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Documentaries to Check Out in Honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance

2 Dec

Transgender Day of Remembrance, occurs each year on November 20.  It is a day to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia and to bring attention to the continued violence frequently directed toward the transgender community.  It was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.  Rita was a part of the transgender community in Boston where she worked toward education around transgender issues.

Because of this day, the week from the November 14-20 is considered Transgender Awareness Week by GLAAD and other organizations and some groups also celebrate the whole month of November as Transgender Awareness Month.  Below are documentaries Hoboken and other BCCLS patrons can check out any time from Hoopla!

What’s the T?

The T in LGBT stands for transgender and the award winning documentary, What’s the T? looks at the lives of five women whose lives began as boys.  They are a diverse group including an actress, a student, a dancer, an activist, and a nurse.  The film was shown at numerous film festivals and was praised for capturing the compelling lives of its subjects.

Growing Up Trans

The PBS documentary Growing Up Trans looks at transgender children and their families who are exploring what it means to grow up being transgender.  It includes an interesting look at how medical advances are allowing them to make the transition before puberty and how this impacts their lives.

Out Late

On the other side of the age spectrum the documentary Out Late features five people who came out as lesbian, gay, or transgender, after the age of 55. LeAnna, who served in the military as a man, became a woman at age 60.  The documentary looks at why they chose to come out later in life and what being out meant to them.  Those featured come from a diverse cross section of North America including Canada, Florida, and Kansas.

I Am the Queen

In the Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago, the Vida/Sida Cacica Pageant brings together the Puerto Rican community to celebrate its transgender participants. I Am the Queen follows Bianca, Julissa and Jolizza as they prepare for the pageant. The women share stories of their transition, their relatives’ reactions, and how they find support in the community.

Do you have other documentaries or transgender resources to recommend?  Let us know in our comment section!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

“It’s Only Forever, It’s Not Long at All”: Celebrate Labyrinth’s 30th Anniversary

23 Sep

Labyrinth was a favorite of mine as a child and continues to be one for me today.  I have a poster of the French version of the film, and a stuffed toy blue worm living in my basement.  Since the film just celebrated its 30th Anniversary in September now is the perfect time to re-watch it or check out one of these Labyrinth related items.



Image via

In the magical movie Labyrinth, Sarah wishes away her demanding baby brother, Toby, and then must rescue him from the Goblin King.  Jim Henson’s remarkable puppets are amazing and the effects were cutting edge for the time period, however, the film was actually a flop when it premiered before achieving the beloved cult status it holds today.  It is available on DVD and BluRay from BCCLS libraries.  Be sure to check out the making of featurettes for fun behind the scene tidbits.

Jim Henson’s Fantasy Film Collection

If you can’t get enough of Henson Studio’s work checkout this DVD collection which includes Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, and Mirror Mask. You can read more about Mirror Mask in a previous post about the works of Neil Gaiman.  For those wanting a special Dark Crystal experience you can check out our special movie/music synchronization event with the music of Blue Oyster Cult at Maxwell’s on October 22.

In Their Own Words: Jim Henson

In this PBS biography you can learn about Jim Henson’s career from his start in puppetry through the creation of Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock and of course Labyrinth.

Faeries, written and illustrated by Brian Froud and Alan Lee

Much of the look and creatures of Labyrinth were inspired by master fairy artist Brian Froud’s work.  In this bewitching book fairies, elves, and other creatures of legend come alive.  Brian wasn’t the only Froud involved with the film–his son Toby Froud played the baby Toby, and his wife Wendy Froud also was involved with the puppets design (she is best known for creating Yoda for The Empire Strikes Back).

David Bowie’s The Platinum Collection

One of my favorite parts of the film was David Bowie’s brilliant performance as the Goblin King, Jareth. Each of his songs was a beautiful soundscape for the film, but best of all may have been “Underground”, included in this collection along with other Bowie hits.  Fans of Bowie or the movie probably recognized the lyrics from it in our blog post title.

The Age of Bowie, by Paul Morley

Want more Bowie? Check out this recently released biography that looks at some of the highlights of Bowie’s life and career.

Outside Over There, by Maurice Sendak

Although not a direct adaptation, Maurice Sendak’s Outside Over There seems to have been an influence on Labyrinth’s story.  In the picture book a girl must rescue her little sister who is stolen by goblins who plan to make her a goblin bride.  If you watch the end of the film there is note about inspiration of Sendak’s work on Jim Henson.  Plus those with keen eyes might catch a copy of Outside Over There on Sarah’s bookshelf in her bedroom.

Jim Henson’s Return to Labyrinth, written by Jake T. Forbes and illustrated by Chris Lie with cover art by Kouyu Shurei

In this Manga style graphic novel, a teenage Toby has his own adventures with the Goblin King.  Although not completely capturing the magic of the original, it is still fun to continue the adventures of the classic film.

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth The Novelization, by A.C.H. Smith


Image via Hoopla Digital

For those looking to read a more true to screen version of Labyrinth, the movie has been adapted by author and playwright A.C.H. Smith as Jim Henson’s Labyrinth The Novelization.  It can be downloaded on Hoopla.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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