Conversations with Gay Elders: Kerby Lauderdale
With rich detail, keen insight, and astonishing poignancy, Kerby Lauderdale, a man in his late 70s, recounts the major events that shaped his life and identity as a gay man, in this intimate filmed conversation with David Weissman, the acclaimed director of We Were Here (Frameline34) and The Cockettes (Frameline25).
Lauderdale—eloquent, emotional, and honest—is an ideal subject for Weissman’s exploration of the generation of men who came of age before Stonewall. From his vivid recollection of his sexual awakening at summer camp, and through his first college romance, a lengthy marriage to a woman—not to mention his life as a pastor in rural Indiana—and his eventual 14-year partnership with a man through the height of the AIDS epidemic, the subject’s personal history encapsulates many of the touchstones of American gay male life in the mid-20th century. The conversation is interspersed with clips of Lauderdale and his supportive ex-wife, Linda, appearing on talk shows in the early 1990s in frank discussions about his coming out during their marriage. In examining his life experiences, Lauderdale exudes impressive depth of feeling, particularly while describing profoundly personal aspects of his emotional and sexual journey.
The film is an installment in Weissman’s ongoing intergenerational oral history documentary series in which he collaborates with young gay editors; a compilation of excerpts of other Conversations with Gay Elders screened at Frameline40. With Kerby Lauderdale, Weissman demonstrates the staying power and relevance of his unique filmmaking endeavor.
— MICHAEL LOPRESTI
- Premiere Status: Bay Area