Trayvon Martin, Bully, & the Starck Club
After the Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin verdict was announced, I like many, was a bit perplexed over the result. Even though the letter of the faulty 'Stand Your Ground' law may have been upheld, it occurred to me, like many rational folks in this country, there's seemingly something wrong with a scenario in which a young kid goes to a 7-11 to get some skittles and ice tea, and ends up losing his life. As I saw my Facebook feed blow up, one post caught my attention. A fellow posted something to the effect of, 'Why is it when O.J. got away with murder, white folks around the country didn't protest the verdict?' I posted a response that declared there may be some sensitivity in the African American community because not all that long ago, it was basically legal to lynch and kill a black man in a pretty wide swath of this country. At best, many of his friends and followers piped up with a litany of anecdotal examples of white folks killed by black or Latino assailants and no protest or cause had been mounted in the memory of the deceased. At worst, I was bombarded with responses that were no more than a lot of racist bile that lead me to believe that I'd stumbled on a White Supremacy group. I guess Costa- Gavras set his film Betrayal in Idaho for good reason.
Not long ago, I watched the compelling documentary Bully. A few of the subjects were taunted simply because of their sexuality, one lesbian teen in particular. Another young man, because he was a nebbish looking kid with big coke bottle glasses and full lips that many women would kill for. Yet it occurred to me that some 25 plus years ago, nestled on the northwest edge of downtown Dallas, there was a place where racial, sexual, and cultural differences weren't just tolerated, but fully embraced... with very wide arms. People like Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, and the aforementioned teens would have fit into the swirl of Starck Club just perfectly, dancing to something like Shreikback or Depeche Mode or Uptown Girls or Book of Love on a crowded Saturday night.
Many of you reading this post know this is true, because like me, you saw it play out every night you went to Starck. And yet, several decades later we realize we haven't just too slowly progressed but rather, we've taken a few steps back. There are many complex reasons for this but one is that mainstream media has started to devolve into something that doesn't disseminate information, but rather helps us to confirm what we already believe. There's very little discovery offered us anymore, today a Walter Cronkite type would never go on the air, after a trip to Vietnam, and declare the war was 'unwinnable' in his view. No matter your political bent, it's almost inarguable to say there was very little due diligence offered by mainstream media outlets in the lead up to the war in Iraq.
Now, this is not a polemic I'm leading up to here, no this is a plea. I've been in contact with a few major magazines about possibly doing a piece on the Starck Club, and the response has always been a variation of this: "the fact that the Starck Club is a place almost no one's heard of, its celebrity affiliations notwithstanding, might work against it rather than for it." There's no real conspiracy afoot here. It's rather simple, if you're reading this piece and you still live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area do me a favor: Ask any of your younger friends, say mid 30's or younger, what they know about the Starck Club. I can bet you dollars to doughnuts you'll get a big blank look. As I was going back and forth from Dallas to shoot Warriors of the Discotheque, http://jfafilms.com/films_warriors_of_the_discotheque.html I talked to a few colleagues in LA who were born and raised in Big D, about 30 years old, and had no clue what I was talking about when I discussed the film I was working on. People born and raised in Dallas had no clue what the Starck Club was or what it stood for... Loooonnnngggg pause for emphasis!
Ponder this a good long moment... Does anyone think a night club that spawned the popularization of MDMA aka Ecstasy, that was populated by drag queens from far and wide and LGBT patrons, that held performances by groundbreaking artists like Karen Finley would also be the same place that would hold a big party for the Republican National Convention? Do you think that would happen today? Think about it a moment. Starck Club was all these things and more, and shows how desperately we need more places like it. But, it's up to you Starckers. You need to shout it from the rooftops just how significant this place really was, and how it's never been more relevant. Warriors... the newest and final version is screening in Austin come August 29th, http://www.tugg.com/events/4782 Repost this blog, write about it, shout it from the rooftops. Another even more exhaustively detailed doc about Starck is coming out soon, share it, shout it out, http://www.starckproject.com/.
After all, who could possibly be better advocates for Starck Club than those who actually know and understand what I'm talking about. If you're like me, and believe that Starck stood for something that's more necessary and relevant now than ever before, share it, re-post it, blog about it, copy and paste it, let people in on the secret only we know! After all, there are still people all over this country being denied their equal rights simply because they are gay or lesbian or transgender or black or Asian or just different religions. Even that big Left winger... pause for irony... Clint Eastwood believes gay marriage should be legal. To quote a recent film about current events, "I want to make something absolutely clear. If you thought there's some secret cell somewhere, working on... Starck Club (my insertion:), well I want you to know you're wrong. This is it! There's no working group coming to the rescue, there's nobody else hidden on some other floor, there's just us... And we are failing!"