New Releases: Pride Edition

Texas Archive of the Moving Image celebrates Pride 2019 with a new video collection from the Happy Foundation!

The Happy Foundation is a non-profit archive dedicated to the preservation of San Antonio’s LGBTQ history. Founder and curator Gene Elder began collecting materials in 1988, ultimately moving the collection to a back room of the downtown gay nightclub Bonham Exchange. The organization is named after Arthur “Happy” Veltman, a San Antonio entrepreneur who died of AIDS in 1988. In addition to owning multiple gay bars, including Bonham Exchange, Veltman was also involved in the development of the San Antonio River Walk and Blue Star Arts Complex.

Much of the video collection documents scenes of community activism. This home video captures a 2005 gathering dubbed the “Wedding Cake Liberation Event.” The Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas organized the meeting to raise awareness against a proposed statewide ban on same-sex marriage. Attendees hear from Elena Guajardo, the first openly gay candidate to win a seat on the San Antonio City Council, before enjoying a ceremonial cutting of the wedding cake by Toby Johnson and Kip Dollar. Johnson and Dollar were among the first same-sex couples to register as domestic partners in Texas.

The collection also includes two episodes of public-access television program Freethought Forum, in which Elder sits down with a panel of guests to discuss matters impacting the LGBTQ community. Broadcast on June 28, 1992, this installment honors the 23rd anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

But what is Pride without a parade? This home video shows the 1998 San Antonio Pride Picnic, a precursor to Pride San Antonio. Colorful floats make their way downtown before Cheer Dallas performs a routine in front of the Alamo. The festival continues with a picnic at Crockett Park.

Explore the complete Happy Foundation collection here.

Do you have films or videotapes documenting LGBTQ communities across the Lone Star State? Consider making them a part of Texas media history by donating a digital copy to the archive through our Texas Film Round-Up program. Learn more here.