|Johnny and Lyman, together|
for 65 years and counting
Sun. 6/19, 4:00 p.m. @ Roxie
Coming Out in the 1950s: Stories of Our Lives, dir. Gabriel Gaska & Phil Siegel, 2011 USA, 15 min.
Eau Queer Festival, dir. Pamela Forman & Ellen Mahaffy, 2010 USA, 11 min.
The Hook-Up, dir. Frameline Generations Filmmaker Workshop, 2011 USA, 7 min.
Johnny & Lyman: A Life Together, dir. Michael Chen & Paul Detwiler, 2010 USA, 19 min. [trailer]
Love Me/Hate Me, dir. Frameline Generations Filmmaker Workshop, 2011 USA, 7 min.
Our Compass, dir. Tess Vo, 2009 Canada, 29 min.
Tenderloin: Forgotten History, dir. Frameline Generations Filmmaker Workshop, 2011 USA, 8 min.
[Unfortunately, I lost the notes that I jotted down during the screening. My apologies for the skimpy content of these reviews.]
In Coming Out in the 1950’s: Stories of Our Lives, three teenage filmmakers interview three LGBT elders. The interviews themselves were well done and informative; unfortunately, they added in solo segments in which each young interviewer talked about the experience of doing the interview, with a bit of a “What did we learn today, class?” feel to them. Those segments injected the young’uns too much into a film that should have remained focused on its title subjects. You might say they aimed for Logo but hit somewhere closer to Nickelodeon. Recommended.
In Eau Queer Festival, a group of students from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire accompanied their professors to San Francisco for Pride Month and the Frameline34 LGBT Film Festival. It was a well-done travelogue, as the audience got to share in the students’ amazing experiences, and maybe even see themselves in a photo from last year. Highly recommended.
In The Hook-Up [photo not available], a young man is hoping to hook up with someone at the East Portal Muni Station (at the corner of Duboce Park, where the N-Judah enters the Sunset Tunnel), but there’s this old dude (like, over 50 or something) hanging around, putting a damper on the mood. The young man gets a bit of a surprise when his assumptions about the older guy are shattered. The setup and the resolution are both well done. Highly recommended.
In Johnny & Lyman: A Life Together [watch the trailer], we meet Johnny Dapper (age 83) and Lyman Hallowell (age 93), who met on V-J Day, 1945-08-14, and have been together ever since. They talk quite openly about the day they met — the joy over the surrender of Japan, the joy of meeting each other, but also the trepidation of opening their closet doors, even in the world of Hollywood — and about how they have made their relationship work for over 65 years. It’s a powerful story. Highly recommended.
In Love Me / Hate Me [photo not available], Joe and Moe, two high school students, are not exactly best friends. In fact, they don’t like each other at all. When their animosity catches the attention of the teachers, the principal hands down a novel punishment. Can they coexist in peace? Cute concept, pretty well done, but not long on production values. Recommended.
In Our Compass, we meet a group of Toronto queer youth labeled as having intellectual disabilities, started by one of the youth with help from the staff at the Griffin Centre. Compass is a weekly drop-in group for LGBTQ youth, offering a support group, a social network, and a safe space to explore their identities. In this film, we meet several of the Compass regulars and hear their perspectives on coming out, sex, relationships, and their lives in general, and they get to act out a few of their fantasies of dressing up and riding in a limo or playing guitar on a street corner or just wrapping themselves in a rainbow flag. It’s a powerful statement from an often stigmatized part of our community, standing up and speaking their truths honestly and with good humor. Highly recommended.
Tenderloin: Forgotten History is a short documentary about the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. Today, the Tenderloin is mostly known for drug addicts and toothless hookers, but its history includes some rather less unsavory moments, like the 1966 riot in which the transgender and queer locals fought back against police harassment at Compton’s Cafeteria, three years before the Stonewall Inn got all the attention. This documentary gives us a brief taste of the Tenderloin, and is well done as far as it goes, but it didn’t offer much that I didn’t already know. I would pick Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria [screened at Frameline29; now available on DVD from Frameline Distribution] for a fuller picture. Recommended.