Stand Up Stand Out: The Making of a Comedy Movement

2020, Documentary

Release Year: February 12, 2020
Country: United States
Director: David Pavlovsky
Writer: David Pavlovsky
Producer: David Pavlovsky, Scott Mason, and Dirk Alphin


Stand Up, Stand Out: The Making of a Comedy Movement tells the story of a unique brand of activism belonging only to San Francisco–where three gay teachers’ fight for equal rights during the burgeoning Gay Liberation Movement of the 1970s, led to the blossoming of the Valencia Rose Cabaret, Café, and Restaurant, believed to be the first and only gay-owned and operated comedy club in the USA. As AIDS ravaged San Francisco, a gay and lesbian comedy club flourished in, of all places, an old mortuary.

From 1981 to 1986, the Valencia Rose Cabaret, Café, and Restaurant blossomed as the home of queer comedy, the birthplace of many well-known careers, a de-facto community center and a gathering place for activists. At a dark historical moment, it was a locus of resistance through laughter. Stand Up, Stand Out is a thirty-five minute documentary that plunges into a little-known, but widely resonant, chapter of queer cultural history: the story of the Valencia Rose (1981-1986). Through the voices and humor of the Rose’s performers, the film explores gay comedy as an outgrowth of the rich traditions of activism and performance in San Francisco, an empowering response to the conservative politics of the era, and a valiant quest for joy and laughter amidst the horrific onslaught of the AIDS crisis.


About the directors

David Pavlosky is an independent multimedia producer, director, editor, and educator based in New York City. His work covers a wide range of subjects, but themes of social justice and human relations are common among his films. He has served as a media consultant for organizations as varied as the Center for Constitutional Rights, Friends House New York City, CitiLeaf Housing, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Hunter College Dance Program, and the Hunter College Theatre Department
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