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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Events Wed Dec 03 2014

Classic Queer Lit Onscreen & Onstage: Daviel Shy Previews The Ladies Almanack

Equal parts faux-heroic narrative and lesbian gossip column, Djuna Barnes's 1928 novel Ladies Almanack is very strange, very funny, and -- to be fair -- a little hard to read. Whatever one was expecting, it is not that; it's a magpie's nest of archaic language, double entendres, and in-jokes centering on Barnes' social circle, which was dominated by outspoken lesbian salon doyenne Natalie Clifford Barney.

No straightforward film adaptation could do the book justice, so instead Chicago writer and filmmaker Daviel Shy has conceived "a kaleidoscopic tribute to women's writing ... focused on lives and voices of 1920's Paris, refracted by the words of French 1970s theorists, and disseminated through the bodies of international contemporary artists," as the film's website puts it. Ladies AlmanackThose bodies: a pantheon of literary luminaries and other artists, including poet/genius Eileen Myles as the narrator and photographer Deborah Bright as Radclyffe Hall -- convening a contemporary circle of remarkable women to tell the stories of their forebears.

The Ladies Almanack, the movie, is still a work in progress, but throughout the coming year, The Nightingale's Follow Focus program will present excerpts in four installments while giving viewers a peek behind the scenes. The first screening takes place this Sunday, Dec. 7 at 7pm, at 1084 N. Milwaukee Ave., and will include a presentation from Shy and dramatic readings from the novel. For the $15 ticket price, you'll even get a souvenir: part of a Ladies Almanack tarot deck designed by Jess LeMaster, also to be released gradually over the course of the series.

Production photo of Eileen Myles courtesy of The Ladies Almanack.

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