Continental is a documentary that tells the story of legendary New York gay mecca The Continental Baths. Directed by Malcolm Ingram (Small Town Gay Bar – Sundance 06, Bear Nation – SXSW 10), the film explores the post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS bacchanal where Bette Midler and Barry Manilow got their start.
The Continental Baths was a seminal gay New York City hotspot that existed from the late sixties to 1974. The baths themselves were a lavish Roman style affair, which were opened in the late 60’s in a newly post-stonewall NYC. Owner Steve Ostrow wanted to create a decadent and luxurious clubhouse where newly liberated men could explore with wanton abandon.
Along with the baths, The Continental was home to glamorous shows that attracted first class performers such as Cab Calloway, Peter Allen, Wayland Flowers, Patti Labelle and a then unknown Bette Midler, who (with her piano player Barry Manilow) became ringmaster to the revelry.