Southern Comfort

I fully support building bridges to bring people together rather than constructing walls that divide one group from another. I believe diversity is a strength and am disturbed by those unwilling to venture beyond their narrow circle of like-minded individuals.

southerncomfort

In 2017 the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus toured five homophobic states. It was a brave effort sensibly organized. They traveled to the South with open hearts, offering joyful and healing music to all willing to receive it.

Gay Chorus Deep South directed by David Charles Rodriguez (USA) 2019 is a documentary about that amazing tour and watching it I was often moved to tears.

The film includes several relevant personal stories as well as the reactions of people who attended performances. While most of the songs were traditional religious numbers, only one church agreed to host a concert.

Gay Chorus Deep South opens today for a limited theatrical engagement at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.

copyright © 2019 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com/

World Pride

New York is hosting one of the biggest celebrations of the century with three or four million people expected to attend.

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The World Pride NYC Stonewall 50 website lists a myriad of events scheduled during June 2019.

There are exhibitions at the 42nd Street New York Public Library, Leslie-Lohman Gallery, and New York Historical Society Museum along with several marches and a grand parade.

While the Stonewall rebellion is lauded as the start of the LGBT movement, it was one of many acts of resistance to oppression and injustice both in the US and in other countries as well.

My own radicalization and subsequent activism occurred a few months later following the Snake Pit raid. My involvement in the Gay Liberation Front was a significant part of my evolution and changed my life forever.

More information available at World Pride.

Image and text copyright © 2019 by N. A. Diaman.

http://nikosdiaman.com/

Country Boy

Kanarie directted by Christiaan Olwagen (USA) 2018 follows the adventures of a naive young Afrikaner serving in the military.

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A fan of Boy George with a passion for women’s fashion, who is caught parading through the streets of his small hometown by the local minister, receives his draft notice and manages to gain a place in the army church choir. What begins as light comedy turns more seriously.

The inductees are humiliated from the moment they first arrive in boot camp by a sadistic officer who preys on the most vulnerable among them, a chubby, effeminate recruit.

The issue of apartheid, the hypocrisy of religious morality being used to condone killing, and the turmoil of sexuality are women throughout the film.

Kanarie is now available on DVD and VOD by Breaking Glass Pictures, a distributor of LGBT media.

copyright © 2018 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Musical Valentine

I’m especially fond of romantic-sounding male vocalists even if I don’t understand the words. I recently heard a couple of them I like. One on a Guadalajara radio station that plays both Spanish (Mexican) and English (American) pop music.

The haunting melody that caught my attention was Recuerdo me, sung by Carlos Rivera in the movie Coco. It’s about remembering loved ones who’ve died and is currently available only as a single.

However, Rivera has several CD compilations and I plan to get at least one of them.

musicalvalentine

I heard the second singer on an Indian radio station. Arijit Singh is a relatively young musician with a long list of Bollywood credits to his name. After sampling a couple of his CDs: Love Forever and Love Dose, I asked someone to pick them up for me before returning to the Bay Area from Southern India.

While candy and flowers are traditional Valentine gifts, how about music for that special person in your life?

copyright © 2018 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

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.

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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