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

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