News - July 1996

"Stonewall" soundtrack release party held at birthplace of gay rights

NEW YORK -- Columbia Records, The New Festival, OUT Magazine and Chip Duckett celebrated the release of the new soundtrack to Stonewall with a party at the Stonewall on Christopher Street June 6.

The event included a performance of the soundtrack by two of the film's stars -- Candis Cayne and Sherry Vine -- in the real-life birthplace of the modern Gay & Lesbian Rights Movement.

The post-war Gay & Lesbian Rights Movement exploded into public consciousness in June 1969, when a group of angry drag queens - pushed over the edge by one police harassment too many -- triggered a riot outside the Stonewall Inn in New York's Greenwich Village. Each year in June, the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots is commemorated worldwide as Lesbian and Gay Pride Day.

Now, that flamboyant moment in American political-cultural history serves as the backdrop to STONEWALL, the first film to dramatize the events surrounding the traumatic and exhilarating birth of Gay Pride.

Stonewall follows the lives of a half-dozen gay New Yorkers in the weeks leading up to the Stonewall riots while examining police harassment, Mafia control of gay bars, and the general oppression and homophobia faced by gay men and women in the days before the Stonewall Riots launched the Gay Rights Movement in earnest.

Columbia Records is proud to release the soundtrack to Stonewall, an album of the music of the era: a revelatory collection of songs demonstrating the interplay between a gay sensibility and 60's pop consciousness. Tracks on the soundtrack include: "Give Him A Great Big Kiss" (the Shangri-La's); "Gee Baby Gee" (the Butterflies); "Sophisticated Boom Boom" (the Shangri-La's); "Ooh Pah Pah Doo" (the Shirelles); "(Remember) Walking In The Sand" (the Shangri-La's); "The Boy From New York City" (the Ad-Libs); "Zing Went The Strings of My Heart" (Judy Garland); "Down The Aisle" (Patti Labelle); "Go Now" (Bessie Banks); "Over The Rainbow" (Judy Garland) and "What A Good Boy" (Barenaked Ladies).

The album includes a hot dancefloor-skewed extended remix of the Shangri-La's "Give Him A Great Big Kiss," mixed by New York club DJ Hani and featuring a sample of the Ad-Libs' "Boy From New York City."

Randall Poster, fresh from his work on "I Shot Andy Warhol," acted as musical supervisor for the film. "We really felt it was an important project," said Poster. "We pulled out all the stops in gathering evocative girl-group music from the period."

The movie is based on Martin Duberman's social history book, Stonewall. The film was directed by Nigel Finch, who recreated not only the Stonewall Inn but the Sheridan Square of the late 1960's. Finch saw his film through to a final cut before succumbing to AIDS on Valentine's Day 1995. Before he passed on, he assigned Anthony Wall (a longtime colleague and executive producer on the film) and Christine Vachon (producer of STONEWALL, Todd Hayne's "Poison" "Safe," Larry Clark's "Kids," Mary Harron's "I Shot Andy Warhol") the task of seeing the film through to completion.

"Shooting the film was a delight," writes Christine Vachon in the album's liner notes. "Nigel was seeing the fulfillment of a lifelong dream... He brought a palpable ebullience to the set everyday that was contagious... Nigel wanted to give the lesbian and gay community a sense of courage and history - and most importantly, of heroes. In 'Stonewall', the characters fight back. Nigel said, `It's a reminder that you have to fight for your rights -- they are not given voluntarily! And as a symbol for change, 'Stonewall' is valid universally. Young gay men and lesbians need to know that we had to fight for our rights the whole way. And we are still fighting."

©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.