Southern Exposure

A young, struggling, Hollywood actor returns home to Alabama in Counting For Thunder written and directed by Phillip Irwin Cooper (USA) 2015.

southernexposure

A family crises propels him back to a time and place he thought he left behind. There he discovers not only a deeper understanding of his parents, but also a hidden part of himself as well.

This work is especially timely in exposing elements of the regional rifts in the country. More than once his father denigrates or dismisses something as a California thing.

However, over all, this is a sensitive, compassionate, complex work that will appeal to a wide audience.

Counting For Thunder is available in the U.S. and Canada via Wolfe Video on DVD & VOD and across all digital platforms including iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, and WolfeOnDemand.com, as well as many major retailers.

Contact Wolfe Video for more information and online purchases.

copyright © 2017 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

Holiday House

An English teen arrives with his mother at their holiday house in a French village in Departure directed by Andrew Steggall (UK) 2015.

holidayhouse

Elliot soon notices Clément, a handsome, slightly older Parisian, who is living there with his aunt. The two become friends despite their differing sexual orientations.

While Elliot openly declares his love for Clément, Clément replies, I like you; I don’t love you.

The setting is stunning and the relationship of the two young men plays against family complications for each of them.

Departure is available 7 March 2017 in the U.S. and Canada via Wolfe Video on DVD / VOD: across all digital platforms including iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, and WolfeOnDemand.com, and will be on DVD via Wolfe Video and many major retailers.

Contact Wolfe Video for more information and online purchases.

copyright © 2017 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Young Love

Akron directed by Sasha King and Brian O’Donnell (USA) 2015 is an American love story set in Ohio.

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Two college freshmen, one Anglo, the other Latino, develop a close relationship over time. Their parents are surprisingly supportive initially but the shadow of a tragic incident in the past threatens to tear them apart.

This was one of my favorite dramatic features during last year’s Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco.

Akron is available 7 February 2017 in the U.S. via Wolfe Video on DVD / VOD: across all digital platforms including iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, and WolfeOnDemand.com, and will be on DVD via Wolfe Video and many major retailers.

Contact Wolfe Video for more information and online purchases.

copyright © 2017 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Two Lives

I’m a fan of Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein, so I jumped at a chance to visit them at 27 rue de Fleurus.

twolives

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the famous Bay Area couple talk about their time together in Paris and beyond, even learning a few things I didn’t know about them.

Gertrude Stein And A Companion by Win Wells was directed for Theatre Rhinoceros by Katheryn Wood and John Fisher during its brief stage-run (28 December 2016 through 8 January 2017) in San Francisco.

Stein was played by Kathryn Wood and Toklas by Elaine Jenning, while Haley Bertelsen stood in for various other characters mentioned including Mable Dodge, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Leo Stein, etc.

The Rhino turns forty this year, making it one of the oldest queer theater companies in the US. Productions are done at the Eureka Theatre on Clay Street in San Francisco.

Last year the company began an ongoing reading series at the GLBTQ Museum on 18th Street in the Castro. These are usually the first Monday of the month. Contact Theatre Rhinoceros for more information.

copyright © 2017 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

Sixth Floor

Me, Myself, And Her directed by Maria Sole Tognazzi (Italy) 2015 is an elegant, sophisticated work about two career women with differing views of sexual identity.

sixthfloor

It begins with a christening, one of many family-oriented events that run throughout the film. What seems to be a stable, ideal love relationship slowly unravels.

This excellent, dramatic feature screened earlier this year at Frameline 40, the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.

Now it’s available on DVD and VOD via Wolfe Video across all digital platforms including iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, WolfeOnDemand.com, and many major retailers, just in time for the holiday season. Contact Wolfe Video for more information.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

Getting Out

Fire Song directed by Adam Garnet Jones (USA) 2016 is set in a remote indigenous Northern Canadian community.

gettingout

Daily life is difficult in this depressed and poor village. Shane is the principal character who struggles to deal with economic hardship, highly charged family issues, but also in affirming his sexual identity.

His dream is to make a better future for himself by going down to university in Toronto and taking his boyfriend with him.

However, the suicide of his sister and the depression of his mother make this move difficult. And the money left by his father may not be available for him.

Fire Song is now available in the U.S. via Wolfe Video on DVD / VOD: across all digital platforms including iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, and WolfeOnDemand.com, and will be on DVD via Wolfe Video and many major retailers.

Contact Wolfe Video for more information and online purchases.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

Gay Phoenix

When We Rise: My Life In The Movement by Cleve Jones is due late November from Hachette Books.

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The title suggests the mythical bird reborn from the ashes and the forthcoming memoir definitely reflects that.

Its author, Cleve Jones, first came to San Francisco from Arizona in 1972, the year I returned to the city from the East Coast. We met in the early 70s and I remember attending a party he and his roommate, Eric Garbor, hosted when we lived half a block from one another on Castro Street.

He’s long been a highly visible member of the community and a prominent activist for over four decades.

The book traces the trajectory of his life beginning with a low point. His experiences at school were so hellish that he was considering suicide during his early teens. He overcame despair after he began working for social change and discovered he was not alone in the world.

Cleve was especially active during the bleakest period of the AIDS-HIV pandemic. He was the founder of the Names Project that created a public memorial for thousands of individuals who died of the disease. The ever-growing quilt was displayed widely both in the US and beyond, helping to mobilize government agencies to fund studies and speed up treatment options.

The movement for social justice not only gave meaning to his life but also provided him with employment over the years. He worked in politics and is presently engaged in labor advocacy.

He was mentored by Harvey Milk and encouraged the development and eventual production of Milk, the narrative film about Harvey directed by Gus Van Sant in 2008.

Earlier this year Dustin Lance Black, the screenwriter of Milk, teamed up again with Van Sant to produce an ABC miniseries partly inspired by the manuscript of When We Rise.

The memoir allowed me to fill in some of the details of Cleve’s life story and will undoubtedly inspire present and future generations of women and men to positive action.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Urban Playground

Thousands of gay men came to San Francisco during the Seventies in search of sexual freedom.

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It was a place where they could live out unfulfilled adolescent fantasies with many opportunities for overindulgence. There were over a hundred gay bars in the city as well as other venues where we met one another. It was a wonderful time to be here but there were also unpleasant aspects to this apparent paradise.

Sex, Drugs & Disco by Mark Abramson, (2015) Wilde City Press and More Sex, Drugs & Disco by Mark Abramson (2016) Wilde City Press are the author’s San Francisco diaries from the pre-AIDS era.

His plans for graduate school in Boston to study with poet Anne Sexton were derailed by her suicide the previous fall. So the author headed west after college in Minneapolis to join his friend John Preston who was then the editor of The Advocate.

Abramson was young, attractive, self-confident and horny, finding it relatively easy to indulge in the physical pleasure he constantly craved. Even though the period covered in these two books occurred forty years ago, what went on then is probably not that different from what goes on in the present with the help of numerous apps.

The first of the two books covers the last half of the Seventies while the sequel goes from 1980 to the spring of 1981 just before his move to the Russian River. The diaries include his social life, friendships, work experience, and writing. He periodically longs for more intimacy while continuing to pursue easy sex without commitment. A relatively good life for a Minnesota farm boy in the city.

His style is clear, direct, and honest. These two books provide a picture of what it was like for at least some of the men who lived through that special time and I look forward to reading his AIDS memoir as well.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

www.nikosdiaman.com

 

Juanga Gone

Juan Gabriel, born Alberto Aguilera Valdez and known to many of his fans as Juanga, died last month from a heart attack at the age of 66.

juanga

His work encompassed numerous musical genres including bolero, Mariachi, balada, and Latin pop. Many of his compositions were also recorded by other artists such as Rocío Dúrcal, Ana Gabriel, José José, Luis Miguel, Daniela Romo, and Lucha Villa.

Juanga’s best-known song is Querida, but when I think about his compositions the first thing that comes to mind is an amusing line from another piece, no hay mas en Guaymas.

Lorenzo Antonio recorded two tribute albums, Mi Tributo A Juan Gabriel and Tributo 2.

Juan Gabriel  was one of the most prolific singers and composers in Mexico. A flamboyant, closeted performer afraid to come out because he worried it would adversely impact his career.

I first heard about him during a 1984 visit to Mexico that began with a stopover in Tijuana. I was given a personal tour of the city by Emilio, a local activist, who pointed out a house Juan Gabriel bought for a man who helped the singer-composer early on. In a Mexico City music store I encountered a life-size, cardboard, cutout of Gabriel that was part of national promotion by his record label.

Though I was curious about Mexican popular music then, I didn’t begin collecting CD’s until 1995. I like romantica!

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

www.nikosdiaman.com

Mincing Words

No, it’s not a cooking show!

mincingwords

Tom Ammiano’s new one-man show is an entertaining romp through his two terms as a member of the California Assembly. Whether he’s sitting in his office, standing on stage, or running for office, the jokes keep coming. He knows how to get a laugh.

His sense of humor has undoubtedly served him well in all of his careers: teacher, comic, and politician. During his tenure in public office he’s championed health care, affordable housing, LGBT issues, as well as labor, immigration, and prison reform.

Mincing Words runs 8 September to 15 October 2016 at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia Street (off 22nd), San Francisco.

Along with his remarks about well-known politicians in various levels of government, he also introduces several characters that embody undesirable traits making them perfect foils for humor.

San Francisco values, of course, from a Jersey guy now deeply rooted in the West.

Shows run Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons. Contact the Marsh for more info and tickets.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

www.nikosdiaman.com