Benjamin Smoke (2000)

Genres - Music  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Sociology  |   Release Date - Jul 21, 2000 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 73 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Jonathan Crow

Noted documentary filmmaker Jem Cohen (along with Peter Sillen) directs this look at Benjamin, a Southern, gay, HIV positive, drug-addicted drag queen who led the blues-punk band "Smoke." Born Robert Dickerson in 1960, Benjamin played punk in Atlanta's grungy Cabbagetown section before fronting the queer-core band Opal Foxx Quartet. Thereafter, he began experimenting with such decidedly unpunk instruments as banjos and cellos and formed Smoke. As Cabbagetown lost its edgy spirit during the 1990s -- thanks to the yuppie-friendly condo boom -- so did Benjamin lose his fight against AIDS. He died of the disease early in 1999. This film was screened at the 2000 Berlin Film Festival.



band [music group], drag-queen, drug-addiction, HIV, legend [famous person], life-story, maverick, music, retrospective, tribute, underground [counterculture]