A new documentary about pioneering academic, writer, and butch icon Esther Newton is looking for support.
Throughout her career, Esther Newton was a pioneer—questioning and challenging status quo assumptions on gender, sexuality, and anthropological methods. At a time when anthropology was limited to studying “far away cultures”, Esther’s foundational book, Mother Camp, was a bold and intimate study of the underground world of 1960’s midwest drag bars.
Despite her groundbreaking work, Esther struggled to gain acceptance in an academic world that sidelined women and shunned homosexuals. With dogged persistence and the growing voice of the feminist and LGBTQ movements, Newton would go on to write important works such as Margaret Mead Made Me Gay; Cherry Grove, Fire Island:: Sixty Years in America’s First Gay and Lesbian Town; “My Best Informant’s Dress” and My Butch Career, that laid the foundation for a new generation of queer scholars and activists.
The tone of this film, directed by Jean Carlomusto, is light and fluid, guided by Esther’s love for a sport — competitive dog agility — that pairs her aging butch body with her beloved dog teammate on an obstacle course that is constantly changing. Agility, persistence, and passionate inquiry have driven Esther’s survival as a butch woman, octogenarian athlete, and iconoclast scholar in a world full of obstacles.
Register for the online event on June 14 at 7pm here.