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Gloria Gaynor Performs At Tribeca Screening Of ‘Moving Homage’ Documentary

Gaynor opened the performance with another of her best-known songs, ‘Never Can Say Goodbye.’

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Gloria Gaynor performs at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on June 9, 2023. Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival
Gloria Gaynor performs at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on June 9, 2023. Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival

Gloria Gaynor attended a celebratory screening at the Tribeca Film Festival last Friday (9) of the new documentary Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive, culminating in a live performance that included that chart-topping 1979 anthem.

The film, directed by Betsy Schechter, gives an overview of the 79-year-old New Jersey native’s eventful career as well as her work on the album Testimony, which won her second career Grammy Award for Best Roots Gospel Album in 2020. The documentary has been described by Digital Journal’s Markos Papadatos as “a beautiful movie by Betsy Schechter, which is a moving homage to the disco queen. It underscores how the power of faith and prayer has helped in her life (especially in overcoming all of those trials and tribulations) and it molded her into the music icon that she is today.”

Culture Mix’s Carla Hay writes of the film: “Gaynor is open about very painful aspects of her life. She also shows an endearing self-awareness about her fame and legacy in the music business. Her combination of strength and vulnerability are what make this documentary worth watching.”

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Billboard’s Cam Zhang observes: “Gaynor contends with enduring past freak accidents, ageism, abuse and pivoting music genres. The film and Gaynor share themes of owning who you are and love, maintaining perseverance and inclusivity, and breaking down barriers for other Black and female artists.”

The film also recalls the 1978 incident in which Gaynor suffered a fall on stage at New York’s Beacon Theatre and woke up unable to move, but soon found herself with a surprise new signature song in “I Will Survive.” It documents the song’s arrival in the Library of Congress registry in 2016 and reflects on her long-term relationship with manager Stephanie Gold.

Gaynor opened the performance part of her Tribeca appearance with another of her best-known songs, “Never Can Say Goodbye,” also covering Sia’s “Unstoppable” and duetting with guest Jason Crabb on “Singin’ Over Me” before delighting the crowd with “I Will Survive.”

Listen to the best of Gloria Gaynor on Apple Music and Spotify.

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