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/

Odd Couple

Sean is a TV weatherman on the verge of a nervous breakdown six months after the end of a romantic relationship.

oddcouple

He hires Ernesto, a Mexican day laborer, to repaint his deck and finds ways to extend the job in order to escape his loneliness.

This quirky drama reveals the inherent human need for connectedness and the peculiar way some individuals deal with the dilemma.

Some may find Papi Chulo directed by John Butler (USA) 2018 charming while others may view it as a bit creepy. I nearly gave up midway but managed to watch it to the end.

Papi Chulo was released by Breaking Glass Pictures 5 November 2019 on DVD and Blu-ray.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com/

Arab Films

Saturday 12 October 2019 at 8:30 PM the 23rd San Francisco Arab Film Festival will screen Queer Lens at the Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street, between Valencia and Guerrero.

arabfilms

The two-hour program of films by and about queer Arabs consists of four shorts and one medium length narrative film.

Brothers directed by Mike Mosallam (USA) 2018, Of A Dancer directed by Georges Hazim (Lebanon) 2018, Dearborn Ash by Hena Ashraf (USA) 2018, Marco directed by Saleem Haddad (UK) 2019, and Label Me directed by Kai Kreuser (Germany) 2019.

For more information and tickets contact Arab Film And Media Institute.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

History Tour

In 1989 I was impressed by the extensive LGBT exhibition at the 42nd Street New York Public Library, which included several items related to organizations or projects I was involved with nearly two decades earlier.

Returning thirty years later I felt very removed from three Stonewall 50 exhibits I visited at Leslie-Loman Gallery, New York Public Library, and New York Historical Society Museum. Having returned to San Francisco nearly half a century ago, my East Coast ties are now in the distant past.

historytour

We Are Everywhere by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown published 2019 by Ten Speed Press covers more than a century of LGBTQ activism in the US. The huge collection of photos immediately drew my attention. More than a few are of people I know or knew starting with the one of Marsha P. Johnson on the front cover.

Reading the four-part history was a more demanding experience. I felt I was in a queer studies class. Interested in new material, impatient to get through the parts I already knew, and saddened by the reoccurring instances of infighting and acrimony documented. This isn’t unique to our struggle by any means.

I recommend We Are Everywhere for anyone wanting to learn about the setbacks and progress of queer liberation in the US, in a book profusely illustrated with images of individuals associated with that struggle.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Family Values

Mama’s Boy by Dustin Lance Black, (2019) Knopf is a compelling memoir by the screenwriter of the award-wining film Milk.

familyvalues

It ranges over three generations, including the author’s maternal grandmother, who barely managed to overcome poverty and an all but hopeless future, through the courageous and exemplary life of his mother, who rose above a physically debilitating chronic condition to give birth and nurture three children, as well as his own rise as both a creative artist and dedicated activist for justice.

Lance’s mother shines in this loving portrayal of her and his admiration for her amazing courage and resolve. Aware of his homosexuality at an early age, he knows it distances him from the traditional Southern values of the one person whose love and acceptance he fears losing.

The key to understanding and compassion lies in the many personal stories of both him and his friends. It’s where connections are made and healing begins. Mama’s Boy is a rare gem of a book!

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.

worldpride

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/

Now Generation

Sell By directed by Mike Doyle (USA) 2019 premieres at Frameline 43.

nowgeneration

This delightful modern, romantic comedy is centered around a young couple trying to balance their relationship and careers in New York City.

Close friends also face challenges in their daily lives.

The film is very much in the present and will strongly appeal to young gay professionals seeking to find a place for themselves in the world.

It screens Wednesday night 26 June 2019 at the Castro Theatre during Frameline 43.

For more info and tickets contact frameline.org

Copyright © 2019 by N. A. Diaman.

http://nikosdiaman.com/

Syrian Handyman

A Moment In The Reeds directed by Mikko Makela (2017) Finland deals with immigration from a gay perspective.

syrianhandyman

A Finn studying literature in Paris and a Syrian architect resettled in Finland meet in a small rural community.

Leevi is visiting his widowed father, who’s renovating the summerhouse in the woods before selling it, when Tareq arrives to help out with the project.

Both young men are estranged from their families because of their sexual orientation. While they are drawn to one another, the circumstances of their lives make an ongoing relationship a nearly impossible achievement.

A Moment In The Reeds is a Wild Beast Productions release available 4 December 2018 in the US and Canada on VOD and digital platforms including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and YouTube Movies.

Also available in the US on DVD and Blu-ray through Amazon.

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

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Compassionate Care

San Francisco was a major epicenter of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that ravaged the city in the Eighties.

compassionate care

5B directed by Dan Krauss (USA) 2018 focuses on the legendary AIDS ward of San Francisco General Hospital and its pioneering effort to provide holistic medical care and comfort to the many young gay men and others hardest impacted by a frightening new deadly disease.

Nurses were at the heart of this humane endeavor that included touch and hugs for the suffering rather than the impersonal approach that was standard procedure for the profession. Helped by dedicated physicians, partners, friends, volunteers, and family members.

While the decade of the Seventies involved the struggle for liberation, the following decade was one of death and devastation as well as rampant homophobia nationwide.

However, even here in this very liberal city and inside its prime public health facility, there was fear and strong resistance to the pioneering approach of the 5B staff. Ultimately the radical ward principles prevailed and 5B became a model of care for other cities and countries.

5B was the closing night feature of the 2018 San Francisco Documentary Film Festival at the Castro Theatre.

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

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Got Milk!

Harvey Milk: His Lives And Death by Lillian Faderman. (2018) Yale University Press is a concise, well-written biography. A more satisfying work than either the Randy Shilts book or the Gus Van Sant feature film.

gotmilk!

Faderman’s book chronologically follows each phase of Milk’s life beginning with his childhood in an upper middle-class Jewish family on Long Island.

Intergenerational differences and conflict are there at the very start and remain as unresolved elements throughout his life.

Milk’s realization that he wasn’t quite like other boys and young men was a factor he dealt with in numerous ways. Homosexuality was almost universally condemned when he first realized he was gay. It was one of several important aspects that defined who he was and how he related to the world around him.

He tried various approaches in pursuit of a career he hoped would bring an overall sense of purpose in his life before settling on the one that was most challenging, satisfying numerous parts of himself, and leading eventually to his tragic death.

Harvey Milk is Lillian Faderman at her best and a valuable resource of LGBT history alongside her previous hefty publication, The Gay Revolution (2015) Simon And Schuster.

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

http://www.nikosdiaman.com