Boston’s Playland Café first opened in The Great Depression (in 1937). The space became one of Boston’s most notorious queer bars, known for attracting a diverse clientele from all over the city. It would close 60+ years later in 1998 after it lost its entertainment license. The debut film by Georden West, an Emerson University graduate, is creating a lot of buzz and will premiere tomorrow at the Rotterdam’s International Film Festival.
Hopefully this film will make its way back across the Atlantic and have a screening here in Boston. I’ll be certain to share more when I learn of a confirmed date.
The film, Playland, is set up as a series of dreamlike interactions capturing moments over the bars 60+ years from the bar’s cooks, waiters, bartenders and drag performers, starting in the the late 1930s and running through the mid-’90s, building narrative with each additional story. West’s use of archival footage of the bar and its surrounding neighborhood, Boston’s Red Light district called the Combat Zone, adds nostalgia, recalling a time when Boston was far less affluent and a much more gritty city.
What a bucket of blood it was! 🙂