‘Through The Windows’ Chronicles First Gay Bar To Open Its Windows

Sign for Twin Peaks Tavern in San Francisco (screen capture)
Sign for Twin Peaks Tavern in San Francisco (screen capture)

In that today is National Coming Out Day, check out Through The Windows, an excellent 56 minute documentary that chronicles the first gay bar in the U.S. to ‘come out,’ currently streaming on the LGBTQ+ streaming platform Revry.

The film tells the story of San Francisco’s Twin Peaks Tavern, the bar that changed the face of the gay community in the 70’s by opening its windows, and the men who dared to be seen.

(screen capture from 'Through The Windows')
(screen capture from ‘Through The Windows’)

Before Twin Peaks Tavern, gay bars either had no windows or they were blacked out so what happened inside couldn’t be seen by the public. As the filmmakers point out, this was a time when “there was no language to describe what it meant to be gay, when gay bars were only down back alleys, and when being gay was still not only taboo, but illegal.”

Through interviews with longtime patrons and employees of the historic bar, the documentary reminds us how important these safe spaces were during the nascent gay rights movement of the 1970s. 

(screen capture from 'Through The Windows')
(screen capture from ‘Through The Windows’)

The story of Twin Peaks Tavern and its longtime patrons brought a smile to my face while it fanned a bit of Pride in my soul.

Rather than a hard core history lesson “lecturing” about how difficult gay life was in the early 70s, the filmmakers of Through The Windows take an artful but comfortable approach in relating the history of a place that sounds like a queer “Cheers,” where everybody knew your name.

Sharing what it meant to be the first bar in the U.S. to have open windows – and for the patrons to step out of the shadows – was an important “coming out” event in the history of the LGBTQ+ movement.

Screen capture from 'Through The Windows'
(screen capture from ‘Through The Windows’)

Initially released in 2019, you can view the film at Revry for free as part of the QueerX 2021 Film Festival through October 31. The winners of the Jury Awards will be announced at QueerX Live on Monday, October 11, 2021.

Watch the trailer for Through The Windows here.

(screen capture from 'Through The Windows')
(screen capture from ‘Through The Windows’)

 

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