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Getting Straight About Gay History at Film Festivals

by Michael  Cox
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Sep 9, 2013

You don't want an angry drag queen after you, but that's exactly what you're going to get if you aren't caught up on the history of gay rights.

Now getting a refresher course from a vibrant and voluptuous diva is as easy as catching up on your math, grammar, and knowledge of the constitution on Saturday morning cartoons. Writer, director and producer David Scheve and TDA Animation have created a punchy, humorous musical history lesson in the style of the Original 1970/80s "SchoolHouse Rock" animation series.

In "Sufferin' Till You're Straight" a brassy drag queen gives a short, comedic history lesson of the LGBT community's long struggle for equal rights in the face of social bigotry. And this short film is popping up in film festivals across the United States and Europe.

Part of the reason it's so popular to festival programmers is the succinct, scintillating and satiric style of the animations series in which it's featured, "Hard Knock Rock".

"I just started seeing what was going on in the world, " Scheve told Central Coast News. "As I was looking at the original "SchoolHouse Rock" films, the minute I saw the women's rights spot, I knew that it was perfect for the gay rights spot. It's just the two line up."

The "Hard Knock Rock" short film collection is a ten-part series that takes a sardonic look at life’s "hard-knocks", things such as cosmetic surgery and erectile dysfunction. The segments feature the voices of Tony award and Emmy award winning actors such as Lillias White, Loretta Devine, Eileen Brennan and Elaine Stritch, as well as such iconic voice-over personalities as June Foray, Lucille Bliss, Stan Freeburg and Jack Sheldon.

Scheve shows us that gay people have been around since "the beginning of time," even if some historians try to hide that fact.

"I think what’s great about this film, and what I hope it does, is that you can really talk to people about subjects that might make them uncomfortable when you add music and comedy." said Scheve.

"Sufferin’ Till You’re Straight" includes many of the original voices from the "Schoolhouse Rock" films, including a powerful lead vocal by singer Essra Mohawk, a former member of Frank Zappa’s The Mothers of Invention and lead singer of "SchoolHouse Rock’"s scandalous "Interjections!"

Scheve told Central Coast News he plans to pitch his short films to several late night shows, like "Saturday Night Live."

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