Can't stop the LGBT Pride!
by Roberto Friedman
Advance word on Frameline 35's opening-night film Gun Hill Road, directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green, was that it might be the first transgender-issues film to find popular success since 2005's Transamerica, directed by Duncan Tucker. The packed Castro Theatre audience gave it a rousing ovation at the opening night of the 35th SF International LGBT Film Festival last Thursday night. Stars Esai Morales , Judy Reyes and newcomer Harmony Santana were in the house and gave good Q&A after the screening, and then they brought celebrity wattage to the opening-night gala at Temple nightclub downtown. It was a rollicking kick-off to 11 days of great LGBT film events in the Bay Area.
Last Sunday night at the Castro Theatre, Frameline screened Cho Dependent, the latest concert film from hilarious comedian, actor, author and activist Margaret Cho. We can't think of a more deserving recipient of the Frameline Award honor, because Cho is definitely a local girl made good, and as Festival Director Jennifer Morris remarked, Frameline has been a part of her career all along the way, having screened all of her films and shorts.
The last four days of the Frameline festival are often the best, as you'll find by perusing our coverage of upcoming highlights in features, documentaries and shorts. We'll report on the scene at the fest's closing night coming this Sunday in our next column.
Also looking ahead, the 33rd Annual Pride Concert, an Official 2011 SF Pride Event, is coming up on Friday, June 24, 8 p.m., at Everett Auditorium (450 Church St.). It's co-produced by the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco and the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, with special guests the Golden Gate Men's Chorus , San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Ambassadors and Trauma Flintstone. Here are some fun concert facts for your delectation!
The Pride Concert producers are honoring Commander Zoe Dunning with an award in celebration of this year's repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," and the Alexander Hamilton Post will provide a color guard.
Trauma Flintstone (a.k.a. Joe Wicht ), who just completed a successful run in the starring role of the chamber opera Queer, based on the William Burroughs novel, at the SF International Arts Festival, will emcee the concert.
The Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco is premiering a new piece by local composer June Bonacich, "If Gays Ruled the Country," and an original arrangement of "Born This Way," accompanied by the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band.
The Bay Area Rainbow Symphony is the first string orchestra to perform at the Pride Concert in the event's 33-year history. More info is at www.AnnualPrideConcert.org.
If music be the food of love, play on. Last weekend we heard pianist Yuja Wang play the spots off the Bartok 2nd Piano Concerto, with Michael Tilson Thomas leading the San Francisco Symphony. The sensational recitalist negotiated this fiendishly difficult music gracefully, bringing coherence and import to even its most abstract passages. What a season it's been in old Davies Hall. The SFS Centennial Season kicks off on Sept. 7 with violin legend Itzhak Perlman and piano legend Lang Lang .
Candy in store
Coming to the Castro Theatre next Thursday, June 30 (7 & 9:15 p.m.), is another official SF Pride event. Beautiful Darling (2010), written and directed by James Rasin, chronicles the short but influential life of Candy Darling , who was a major part of Andy Warhol 's entourage and one of the inspirations for the Lou Reed song "Walk on the Wild Side." Born James Slattery in a Long Island suburb in 1944, he transformed himself into a gorgeous, blonde actress and well-known downtown New York figure. Candy's career took her through the raucous, revolutionary off-off-Broadway theatre scene and into Warhol's fame factory. There she found herself in Warhol's inner circle, starring in two Factory movies, Paul Morrissey 's Flesh and Women in Revolt. Candy used her Warhol fame to land further film roles, and her admirer Tennessee Williams cast her in his play Small Craft Warnings.
She dreamed of becoming a Hollywood star, but tragically died of lymphoma in the early 1970s at only 29. The film uses both current and vintage interviews, excerpts from Candy's own diaries and letters, as well as vintage footage of Candy and friends. Actress Chloe Sevigny appears as the voice of Candy Darling, and the film features appearances by film luminaries John Waters , Paul Morrissey, and Michael J. Pollard .
Out There was just another hungry scribe last week at a press luncheon for a restaurant opening downtown this week. Bluestem Brasserie, at 1 Yerba Buena Lane, will offer a menu of fresh, simply composed dishes created by executive chef Sean Canavan, created cocktails, a wine list and 12 wines on tap, sourced directly from Napa and Sonoma producers.
We were seated among a radio journalist, a foodie blogger and the wine editor for venerable Sunset magazine, sharing plates like an amazing beef carpaccio in pistachio oil, picked ramps and aged cheddar; roasted marrow bones in shallot marmalade; arugula salad with stone fruit, toasted pumpkin seeds and Pt. Reyes blue cheese; watermelon salad with Castrelvetrano olives, feta and mint; and steamed mussels with bacon, pinot noir and thyme. Is your mouth watering? Because ours is, from the memories.
It's the first SF restaurant from partners Adam and Stacy Jed, and will offer all-day dining and a rooftop bar 11 a.m.-11 p.m.. We chose a rib-eye steak in green peppercorn-blue cheese sauce as our entree, but could have easily gone for the duck confit, the Duroc pork or the roasted Dorade. Desserts by noted chef James Ormsby included butterscotch tapioca brulee and vanilla profiteroles. Discover this place for yourself next time you're in the Yerba Buena arts district.