Synopsis by Rebecca Flint Marx
A documentary about a truly fascinating and multi-faceted woman, Hand on the Pulse tells the story of Joan Nestle. Teacher, writer, archivist, and a wild woman in the sphere of politics and sexuality, Nestle did major work towards furthering society's understanding of gender and female sexuality. With Deborah Edel, her lover at the time, Nestle also founded the Lesbian Herstory Archive, located in New York City. Using photos, archival footage, and interviews, director Joyce Warshow allows viewers to peek into Nestle's life, including her public readings, which she held wearing a black slip; the birth of her community in Greenwich Village; her participation in the Black Civil Rights Movement; her evolution as a feminist and writer; and her work to promote a new gay and lesbian awareness, the effects of which can still be felt today. Hand on the Pulse was screened at the 2002 Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.