TIGLFF Review: Continental

The Continental Baths, the fabled New York bathhouse/boite that helped launch the careers of Bette Midler, Barry Manilow and Patti LaBelle, made a huge cultural impact considering it was only active for about six years in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Director Malcolm Ingram does a good job explaining its significance as a living laboratory of free love and fabulousness, but spends the bulk of his documentary telling us the fascinating but overlong story of the club’s founder, opera singer turned entrepreneur Steve Ostrow, and takes forever to get to Bette. There are some amazing old clips of her and other stars performing, however, and some great anecdotes — including one that will leave you with the indelible mental picture of Alfred Hitchcock rising out of a swimming pool. Sat. Oct. 5, 5:30 p.m., Tampa Theatre.

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