Saturday September 16 at 8 pm. Sol Flamenco at Occidental Center for the Arts. Enjoy live flamenco at West County’s arts & entertainment hub! Sol Flamenco combines flamenco master Mark Taylor’s exciting guitar techniques with evocative singing and dancing into a unique, crowd-pleasing show, transporting audiences to old world Spain. Celebrate Spanish Heritage Month with us and enjoy this spectacular display of romantic, sensual and passionate music and dance (solfalmenco.com).Tickets are $30 GA, $25 for OCA members at www.occidentalcenterforthearts.org. Fine Refreshments for sale, art gallery open during intermission. Accessible to patrons with mobility challenges. 3850 Doris Murphy Ct. Occidental, CA. 95465 . 707-874-9392
Arts & Entertainment
SEPTEMBER 13. FORBIDDEN KISS LIVE! 7:30pm – 9:15pm
IT’S A PAJAMA PARTY!
Come dressed in pajamas! Top three audience favorites win a prize from Secrets Boutique.
It’s burlesque (hetero and genderqueer), sketch comedy, song&dance, improv and more.
Join Cheryl and her guests Magic Moe, Velvet Thorn, Blue, Serena Elize, Alia Beeton, Shan Free and Noah Sternhill for this sexy, smart vaudeville show.
Sunday, September 10 at 4 pm : Nina Gerber and Chris Webster at Occidental Center for the Arts Amphitheater. Don’t miss the return of Sonoma County’s legendary guitarist Nina Gerber and multi-talented soulful vocalist Chris Webster to our beautiful outdoor theater. Tickets are $35 GA, $30 for OCA Members at www.occidentalcenterforthearts.org.This show is likely to sell out so get tickets early! Please be sure to bring your own seat cushion or low-backed chair; dress in layers for comfort. Contact us for reserved seating for mobility-challenged. Fine refreshments for sale, no outside food/alcohol/glass allowed. Art gallery open during intermission. OCA is located at 3850 Doris Murphy Ct , Occidental, CA. 95465. 707-874-9392 . Become an OCA Member and get discounted tickets plus other benefits!
“Every Body” an Engaging Documentary About What It Means to Be Intersex Opens Thursday, July 14 at Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol
In “Every Body,” an activist named Alicia Roth Weigel sits on her couch, swiping through profiles on a dating app and explaining to the camera — and a public who’ve likely never had the opportunity or occasion to think about such things — how challenging it is to find a match. Weigel was born with both male and female biological traits, which a doctor immediately sought to correct via surgery (Weigel describes the loss of her testes as “castration”) so the child would conform to society’s idea of female. But Weigel is not female; she/they are intersex, and her/their story is one America needs to hear.
Why? Well, for starters, in the past six months, an estimated 560 anti-trans bills have been introduced in 49 states. Trans and intersex are not the same thing, representing two entirely different letters in the catch-all LGBTQIA+ label. Still, acknowledging the existence of intersex individuals — “whatever that is,” a noxious Fox host sneers in one clip — gives the public an entry point for a much-needed conversation about the great many people who don’t fit neatly into the conventional boxes of “male” and “female” (as they might appear on a DMV application or restroom placard).
Statistically speaking, 1.7% of babies are estimated to be intersex. Astonishingly enough, definitive data does not exist, as many doctors attempt to force infants into one category or the other, often through surgery. Does the conversation make some people uncomfortable? Clearly, but as Weigel tells an insensitive conservative pundit, “I’m sorry I don’t have a box of tissues for you.”
To the extent that a frank discussion of all things intersex is long overdue, “Every Body” offers the most accessible and constructive example I’ve seen to date (with Africa-set festival breakout “Who I Am Not” serving as a useful additional-viewing recommendation). After a playful opening montage of over-the-top gender reveal festivities — which just goes to show how invested parents are in their kids’ traditional male/female identities — director Julie Cohen eases into a sit-down interview with three intersex activists.
There’s nothing fancy or particularly sophisticated about her filmmaking. Indie-rock covers of classic songs keep the convo from sounding too stuffy or academic, while talking heads and archival footage (including dated talk of “hermaphrodites”) do the job of contextualizing the subject. The dynamic Cohen creates is a far cry from the Roman arena represented by 20th-century daytime talk shows, wherein aggressive audiences shame guests courageous enough to let themselves be thrown to the lions. By contrast, Cohen fosters an environment where the trio can share and compare their experiences, addressing topics rarely spoken of in public.
There’s blond, Austin, Texas-based Weigel, who went before the state legislature (where they claim to have been hit on by several lawmakers unaware of their true gender identity) to explain why passing laws around bathroom usage is discriminatory and impractical. Weigel is joined by openly intersex actor River Gallo and Intersex Justice Project co-founder Sean Saifa Wall, who were also operated on as children. Today, all three subjects are committed to ending the kind of unnecessary surgeries they experienced. Wall shares notes that accompanied his birth certificate, which recommended operating on his genitalia “to protect the parents’ emotional well-being.” No mention was made of the emotional or psychological effects the procedure might have on the child, who later confronted the surgeon on television.
Bringing illuminating context to their crusade, Cohen (a former “Dateline NBC” producer) introduces a 1999 segment about David Reimer, whose penis was badly damaged during a botched circumcision, and who was subsequently experimented on by Dr. John Money, a sexologist at Johns Hopkins University, who was so committed to his theory that the child could be socialized into believing he was a girl that he suppressed clear evidence to the contrary. Money’s biased and inaccurate findings (as reflected in vintage clips) continue to have an outsize influence on how the medical community treats intersex children.
As it happens, many of the arguments against intersex surgery made in the film align with talking points against infant circumcision — another taboo subject underexamined by the American public. The closing segment of the film leans heavily on Weigel, Gallo and Wall’s advocacy for body autonomy, the message being: Let children decide for themselves when they’re old enough to make up their minds. The politics become more complicated when it comes to transgender issues, where biology doesn’t play so clear a part. Cohen’s movie shows solidarity with the trans community, but stops short of opening that can of worms. Intersex identity is subject enough for one film, and this one covers an astonishing amount of ground in 92 minutes’ time. In the end, it’s for the best that “Every Body” doesn’t set out to be everything to everybody.
Saturday July 22 @ 8 pm. the pickPocket ensemble with DorAlice at Occidental Center for the Arts. Inspired by many world musical traditions, the pickPocket ensemble inhabit a country all their own.Their combined talents generate vivid imagery and infectious tunes that will instantly transport you to Europe’s sidewalk cafes. Original and fresh, the pickPocket ensemble creates contemporary chamber cafe music without borders. A special opening set of original acoustic cinematic music performed by Doralice compliments this performance in our acoustic sweet spot on Bohemian Highway! Tickets are $30 GA, discount for OCA members. $35 at the door. Doors open at 7:30 pm. Beer/wine/refreshments for sale. OCA is wheelchair accessible. Art Gallery exhibit open at intermission. 3850 Doris Murphy Ct. Occidental, CA. 95465. 707-874-9392.
“OUT of Site: Sylvester, The Mighty Real” Celebrates the Real Queen of Disco Starting with Weekend Performances in July in SF
OUT of Site: Sylvester, The Mighty Real — a collaboration between Eye Zen and our community partner SF Heritage.
Previews begin Friday June 23rd; Opening July 1st
Fridays @ 12pm
Saturdays & Sundays @ 12pm & 4pm
Beginning on the East Side of Buena Vista Park
@ intersection of Haight St & Baker St
Approx. 1 MILE loop
From July to September of 2023, Eye Zen will be performing the most ambitious and important project in our almost two-decade history, about Sylvester, a gay, Black, gender-fluid San Franciscan singer who gained international celebrity status for his gold records that soared to the top of the Billboard charts.
Out of Site: Sylvester, The Mighty Real will take place in the Haight where Sylvester first lived and later performed, elevating the hidden history of San Francisco’s very own international disco diva Sylvester who brought an uncompromising vision to his music and gender-non-conforming persona. The show will look at racial equity within the queer liberation movement in San Francisco’s Haight neighborhood of the 60’s and 70’s against the backdrop of the civil rights and anti-war movements, student uprisings, feminism, and gay liberation.
The commission and production of this premiere is made possible in part by the Gerbode Foundation Special Award in the Arts program, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation and the The MAP Fund. Sponsorship opportunities are available.
In Celebration of Pride Month, “Historical Homos” Presents the Gayest Stories Ever Told on Dekko Streaming Channel
Dekkoo.com, a subscription streaming service dedicated to gay men, celebrates Pride month with an original series executive produced by Zachary Quinto. Historical Homos is a provocative and often hysterically funny guide to queer history. For thousands of years, world historians have kept some of the greatest names in civilization in the closet. Socrates, Virginia Woolf, Michelangelo, and Shakespeare – they were all members of the rainbow tribe. In Historical Homos, hosts Bash and Donal Brophy uncover and unload the most tantalizing dish on some of these great queers of yesteryear. Did you know that Louis XIV’s brother, Philippe, dressed up in drag and that Leonardo da Vinci was arrested for sodomy twice? Or that Eleanor Rykener, a 13th century trans sex worker, claimed in court records that her best clients were monks because they paid more? Directed by Brendan Patrick Hughes, written by Bash, produced by Idyllwild Pictures and executive produced by Emrhys Cooper, Brian Sokel and Zachary Quinto, Historical Homos premieres Friday June 9, on Dekkoo, with a new episode streaming every Friday through Pride month.
“The world is hell-bent on believing that gays, lesbians, trans people and queers of all kinds are the proud innovations of the 20th century,” says Bash. “Donal and I are here to prove that’s utter nonsense. Queer people have been around for eons, challenging society, serving looks, and living out their deepest fantasies. Our story stretches from Stonewall to Hadrian’s Wall, and only the gay gods know how far beyond that.”
Historical Homos began as a coffee table book by Bash and his sister, Lucy Hendra. It later morphed into social media with its popular Instagram page. When the siblings began their search for a production company to turn Historical Homos into a series, they were connected with Zachary Quinto who happened to be working on a similar project called Pride and Prejudice withDonal Brophy and Emrhys Cooper. The group decided to combine both projects into one, hosted by Bash and Donal.
“Bash is the real backbone of the series,” Donal contends. “Like the true scholar that he is, he researches each figure meticulously.”
“Donal balances my nerdiness and obsession for detail with his empathetic appreciation for the stories and lives we cover,” Bash interjects. “He’s an actor by training so he understands these figures as multidimensional people.”
According to both, the goal of the series is not merely to congratulate the historical figures for being queer. Bash and Donal interrogate these people, dig into every rumor and slice of gossip, and ask the “tough” questions to learn who was buggering whom, in what positions, and on what substances. Both hosts believe humor is crucial because, for too long, the narrative of queer history has been one of repression, alienation, and oppression. In Historical Homos, we learn queerness has not always been rejected. Same-sex love and desire have not always been denigrated.
The first four episodes present a nice spread of L, G, B, and T. The first episode explores male homosexuality in Greek Mythology and how these myths reflected real life in ancient Greece. In episode two, Bash and Donal delve into the true story of a transgender spy and soldier, Le Chevalier d’Éon, who was born Charles and became Charlotte at the age of 49 – only to discover the humiliating constraints of life as an 18th century woman.
The third episode of Historical Homos focuses on the little-known bisexual proclivities of William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. The final Pride month episode reviews the life and loves of Virginia Woolf, particularly her lesbian affair with Vita Sackville-West.
“I wish I knew about these historic queer people as a child,” Donal Brophy reflects. Growing up in Ireland and Australia, Brophy knew little of what being gay was besides for the odd reference in film and on TV. “Much of what I knew was tied to the fear and stigma around the AIDS epidemic. It would have been so helpful in my coming out to have heard about positive, creative, intelligent gay people.”
Bash grew up in Manhattan and the south of France. His father, Tony Hendra, was an actor and writer, best known for starring in the film This Is Spinal Tap and for editing the popular satirist magazine, National Lampoon. Bash knew he was gay at seven years old and came out to his family and friends at sixteen.
Studying history was an escape and like his own historical heroine, Madame du Châtelet, Bash was fiercely dedicated to his intellectual ambition, especially when he discovered that many historical figures were part of the LGBTQ+ community. He began devouring any book, article, website, movie, docuseries, letter, or stray piece of graffiti in the records that proved queer people have always been here. “You just have to know where and how to look,” he says.
Luckily, today’s LGBTQ+ generation have it easier. They simply need to stream Historical Homos on Dekkoo. But Bash and Donal hope the series appeals to a heterosexual audience, too. Says Bash, “Our hope is that all viewers – gay and straight – learn to expand what they believe about the past and human sexuality. That’s one of the most powerful ways to better understand the queer community’s lived experiences and inherited contexts.”
Historical Homos premieres on Dekkoo on June 9, 2023. For more information, visit Dekkoo.com. Historical Homos will also be available as an audio podcast on Spotify and all major podcast platforms.
Frameline47 Interview: Co-directors Lisa Marie Evans & Marianne K.Martin; Producer Cheryl Pletcher Discuses their Documentary “In Her Own Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction
Narrated by LGBTQ+ historian Lillian Faderman and illuminated through interviews with trailblazers like Jewelle Gomez (The Gilda Stories), Dorothy Allison (Bastard Out of Carolina), and Sarah Waters (Fingersmith), In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction charts a literary journey from post-war lesbian pulp to modern bestsellers. Highlighting the successful and controversial, directors Lisa Marie Evans and Marianne K. Martin skillfully delve into stories that defined eras of lesbian writers, and the changing socio-political landscapes that encouraged an evolution of the genre. In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction pays loving tribute to this evolution of lesbian and queer fiction, told through a lens of broader American history.
Starting in 1928, readers fell into The Well of Loneliness— a groundbreaking lesbian novel, albeit a tragic one. By the late 1990s, lesbian fiction had climbed out of the well and into a diverse world of stories and storytellers who were publishing increasingly multifaceted stories (some of them even happy ones). This film will inspire lit lovers of any age to return to old favorites, while igniting curiosity for a new literary tryst or two.
In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian will be shown at Frameline47 June 22, 6 PM at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco and will stream online June 24 — July 2, 2023. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to: www.framline.org.
Gary Carnivele interviews co-directors Lisa Marie Evans and Marianne K. Martin and producer Cheryl Pletcher.
Gary: Tell us about why this subject matter is so important to you and why you were compelled to create this wonderful documentary.
Marianne: The idea for a documentary began when I was asked to give a keynote speech at the National Music and Women in the Arts Festival. It could be on anything that I wanted – my career, my next book, publishing lesbian fiction. I began thinking about what books had had the most impact on me over the years and discussed them with friend and fellow author,
Sandra Moran. Together we put together a presentation that highlighted classic lesbian fiction and their impact on society from 1920 to 2000. The overwhelmingly positive response to our presentation and the sudden death of Nancy Garden, the author of a groundbreaking novel we had highlighted, Annie On My Mind, compelled us to get as many of the authors as possible on
Cheryl: My wife, Sandra Moran, was working with Marianne K. Martin on a project to get groundbreaking 20th Century lesbian fiction authors on film. Sandra and Marianne wanted to
interview these authors in order to document this important history. Less than a year after this project was initiated by Sandra and Marianne, we found out Sandra had stage 4, incurable
cancer. Less than a month after we learned she had cancer, Sandra was gone. What compelled me to help make this documentary a reality was Sandra’s legacy. It was important to see this
dream of Sandra’s become a reality.
Gary: By taking on an entire century, you would need to cover a lot of literary territory. Why was it important for you to delve into 100 years?
Marianne: For so many readers and writers of lesbian fiction, The Well of Loneliness, written in 1928 by Radclyffe Hall, was the first lesbian book they read. Lesbian-themed books published between the 1920’s and 2000 present a fascinating study of society’s view of lesbians and the
effect it had on their lives and on society. The limited number of books available during those
years made groundbreaking books clear and obvious landmarks. The following are just a few of
The black lesbian voice of Jewelle Gomez in The Gilda Stories
Beyond the Pale, written by Jewish lesbian Elana Dykewoman
The explicit sexual content of Katherine Forrest’s Curious Wine
And, the first happy ending of Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt
Gary: I can imagine the research phase of writing the screenplay was intense. How were you able to so masterfully remind us of and, in some cases, introduce us to so many authors
in 99 minutes?
Lisa Marie: This making of this film was a deep journey into the world of lesbian fiction and LGBTQ+ history, much of which was unfamiliar to me prior to beginning this project. The
research was massive. Editing down to 99 minutes meant we left out a lot of amazing material. We want to make sure that history is shared as well.
Marianne: I think one of the things that helped us cover so many authors in a relatively short span of time is that we just let them talk. It’s difficult for an interviewer to know exactly what
questions will get the author to reveal the most unique aspects of their personal journey. Much of what we learned came from Lisa Marie doing a beautiful job of making the author feel
comfortable, asking a few leading questions, and then allowing them the freedom to tell their stories. And they gave us a treasure-trove of information. Probably the most difficult part was
choosing what was most important to include in the documentary – what was unique about the author’s journey, where did their strength come from, what did their book tell us about our
society at the time? And how did their book, their voice, affect our culture?
Gary: Tell us about some of the writers interviewed in the film and what surprised you most about them and their work?
Lisa Marie: Ann Bannon, the Queen of Lesbian Pulp, was so generous with her interview. I did enjoy hearing her talk about Marijane Meaker. Interviewing Jewelle Gomez, who will be in attendance at our screening, was like watching a theatrical performance. Beautiful and authentic, it was as if she sang her words.We interviewed Rita Mae Brown in a barn on her ranch in Virginia with stuffed wolves in the
background. That’s just awesome.
Gary: I’m almost sorry for asking, but who are the writers who didn’t make the final cut?
LM: There are many more stories to be documented. A world with more films about lesbian
authors is a better world indeed.
Gary: Who are the deceased writers you really wish you could have gotten before the camera?
LM: I’m sure Marijane Meaker would have had some fantastic stories. Leslie Feinberg has always been an inspiration to me.
Marianne: Two deceased authors who I would have loved to have captured on file were Virginia Wolfe and Patricia Highsmith. Each of a different time in history, each socially and
emotionally complicated. I would love to know what they needed from life, what tortured them, and what writing such important work meant to them.
Cheryl: Patricia Highsmith has always intrigued me. I’d love to know the story behind Price of Salt. What motivated her to pen it? Nancy Garden’s Annie on my Mind was such a key game
changer. And Nancy’s passing was an impetus for developing this documentary.
Gary: How much pressure did you feel as filmmakers to explore such an important aspect of queer history?
Lisa Marie: We carried Sandra Moran with us throughout this project. We, and many in the community who adored her, wanted to see this project succeed. Success for us meant creating
a film that documented key historical authors of lesbian fiction and authentically told their stories in relation to the societal events around them. To do that, we sought input from the
authors interviewed in this film and important voices in the community. Lillian Faderman’s wealth of knowledge and feedback was crucial. We understand that there are many stories we weren’t able to tell in this film. Fortunately, there’s more films to be made. And they need to be made. Especially as books continue to be banned.
Gary: If memory serves me right, it took several years for lesbian fiction to get mainstreamed by the big publishers after gay fiction started really taking off in the late 1970’s. Was that the case or was lesbian fiction always there but forced underground?
Marianne: As the film shows, lesbian fiction has always existed – scarce, marginalized, and often banned. Few authors had the opportunity to be published by mainstream publishers, and
even those risked banning and censorship. Most writers used pen names (sometimes usinginitials or a male name) to better their odds of publication and elicit respect not given to women
writers. Many authors, without the distributorship of a publishing house produced and marketed their books themselves, even hand-selling on the street or in private parties. And to
make production and distribution even more difficult, The Comstock Act of 1873 (still largelyintact today) made it illegal to send “obscene, lewd or lascivious”, “immoral”, or “indecent”
publications through the mail. That not only made distribution difficult, but made even
possession a misdemeanor.
Gary: I love that In Her Words discusses the importance of small women-owned publishing houses and women’s bookstores to helping lesbian works to readers. Tell us about some
of the most important publishers then and now.
Marianne: There were a number of small lesbian presses during those early years, including Firebrand, Cleis, Rising Tide, Spinsters Ink, and New Victoria. But, the largest and longest
operating exclusively lesbian publisher was Naiad Press. It was without a doubt the most important and effective of the presses for a number of reasons. Barbara Grier’s mission for
Naiad was to make it possible to put a lesbian book in the hands of every lesbian who wanted one. After society seemed to offer a relaxation of the Comstock Act, Naiad developed a mailing
list that provided a monthly newsletter and order form, and enabled them to mail books to women who either couldn’t or wouldn’t buy them from a bookstore. And probably equally as
important was Naiad’s commitment that their books deviate from the restrictions of the past and every book have a happy ending.
Gary: Tell us about the impact of some of the early novels you include in your documentary and how the writers managed to not be censored?
Marianne: Many of the novels that we’ve included in the documentary were at some point banned or challenged. Their impact was in spite of that censorship. Lesléa Newman’s, Heather
Has Two Mommies, is a good example. It was banned, burned, glued, spit on, and destroyed. But it proved to be a groundbreaking children’s book that is still relevant thirty years later.
Patricia Highsmith, writing as Claire Morgan, probably avoided having The Price of Salt (1952) banned because her publisher marketed it as a suspense thriller. And despite it being
published during the wave of pulp fiction and in the same year that the American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a mental illness, this book has been touted as lesbian
fiction’s first happy ending.
Gary: You honor the racy pulp dime-store novels as an important aspect of lesbian fiction. Did you feel it was important to discuss novels not necessarily marketed to lesbians or
even women, and were subjected to the ‘male gaze’ of editors and even the targeted male readers?
Marianne: During the wave of lesbian pulp fiction in the 1950’s, publishers adhered strictly to the restrictions that allowed lesbian-themed books to be produced and distributed. The main
character must have one of only three options at the end of the book – death, madness, or living in denial alone or with a man. But the pulp fiction era did offer two things that hadn’t
been available before; cheap paper from pulp that produced 35 cent books that were affordable enough to leave on the seat of a bus for someone else, and sales numbers that sky-
rocketed. Odd Girl Out, the first in Ann Bannon’s Beebo Brinker Chronicles was the second best-selling paperback of 1957. In order to reach a few, you have to sell to many.
Gary: What are you hoping audiences take away from In Her Words?
Lisa Marie: Empowerment. LGBTQ+ lives play a vital role in history and we have many storiesto celebrate.
Marianne: I hope that In Her Words leaves the audience with a clear sense of our literaryhistory, the struggles we’ve faced, the progress we’ve made, and an appreciation of the
personal courage that it took to chronicle it.
Cheryl: An understanding of the bravery of many of these women. Many risked it all to share their stories in order to give hope to their readers. Motivation to actively make a difference. Change happens when people are willing to stand up and speak out for what matters.
Gary: How thrilled are you to be part of Frameline47?
Lisa Marie: Absolutely thrilled. I’m excited for the many connections and resources ahead. We’re all thrilled to be screening in San Francisco where a great deal of our history was lived.
Gary: What are some of the other festivals you’ve shown your film and what has impressed you most about folks’ comments and queries?
Cheryl: I have been amazed by the number of recognition awards we have received from festivals. At the most recent festival showing we received not only the Best Documentary award but also the Audience Choice award! Incredible. I am so grateful that the film has been getting this kind of recognition.
Gary: What are you working on now?
Lisa Marie: We want to ensure this film lives up to its fullest potential and continue to spread the good word of lesbian literature.
Frameling47 Interview: Director Sam Shahid Discusses His Brilliant Documentary “Hidden Master – The Legacy of George Platt Lynes”
From visionary art director Sam Shahid, Hidden Master – The Legacy of George Platt Lynes features a stunning collection of photography from the 1930s-50s, uncovering the life of Lynes less known: his gifted eye for the male form, his long-term friendships with Gertrude Stein and Alfred Kinsey, and his lasting influence as one of the first openly gay American artists. This work, sensuous and radically explicit for its time, has only recently begun being fully discovered and appreciated for the revolution that it represents — a man capturing his fantasies as a gift, a window to a future his camera saw coming before anyone else.
Hidden Master – The Legacy of George Platt Lynes will be shown at Frameline47 June 24, 3:30 PM at the Castro Theatre and will stream online June 24, 12:01 AM — July 2, 11:59 PM
For more information and to purchase tickets go to: https://www.frameline.org/films/frameline47/hidden-master-the-legacy-of-george-platt-lynes
Frameline47 Interview: “Coming Around” Director Sandra Itäinen Talks about Her Debut Documentary Showing June 22 at the Castro Theatre
“We are here. We are queer. We are Muslim. We are both, relentlessly without contradiction and without apology.” Eman is a brilliant academic, a strong and empowered woman, and active in her queer Muslim community. She speaks on panels, writes and directs a queer play, and is an all-around badass. That is, except when she goes home to Missouri to visit her traditional Muslim mother, whom she has yet to come out to. When she starts dating a cisgender man, it seems as though her worlds can finally coexist, but can she live up to the traditional expectations?
This fresh take on coming out eloquently avoids the trope of vilifying the religious mother to a depiction that is nuanced, thoughtful, and always comes back to shared respect and love. Fresh off its world premiere at the Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival and executive produced by Frameline alum, Fawzia Mirza (Noor & Layla, Frameline45) and Marc Smolowitz (Who I Am Not, Frameline47), Coming Around reminds us that coming out is anything but straightforward.
Sandra Itäinen (Director, Producer, Editor) is a Finnish film director, producer, and editor based in New York City. Sandra’s directorial feature debut COMING AROUND premiered at Thessaloniki 2023, nominated for the Golden Alexander in the Newcomers Competition. Documentary editing credits include TOMBOY (SXSW, 2020) and award-winning KELET (DocPoint, 2020). In 2021, she directed the short documentary series NOITAPIIRIT (eng. COVENS) to critical acclaim for Finnish YLE.
Sandra’s first documentary short THE WEAVEOLOGIST (2016) screened at multiple film festivals, among others DOC NYC. She is the associate producer of DARK MONEY (dir. Kimberly Reed) which premiered at Sundance 2018, nominated for Best Documentary Feature. Before moving into film, Sandra worked as a journalist for Finnish YLE. She works to amplify women’s voices through filmmaking and focuses mainly on themes revolving around identity, family and mental health, through a millennial lens. She holds an MFA in Documentary Film from the School of Visual Arts and an MSS from the University of Helsinki.
Coming Around will be shown Thursday, June 22, 1 PM at the Castro Theatre and available to stream June 24 — July 2. For more information and to purchase tickets go to: www.frameline.org.