Screening of Queen of the Deuce (2022, Valerie Kontakos) and Discussion with the Director
Queen of the Deuce follows the life of Greek-born Chelly Wilson, who built a porn cinema empire and a reputation as one of the most savvy and charismatic figures in the notorious Times Square area known as the Deuce. With a cigarette in hand and bags of money stashed in the corner, Chelly regularly held court in her bunkerlike apartment above the legendary 8th Avenue all-male Adonis Theatre, summoning a lively cabal of associates, entertainers, and fellow poker players, with her female lovers always hovering and grandchildren often underfoot. Yet few in her circle knew of the risks she took to get there. Queen of the Deuce reveals Chelly’s origins as a taboo-breaking entrepreneur and traces the fraught events that lead to her departure from Europe on the eve of war and the unconventional trajectories of her American business ventures and personal life. With the rise of feminism, the sexual revolution, and gay pride in frame, Queen of the Deuce is an alternate take on cultural history as seen through Chelly Wilson’s empowering story of survival.