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8 cultural curios in 800 words

  • February 17, 2011

1. San Francisco choreographer Jesselito Bie will be honored with an award tonight, Feb. 17, for his decades of work as a gay dance-maker and artistic provocateur. Bie has performed with such companies as the High Risk Group, Scott Wells, Stephen Pelton and others, and went on to direct his own company, Steamroller . The award presentation is part of the 2nd CSUEB Queer Dance Festival at California State University East Bay in Hayward. As part of the festivities, Dandelion Dancetheater will perform a new participatory work.

2. PBS series Independent Lens will premiere Yony Leyser's William S. Burroughs: A Man Within on Tues., Feb. 22 at 10 p.m. The life and work of the legendary gay beat author are explored in interviews with colleagues and like minds John Waters, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop , Laurie Anderson and others. Soundtrack is by Smith and Sonic Youth, with narration by actor Peter Weller, who starred in David Cronenberg's wild 1991 film of Burroughs' Naked Lunch.

3. Out There was part of the crowd of hip young socialites at the 2nd annual Hearts After Dark party last Thursday night in Union Square, benefiting a very worthy cause, the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation. We grooved to the music of Chris Clouse and the hunky DJ Solomon, and chilled in the VIP pen, all inside a giant plastic tent pitched over the square. We do so heart this event.

4.Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has a new album out from Virgin Classics, Diva, Divo, on which she sings arias written for operatic heroes of both sexes, how Victor/Victoria of her. DiDonato takes on roles including her signature Rossini's Cenerentola, and great trouser or pantaloon roles Bellini's Romeo and Mozart 's Cherubino. Accompanying her is the Orchestre de l'Opera National de Lyon under conductor Kazushi Ono.

5. The San Francisco Silent Film Festival invited us to their Winter Event last Saturday night at the Castro Theatre, so we went to see King Vidor's 1926 classic La Boheme, starring the great Lillian Gish as Mimi and the juicy John Gilbert as Rodolphe, in a new 35mm print. Sent us right back to our previous life in bohemian 1830s Paris. Master organist Dennis James accompanied to great effect on the Mighty Wurlitzer. The party on the Castro's mezzanine was a treat, and we got to meet readers who have called us on our cinema gaffes, right on for them.

6. San Francisco Cinematheque will present (with Frameline and SFMOMA) William E. Jones' Tearoom with Jones attending, on Fri., Feb. 18, 7:30 p.m. at YBCA. SF Cinematheque artistic director Steve Polta writes, "Tearoom consists entirely of footage created in 1962 by the Mansfield, OH police department documenting clandestine sexual encounters between men in a public restroom. Ultimately, this footage led to the arrest, prosecution, and incarceration of approximately 30 men. This material is presented by Jones more as document than documentary – in silence, with minimal editorial intervention, devoid of direct commentary. This blunt, non-interventionist presentation allows a slow accumulation of details and reveals profound intersections of race, class, sexuality and heterosexist power, uncomfortably placing the viewer in the position of voyeur and surveillant, while paradoxically suggesting empathy – even identification – with the on-screen subjects. Tearoom presents a complex, disturbing picture of institutional power in midcentury America." We've seen it, very intriguing. 

7. The February issue of the Nob Hill Gazette includes a feature we await all year, the 16th annual Eligibles List: 50 ladies-in-waiting and 50 (confirmed) bachelors in SF. We're no expert on the ladies, but every year we read the little blurbs on the 50 eligible men, and think: hmmm. Many of these men are clearly playing for our own team. In a few cases, we know men who have dated these men. But in only one of the 50 squibs do we find that little word "gay." Why so circumspect, Nob Hill Gazette?

Take the eligible F.A., who says "my kitchen is open, and I am taking reservations." Or "haberdasher extraordinaire" W.B. , whose boutonniere we know shades pink. Man-about-town P.B. says he "collects ideas, friends, and antiques," and if that isn't a dropped hairpin, we don't know what is. Wacky D.F. says his "favorite Crayola crayon is Atomic Tangerine." We think we know which way H.D., J.H. , B.K. and J.M. swing, and we're not alone. Meanwhile, only three out of 50 eligible men even mention looking for women. That's 6%. Sounds about right for eligible SF.

8. 1957 Leave It to Beaver: The Beave gets grounded for smoking.

2011 Skins: "A naked 17-year-old actor is shown from behind as he runs down a street. Actor Jesse Carere plays Chris, a high school student whose erection, assisted by erectile dysfunction pills, is a punchline throughout the episode." Wal- ly!

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