A TOUR OF THE HEART

by C.J. Hirschfield

The first public performance of San Francisco’s renowned Gay Men’s Chorus took place in 1978 at an impromptu memorial at City Hall for pioneer gay rights advocate and city supervisor Harvey Milk and mayor George Moscone, who had been assassinated earlier that same day. It’s worth noting that they performed a religious song: “Thou, Lord, Hast Been our Refuge.” The tens of thousands of mourners had marched to City Hall from Castro Street.

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Since that time, the world’s first gay chorus has performed all over the world.

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FIRE IN PARADISE: Questioning the New Normal

by C.J. Hirschfield

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The new Netflix documentary Fire in Paradise was planned for release near the one-year anniversary of the Camp Fire in Butte County, the country’s deadliest wildfire in over a century. The fire killed 85 people in the town of Paradise. As the film’s November 1st release date approached, Oakland-based co-director Drea Cooper recalls feeling good that the 2019 fire season was not as bad as last year. But by the time the actual date arrived, the entire state of California had endured three weeks of flames, and causing millions of people to be without power–including Drea and his family. “Surreal,” is how he puts it. Surreal, but as the film suggests, also the new normal.

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THE CAVE: HOPE SHINES IN THE DARKEST PLACES

by C.J. Hirschfield

In October, 2019 it was announced that while America may be pulling its troops out of Syria, we are nonetheless sending armored vehicles to protect oil fields. Our president’s philosophy about the people who have lived there with war for eight years? “They’ve got a lot of sand over there. So there’s a lot of sand there that they can play with.” In effect, saying who cares? It’s just sand.

But it’s not just sand. It’s besieged civilians– seniors, parents, children and infants– who want nothing more than to survive, and to stay in their homes. They’ve lived with war for years. And their stories must be told, as hard as they are to see and comprehend.

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MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL 42 – Part 2 a BIG FINISH!

By Meredith Brody

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Spotlight on Kristen Stewart | SEBERG | Photo © Jonathan Scott Shensa

The programmers at the 42nd Mill Valley Film Festival (October 3rd through 13th) have saved some of the best for last – plums are studded through the second half of the festival (Click film titles to open a new window taking you to full details, showtimes and  ticket purchase), including on Wednesday October 9th WAVES , its “Centerpiece” film, showing at 7 pm at the Rafael (repeated 11:30 am on Friday October 11th at the Sequoia).  Continue reading

OY, HAVE I GOT A FILM FOR YOU A Preview of the 39th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, 2019

By Gary Meyer

One of the challenges for any film festival is finding the perfect opening night movie.

A curator wants a terrific movie first but also it must be a crowd pleaser— Not too experimental or heavily political. You don’t want to alienate the opening night audience who may not be as adventurous as those attending many other movies during the event. They need to leave the theater in a good mood and hopefully want to return for more shows. But you want it to be a movie that also means something to people and leaves them thinking as well as entertained.

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Opening Night photo by Pat Mazzera

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