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

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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

 

Frameline 42

The San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival opens Thursday 14 June 2018 at the Castro Theatre.

frameline42

This year’s ten-day event includes an amazing line up of narrative and documentary screenings.

Some films to watch out for: A Great Ride, A Moment In The Reeds, Believer, Chedeng And Apple, Dario, Femme, When The Beat Drops, and Wild Nights With Emily.

For more information and tickets contact frameline.org

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

GAG Grows

Gays Against Guns began 2016 in New York within days of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida.

gaggrows

About 750 women and men joined the GAG contingent of the New York Pride March the following week.

In early July informational tables were set up in the Pines and Cherry Grove before a solemn procession through the two predominately-queer Fire Island communities.

GAG subsequently protested several politicians its members characterized as puppets of the NRA.

Since then chapters were launched in Los Angeles, New Jersey, Orlando, and San Francisco.

For more information contact www.gaysagainstguns.net

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Tale Teller

The author of the popular series, Tales Of The City, tells his own story in Logical Family by Armistead Maupin, HarperCollins, 2017.

taleteller

Maupin has talked about his conservative family upbringing at book signings, radio and TV interviews, and also in films about him. Much of the material in his memoir is already public knowledge.

But for his many fans that have either never seen him in person nor been exposed to recorded interviews, the book offers an additional opportunity to be entertained by his writing.

What began as a conventional life rooted in Southern tradition and politics took an unexpected turn after the author’s move to the West Coast and eventual acceptance of his sexual orientation.

Maupin, a vocal promoter of his adopted city of San Francisco, has made a successful career for himself not only through his writing and speaking engagements but also with ancillary sales. These include television shows, films, theatrical productions, musical presentations, etc.

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

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Home Run

72 countries have laws criminalizing homosexuality and in nine it’s punishable by death. In too much of the world LGBT individuals live in fear, are subject to violence, unable to fulfill their human potential. Perhaps, the most frightening thing is the risk of being murdered by one’s own father or a male sibling.

homerun

A few individuals are lucky enough to escape home and seek a new life in a country with more humane laws and attitudes. The goal is to reach one of the 22 nations that recognize the rights of LGBT citizens, the majority of which are in the Americas and Western Europe.

One successful strategy for young people is to learn the language in preparation of studying abroad. When an individual reaches a safe haven such as the United States, it’s possible to apply for asylum within the first year of arrival and begin the long, arduous process of providing proof of persecution.

The Center For Immigrant Protection in San Francisco helps people residing in the US with pro-bono legal representation and referrals to other available services in the area. More information is available at cipsf.com.

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Western Front

The modern gay liberation movement is most often associated with New York, leaving out what happened in the rest of the country.

westerfront

When We Rise, a seven-part docudrama, focuses on San Francisco movement history.

Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black wrote the script for this ABC series. While the personal story of Harvey Milk was overshadowed by other elements in Milk, the newer work is anchored by the well-developed personal accounts.

Having lived through and survived the last four decades here, I was emotionally overwhelmed by the bigger-than-life presentation of our shared history. It didn’t quite reflect either my own experience or my knowledge of the time, but the series definitely captured the essence of what occurred during this tumultuous period.

Lance gathered material from each of the main characters and created a gripping, coherent narrative relevant to anyone open to knowing what happened in San Francisco.

Contact ABC for more information.

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

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Lucky Alive

The Untold Tales Of Armistead Maupin directed by Jennifer Kroot and Bill Weber (USA) 2017 is the opening night film of Frameline 41.

luckyalive

Armistead Maupin and his Tales Of The City books are local pop icons in San Francisco. Nearly as familiar as the Golden Gate to residents of Castro Street and beyond. This ninety-minute documentary will likely be a crowd-pleaser during its screening at the Castro Theatre 15 June 2017.

While the movie fleshes out some details of Maupin’s life and provides numerous images of him at various stages of his life, there are few revelations.

The theme of this year’s San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival (15 – 25 June 2017) is Genre Queer. Venues include the Castro Theatre, Roxie Theater, and Victoria Theatre in San Francisco, Rialto Cinemas, Elmwood in Berkeley, and Landmark Theatres Piedmont in Oakland.

More information and tickets available at www.frameline.org

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Gay Phoenix

When We Rise: My Life In The Movement by Cleve Jones is due late November from Hachette Books.

gayphoenix

The title suggests the mythical bird reborn from the ashes and the forthcoming memoir definitely reflects that.

Its author, Cleve Jones, first came to San Francisco from Arizona in 1972, the year I returned to the city from the East Coast. We met in the early 70s and I remember attending a party he and his roommate, Eric Garbor, hosted when we lived half a block from one another on Castro Street.

He’s long been a highly visible member of the community and a prominent activist for over four decades.

The book traces the trajectory of his life beginning with a low point. His experiences at school were so hellish that he was considering suicide during his early teens. He overcame despair after he began working for social change and discovered he was not alone in the world.

Cleve was especially active during the bleakest period of the AIDS-HIV pandemic. He was the founder of the Names Project that created a public memorial for thousands of individuals who died of the disease. The ever-growing quilt was displayed widely both in the US and beyond, helping to mobilize government agencies to fund studies and speed up treatment options.

The movement for social justice not only gave meaning to his life but also provided him with employment over the years. He worked in politics and is presently engaged in labor advocacy.

He was mentored by Harvey Milk and encouraged the development and eventual production of Milk, the narrative film about Harvey directed by Gus Van Sant in 2008.

Earlier this year Dustin Lance Black, the screenwriter of Milk, teamed up again with Van Sant to produce an ABC miniseries partly inspired by the manuscript of When We Rise.

The memoir allowed me to fill in some of the details of Cleve’s life story and will undoubtedly inspire present and future generations of women and men to positive action.

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

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Urban Playground

Thousands of gay men came to San Francisco during the Seventies in search of sexual freedom.

urbanplayground

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