Backstage Boy

Opening Night directed by Isaac Rentz (USA) 2016 raises the curtain on the complex drama behind the scenes of a Broadway musical.

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The film follows the fast-paced work routine of a stage manager as he prepares performers and crew for the opening night of a show. There are both funny and poignant moments. Sex and romance are ever-present issues.

While a conventional boy-girl love affair is the prime focus, there’s a generous mix of sexual and racial variety to enjoy.

Opening Night will be available in the US as a DVD from Wolfe Video 1 August 2017.

Contact Wolfe Video for more information.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Family Portrait

The Guys Next Door directed by Amy Geller and Allie Humenuk (USA) 2016 is a documentary about an unusual relationship.

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While it’s increasingly common for two women and even two men to bring children into the world and raise them in loving same-sex households, the male couple in this situation is assisted by a surrogate mother who also serves as the bridge between two households, one straight and the other gay.

A married woman with three children of her own volunteers to give birth to another two for her gay best friend and his Italian partner. This marvelous film covers three years before, during, and after the second child is born.

It will screen one-time only on Sunday 6 August 2017 at the New Parkway in Oakland during the upcoming San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 37.

Contact Jewish Film Institute for more information and tickets.

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

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

Last Words

I Dream In Another Language directed by Ernesto Contreras (Mexico/Netherlands) 2017 involves the effort to preserve a dying language.

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A young researcher arrives in a remote village nestled in a lush, Mexican rainforest hoping to record a nearly extinct indigenous language while the last three native speakers are still alive. One speaker dies shortly after he gets there, leaving only two men who haven’t spoken to one another in decades.

The heart of the film revolves around a complex, volatile relationship spanning years.

It’s one of the centerpiece programs of the forthcoming Frameline 41 festival and is scheduled to screen 20 June 2017 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.

Contact Frameline for more information and tickets.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

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