James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Archives March 2010

Word Is Out (or Who Are We?)
The Peter Adair Papers (GLC 70) is now open to the public to coincide with the release of the DVD version of Word Is Out. Peter Adair and the Mariposa Film Group’s ground-breaking film from 1978 explores the lives and feelings of 26 gay men and women. The new DVD includes “extras” drawn from the Peter Adair Papers—still photographs, edited footage, and some of the pre-interviews.

The working title of the film was “Who Are We?” a title which deftly conveys Adair’s and the Mariposa Film Group’s goal. It is interesting how universal the stories are and how they continue to resonate more than 30 years later.

The Peter Adair Papers includes the filmed interviews with all of the people in the film, as well as the videotaped interviews of all of the people considered for the film. Over 100 people were interviewed including such notables as Tom Ammiano, Canyon Sam, Pat Parker, Carole Migden, Blackberri, and Hank Wilson. The Papers also includes background paperwork, the filmmakers’ notes on cuts and edits, and the drafts of Nancy and Casey Adair's book Word Is Out. A small portion of the collection contains the videotape of The AIDS Show, a Theatre Rhinoceros production filmed by Peter Adair and Rob Epstein.

Many of us are drawn to historical materials to define ourselves within the context of previous generations. The Adair Papers began as means to answer the question “Who Are We?” Lacking a library or archives to explore that question, Adair and the Mariposa Film Group went to the community itself to find answers. Thirty years later, the Peter Adair Papers allows us to respond with both “who we were” and “who we are.”

All Hormel Center archives are handled through the San Francisco History Center, 6th Floor, Main Library.

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