Black Lives

This Bitter Earth by playwright Harrison David Rivers is having its world premier at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, San Francisco 22 September – 22 October 2017.

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I invited someone I didn’t know well to accompany me. I waited in the theater lobby for him while he stood outside the building waiting for me. I thought he knew the theater is located in the sub basement of an office building while he assumed I had a mobile. Our agreement to meet there meant different things to each of us.

This Bitter Earth is a two-man drama that deals with the complexities of a black-white gay relationship rooted in the painfully tragic realities of the present. One of them is a Black Lives Matter activist while the other remains politically unengaged.

The play is especially relevant to inter-racial couples. It touches on situations and feelings familiar to anyone who’s been in an intimate relationship: joy, doubt, pleasure, disappointment, irritation, satisfaction, understanding, and confusion.

There is much to praise in the play, its production, the acting, and the set design. However, the audience is key to its success. I had trouble imagining the two actors cast as a believable couple. Aside from that, I think it’s well worth seeing.

Contact New Conservatory Theatre Center for more information and tickets.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

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Home Run

72 countries have laws criminalizing homosexuality and in nine it’s punishable by death. In too much of the world LGBT individuals live in fear, are subject to violence, unable to fulfill their human potential. Perhaps, the most frightening thing is the risk of being murdered by one’s own father or a male sibling.

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A few individuals are lucky enough to escape home and seek a new life in a country with more humane laws and attitudes. The goal is to reach one of the 22 nations that recognize the rights of LGBT citizens, the majority of which are in the Americas and Western Europe.

One successful strategy for young people is to learn the language in preparation of studying abroad. When an individual reaches a safe haven such as the United States, it’s possible to apply for asylum within the first year of arrival and begin the long, arduous process of providing proof of persecution.

The Center For Immigrant Protection in San Francisco helps people residing in the US with pro-bono legal representation and referrals to other available services in the area. More information is available at cipsf.com.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Backstage Boy

Opening Night directed by Isaac Rentz (USA) 2016 raises the curtain on the complex drama behind the scenes of a Broadway musical.

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The film follows the fast-paced work routine of a stage manager as he prepares performers and crew for the opening night of a show. There are both funny and poignant moments. Sex and romance are ever-present issues.

While a conventional boy-girl love affair is the prime focus, there’s a generous mix of sexual and racial variety to enjoy.

Opening Night will be available in the US as a DVD from Wolfe Video 1 August 2017.

Contact Wolfe Video for more information.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Family Portrait

The Guys Next Door directed by Amy Geller and Allie Humenuk (USA) 2016 is a documentary about an unusual relationship.

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While it’s increasingly common for two women and even two men to bring children into the world and raise them in loving same-sex households, the male couple in this situation is assisted by a surrogate mother who also serves as the bridge between two households, one straight and the other gay.

A married woman with three children of her own volunteers to give birth to another two for her gay best friend and his Italian partner. This marvelous film covers three years before, during, and after the second child is born.

It will screen one-time only on Sunday 6 August 2017 at the New Parkway in Oakland during the upcoming San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 37.

Contact Jewish Film Institute for more information and tickets.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Western Front

The modern gay liberation movement is most often associated with New York, leaving out what happened in the rest of the country.

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When We Rise, a seven-part docudrama, focuses on San Francisco movement history.

Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black wrote the script for this ABC series. While the personal story of Harvey Milk was overshadowed by other elements in Milk, the newer work is anchored by the well-developed personal accounts.

Having lived through and survived the last four decades here, I was emotionally overwhelmed by the bigger-than-life presentation of our shared history. It didn’t quite reflect either my own experience or my knowledge of the time, but the series definitely captured the essence of what occurred during this tumultuous period.

Lance gathered material from each of the main characters and created a gripping, coherent narrative relevant to anyone open to knowing what happened in San Francisco.

Contact ABC for more information.

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

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Music Icon

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 initially to a packed audience at the Castro Theatre and screened again at the Landmark Theatres Piedmont during Frameline 41.

It won the audience award for best documentary at the festival.

Contact Frameline for more information.

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