Cast members Xuna Mi Muse, Rockm, and Chiquitia joined director Bo McGuire on the red carpet at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of his documentary-feature Socks on Fire this weekend. The 2020 film about the real-life battles between his homophobic aunt and gay drag queen uncle deep in the heart of Alabama took home top honors last year at Tribeca, but the film did not premiere until Sunday due to the pandemic and cancellation of in-person events.
Socks on Fire exposes some very personal family details in director McGuire’s personal life. His favorite relative as a child, Aunt Sharon, locked her brother (and McGuire’s uncle) out of their family home following the death of Nanny, their mother and McGuire’s beloved grandmother. It turns out Aunt Sharon is a raging homophobe and Uncle Sammy is a gay and a drag queen to boot. And since this not a fictional television soap opera starring jet set New Yorkers, but instead is set in the director’s hometown of Hokes Bluff, Alab., and stars local actors, the characters and performances are colorful and authentic to say the least.
And since the movie airs the dirty laundry (or socks on fire) of his family’s relations, there’s an emotional authenticity to the film as well. Even the casting perhaps conveys a hidden message with the role of Aunt Sharon being played by a female actor (Odessa Young) as a young woman and by a male actor (Chuck Duck) in drag as an older woman.
The movie is what one might expect from the director who recently told Variety his “background is in poetry and the gossip of Southern women” and describes himself on his Twitter profile (@bomcguire) as “putting the queer in country since 1984ever.”
Like many gay Southerners, McGuire also claims to belong to a member in good standing with the First Church of Dolly Parton.