Ithaca, N.Y. — An Ithaca media company debuted a new TV web series Sunday night called “The Chanticleer.”

The 21st Century Library Campaign – Tompkins County Public Library

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The series takes place in 1955 as a woman named Edie Chaucer returns home to inherit the family bar after the death of her father. It’s inspired by the “transformative and salacious lesbian pulp fiction novels of the 1950’s,” according to a news release from writer and director Becky Lane.

The opening shot of the first episode — called “Ruling the Roost” — shows the well-known Chanticleer bar, located just off of the Commons, and its trademark rooster.

Here’s the teaser for the first episode: “Edie Chaucer inherits the family bar. She returns to her upstate New York home, determined to make the place her own. Will shady business operations and questionable clientele throw a wrench in her plan?”

The series was created by “Nice Girl Films,” an Ithaca media company. Nice Girl Films first showed “The Chanticleer” at Cinemapolis in 2013 before raising money to re-shoot it in Fall 2014, according to The Ithaca Times. (Over $6,000 was raised through the company’s IndieGoGo campaign, which drew over 100 donors.)

“I wanted to create a world where women’s perspectives are at the center,” Lane said in a statement.

“The Chanticleer is about outsiders trying to find a place– be that in a small clique, a town, or the outside world in general.”

Here’s more from the news release:

The notion of creating a series about lesbian pulp fiction may seem contradictory, as many of the novels of that era contained storylines where homosexual behavior was villainized; publishers often mandated that lesbian characters met a tragic end. There is another side to this story, however.

“Lesbian pulp fiction was often the only way a woman realized that there was a name for what she was feeling; that there were other women out there like her,” notes Lane. “It was still a valuable, often transformative literary genre for women.”

Lane sums it up: “People will always resist mandated conformity, she says. “Then and now, people find ways to be true to themselves.”

Annie Paul, Rebeca Miller, Darryle Johnson and Sarah Hankins are the actors in the production.

You can watch the first episode of “The Chanticleer” here.


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.