The Continental opened deep in the basement of New York’s majestic Ansonia Hotel in 1968, advertising the gleaming emporium as akin to “the glory of ancient Rome.” This legendary gay bath house, with a host of amenities including a sauna and swimming pool, a cabaret nightclub, the first light-up dance floor à la Saturday Night Fever, an “orgy room,” and K-Y jelly in the vending machines, was a notorious beacon of hedonism, but it also proved integral to the gay liberation movement of the pre-AIDS era. Hosting a bevy of now-legendary performers such as Cab Calloway, Gladys Knight, the Pointer Sisters, Patti Labelle, and most famously, Bette Midler (aka Bathhouse Betty), with Barry Manilow on the keys, the Continental shuttered after just seven years. Ingram tells the club’s colorful story in this extraordinary documentary.
Producer: Malcolm Ingram
Directors of Photography: Jonathon Cliff, Andrew MacDonald
Editor: Sean Stanley
with Malcolm Ingram, Michael Musto,
Sarah Dash, and others
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Malcolm Ingram; writer Michael Musto; singer Sarah Dash (of the soul trio Labelle); and Jorge De La Torre, manager of the Continental.