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Chavela Vargas (1919 – 2012) was a well-known Mexican, nightclub singer who had affairs with the wives of numerous politicians.

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Her tequila-fueled songs were distillations of life’s pains in general and the agonizing aspects of romantic love in particular. She undoubtedly drew on her own misery for her dramatic performances in Acapulco.

She retired after a quarter of a century and her fame faded over time.

Chavela, the documentary directed by Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi, (USA) 2017, began with a video interview of the vocalist made during the 80s. It includes not only historical footage but also a large collection of photos provided by the woman who was her lawyer and long-time companion.

Film director Pedro Almodovar arranged for a concert in Spain in the 90s, and eventually a booking at the Olympia Theater in Paris, relaunching her career’

Despite her initial fear of performing sober, she reached an entirely new audience during her final years. Chavela played to a packed audience at the Castro Theatre earlier this week and screens one more time at the Landmark Theatres Piedmont during Frameline 41.

Contact Frameline for more information and tickets.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Last Words

I Dream In Another Language directed by Ernesto Contreras (Mexico/Netherlands) 2017 involves the effort to preserve a dying language.

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A young researcher arrives in a remote village nestled in a lush, Mexican rainforest hoping to record a nearly extinct indigenous language while the last three native speakers are still alive. One speaker dies shortly after he gets there, leaving only two men who haven’t spoken to one another in decades.

The heart of the film revolves around a complex, volatile relationship spanning years.

It’s one of the centerpiece programs of the forthcoming Frameline 41 festival and is scheduled to screen 20 June 2017 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.

Contact Frameline for more information and tickets.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Lucky Alive

The Untold Tales Of Armistead Maupin directed by Jennifer Kroot and Bill Weber (USA) 2017 is the opening night film of Frameline 41.

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Armistead Maupin and his Tales Of The City books are local pop icons in San Francisco. Nearly as familiar as the Golden Gate to residents of Castro Street and beyond. This ninety-minute documentary will likely be a crowd-pleaser during its screening at the Castro Theatre 15 June 2017.

While the movie fleshes out some details of Maupin’s life and provides numerous images of him at various stages of his life, there are few revelations.

The theme of this year’s San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival (15 – 25 June 2017) is Genre Queer. Venues include the Castro Theatre, Roxie Theater, and Victoria Theatre in San Francisco, Rialto Cinemas, Elmwood in Berkeley, and Landmark Theatres Piedmont in Oakland.

More information and tickets available at www.frameline.org

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Southern Exposure

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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