Big Joy:
The Adventures of James Broughton

Directors Stephen Silha and Eric Slade in attendance

Sat, May 18, 2013, 7pm
McMenamins Kennedy School Theater
Sponsored by Dan WInter and John Forsgren

Filmmaker, poet and exuberant mischief-maker James Broughton was above all an avatar of joyful living – exhorting the world with his motto “Follow your own weird!”

Broughton recalls being awakened – at age 3 – by a glittering angel who told him he was a poet, and never to fear being alone or laughed at. Broughton’s “angel” sustained him through a traumatic early childhood on the West Coast, and into his early artistic and sexual experimentation in New York, Europe and San Francisco. He pursued his poetic calling but quickly found recognition as a filmmaker in the golden years of “experimental film.” He was a central figure of the San Francisco bohemian scene of the 1950s and ‘60s, and his hippie – era film The Bed provoked scandal and delight with its playful sexuality. Broughton was also an early influence in the subculture of the Radical Faeries.

From the beginning, Broughton’s work celebrated the erotic and the whimsical, promoting a free-spirited embrace of the senses. According to Armistead Maupin, “He had a way of getting at the serious by focusing on the silly, and that’s seductive; it creeps up on you.”

Broughton had affairs with men and women, including an extended relationship with soon-to-be-legendary film critic Pauline Kael, as well as an affair with pioneering gay activist Harry Hay. At 61 he fell madly in love with a man nearly 40 years younger than himself with whom he lived the rest of his life. Stephen Silha and Eric Slade’s loving portrait of Broughton overflows with the spirit of the man, his work and his message.

Big Joy: Dirs Stephen Silha and Eric Slade 2013 USA 82 min.

Community Partners: Literary Arts: Northwest Film Center: Portland Lesbian & Gay Film Festival