Who's sorry now? Not Ali.
by Roberto Friedman
With the holidaze coming to an end, we've had our fill of celebrations, libations, and altercations. But are we sorry? No. Why not? "Love means never having to say you're sorry." And the "it" girl of the 1970s who actually uttered those immortal words will soon be landing onto the historic stage of the Castro Theatre for a smashing Valentine's Day extravaganza. Yes, Academy Award nominee Ali MacGraw will appear in a tribute in her honor along with a screening of the classic 70s weepie Love Story. Those who can remember that far back know that this film and its two fleshy nubile young stars Ali and yummy Ryan O'Neal were all the rage – it was a huge hit that virtually invented the phrase "chick flick." Our own celluloid chick-magnet producer Marc Huestis told Out There that Ali is a real VD Day "get."
"She lives a quiet private life in Santa Fe, and she rarely does public appearances, save for appearing on Oprah or doing a Vanity Fair interview in 2010," said Huestis. "I begged and cajoled, got on bended knee –" not a first for our intrepid impresario, but we'll take his word for it. Also on the bill – cue the music – "Where do I begin?" Katya Smirnoff Skyy will sing the theme song from Love Story and host a Ryan O'Neal/Ali MacGraw look-alike contest (girls, get out those knit hats) with the final winner crowned by Ms. Ali herself, and of course a live interview with style superstar MacGraw. Call (415) 863-0611, ask for the Preppie and get a $5 discount!
Umbrellas for Waters
Occasionally in our little burg we forget how special indeed the Castro Theatre is to our cultural landscape. John Waters calls it "the Radio City Music Hall for gay people," so we were thrilled to spy our favorite cinephile JW first in line at a recent matinee of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Cue the music again: "If it takes forever, I will wait for you." We're told Waters had never seen the classic film, so what better way to see it than on the big screen at the Castro? And we can report that he actually bought his ticket! Be like this film immortal, and support your local movie theater!
And how was your New Year's Eve? OT went to see jazz musician, Broadway diva, actor, writer and stand-up comic Lea DeLaria starring in her act The Last Butch Standing, aka The 2011 Rhino New Year's Eve Spectacular, under the musical direction of pianist Janette Mason at the Victoria Theatre. What made the show a spectacular? you ask. Lesbian icon DeLaria swinging out and working blue was pretty spectacular, and it was a perfect send-off to the unspectacular year 2011.
Hard to believe, but it's already time to look ahead to the new year's offerings, many and varied, in the arts. Following are a few upcoming arts events that caught our eye as we turned over the calendar page.
Over 70 photographs included in Arthur Tress : San Francisco 1964 range from public gatherings to impromptu street portraits, views of the peculiar contents of shop windows and commercial signs. Coming to the de Young Museum from March 3 to June 3, this is the first museum exhibition of a virtually unknown body of artist photographer Tress' early work. Curator James Ganz hopes to "offer an evocative time capsule of the City by the Bay, and make a contribution to the region's rich photographic legacy." Press materials fill out the picture: "In photographing events such as the Auto Row demonstrations, Tress was interested in recording passive bystanders as well as active participants. His candid images of spectators lining the streets of San Francisco, whether isolated or in groups, capture the distinctive fashions, expressions, and body language of the era. The frequent incursions of commercial logos and signage add to the contemporary flavor of the photographs, effectively fixing time and place."
When OT was invited to Cirque du Soleil international headquarters last July, rehearsals for the upcoming Michael Jackson project were so top-secret and highly classified that not only were journalists not allowed in those training studios, even publicists and company veterans involved with the project had to relinquish their cells and smart phones before entering the room, lest details leak out. Disclosure was under penalty of death (or expulsion)! Now we'll see what was under wraps, as the Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque gear up to present Michael Jackson – The Immortal World Tour in San Jose on Jan. 13-15 at HP Pavilion, and in Oakland on Jan. 18-19 at Oracle Arena. The production combines Michael Jackson music and choreography with Cirque spectacle, in the same way that the Cirque Love show in Vegas took inspiration from the Beatles songbook, used it as a jumping-off point, and created its own world from there. The new show is written and directed by Jamie King , and will feature more than 60 international dancers, musicians and acrobats. But: will it be "Bad?"
Gallery Hijinks (2309 Bryant St., SF) is preparing to present Chromatics and Canopies, a two-person exhibition by artists Treasure Frey and Kyle Jorgensen , through Jan. 28. The gallery's low-down: "Frey's most recent body of work interprets the concept of rainbows contained, a personal ode to rainbows attempting to capture their fleeting beauty and hold it a moment longer. Jorgensen's collection of new paintings draws inspiration from the constructed world, natural symbols, and the enigmatic nature of the cosmos. Both Frey and Jorgensen paint in similar styles with vibrant colors and flat graphic objects, and employ the notions of energy and geometry in their creations." The opening reception on Sat., Jan. 7, goes from 6-10 p.m. Info: www.galleryhijinks.com.
Somewhat farther afield but not all that far, we have advance word that the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento will host a lecture on Baroque imagery of Saint Sebastian, its cultural meanings for LGBTQ viewers, and wider links between the saint and the LGBTQ community on Thurs., Jan. 26, starting at 7 p.m. Admission to the lecture is $6 for museum members, $12 for nonmembers. The Crocker, located in downtown Sacramento, will welcome scholar William U. Eiland , director of the Georgia Museum of Art, in conjunction with the exhibition Florence and the Baroque: Paintings from the Haukohl Family Collection, paintings and sculptures from the largest privately-held collection of the period in the U.S.
Eiland's lecture, on the imagery and cultural meanings of St. Sebastian for LGBTQ viewers, will focus on two paintings in the exhibition, differing images of Sebastian by Felice Ficherelli and Onorio Marinari , before moving on to the wider cultural links between the saint and the LGBTQ audience. The recipient of the James Short Award from the Southeastern Museums Conference and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries, Eiland is a trustee of the International Council of Museums and has held various posts with the American Association of Museums and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Eiland engagement is being supported by Sir Mark Fehrs Haukohl, under whose auspices the exhibition has been lent to the Crocker. Sir Mark said in a statement, "It is our goal to address the topic of diversity via the Haukohl family 's philanthropy. We are delighted to support LGBTQ issues as interpreted in Baroque Italy and brought forward to today." Sir Mark is a co-founder of the Medici Archive Project, which is a charitable foundation in Florence, Italy, cataloging and researching over 300 years of original documents surrounding the Medici family in Europe. He is also President of the Vero Group of Houston, Texas.
Author Greg Youmans will launch his Word is Out: A Queer Film Classic (Arsenal Pulp Press) at a free event on Jan. 10 at the San Francisco Public Library. The book is about the history, politics, and aesthetics of the groundbreaking 1977 gay and lesbian documentary Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives. The film was the first feature-length documentary about lesbian and gay male experience that was made by lesbians and gay men. It brings a series of intimate, individual interviews together into a national portrait of gay people during the gay-rights struggles against Anita Bryant, John Briggs and others. Word Is Out was very much a Bay Area production: its six makers (the Mariposa Film Group ) were based here, as were its community funders and most of its onscreen interview subjects.
At the book launch (Tues., Jan. 10, 6 p.m., Koret Auditorium, SFPL Main Branch), Youmans will present rarely seen Word is Out materials from the 1970s (from the Peter Adair papers, housed at the library), including clips from the video pre-interviews that the filmmakers conducted with more than 100 LGBT people before choosing the final cast. A roundtable discussion will follow with Janet Cole , who was involved in the film's promotion, as well as four of the filmmakers: Nancy Adair, Andrew Brown, Lucy Massie-Phenix, and Veronica Selver. Word is still out!