As you’re (potentially painfully) aware by now, no one is going to shut the hell up about the Oscars for the rest of eternity, myself included! What a time to be alive!
Melissa McCarthy is up for Best Actress for her role as lesbian writer Lee Israel in biopic Can You Ever Forgive Me. I don’t feel confidently that she’ll win. (I think it’s going to be between Yalitza Aparicio and Olivia Colman.) Richard E. Grant is up for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Jack Hock, too. (My bet goes to Mahershala in this category, sorry.) Will Can You Ever Forgive Me win Best Adapted Screenplay? Not if A Star Is Born or If Beale Street Could Talk have anything to say about it!
So why are we even here? Well, I really just want to talk about how I’d nominate Julius for Best Bar if that were a category! (IT SHOULD BE A CATEGORY.)
Located at 159 West 10th Street, Julius plays a crucial role in the film’s setting. Israel, who passed away in 2014, was a noted regular IRL; just like in the movie, she often liked to post up alone and wear her headphones inside this home away from home. (Is Lee Israel actually me?) And it’s here that we watch her friendship with grifter Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant) unfold on screen, and their forgery enterprise subsequently takes flight.
But let’s also talk about why Julius is an important place outside the realm of Hollywood treatments!
It’s said to be the oldest continuously operating gay bar in all of NYC, home to queers since the 1950s, although it opened as a watering hole all the way back in 1864. And in 1966, it hosted a Mattachine Society-organized “sip-in” to stick it to the goddamn New York State Liquor Authority, which had been discriminating against any and everyone who was suspected to be queer by refusing them service. These kinds of acts of civil disobedience enacted real legal change, so pay your respects next time you enter a gay bar!
Many famous faces have passed through Julius’ doors at some point or another; these include Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Rudolf Nureyev and (coincidentally enough) even Melissa McCarthy in her early NYC days. (She wonders if Israel ever told her to buzz off since their timelines would’ve intersected.)
And (somewhat miraculously, by NYC standards) it’s still open today! You can fucking go there! (SO GO THERE!) Even if you’re not of the booze persuasion, the burgers are said to be P. BOMB, so swing by and pick your poison. (And while you’re at it, say thanks to all the gay ghosts for fighting so hard for their/our rights. ‘Cause they did a p. incredible job.)