Southern Exposure

A young, struggling, Hollywood actor returns home to Alabama in Counting For Thunder written and directed by Phillip Irwin Cooper (USA) 2015.

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A family crises propels him back to a time and place he thought he left behind. There he discovers not only a deeper understanding of his parents, but also a hidden part of himself as well.

This work is especially timely in exposing elements of the regional rifts in the country. More than once his father denigrates or dismisses something as a California thing.

However, over all, this is a sensitive, compassionate, complex work that will appeal to a wide audience.

Counting For Thunder is available in the U.S. and Canada via Wolfe Video on DVD & VOD and across all digital platforms including iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, and WolfeOnDemand.com, as well as many major retailers.

Contact Wolfe Video for more information and online purchases.

copyright © 2017 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

Holiday House

An English teen arrives with his mother at their holiday house in a French village in Departure directed by Andrew Steggall (UK) 2015.

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Elliot soon notices Clément, a handsome, slightly older Parisian, who is living there with his aunt. The two become friends despite their differing sexual orientations.

While Elliot openly declares his love for Clément, Clément replies, I like you; I don’t love you.

The setting is stunning and the relationship of the two young men plays against family complications for each of them.

Departure is available 7 March 2017 in the U.S. and Canada via Wolfe Video on DVD / VOD: across all digital platforms including iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, and WolfeOnDemand.com, and will be on DVD via Wolfe Video and many major retailers.

Contact Wolfe Video for more information and online purchases.

copyright © 2017 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Young Love

Akron directed by Sasha King and Brian O’Donnell (USA) 2015 is an American love story set in Ohio.

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Two college freshmen, one Anglo, the other Latino, develop a close relationship over time. Their parents are surprisingly supportive initially but the shadow of a tragic incident in the past threatens to tear them apart.

This was one of my favorite dramatic features during last year’s Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco.

Akron is available 7 February 2017 in the U.S. via Wolfe Video on DVD / VOD: across all digital platforms including iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, and WolfeOnDemand.com, and will be on DVD via Wolfe Video and many major retailers.

Contact Wolfe Video for more information and online purchases.

copyright © 2017 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Getting Out

Fire Song directed by Adam Garnet Jones (USA) 2016 is set in a remote indigenous Northern Canadian community.

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Daily life is difficult in this depressed and poor village. Shane is the principal character who struggles to deal with economic hardship, highly charged family issues, but also in affirming his sexual identity.

His dream is to make a better future for himself by going down to university in Toronto and taking his boyfriend with him.

However, the suicide of his sister and the depression of his mother make this move difficult. And the money left by his father may not be available for him.

Fire Song is now available in the U.S. via Wolfe Video on DVD / VOD: across all digital platforms including iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, and WolfeOnDemand.com, and will be on DVD via Wolfe Video and many major retailers.

Contact Wolfe Video for more information and online purchases.

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

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

 

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

Mincing Words

No, it’s not a cooking show!

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Tom Ammiano’s new one-man show is an entertaining romp through his two terms as a member of the California Assembly. Whether he’s sitting in his office, standing on stage, or running for office, the jokes keep coming. He knows how to get a laugh.

His sense of humor has undoubtedly served him well in all of his careers: teacher, comic, and politician. During his tenure in public office he’s championed health care, affordable housing, LGBT issues, as well as labor, immigration, and prison reform.

Mincing Words runs 8 September to 15 October 2016 at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia Street (off 22nd), San Francisco.

Along with his remarks about well-known politicians in various levels of government, he also introduces several characters that embody undesirable traits making them perfect foils for humor.

San Francisco values, of course, from a Jersey guy now deeply rooted in the West.

Shows run Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons. Contact the Marsh for more info and tickets.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

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

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