Between The Sheets

A casual encounter may lead to surprising consequences.

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Weekend directed by Andrew Haigh (UK) 2011 opens with Russell in the bath in preparing for a night out. He arrives late at a house party hosted by straight friends and is soon caught up in the celebration. Already intoxicated when he leaves.

But instead of going home he heads to a gay disco in search of a hookup. His attention is focused on a man seated at the bar who he follows to the men’s room but looses sight of on the way out. Consequently willing to settle for a different man who’s attracted to him.

The next morning Russell prepares coffee for himself and his trick. What occurred in the dark is evidently somewhat of a blur to Russell and the audience as well. When he opens the bedroom door the man he came home with is revealed.

His sexual partner Glen holds a small recorder demanding that Russell talk about what led up to their meeting and the follow up but Russell isn’t interested in opening up. When he asks why, Glen says it’s part of an art project he’s working on.

The two men spend 48 challenging, playful, passionate hours together. They share more than sex. Learning quite a bit about each other in the process. Agreeing about some things but also expressing opposing views about relationships and  life goals.

Both Russell and Glen are impacted by their time spent together.

Weekend is available in Blu-Ray and DVD from The Critereon Collection.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Out Now

Coming Out directed by Alden Peters (USA) 2015 utilizes modern technology to deal with the fundamental gay right of passage.

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A young filmmaker turns the camera on himself, as well as family and friends, to document what is still a difficult process for many.

It begins with his personal revelation to his older brother Rick during a drive and moves systematically from what Alden considers to be the easiest to the most difficult person in his life, his father, a man who seems to embody the all-round masculine guy.

Yet his relationships are only one aspect of sexual acceptance. Even more important is his internal journey. Finding out what it means for him to identify as a gay man.

Coming Out will be released on DVD 4 October 2016. Contact Wolf Video for more info about this charming and engaging work.

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

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Brooklyn Boys

Little Men directed by Ira Sachs (USA) 2016 premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

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It follows the developing relationship of two young boys in a Brooklyn neighborhood as well as the increasingly difficult interactions between their parents. While their own world revolves around shared creative interests, academic responsibilities, and play, the adults must deal with the hard economic realities dominating many American cities.

Money and real estate in a changing residential area are the major obstacles dividing the adults. However it’s not a simple matter of greed and heartless property owners taking advantage of less fortunate individuals. Sachs and co-writer Mauricio Zacharias present a more nuanced situation and sensitive treatment of the entire development.

Jake, a somewhat shy boy with artistic potential, and Tony, an outgoing boy who dreams of becoming an actor, are very real. As are Jake’s parents: Michael, a struggling actor, and Kathy, a working psychotherapist. Also Tony’s mother Leonor, a dressmaker being priced-out of her longtime shop.

New York City, where director Sachs lives with his husband and their two daughters, is beautifully captured

The film opened today at Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center and IFC Center 5, New York. Additional opening dates this month include: 12 August 2016 at Royal, Los Angeles; Clay Theatre, San Francisco and Avalon 2, Washington. 19 August 2016 at Sundance Cinemas, Seattle and Camelview at Fashion Square, Scottsdale. 26 August 2016 at Century Centre Cinema, Chicago; Angelika Film Center, Dallas; and CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Museum Cornerstone

The Mexican Museum was founded 1975 in San Francisco by Peter Rodriguez, a gay, California-born, Mexican-American painter.

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It’s taken over four decades to raise funds and break ground for a permanent location. A lot of work and determination went into accomplishing this.

I attended the morning dedication ceremony near the site of the four-story building that will house a large collection of Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicano, and Latino art.

The museum initially began in a rented storefront on Folsom Street before moving to its present temporary exhibition space in Fort Mason.

I first heard of Rodriguez and his vision from a neighbor who knew him. Both men were born in Stockton and worked during their lives in visual display. I visited the current museum on a number of occasions. It’s within walking distance of my home.

But I’ve never met the museum founder, who died less than three weeks before the dedication at the age of 90.

The Mexican Museum will stand downtown near several other important art institutions such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Yerba Buena Center For The Arts, Museum of the African Diaspora, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and perhaps a new GLBT History Museum now taking the first steps in making that a reality.

Executive Director Terry Beswick of the GLBT Historical Society announced the project in a recent Bay Area Reporter editorial. And the most recent society newsletter included a sketch by Alan Martinez, a local architect and former roommate of mine.

Money must be raised in small and large amounts, a location found, and a design presented and approved before anything materializes. Hopefully I’ll be alive to see it!

More information available at Mexican Museum and GLBT History Society.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Hollywood Closet

For much of its history, the Hollywood film industry manufactured and marketed an illusion.

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Movies celebrated young, white, heterosexuals of Northern European ancestry. Ethnically and sexually diverse peoples remained hidden.

The Hayes Code and the excesses of Cold War paranoia silenced dissenting voices. However, this seems to be quickly changing in keeping with significant progress in society as a whole.

Women He’s Undressed directed by Gillian Armstrong (Australia) 2015 documents the long career of costume designer Orry George Kelly (1897-1964), a three-time Oscar winner. He was born in a small town in Australia but soon moved to the United States, first working in New York before settling in Southern California.

Kelly’s work as a designer was praised while his sexual orientation was often mocked. His friendship with the wife of studio executive Jack Warner probably helped keep him employed at a time when gay and lesbian actors were forced to choose between job and personal relationship.

Women He’s Undressed, which screened at Frameline 40, is now available from Wolfe Video.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Fame & Shame

Stardom is intoxicating for performers but may quickly turn from blessing to curse for those unprepared for its unanticipated consequences. It is especially problematic when public image and private reality are at odds.

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The packaging and promotion of individuals is a way of monetizing talent. However I find it sad to see people transformed into products. I think the cost to the human spirit of such ventures is not worth the potential damage.

Strike A Pose directed by Ester Gould and Reijeer Zwaan (Netherlands/Belgium) 2016, recently showcased at Frameline 40, looks into the highs and lows of seven dancers who performed with Madonna. They were highly visible during the 1990 Blond Ambition tour but were left adrift after it ended.

The 1991 film Truth Or Dare, was supposed to be a personally revealing behind-the-scenes documentary showing the singer personally interacting with her dancers. The sexual orientation of the young men was publicly exposed during a time when AIDS-HIV was a frightening specter and homosexuality widely condemned in mainstream culture.

Strike A Pose is a beautiful exploration of a multi-layered story that looks at both the remarkable promise of youthful artists and the more difficult phase of their lives as they approach middle age. Secrets are reluctantly shared and the warmth of friendship is rekindled, at least momentarily.

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

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

San Francisco Treat

Pushing Dead directed by Tom E. Brown (USA) 2015 was showcased at recently concluded Frameline 40 and one of my favorite films at the festival.

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Dan is the bouncer of a neighborhood bar who’s HIV positive and unable to get his meds refilled, while his co-worker Bob is thrown out by his wife and in need of a place to stay.

The two men hang out together and help each other through an unexpected rough period in their lives. This gentle comedy is infused with love and compassion.

Dan’s roommate Paula and Bob’s wife Dot are important characters in the story but their roles are secondary. And the San Francisco setting is understated as well.

James Roday, local celeb Danny Glover, Robin Weigert, and Khandi Alexander work well together in the ensemble cast.

Look out for this cinematic gem!

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Party Time

I marched in New York in 1970 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. My friend Elliot and his partner David hosted a brunch in their apartment in the Village beforehand and a small group of us got stoned before joining that initial march. Yet despite the good feelings I was somewhat apprehensive because the previous night four members of the Gay Liberation Front were attacked on the street.

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Five thousand marchers participated that first year and we thought that with sufficient publicity we might be able to double the size the following year. Seven years later there were a quarter of a million in the San Francisco Pride Parade. I was astounded by the rapid growth of the movement over such a short period of time.

I knew people on both coasts and felt connected during those early years. I celebrated with friends, lovers, neighbors. People came and went. Political battles were won and lost. The most heartbreaking and frightening time was during the peak of the AIDS-HIV pandemic. Hundreds suffered and perished, especially in major cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Paris. Among them were men much younger than me I thought I would grow old with.

As the years passed I found myself surrounded by strangers as increasing numbers of young people came to San Francisco to celebrate their new sense of sexual freedom with rainbows and balloons. And for at least a couple of years I stayed home rather than face the crowds and noise filling the city the final Sunday in June.

I returned only when I was sure I’d be with friends again. Ignoring the main event to attend somewhat smaller gatherings such as the party in City Hall, the annual celebration in Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s office, Freedom Faerie Village where I was sure to see a lot of people I knew, or one of the after-parties in other parts of the city.

San Francisco Pride is now the biggest party of the year drawing thousands of people of all ages, races, and sexual persuasions. On my way home I boarded the Metro with four, young, straight couples. Each clearly signaled the nature of their relationship.

How’s it going? the man closest to me said to indicate his goodwill. Perhaps, self-conscious of his blatant heterosexual behavior. Like your belt! he then remarked after noticing the rainbow pattern. A gesture of peace and solidarity. An acknowledgement that he was an appreciative guest at our huge celebration.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Frameline 40

Frameline (San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival), the oldest queer film festival in the world, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. It runs for ten days from 16 to 26 June 2016 at the Castro Theatre, Roxie Theater, and Victoria Theatre in San Francisco plus Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley and Landmark Theatres Piedmont in Oakland.

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Some of the outstanding narrative films screening this year are: Akron directed by Sasha King and Brian O’Donnell (USA) 2015, Holding The Man directed by Neal Armfield (Australia) 2015, A Holy Mess directed by Helena Bergstrom (Sweden) 2015, Pushing Dead directed by Tom E. Brown (USA) 2015, and The Intervention directed by Clea Duvall (USA) 2016.

For more information and tickets contact Frameline.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com