Staff Pick: A pair of Wex screenings center baseball, queer comics

On Thursday, Alive columnist Craig Calcaterra will discuss his new book, 'Rethinking Fandom,' while Friday brings a screening of 'No Straight Lines'

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Alison Bechdel

The Wexner Center for the Arts hosts a pair of intriguing screenings/talks this week.

On Thursday, April 7, sportswriter and Alive political columnist Craig Calcaterra will join Wex Director of Film/Video David Filipi in conversation, centered on the released of Calcaterra's new book, Rethinking Fandom, in which Calcaterra unpacks what it means to be a sports fan in this current era and how folks can better approach what is, objectively, a very strange relationship.

Prior to the talk, the Wex will screen a collection of rare, silent-era baseball shorts featuring footage of Christy Mathewson, Jim Thorpe and Shoeless Joe Jackson, among others. The material also includes footage of the Cleveland Guardians playing in the 1920 World Series — a game the team is now closer to returning to after finalizing an extension with perennial MVP contender Jose Ramirez (if you'll allow this writer to briefly flaunt his fandom).

Then, on Friday, April 8, the Wex will screen the documentary "No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics," from 2021, accompanied by an in-person conversation with producer Justin Hall. The documentary explores the world of underground queer comics from Tom of Finland to the Alison Bechdel strip "Dykes to Watch Out For," including interviews with the likes of Bechdel and Mary Wings, the artist behind the groundbreaking lesbian work Come Out Comix, from 1973.

In addition to producing the documentary, Hall also edited the first comprehensive anthology of queer comics, No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics, which received both a 2013 Lambda Literary Award and an Eisner nomination.