by Roberto Friedman
Tonight begins the three-week run of this year's edition of the San Francisco International Arts Festival (May 21-June 7 at Fort Mason Center). There's a lot of excitement on offer, with 70 arts groups giving almost 150 performances. SFIAF executive director Andrew Wood put together a list of some LGBT artists and content to be found among the bounty. We pass along some highlights.
Anne Bluethenthal and Dancers, a multicultural Bay Area dance company with LGBT artists, collaborates with Mezoamerika, a group of Salvadoran artist-activists, to present Andares Part One (5/29-31). This is an interesting mix of cultures, as the FMLN in El Salvador has been known to be as homophobic as the Zapatistas in Mexico (i.e., "Homosexuality is not a problem here because none of our members is gay.")
Detour Dance Company offers Beckon (excerpt) (6/5-7), which according to its release "portrays the dehumanized, colonized effect of catcalling, and brings to light the subversive cruising culture that, for gay men, is a necessary means to communicate in an oppressive society. Beckon presents the very different ways in which women and gay men have developed behaviors in response to the dominant heterosexual male voice."
One of the major factors in Aine Ryan 's play Kitty in the Lane is the suicide of the title character's gay brother in rural Ireland (Republic of Ireland; U.S. premiere) (5/21-24, 29-31, 6/5-7).
Gay statesman Tom Ammiano's daughter Annie Jupiter Jones is executive director of Loco Bloco , which presents Bay to Bahia, rooted in community expression and Mission District street arts (world premiere) (5/30-31).
Per Wood: "Devorah Major has a hunch that two of the leading historical characters in her play Classic Black, about African Americans in 19th-century San Francisco, might have been queer. How fabulous would it be if the man who gave his name to Folsom Street was actually gay?" The play stars actor Brian Freeman of Pomo Afro Homos fame, with musical accompaniment from the Destiny Muhammad Trio (6/4, 6-7).
More information on all festival offerings can be found at sfiaf.org.
Hot young French actor Gaspard Ulliel is currently burning up the cinema screen as fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in director Bertrand Bonello's Saint Laurent. Photographer Steven Underhill snapped several photos of him, such as the one you see here, when Ulliel traveled all the way from Paris to this year's San Francisco International Film Festival for a screening of the film at the Castro Theatre. He was here for all of 24 hours. What a trouper! He also starred in the horror flick Hannibal Rising, not to be confused with the adult film Hannibal Riding. We also noticed during a recent visit to Macy's that Ulliel is the current poster-boy promoting Chanel cologne. Smell him!
Topsy-Turvy queer circus showcases transgender and queer-identified artists of color working in circus art-forms. Topsy Turvy co-founder India Davis said in a press statement, "As a queer circus, it's about more than just LGBTQ identity, it's about being subversive and affirming stories that fall outside of white male heteronormativity. There is a vibrant radical queer community and queer people of color community in the Bay Area, but in the circus world those stories aren't represented."
Topsy-Turvy appears at Brava Theater Center on June 5 & 6 as part of the 2015 National Queer Arts Festival . As ringmaster, drag chanteuse Honey Mahogany will host former Cirque du Soleil performer Marshall Jarreau, Essence magazine featured artist Kiebpoli Calnek aka Black Acrobat, youth performers from Destiny Arts Center Youth Performance Company, Bay Area-born circus artist and educator SAM Luckey , and single-point trapeze artist Xochitl Sosa. More info can be found at qcc2.org.