M I L K
Finally, after 30 years of procrastinating, Hollywood is making a movie
about Harvey Milk. Gus Van Zant is the director. Sean Penn will play Harvey.
James Franco will play Scott Smith, Harvey's lover and business partner.
I lived in the Castro in the 1970's and 1980's and was very
active in the community. I knew Harvey Milk but I didn't understand like he did
that we were making history. The "MILK" movie crew is working hard to
recreate the 70's look of the neighborhood, but I can't imagine that they'll be
able to capture the unique character of the community. The cultural and sexual
revolution that accompanied the proud emergence of the gay community in the
early 1970's will not be easy to describe realistically yet believably on film.
We were so outrageous that the truth will sound like fantasy! The idealism,
optimism, and sense of family have long gone from the Castro. Our successful
struggle for equal rights put the Castro on the map as a tourist attraction.
One-by-one, gay owned businesses were forced out by the real estate interests
and were replaced by Walgreens and other big businesses. Harvey's store, Castro
Camera, was one of the victims. In winning our battles for equality, we lost our
neighborhood! I hope the movie is a success, but mostly I hope it is well done,
honest, and accurate.
The movie "MILK" had its world
premiere at the Castro Theater on Tuesday, October 28 at 7 PM. It followed the
tradition of Hollywood openings with large crowds, barricades, bright lights,
limos, celebrities, and red carpets. I was fortunate to be able to attend the
premiere and I am elated to tell you that my fears (see paragraph above) that
the movie would fall short were unfounded. Sean Penn was a very convincing
Harvey Milk. The story was well told and accurate. The mood was that of the late
Seventies. I was drawn into the story as if I was reliving events in my past
life. I was back in the Castro of the 1970's. I laughed. I cheered. I clapped.
And I cried. My thanks and congratulations to the creators of this epic film.
After the movie, all 1400 guests were taken to City Hall for a gala
Dinner/Dance sponsored by Levi Strauss. In my opinion it was the party of the
year. On Monday November 10, Levi's will sponsor the "Peoples'
Premiere" of the movie for the people of the neighborhood. The picture
on the left shows Director Gus Van Sant and Screen Writer Dustin Lance Black on
Castro Street on the day of the premiere. On the right, workmen prepare to
install a 50-foot MILK poster on the front of the theater.
After the movie, all 1400 guests were taken to City Hall for a gala Dinner/Dance sponsored by Levi Strauss. In my opinion it was the party of the year. On Monday November 10, Levi's will sponsor the "Peoples' Premiere" of the movie for the people of the neighborhood.
The picture on the left shows Director Gus Van Sant and Screen Writer Dustin Lance Black on Castro Street on the day of the premiere. On the right, workmen prepare to install a 50-foot MILK poster on the front of the theater.
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FEBRUARY 22, 2009
SEAN PENN said: "I think it is a good time for those who voted for the ban on gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildrens' eyes if they continue that way of support. We've got to have equal rights for everyone."
DUSTIN LANCE BLACK said: "If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he would want me to say to
all the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than
by their churches or by the government or by their families, that you are wonderful, beautiful
creatures of value, and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you. And that very soon,
I promise you, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours.
Thank you. Thank you. And thank you, God, for giving us Harvey Milk"
This page created February 6, 2008
Modified March 3, 2009
pictures © 2008 Uncle Donald