THE GOSPEL OF EUREKA is a Kino Lorber doc that goes deep into West Virginia Ozark country to explore a hillbilly town where fundamentalist Christians and out and about gay fellow-believers, a variety of LGBT types, pray and co-exist tolerantly. And have a whole lotta damn fun doin' it.
The gays party and pray hard in tiny Eureka Springs, which is big enough for both a lively, funky drag club (dubbed "the hillbilly Studio 54) and a multi-million dollar Passion Play (lavishly produced each year by the local, straight drama-queens of this deeply religious community), thrive. Love, tolerance, emotional personal close-ups, and plenty of spectacle (the lavish Crucifixion production in an amphitheater, the sometimes tacky, sometimes touching cabaret acts) contribute to the town and doc’s show-biz pizazz. Heft comes from a critical local town where both the hillbilly gay bar and a bustling Christian T-shirt shop are among thriving local businesses. Virginia, we’re not in Jason Bateman’s Ozark anymore.
Lushly photographed with the beauty of the Ozark outdoors getting many a close up.
A rare and joyously offbeat slice of contemporary America that breaks down the red-state-blue-state divide
The silky, sassy narration of Mx Justin Vivian Bond and the interwoven focus on a the long-married, very Christian gay male couple who founded the gay bar comprise much of the doc’s witty, ironic, compassionate connective tissue.
The unfolding local court fight for retention of a civil rights law protecting gays provides the thread of suspense also makes this doc ripe for a narrative re-make rights or more loosely based “inspired by” film.
There’s also a whole lotta kitsch and noise goin’ on that may not be so fundamentalist to some audiences who embrace the sanctity of tradition.