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

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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

 

What’s Left

Has The Gay Movement Failed? by Martin Duberman, University of California Press, 2018 evaluates the status of Gay Liberation Front radical politics today.

what'sleft

Duberman is an academic with a prodigious body of work but this book begins with three dubious assertions. He says that Gay Liberation Front spread to a half dozen cities and college campuses, that the Gay Revolution Party began in London, and Gay Activists Alliance broke from GLF in November 1970.

Out Of The Closets edited by Karla Jay and Allen Young, Douglas Books, 1972 lists over 75 Gay Liberation Front groups. I was one of the founding members of Gay Revolution Party in New York. And Wikipedia marks 21 December 1969 as the founding date of Gay Activists Alliance.

Fortunately none of these errors are necessary for the main thesis of Has The Gay Movement Failed? Duberman correctly cites Gay Liberation Front that began in New York following the Stonewall Riots of June 1969 as a touchstone of gay left politics.

Marriage equality is certainly the antithesis of the ideals espoused by GLF because it involves acceptance of and inclusion into a flawed institution rather than demanding its dismantling and replacement by a more just and equitable social arrangement.

The book concludes with examples of current straight left attitudes relating to LGBTQ issues that seem not to have changed much over nearly half a century. Ignored, trivialized, denigrated. And at the end the question in the title remains unanswered.

Has The Gay Movement Failed? Is an interesting read but not the definitive work about an important subject that merits more comprehensive study.

I’d like to see a closer look at Gay Liberation Front politics and strategies, including both its successes and failures. Also a more detailed analysis of other radical and progressive LGBTQ groups and individuals outsides the mainstream.

It’s obvious to me that within weeks of its founding, there were individuals in GLF eager to abandon the ideals of transformative personal and societal liberation for the comforts of mere rights and acceptance of the status quo.

Our current challenge remains how to achieve the benefits of a better world for everyone instead of continuing to privilege just a few.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Not Listening

The Sign For Love directed by Elad Cohen and Iris Ben Moshe Israel (2017) is a documentary about a deaf gay man.

notlistening

Elad divides his time between hearing family members and a group of deaf friends. He’s closest to Yaeli, a deaf woman who wants a child.

The two of them decide to not only have a child together but to share an apartment and raise the baby as a couple.

While Yaeli’s mother is supportive of her, Elad has many unresolved issues with members of his biological family.

The Sign For Love reveals some of the unanticipated complexities involved in relationships that will surprise viewers.

It screens a second time at San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 38 on Friday 27 July 2018 at Albany Twin, Albany.

Contact Jewish Film Institute for more information and tickets.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com