Carol Support Group With Allison Tate
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Episode · 2 years ago

Carol Support Group With Allison Tate

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In 2015, Carol, directed by Todd Haynes, was released. In 2015, the life of Allison Tate was forever changed. The only thing left to do? Create a Carol Support Group. Be sure to follow Allison on IG! Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety. Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride. Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com. Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Sebastian Alcala Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com. *This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

STRAWUT media. On October fourteenth, two thousand and fifteen, a film starring Kate Blanchet and Bruney Mara premiered in the UK. In the year that followed, the film was nominated for six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, nine bafto awards, six independent spirit awards and nine critics choice movie awards. The British Film Institute named it the best lgbt film of all time. The movie was called Carol, and out of that film grew a devoted, passionate community of fans. Today we're joined by one of those fans, Alison Tate. She refers to herself and her peers affectionately as carol attics. What made Carol such a pivotal and life changing film for so many people? Is a Carol Addiction, the kind of addiction you have to quit. Is there some kind of support group out there for this? I'M LEA by Chambers, and this is pride ready. All righty as I'll ever be, introduce yourself. Hi, my name is Alison. I am a filmmaker and the writer director of Carol's Port Group. What is Carol? Everything, because I like to say there was a time. There's BC, which was the time before Carol. My Life hadn't really quite started. Then Carol came on and changed everything. Carol a film directed by Todd Haynes, and that Todd Haynes. It was incredible. He's, as I like to say, Lesbian Jesus, starring Kate Blanchat, Kate my queen forever, and Rooney Mara. I Love Rooney in this film so much because I related to her so hard carol. The film is based on a one nineteen fifty two romance novel, the Price of Salt, by Patricia Highsmith. It was published under a pseudonym, Claire Morgan, because she had a thriller career going on. Patricia Highsmith had published her first novel, strangers on a train, two years earlier, which Alfred Hitchcock adapted into a film the following year and launched her career as a suspense writer. The price of salt was her second novel and it was very popular among queer women in the s. She received Fan mail addressed to Claire Morgan. Then in one thousand nine hundred and ninety, bloomsbury reprinted her novel under her real name and renamed it Carol in the afterword of the nine ninety. Addition, she wrote that she published it under a pseudonym because she didn't want to be...

...labeled a lesbian book writer. The story is about a woman named Carol, a suburban housewife in the s who falls in love with Terres Bella, that played by Rooney Mara, who is a shopkeeper at department store. They meet during Christmas time and fall in love. And what time is it right now? It's Carol time, it's Christmas time. It's carol season, Christmas season. There one in the same for me. Now, most of the plot of Carol takes place during the holidays. December twenty one is the day that terres goes over to Carol's house for the first time and like that's a day to celebrate. They're together through Christmas. So really every moment of the season is something to celebrate. and New Year's is an especially important day in the world of Carol for those of you that have seen the film. Spoiler alert for those who haven't. But on New Year's is the day that they make love. So it really climaxes, if you will, on New Year's. I should leave. I don't think you should. I think you should stay. Alison knew that Carol would be a big part of her life before she had even seen it. By the time the film was playing at Afi Fest in November two thousand and fifteen, she was already engrossed. And we were going to go in character, like just up, like I had my best red dress on, like I did my hair, we did our makeup, we had the scarves. We were like, Oh my God, everyone's going to be dressed up for this movie. Oh my God, my God, I god. We get there like no one else was darissed up, but we were like so proud of our looks and the line was around the block and we got a little nervous, but we're like it's okay, we'll get in, will get in. We go back. I'm like four hundred in light, like we're so far back. We get up to the corner of the street and the volunteer is like we're a capacity, stops me and says we're a capacity. I almost cried, but I didn't. I thought what would carol do? She would charm her way through this potential road block. So I chatted with the volunteer woman and she saw how key we are and how excited and she turned the other cheeks so we could go over to the theater. But that wasn't we weren't in yet. There was security outside the theater turning people away. It's full, it's fall its full. So the crowd there started thinning, but we stayed and kept moving up until it was like just us, and it's more volunteers took pity on us and so did the security guard and they squeezed us in. We were in the very front row, on the far, far right side, corner seat, but we got in. I will never forget how it made me feel. I'll never...

...forget how I felt seeing that final shot, because that look she gives felt like a look of unconditional love and just piercing belief in me and it felt like I could achieve anything I wanted, which is insane sounding, but it hit me like that and I was just resonating with that through the entire credit sequence. I just had never felt quite an impact like that from a film before. Allison says part of the reason she and other carol super fans feel such an intense emotional connection to the film is that both main characters are so relatable. On the one hand, I related to Charez and and saw her experience falling in love as a similar to my first experience falling in love, and on the other hand I relate to carol because I want to be as powerful and Badass and flawless and strong and not fall less. I mean she's human but, you know, fallow us like a goddess and at the same time, like I want a partner like Carol, like Carol, seeking Carol's I have a situation, is what I would describe myself. Another contributor to the film's could status, Alison says, is that a list cast the portrayal of Carol by two Time Academy Award Winner Kate Blanchett. It felt like it was doing so much justice and giving so much dignity to queer experiences. And of course she's phenomenal and incredible and we all want to be her or be with her. Like the attraction is undeniable and that attraction can have all different forms, but she's so compelling as a person and actor and as the character. So that was like instant, like I'm instantly smitten with this character and need to know everything that happens to her. The film, cinematography, costume design and production design were nominated for numerous awards. The way that it was shot was like anything I had ever seen before, and yet I felt fluent in that language as soon as I saw it. So it was that's really the best way I can describe it, I think, because really the bottom line for this is like, how can you explain why you fall in love? What words can you put on that? I feel like I can describe things around it, but I think the core of that is magic, and that's what I feel when I think about this film and that's what I feel when I think about people I fall in love with. It's like you can't really quite put your finger on it, but you can get close. In Popular Culture, love stories about we were women often lack nuance and are written...

...from male perspectives, but Carol is different. The subtle looks and the long gazes and the eye contacts and like the brush of the shoulder behind the piano and everything that's unspoken yet still communicated rings so true, I think, to the Queer female experience, experiences, because there's not just one. But I think that hits I think that's like the veins of the film and and that runs through it and people can see their longing represented, they can see their unspoken ways of communication represented, you know, and I think those are the ways that the heart communicates a lot of the time, especially when you can't be open and blunt and super direct and you don't have rom calm examples to kind of emulate or go from or see how this could happen. I mean for the characters in the film, it was all uncharted territory of how they were going to connect at all, how they were going to share what they're feeling with each other at all. They didn't have the vernacular for it whatsoever. And you know, we are in a different time now, but not necessarily. It's not a universally more liberated time at all. So I think that that repressed communication and just that flung out of space feeling of I'm feeling all these things. They feel overwhelmed. I don't know what to do. How am I going to navigate this and still move towards the person that I desire? I think that territory that unknown is relatable for anyone falling in love. Doesn't Carol FANDOM HAVE A name? Well, I like to call him carolytics because that's the handles, the social media handles for myself. So that's what they are, the Caroltics, and I think so. I mean people can tell me how they like to identify, but I like to think of us as carollytics in a loving way. And for the record, disclaimer, I'm not minimizing real addiction here whatsoever. I'm just using the archetype of an AA meeting, support group meeting to illustrate when we come back addiction to Carol.

As we're sitting and talking Carol, Alison's phone rings. She POPs open the Pearl Clasps of her clutch and pulls out her cell phone to silence it. Seeing Alison hold a modern object like an iphone is strange against the backdrop of her carol inspired wardrobe, a strand of pearls around her neck and green ear rings. She's wearing a leopard print coat. The Carol coat that was in the movie is currently at my friend's house, otherwise I'd be wearing that. So full transparency Alison after the film came out, because we were still working together at the time, she would come to the office and there was no, no offense. There's no real reason for it. Wasn't like we were going to watch it or it was like, oh, it's the anniversary of the day came out. It'd be like it's a Wednesday. Oh, why, you look like you're straight out of the fifties. She would, she could do it interviews, but she was at that time. She was leading the video department at the advocate. Yeah, I mean you knew like, Oh, poor sweetheart, poor sweetheart, she's so old, says. Did you take pity on me? No, because I kind of liked it, but I loved it the film. Know, you did it totally. It was like it just changed her almost. It really did. That's really interesting to hear because you did know me before and after. Yeah, I swear she would just show him like what an interesting coach choice. You know what's eighty five degrees. I we like, let's walk to starbucks, get my coat more my gloves, my driving gloves. My gloves are on the table at the moment. My addiction started when I heard about the movie coming out. I heard it was based on the book. I bought the book, read it immediately. Obsession began. So that was the beginning. The end that it's the beakinning of the end Cyanara to my life. So have you read the book more than once? I read it twice in anticipation of the film. I needed to do something while I was waiting for the film to come out, and I remember when the trailer dropped, I watched it every day, every day, every day, like when I would wake up. I remember like it was part of my morning routine. I assume that morning routine went something like this. Wake up, get out of bed, watch the carol trailer, drink water, brush teeth, watch the carol trailer again, make coffee, get dressed, watch the carol trailer once more, go to work. I don't consciously think about Carol every day, but I think my world is so molded and informed by it that Carol is with me every day in some way, shape or form. I mean you should see my room. Like nothing but their stuff that I have. No it paintings. Now it's informed in in more subtle ways now I used to have.

I mean you probably remember this. At the office I tried to put up a full sized Carol poster and take it down. That's a true story. That was true. I mean she like tried to drag a billboard into the elevator. It was like full side. Thought this is full sized movie poster and they were like no, I mean was huge and I was hurt, but I understood because it was blocking the window from the other side of where somebody worked, and I was like, oh, that's terrible, I can't three and a half feet tall, three and a half feet tall and you could totally see it from the other side. Just sure some point. Yeah, so I had to get smaller. Thanks. Allison is a filmmaker herself. She graduated from USC's film program the same one that Shapes Judd Apatow, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, George Lucas and Robert Zemeckis. That's why it feels like BC, like time before. Carol is only like half a joke, because I specifically remember. I think I've ever really shared this before, but I remember my professor sitting me down towards the end of my time they're and asking me flat out what kind of movies I wanted to make, and I didn't have a clear answer for that. This is not the only movie that I enjoy, but now it's crystallized so much much of who I am and what I want to do that, if someone asked me now, I like to say Carol is the Benevolent Godmother of the type of films that I'd like to make. There's an icon now that I can point to and uses a reference point and people get it and and it's in the culture now, it's in our consciousness and we know what what can exist and the type of level that a love story and Queer love story can be told on. And you know, I want to follow in those footsteps and I have my work feel in similar ways that I want my work to feel for people in ways that Carol made me feel. I want them to feel seen and feel loved and feel dignified and and cared for in the way that art is created, and I feel like that's what Todd Haines in the team did so magnificently is. I feel like there's so much love poured into every frame and so much care and attention to detail and craft and really that, to me, that all comes down to love, you know, then passion for what what you're doing, and and that comes through. It's not just the fiction of it. You know, I also fell in love with the craft and I learned so much from studying that film in extreme detail, you know, than I have studying a wider range of films, let's say, because the depth that I went into and that one taught me so much. But truth be told,...

...being a carol addict is not all pearls and red lipstick. I remember a feeling of shame come up when I had seen it so many times and I thought, do I love this too much? Is this weird? Is this wrong? Is this a problem? Am I disturbed? Do I need to just get over this? What's wrong with me? Those kind of things did come up and I realized that I had to sort of keep my feelings to myself in front of some people, or not express them fully or, you know, act more coy about it or pretend like I wasn't going to see it again for the ninth time, for the ninth time, and that was something that I struggle with and honestly, so kind of do, because if I were to just blurt out all of my feelings about this to someone not in a podcast setting, it's unusual and and the way I overcame that, I think, was through seeing other people share their love on on Tumblr, and their fan are and their adoration and it kind of gave me those stepping stones to keep going and to turn that leaf and say no, this is awesome, this does mean so much to me and why would I suppress that? Why would I go against my own grain? That's not something Carol would do. So Allison has embraced her Carol Addiction. She still watches the film regularly and every time I watched again, there's something new that I get out of it. I never really thought is it holding me back, but I did recognize that it was like this monolith in my field of vision and it was hard for me to I just didn't want to focus on other things. I wanted to keep pouring my thoughts and my explorations into that and it turned out not to be a hindrance but something that really moved me forward in the next film in my career and something that I get to talk to people about and became a stepping stone for me. Alison noticed a similarity in the way she felt shame for her love for Carol and another formative experience in her life. You know, in some ways that's a parallel for a lot of coming out experiences of just feeling that shame around desire. I think that's relatable for a lot of people of whatever orientation, and I think that moving through that shame and expressing that desire and allowing yourself to just not only have that exiety desire, like accepting that desire and then choosing to express it and move...

...towards that desire and like reach that is one of the most powerful things that people can do and I think if we all acknowledged what we want in our hearts and souls and gave ourselves permission and the grace and kindness to move towards that in whatever way, we would be happier, because repressing things takes a lot of energy and it's a lot of weight and negativity and it only creates negative outlash to other people. But if you gave yourself an outlet, you know, sort of a little steam vent, if you will, and let yourself reach towards that, you'll be a lot kinder to people and a lot it's a relief. It's a relief at the end of the day, someone who has served as an inspiration to allison and learning to embrace her desire, Carol, because I sort of see her as a superhero, as someone who is true to herself and stands up for that and chooses not to live against her own grain, takes care of her mental health first, even if that means that she can't have her daughter for the moment. She's prioritizing her own health, which is such a huge statement and step for especially someone in the s to take, let alone a woman and a queer woman in the lesbian in the s to take that stand. So, you see, it's not surprising that allison would want to experience the magic of Carol over and over and over again. I saw it many more time while it was in theaters. Can you put a number? I have all my ticket stubs. I think I have nine tickets stubs from when it was there, and I remember this was the point where I realized my Love was becoming possibly an addiction or becoming hard to manage, because I remember I was living with my dad at the time and I like needed to get something done, like groceries or something practical, you know, to keep myself alive, and I remember thinking, okay, but I really want to go to the movie again today, but if I do that then I won't be able to get this done and then I'm gonna have a problem over here. And I was like, Oh my God, what is happening? Is this impacting my life, like my ability to function in life? And so that colonel was there. Wait, did you go see the movie or did you go get the milk and the egg to the grocery? So the movie the next day? Okay, so you did make that. You weren't like, I'll start, it's fine. No, I didn't start, but I remember the tension of that moment and being frustrated that I couldn't just go immediately, that I needed to like man enage,...

I don't know, something called my life. It's like, that's not that's not what I want to do right now. I've one thing in mind that I want to do. So I was feeling these things and working at pride media at the time at the advocate and our old co worker, areas mean Veryale, suggested that I do a sketch about people addicted to carol because I was doing videos for them at the time, and I was like, Oh my God, I must like it was an instant, yes, that I had to do this, but they were suggesting, oh, just like get some people from the office, like going a room and like do it real quick, and I was like no, I must do the film justice when we come back. Allison creates her own support group. After the initial spark for the short film, Allison spent the next few months writing a script that took really a long time because there was so many references that I wanted to fit in, both from the film and the Fandom, and yet I had to have a plot that moved forward and that had a conclusion, like I still had to have its own story structure. And another interview I did the woman described it as like trying to like a test, or actually described it as a test or act, because it was like a puzzle that I was trying to fit in, and I watched it again recently and I thought that was a pretty good assessment, because you can watch it on different levels, like you could just watch it for the jokes and the comedy and and the Gags and see that arc clearly, or you can imer and or you can watch it and try to catch all the little references that are tucked in there like a game, which I think is fun and people have enjoyed doing and now you have friends so that definitely like yes, mean, yeah, related to that kind even that was kind of like, Huh, that's so funny. It's also kind of like I wish we had one of those right. And shout out to Tracy Gilcrest, who is definitely one of the biggest carol attics that I know, add a strong supporter of me and the film and my short films. So it was a real need and that was sort of the joke. That wasn't much of a joke as I was making it, and it really did drive me when I was writing and writing and just sort of in that solo process of that grind a bit to be like looking at the Tumbler and looking at social media and seeing how many people were addicted and just in love and feeling all these feelings, all this energy, all this...

...adoration. I need to channel it somewhere and thankfully I could put that into a short film. And one of my driving motives was to show the other fans and the other addicts that they weren't alone and that and and really I wanted to offer something to them and say, I see you in all of your love and addiction. Here's a treat for that, a treatment quote unquote if you will, but really just a gift, and a gift with a smirk at that, like we don't we don't want to get over this. Alison Describes Carol Support Group as a love letter to Carol and to Carol addicts. It is a comedy, a comedic homage to people addicted to Carol, and it's about a group of people in an a type meeting who are trying to get over their addiction and then mutiny ensues and you'll have to see how they handle that. So it's about a disruption in the Carol Addict Meeting. Carol has giving me life. She brought us together and that is the most breathtaking of gifts. Something really gratifying that has come from this obsession and the PHANDOM and making my short film offering is that people around the world saw it and said that they felt seen and said that they laughed and cried when they watched Carol Support Group and that they watched it like six times. And my favorite comment was someone said I need a support group for how much I'm addicted to Carol Support Group, and I was like, that's it, that's all I needed to say here. I love it. I arrived, some of the vlog talking about about how they felt about it, and it meant a lot to be able to create something that helped people feel seen, and I think that that's what Carol did and I loved hearing back from the fans like it was so much fun and I hope to keep creating things that I can share with them ready for our road trip. Yes, representation in film and Popular Culture is pivotal for young people discovering their sexuality. For Allison, it all began one college freshman night when I found myself another girl's dorm room, on her bed, kissing her neck and she asked me if I was gay and I said no, because becaussing next totally not gave me to do right. I like choked up in that moment. I was just like no, no, no, what are you doing about? No, no, and I like left and then it was super awkward for a while, but she...

...was awakened or whatever sexually and knew who she was and was like well, first she came the cold shoulder for like two weeks, but one night we were supposed to go see Mohand drive at school and I had seen it before and I knew I would not be able to sit there through that movie and watch those women when I was feeling this kind of way. So I was in the front row. The move was about to start, I climb over people and like run out of the theater. I was like I can't handle this, and I went and found her and talked to her and in that conversation she helped me accept myself and I realized that I could accept myself. Like the things that were holding me up were like other people's thoughts or opinions that I feared, but they weren't actually what I thought about myself, and that was huge moment. That's, you know, the first step. I remember seeing this path like a fork in the road, and one path was like the light and amazing future and California and acceptance and love and all my friends, and the other path was like if I keep these thoughts in my head of like Oh, this is wrong, like I'm disgusting, I'm a monster, like the only end of that path is suicide, and that's the path a lot of queer kids go down because they don't have another option or they feel like they don't have that other path. And I'll always remember that feeling because that's where I was, you know, I felt like I was at that fork in the road and a lot of people struggle with that and I feel for that, I really really do. And so I want to share my story and be honest and and also share my love for the people that I love and the things and the feelings that I love. Not Extends for Carol and Carol Support Group like it comes from a deep place of like we have to express our love or what's the point of living like or, you know, death right. Not to be like the most dramatic. It was probably not the most eloquent way to say it, but that's life like. If we're repressing who we are, that's not living and a lot of people have to do that and I understand why they have to do that for safety a lot of the time. But yeah, that was part of my lowest low comes in that coming out experience story, and this is really the first time I've shared that publicly outside of film and Television. Alison had another big moment when she realized that people like her, we're out there and doing...

...amazing things. I went to a camp, which is a camp that autostrattle puts on, which is a queer female culture website, autoshattlecom, and that changed my world because up until that point, I think two thousand and thirteen, I was like a sophomore in college. I think I hadn't really seen a community like that that was that large. Like it was definitely queer people that I knew at school and, you know, there was a little groups that school, but going and seeing just queer women all hanging out at this camp in the woods and California, like I remember walking through with like just stars in my eyes, like rose color glasses and just, I'm sure my jaw just like dropped because it was like I had never felt this energy before and I had never been in a space that felt, frankly, so at home before, and not that I didn't feel at home in other places, but this is a specific kind of feeling that Queer people understand when they are with their family in that way, you know, and we have different types of family, but that is one that I had. I didn't know that I had that family, and so to like meet all of them and to feel that space, then I realized, okay, wow, this is a much bigger world than I realized and I can be here. I am here. This is a part of me too. Thank you to autostrattle for the work you do. Patricia Highsmith, thank you for writing the first lesbian novel that doesn't end in despair, in the s no less. And of course, thank you, Todd Haynes, for directing the one and only carol, whom Allison got to thank in person, and I just got to say I got to shake his hand and say you're my hero. Carol changed my life. Thank you so much and I think your genius. Can we take a Selfie? And the best part was I could see the reaction on his face. He was like Oh, like he really took my words to heart and like wasn't expecting me to call him a hero, even though I feel like everyone there thought that he was, and that really meant a lot to me. Like he wasn't jaded by saturation, like I felt like he really felt felt me and was was receiving that. And we got a photo and it's all amazing and I was on cloud nine afterwards. I was so jazzed I felt like I was floating. Like I understand now why people say pinch me when they have those moments because I felt like numb and my body it's like where am I in diamond space, and I had to go out dancing that night, so I met my friend and we went some dancing to celebrate.

Everyone has that special thing, a movie, a book, a play, a song, a painting, a person that changes your life forever. For Allison and many queer women just like her, it's Carol. I live for those full circle moments, the serendipities when things come together that show you your path and that you're on your path, because, it's Carol said, everything comes full circle. Link. Where can everyone connect with you? On Social Media? I'm on Instagram, twitter and facebook at Alison Films, also m films. You can watch Alison's short film Carol Support Group in its entirety at Carol Support Groupcom pride is a production of Straw hut media. If you like the show, leave us a rating and a review on Apple, podcast, spotify or wherever you get your favorite podcast. Share us with your friends, subscribe and follow us on Instagram, facebook and twitter at pride. You can follow me at Lea by chambers. Pride is produced by me, Maggie Bowls and Ryan Tillotson, edited by Sebastian Alcohola. So when Hella and thor does the to that, we all just like the hair swoop into crown. You destroy that Hammer. We just you're like yeah, tell him, just destroy the world, just be fabulous, just come over here, stomp on me. It's fine.

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