Last Call at Maud’s

1993 | Coming Out / Documentary / Homophobia / Social Issues / Women's Studies | 77m | USA
Directors: Paris Poirier

Some genuinely wild women take center stage in Paris Poirier’s vivacious and historical documentary about Maud’s; an establishment that had been the longest-running lesbian bar in the United States. This venerable San Francisco establishment opened in 1966, when lesbians were still very much in the closet. Maud’s flourished throughout the 1970s and 1980s, enjoying an international reputation as a meeting place for lesbians and their friends, only to be shut down in 1989 as a result of the community’s shifting priorities.

Provocative personal stories of coming out, sexual politics, and softball are mixed with flashbacks to the Hollywood gay bars of the 1940s and the vice raids of the 1950s. The vintage photos and personal interviews (with Mary Wings, Judy Grahn, Phyllis Lyon, Del Martin, Sally Gearhart, JoAnn Loulan and Rikki Streicher, to name a few) are an invaluable window into lesbian history.

A witty and informative look at cultural evolution in the making, Last Call at Maud’s salutes and preserves an era in history when bars were the only cultural institutions in the lesbian community.

Reviews and Awards

“Warm-hearted and honest. A significant piece of gay history.”—Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“Recounts the sexy secrecy of the early scene. What makes Last Call at Maud’s so interesting are the intersections of the sweep of history with the smallness of one social circle.”—Martha Baer, Village Voice

“This consistently entertaining and engaging film invites its interviewees to range far beyond barroom reminiscences to tell us what it was like to be a lesbian in postwar America.”—Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

“Impressive, well-researched, undogmatic look at the twilight Lesbian world from the 1940s to now.” —Variety