INDEPENDENT LENS: TWO SPIRITS
10:30 p.m. Sunday, June 19
While gays and lesbians have made great strides in gaining their rights to live as free and proud individuals in our society over the past 20 years, transgender people are still often misunderstood and singled out, both for ridicule and for violence. Straight society often doesn't know what to do with this group within a group; these people who are born one gender, but who assert their right to live as another. For whatever reason, the homophobic backlash against transgender people can be even more violent and terrifying than the acts perpetrated against gays and lesbians. The 1993 murder of female-to-male transgender Brandon Teena (a case later made into the film "Boys Don't Cry") comes to mind. Less well known, though equally brutal and senseless, was the murder of Fred Martinez Jr., a 16-year-old Navajo boy from Cortez, Colo. On June 16, 2001, Martinez — who often dressed in girls' clothing — was savagely attacked and beaten to death by 18-year-old Shaun Murphy, a local tough and homophobe who later bragged to friends that he'd "beat up a fag." Four days later, Martinez' body was found dumped in a canyon outside of town. Martinez' life and the ensuing case against Murphy — who eventually pled guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison — cuts to the heart of gender, the law, LGBT bullying, and how we protect the most vulnerable minority groups in the 21st century. If you care about the soul of America, this doc is a must-see.
HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: HOMELESS IN ARKANSAS
7 p.m. Tuesday, June 21
While one might think of an urban metropolis like New York or Los Angeles when the word "homeless" is mentioned, Arkansas has more than its share of people with no roof over their heads. In Little Rock, the homeless often congregate in squalid camps that might be only yards from busy thoroughfares, but there are homeless people in every corner of the state, from the Delta to the mountains to the scrub pine forests in the south. In this documentary, filmmakers seek out the state's homeless, and give the housed among us a peek at where we might be spare for a steady paycheck and the grace of God.
NETFLIX PIX: THE A-TEAM
"In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire ... The A-Team." If you're an American male of a certain vintage, reading these words has automatically triggered the Essploshun Cortex of your brain, not to mention the signature theme song that meant it was time for everybody to dig into their SpaghettiO's and shut the hell up around Casa de Koon, circa 1984. The 1983-1986 series about a team of commandos-for-hire was must-see TV around my house. I had the lunch box. I had the T-shirt. I had the plastic B.A. van with real firing missiles in the grille. In other words, Netflix Instant has delivered yet another summertime Christmas present to my house, by putting the entire five-season run of "The A-Team" online. Sure, it's bound to be cheese-tastic after all these years. But this weekend, that won't stop me from opening that box of Mr. T cereal I've had wrapped in plastic for a quarter-decade, stretching an A-Team shirt over my heaving body, and settling in for a full-on reunion with my old friends B.A., Hannibal, Face and Murdock. Do I have to say it? Yes, I will: I love it when a plan comes together.