This week I talked with filmmaker C. Fitz and LGBTQ pioneer Jewel Thais-Williams about their documentary . The film tells the story of Jewel Thais-Williams and her legendary Jewel’s Catch One nightclub often referred to as the Studio 54 of the West. It was a hub for cutting edge fashion and music for over 42 years in LA before it closed last year. When Jewel opened her club in 1972 to all races and sexual orientations the club became a target of racism and homophobia especially during the AIDS crisis. She even turned her parking lot into a soup kitchen during that time to make sure people could get care when so many were being ostracized. Jewel became a civil rights leader and then ultimately a healer who has now saved countless lives through her Village Healthcare Foundation. The film is narrated by CCH Pounder and features exclusive interviews with Sharon Stone, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Thelma Houston, Sandra Bernhard, Bonnie Pointer, Thea Austin, Jenifer Lewis and more as well as fabulous vintage footage that includes Madonna’s 2000 album release party where it was rumored that she learned to Vogue at the club. I talked to Fitz and Jewel about their inspirational must-see documentary and their spin on our LGBTQ issues.
When asked how she sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in a Trump administration Jewel stated:
United and on all fronts I feel is the key to it as well as being supportive of other groups. I think that we saw during the Civil Rights Protests and Campaign embrace every aspect of the human conditions and so we had folks joining from various and slightly different groups to support that cause and I feel if we can get that kind of support around our LGBTQ issues and we’re finding hope with millennials. We see them protesting things like “Black Lives Matter’ and they might be Asian, Indian and Caucasian, whatever, this is the kind of support we need to face anything that is happening politically to us now. We all have to join together every facet of our Americana especially those people that are being discriminated against and of course we’re one of the main ones of that. If we all come together there’s power in numbers.
Filmmaker C. Fitz met Jewel after volunteering to direct a 3-minute short for charity and realized there was a much greater story to tell. She has spent the last six years bringing Jewel’s Catch One a labor of love and inspiration to fruition. Fitz is also a television and marketing veteran who through her creative agency “Dancing Pictures” has worked with many clients including HBO, Pepsi, FOX, Disney and Showtime where she has conceptualized and produced hundreds of international and domestic broadcast and social media campaigns. Early in her career Fitz was the producer behind the launch of the BRAVO series, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy where she helped introduce the ground-breaking new format as an international brand. In the late 1990’s Jewel Thais-Williams at age 56, driven by an overwhelming need to make a difference, enrolled in Samra University of Oriental Medicine and received a Master of Science degree. She went on to pass the state and national boards and is currently a Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist at her new clinic at 4077 Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, California under the same name Village Health Foundation .