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Queer Haunts: Playland Film Screening & Panel

with Jackson Davidow, Joan Ilacqua, and matheus cabral

About the Event


Mar 28, 6 – 8:30pm


Anderson Auditorium, SMFA at Tufts, 230 Fenway

Join Tufts University Art Galleries at the SMFA / Boston for a screening of Playland (2023), directed by Georden West, “a boundary-pushing, transdisciplinary, hybrid film centered around the raucous activity of a time-bending night in Boston’s oldest and most notorious gay bar, the Playland Café.” Following the screening, guest curator Jackson Davidow of As the World Burns: Queer Photography and Nightlife in Boston will host a panel conversation with The History Project Executive Director Joan Ilacqua, and DJ and founder of Boudoir, Matheus Cabral. Their conversation will center upon how queer nightlife creates solidarity and community in Boston and beyond.

Written and Directed by Georden West
Cast: Danielle Cooper, Lady Bunny, Aidan Dick, Constance Cooper, José Lapaz-Rodriguez, Miranda Quinn, Gatekeeper Adrian, Maine Anders
Kelly Mittendorf, Sprat, Mason Caminiti, and Muhammed Cham
Produced by Russell Sheaffer, Hannah McSwiggen, and Danielle Cooper
Cinematographer: Jo Jo Lam
Music: Aaron Michael Smith
Production Design: Kristen Dempsey
Costume Design: Edwin Mohney
Choreography: Mayte Natalio
Editors: Georden West and Russell Sheaffer
Sound Design: Kal Pipal

Jackson Davidow is an art historian, curator, and critic. He has published scholarship in American Art and in Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories, and his criticism has appeared in Art in America, Artforum, The Baffler, The Boston Globe Magazine, Boston Review, frieze, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. For his essay “Against Our Vanishing,” published in The Baffler in 2021, he received the “Writing Photography. DGPh Award for Innovative Publication” from the Deustche Börse Photography Foundation and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie in 2023. He is currently the John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Curatorial Fellow in Photography at the Harvard Art Museums. After receiving his Ph.D. in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture from MIT in 2019, he worked at the Stonewall National Museum and Archives and held a postdoctoral fellowship at Tufts University’s Translating Race Lab and the Center for the Humanities. He is writing a book on global AIDS cultural activism.

Joan Ilacqua is the Executive Director of The History Project. She is a member of the Massachusetts State Historic Records Advisory Board and the Boston 400th Commemoration Commission. She is a graduate of UMass Boston’s Public History master’s program and earned her Bachelor of Arts in History and Studio Art at the University of Puget Sound. Joan has spent her career ensuring that historically marginalized communities are centered in historical narratives. She is a staunch supporter of community-based and -driven archives and a firm believer that history is for all of us, not just the most privileged among us. In her spare time, Joan likes to read queer romance novels and design subversive cross-stitch patterns. The History Project is Boston’s LGBTQ community archives. A 501©3 organization founded in 1980 by archivists, activists, and historians, The History Project documents, preserves, and shares LGBTQ+ history. Learn more at

matheus cabral (he/him), also known as Math3ca, is a queer Boston-based DJ and party organizer producing, creating, and cultivating the local underground music scene. He is committed to contributing, curating, and creatively reinvesting to the artistic and nightlife scenes of Boston. Math3ca’s main sound satellites around house—but his sets always include sprinkles of electro, disco, baile funk, and latinx/afro-percussion. He’ll make you dance.

Image: Dir. Georden West, Rabbit (Miranda Quinn), Steff (José Lapaz-Rodriguez), and Frankie (Mason Caminiti) in Playland (film still), 2023.