Cinema Rental – The Gentleman Bank Robber: The Story of Butch Lesbian Freedom Fighter rita bo brown
* Post-film discussion with George Jackson Brigade members Janine Bertram, Mark Cook and Ed Mead *
The Gentleman Bank Robber is a portrait of revolutionary rita bo brown, a white working class butch from rural Oregon who became known as The Gentleman Bank Robber in the 1970s for combining her butch style of dress with a polite way of demanding funds from bank tellers. The film moves between everyday moments with bo in and around her current home in Oakland, California, and historical retelling of the events of bo’s extraordinary life through interviews with bo and her collaborators, archival materials, and rare social movement ephemera. The Gentleman Bank Robber weaves together personal and political perspectives on 20th century social movement histories, including queer liberation in the 1960s; militant, underground activity with the George Jackson Brigade in the 1970s, a revolutionary prison abolitionist group; political prisoner support work in the 1980s, and prison activist work into the present day. bo brown is a model for how to lead a life of committed activism while maintaining a sense of humor and humanity.
This event is a fundraiser for THE KITE, a prison newsletter with articles written by and for people in Washington state prisons as a means for people in prison to communicate and raise consciousness. THE KITE will also feature relevant prison news and art.
Support bo brown! In the summer of 2016, bo was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, a terminal neurodegenerative disease. As of October 2017, bo’s community is raising funds to support her in-home medical care. Donate to the Bo Brown, Forever Activist, Forever Survivor fundraising campaign here.
- The entrance, theater and restrooms are wheelchair accessible
- The film is captioned in English
- ASL interpretation
- Please avoid wearing scents, though we can’t guarantee a scent-free environment
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and access needs
Janine Bertram has spent her life working for economic and social justice. Her early work was in the Seattle lesbian community. She was the founder of Seattle COYOTE, an organization to decriminalize prostitution and a prostitute’s collective. She was a member of the George Jackson Brigade (GJB), a revolutionary group. While a federal prisoner for her participation in the GJB she organized a prisoner steering committee that included prisoners of all races to build communication and solidarity. As a disability rights activist in Washington, DC she worked for ADA to become law and joined and Not Dead Yet (national grassroots groups). Janine continues to work with National ADAPT.
Mark Cook was born in Seattle, (married/widowed, father, grandfather, great-grandfather) He spent about forty years in prison. While in prison he was politically influence by the well-known California prisoner, George Jackson. Mark was the co-founder of the first Prison Chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. After his release from prison he joined the George Jackson Brigade in Seattle (GJB), an armed propaganda organization. He was imprisoned for about 24 years for his political support of the GJB. He currently lives in Seattle continuing his political activism.
Ed Mead is a former social prisoner who became politicized on the inside, and as a result of that became a better person. Editor of numerous prison-oriented newsletters, both inside and out, and a former member of Seattle’s George Jackson Brigade. In the mid-1970s, while a prisoner at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Ed created a group called Men Against Sexism (MAS). This group consisted of gay and anti-sexist men and was the first (and probably only) gay prisoner organization that was officially recognized by the prison administration. MAS put an end to the widespread practice of prisoner-on-prisoner rape.