“RISE UP AND SHOUT”– a wonderful celebration of who we are

“Rise Up and Shout”

A Wonderful Celebration of Who We Are

Amos Lassen

I just finished watching one of the most amazing and beautiful documentaries I have ever seen. “Rise Up and Shout” is the story of the creativity of the youth in the gay community and this film makes me want to “rise up and shout” about how proud I am. We watch 15 young men and women among who are poets, singers, dancers, musicians, disk jockeys, artists and filmmakers. The film looks at the young voices in our community, at where they come from and where they want to go.

Four generations pass before our eye. We meet Malcolm Boyd, an 83 year old priest and we meet an 18 year old who is a poet but had been working as a prostitute. All of the fifteen come together to create a one-time only event which showcases the diversity within us—everything from an opera singer in drag to a lesbian who specializes in hip hop. The people in the film have creativity in common but otherwise they are young and old, black and white, male and female and shy and loud. We watch as they audition, we hear their interviews, we visit their rehearsals and we are with them on that momentous date when their show opened in September, 2006. We see their struggle to express themselves, the frustrations of non conformity which they experience, the diversity in our community and its importance.

“Rise Up and Shout” bridges the generations and gives us a deep, vital and genuine look at our community without the superficiality by which we have been depicted and shows how we find ourselves. We see a culture which has values and in discovering what we have in our community is a step along the way to finding ourselves.

Among those that we meet is a dance group called Glass, a group of kids from a home for gay and lesbian foster youth who have the desire to move past childhood and bring what they can do to the world. John Quale aka Prince Poppycock s a drag opera singer who has been classically trained as turns the barber in “The Marriage of Figaro” upside down. Justin Miles is a 21 year old of Mormon heritage who after a period on crystal meth has moved beyond that and s now attending college with the hopes of pursuing a career in music journalism. Steven Liang is a poet, a filmmaker and an activist who ran for prom queen in his high school and advocates the removal of gender requirements And then there is 83 year old Malcolm Boyd who talks about the experiences he had with Prince Poppycock and  shares what he learned with us.

This is absolutely a feel good film as it shows us how much we have within our rainbow community. You cannot help but smile as you watch it and you will also feel a sense of pride unlike any you have ever felt before, “Rise Up and Shout” deserves a “bravo” and a “bravo” and another “bravo”.

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