Arts & Culture » Culture

Suddenly, this April

by Roberto Friedman

A scene from director Silas Howard's "A Kid Like Jake," opening-night fare at the 2018 SFFILM Festival. Photo: Courtesy SFFILM
A scene from director Silas Howard's "A Kid Like Jake," opening-night fare at the 2018 SFFILM Festival. Photo: Courtesy SFFILM  

All of a sudden we got really booked up! We don't remember when our datebook full of arts events went on overdrive, but it's been a while since we've caught up, Dear Reader, and in the interim Out There has been more out than in.

We suppose it all started with opening night of the SFFILM Festival, which rolled into San Francisco movie theaters in early April, perhaps to get a jump on the Tribeca film fest. First on offer was director Silas Howard's "A Kid Like Jake" in a gala night at the Castro Theatre. It was great to see a film tackle a delicate issue like gender-variant preschoolers, and actors of real talent and status like Claire Danes and Jim Parsons gave it their all. But it's hard to consider a film a success when its title character is never onscreen for more than a few seconds at a time. Out of squeamishness or misconception, the film fizzles out. The opening night party stayed fun, however, at the San Francisco Design Center Galleria, and came complete with live music, tasty morsels, spirited beverages, and film-world luminaries.

Joaquin Phoenix and Jonah Hill star in director Gus Van Sant's  

The next night it felt very smart to be back at another one of San Francisco Ballet's famous NiteOut parties for the LGBTQ balletgoer. This time the gay festivities came after SFB's Program 6, the John Neumeier ballet Nijinsky danced to perfection by guest company The National Ballet of Canada. Knowing that we would see some of our fellow gay ballet fans cavorting in Dress Circle for a nightcap seemed to throw the gay elements of "Nijinsky," the man and the dance, into high relief. As usual, there was a clutch of adorable young dancers, from both ballet companies, partying it up at the bar. Terrific night at the opera house.
Then last week we were honored to be invited to the reception for the 2018 Mayor's Art Awards hosted by ArtCare: Friends of the San Francisco Arts Commission at City Hall. Mayor Mark Farrell honored Yuan Yuan Tan, internationally renowned principal dancer for San Francisco Ballet, as a Mayor's Art Award recipient. Prior to his untimely passing, Mayor Edwin M. Lee had singled out Tan to receive this esteemed cultural distinction.
"It is my great honor to fulfill Mayor Lee's wish of recognizing Yuan Yuan Tan with the 2018 Mayor's Art Award," said Mayor Farrell. "Her grace, skill, versatility and strength have helped her become the first Chinese prima ballerina in the US, and one of the greatest Chinese ballerinas of all time. She has gracefully served as cultural ambassador for San Francisco and the United States."
Honored as well with the Mayor's Art Award was SF gallerist Rena Bransten, a grand doyenne of the Bay Area art world and impeccable aesthetician. Many art-world people were there to congratulate her. As always, it felt regal in the Rotunda of our great civic building.
Last Friday night found OT chilling with B.A.R. colleagues and friends at the SoMa nightclub Oasis for the annual Besties party. Entertainment was superb and spirited, as MCs Leigh Crow and Ruby Vixenn presented singers Connie Champagne and Jason Brock accompanied by a fevered Kitten on the Keys, and the spirit and beat of Alex U. Inn and Kingdom. Dragster performers Jef Valentine, Trixxie Carr and Lady Piranha shared their special version of "Valley of the Dolls." By the end of it, it was Out There who needed a doll!
Then, as if to bracket the events of this column, to wrap it all up was closing night of the SFFILM Festival, which mysteriously came two days before the actual end of festival programming. The fare this time was "Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot" from gay director Gus Van Sant, with bravura performances from Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill and Jack Black. The fest's closing night party at Public Works was truly fab, a celebration of the movie world right here in our own back pocket.
Don't worry, OT can cover the waterfront, trip the light fantastic, and still find our own way back to the arts desk in the morning. We've grown accustomed to this pace.


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