve got pubescent change, political change, and personal change,” Rogers said.

“Or, I guess, a nervous breakdown,” she added, referring to the ostensible plot of “The Shining.”

It’s not the first time that state officials have tangled with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, which books entertainment for the site of the planned Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Last year, state Parks officials scheduled a Polish production of “Macbeth” on the same days that the Conservancy had set aside for the Brooklyn Hip-Hop festival — a mix-up that enraged the festival’s organizers, who initially thought the cancellation was racially motivated.

Updated 5:07 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Nichole Weberring from Philadelphia says:
“Hedwig” was replaced it with “Cabaret,” which has similar trans-gendered themes,” said Mary Mauro, co-chair of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s film committee.

Actually, it doesn't. The trans-gendered themes in "Cabaret" are not part of the movie's plot; they are incidental atmospherics to recreate the ambiance of Berlin in the 1930s. The story is about Christopher Isherwood and his struggle with his own homosexuality and his relationship with Sally Bowles.

"Hedwig" is about a woman and her life. Major difference, major change of focus. Ms. Mauro apparently thinks that seeing cross-dressed people is all that's required for a movie "dealing with trans-gendered themes." That is simply not true. Perhaps "Trans America" would have been a more appropriate switch.
June 20, 2008, 10:14 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
The standard for rejecting this film is a totally subjective one and therefore all to open to be influneced by bigotry.
It's really a pity too because Hedwig is a really good film, made by one of our own new yorkers.
The most upsetting part of this story for me is the blatant bigotry involved in the choice exists in institutions involved in promoting community and culture.
I hope that people will contact those responsible for blocking this film and express their discontent.
June 24, 2008, 5:05 am
Alice from Brooklyn Heights says:
More "censoring" by the "elite" in my neighborhood. The condos in park cheerleaders, AKA The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, neither represent a true park nor do they serve anyone but a bunch of old rich white folk who live on the Promenade. Thus, why is it no surprise that they would censor art? I say, throw cow-dung on them!
July 4, 2008, 7:45 am

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