PUZZLES, by Tami Gold and David Pavlovsky of Hunter College, NYC, is a small engrossing tale of the collision between poverty and homophobia in the charming coastal town of New Bedford, MA, a once-upon-a-time rich whaling and industrial hub. In February of 2006, the mixed gay and straight bar Puzzles suffered a hatchet and gun attack by a troubled youth on 3 bar patrons, shaking the community from top to bottom. (The perpetrator fled the attack scene and died by his own hand 3 days later in Missouri, having killed two others.)
The voices of a middle-age victim of Jacob Robida, the hatchet-wielding 18-year-old perpetrator, members of his teen gang, the Juggalos, and both gay and straight patrons of the bar Puzzles immerse you intimately into the ugliness of the attack and its ripple effect on the community.
PUZZLES is about as complete, poignant, and meaningful a story of hate and its consequences as 53 minutes allow, but it's worth referencing here to former openly gay House of Representatives members, Barney Frank and Gary Studds, (the latter deceased in 2006), both of whom represented New Bedford in Congress at different times; Frank and Studds add to the picture of a community not innately homophobic but subject to the pressures of poverty and hate propaganda.
Following the recent attack on gay bar Pulse in Orlando and to mark the 2016 anniversary of the Puzzles event, filmmaker and Hunter College faculty member Tami Gold has made available a free link to the documentary through July. So you can stream this film with no charge through the end of July, simply by clicking here.