PO Box 21203, Seattle, WA 98111-3203
Every month, Mature Friends publishes the newsletter with updates on our activities. So, here is what we’re up to this month, such as traveling (both locally and internationally), attending arts events, playing bridge or pinochle, reading and discussing books, making investments, touring gardens, taking walks and going on hikes, choosing among many options for dinners and lunches, cooking, and tasting fine wines from our own state, from other states, and from around the world.
Please click on underlined area for additional information.
Eating Date and Time Where Lunch Out
Wed., June 14 and 28, at 12:00 noon Roosters on Broadway 🍴
Tue., June 20, at 6:00 p.m. Robb’s 125th Street Grill 🍴
Sat., July 15, at 3:00 p.m. Wine and BBQ provided by hosts. Members should bring side dishes. 🍷
Sat., June 17, at 6:00 p.m. Womens’ Athletic Club 🍴
Sat., Aug. 12, at 12:00 noon Woodland Park 🎄
Dinner for Six
Determined by participants In members’ homes 🍴
Sat., Dec. 16, at 12:00 noon Robb’s 125th Street Grill 🍴
Playing Date and Time Where A Better Club for Investing
Contact club leader Ray Contact club leader Ray 📈
Tue., June 20, at 7:30 p.m.
In members’ homes
Selection: Colm Toibin’s novel:
The Master 📖
Mon., June12, at 6:30 p.m. In a board member’s home 📓
Tue., July 18, at 9:30 a.m. Gold Creek Trail 🚶
Tue., June 27, at 10:00 a.m. Two Gardens in Federal Way 🌺
Arts, Theater, and Music
May 18 – June 11 and Aug. 18 – 22 Seattle International Film Festival and
Fouth Annual Ashland Road Trip 🎭
Travel and Events
Various trips, foreign and domestic Check our destinations ✈️
Every Wed. at 7:00 p.m. Wallingford Community Senior Center 🃏
Wed., June 7 and 21, at 7:30 p.m. Wallingford Community Senior Center 🃏
Temporarily suspended while searching for a new leader Wallingford Community Senior Center 💃
* The fees for Bridge Club are $4.00 per night for members (who pay an annual fee of $40.00 to join the club) and $5.00 for nonmembers.
* The fee for Pinochle is $4.00 per night for members and for nonmembers.
* The fee for exercise is $6.00 per month, only $1.50 per week and when there are five weeks to a month, the fifth week is free. Nonmember guests are welcome for the first week, but then must join Mature Friends and pay the $6.00 monthly fee thereafter.
Once a month, our hike leader takes a group on a day hike through some beautiful territory. If the hike leads the group out of town and you share a ride, expect to chip in a few dollars to the driver for gas. Also, the group sometimes brown bags it for lunch along the trail. Other than that, this activity is an invigorating, frugal day’s entertainment!
So why not join us on the next hike?
July Hike along Gold Creek Trail Park
Our hike for July will be along the Gold Creek Trail, near Snoqualmie Pass. The hike starts at Gold Creek Pond, which many of you may have visited. The trail the goes further up the Gold Creek Valley between Rampart Ridge and Kendall Peak, with views those mountain sides.
After walking along the west side of Gold Creek Pond we hike for a half mile on a gravel road through private property. Once we are on the trail in the woods we soon enter the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and continue up the Gold Creek Valley through deep second-growth forest and open talus fields, enjoying occasional glimpses of Gold Creek. The trail continues on but we will find a lunch spot near the creek for our turnaround.
This is a moderate hike. The hike round trip distance is about four miles. The elevation gain is around 250 feet, with some gentle up and down once we are in the woods.
We will meet to share car pooling at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 18, in front of the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park. We will be back in Seattle by 3:00 p.m. Bring a lunch and water.
If you wish to drive directly to the trailhead:
- Take I-90 Exit 54, 2 miles east of the Snoqualmie Pass summit.
- Exit I-90, turn north, crossing under the freeway.
- Turn right onto a paved road (FR 4832), and drive east parallel to the freeway for one mile.
- Turn left on Gold Creek Road (142).
- Drive 0.3 mile, and then turn onto the paved road into the Gold Creek Pond parking lot.
A Northwest Forest Pass or Senior Pass is required at the trail head.
June Hike in Rockport State ParkOn June 20, we hiked along trails through Rockport State Park, located near Rockport, Washington, on Highway 20. This 670-acre park features trails through mossy woods with old growth trees. The old growth was never logged, and the entire ecosystem remains, creating a rare, natural forest with a canopy so dense that in places minimal sunlight penetrates to the ground. Opened in 1961, the old growth trees exist because the Puget Sound Pulp & Timber Company refused to log them. Instead, in 1935, Sound Timber sold the land and timber to the state of Washington.
The three-mile Evergreen Trail maintains a mostly easy grade with the only significant climbing (250-foot gain) along the top of the loop. Along the trail we crossed several quaint wooden bridges where numerous creeks flow down through the park from the top of 5,537-foot Sauk Mountain, which stays snow-covered into late July.
Hikers Dale, Roger, Gene, and Jerry Take a Break in Rockport State Park
Snapshots from Some of Our Previous Hikes
Our hikers posed with beautiful backdrops from some of our past treks. The following pictures show some examples.
Dale, Roger, Keith, Brian, Ed and Harvey on the Chief Sealth Trail
Garry, Doug, Jim, Roger, Gene, Ramon, and Dale in Saint Edward State Park
Dale, Edwin, Garry, and Ramon Pause on the Boulder Garden Loop Trail
Brian, Doug, Roger, Jim, and Dale Hiking the Sultan RiverTrail
— Dale J.
Garden ToursThis wildly popular activity takes you on tours of beautiful gardens in the Seattle and greater Seattle area. Led by our resident horticulturalist, Dr. John Wott, you see a variety of plants, flowers, and shrubs. So, if you like plants and gardens or if you’re just interested to learn a little about horticulture, come join us!
June Garden Tour to Visit Two GardensOn Tuesday, June 27, 2017, we will visit two gardens in Federal Way, Washington. One is PowellsWood, a public garden, and the second, a private garden close by. We will meet promptly at 10:00 a.m. in the PowellsWood parking lot. Monty Powell, the founder as well as Kristine Dillinger will guide us. There will be charge of $5.00 each.
It is a Northwest pleasure garden of three acres, nestled against another thirty-five acres of native successional forest. A series of exquisite hedges help define several distinct garden rooms graced with more than a thousand varieties of trees, shrubs, and perennials. The perennial borders thrive, the fruit of an extensive soil conservation project. Walking paths, a meandering stream, and a pond blend gently into the forest and ravines of Redondo’s historic upper Cold Creek watershed.
We will visit the Entry Garden, the Fern and Rhododendron Border, the Shade Garden, the Woodland Garden, and House Garden. For four generations, the Powell family has invested love and personal care in all the things they’ve done: Raising families, creating and managing some of the finest homes in the Northwest, and giving back to the community. And one of the things Monte and Diane Powell have always loved is a good garden. Now it is open to the public.
An hour later, we will drive around the corner to the home of George Shriver and Omar Watson. They are Mature Friends whose private garden has been open to a number of Federal Way garden tours. It features hundreds of plants, many are Cougar red in deference to Omar’s Cougars. Omar will be standing proudly under his Cougar flag and next to his Cougars flamingoes. They also have a swimming pool, garden art, small veggie garden, and many colorful seasonal pots. These men never saw a “pretty plant” which did not end up in their garden, and daily spring trips to garden stores is a must. We will enjoy light snacks.
PowellsWood is easily accessible from Interstate 5:
- Take exit 147 and proceed west on south 272nd Street.
- At Pacific Highway South, turn left and proceed south to South Dash Point Road.
- Turn right and follow South Dash Point Road approximately one mile.
- PowellsWood will be on your right, 430 South Dash Point Road, Federal Way, WA 98003.
Parking lots are available.
May Garden Tour: A Normandy Park ParadiseThe clouds parted and twenty-eight people immersed themselves in a hidden half-acre paradise in Normandy Park, the home of Al and Caroline Galicic.
Their son Justin Galicic, a mid-thirty-year-old music teacher turned techie, has created rooms and rooms of plants which he has propagated and collected since 2009. It contains palms, bananas, cacti, succulents of all kinds, and the most unusual and flashy foliage in Justin’s palette of chartreuse, black, yellow, and green. Justin maintains his own city dwelling, but certainly spends much time in this garden. His mother is also an avid gardener.
Justin and His Parents
This self-taught, former music teacher sought out techniques on the internet as well as contacted plant experts. He really started with the clay soil, brought in tons of good soil, and created topography. He carried bags of concrete to build a 3000-gallon pond, created waterfalls, and even made his own rocks out of rebar and special concrete.
The front garden is shaded by a 90-foot redwood, which provides shades for hostas, epimedium, ferns, and hydrangeas. The sunny south side creates a warm microclimate for cacti and agave. There are also many samples of art sprinkled throughout the gardens surrounded by complimentary plants.
Justin has a unique artistic eye to arrange plants for contrasting texture, size, and shape. Each time we made a trip around the garden, there were more surprises that were unseen previously. We were fortunate to also see many of the subtle colors of emerging and changing leaf colors. The garden is designed for year-round color and interest. Words cannot describe the garden. It must be seen in order to be understood.
In the back patio, the metal gazebo provides an ideal spot for lounging, surrounded by tropicals, honey locust trees and for us, a purple Paulownia. It is so lush, you think you might be in Hawaii. Behind the side hedge is his veggie garden and small greenhouse in which he stuffs many tender plants. The garden is open several times each year for tours and garden events.
After “over-stuffing” our senses, we relaxed on the patio with juice, water, fresh baked cookies, and scones.
In addition to the photos embedded in the text, some from Garden Tour enthusiast George as well as some of Brian's picture, Brian also share the full set of his excellent snapshots of the May tour.
— Dr. John Wott, Tour Organizer, Leader, and Expert Horticulturalist with Justin
Back to "Goings On"
Travel and Events
This section tells you all about recent or upcoming trips planned for Mature Friends. Everybody who has gone on one of these trips has had a great time and was well taken care of. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up and join the fun!
Note: To travel with us, you must first join the club.
California Coastal Cruise, 2017
Seven Mature Friends sailed on the ten-night California Coastal Cruise departing from Vancouver, B.C., on April 11. Sailing at 4:30 p.m., we cruised down the coat for two days before arriving in Los Angeles, followed by a day on Catalina Island. After Catalina, we embarked for Santa Barbara for a day, ending up with an overnight stay in San Francisco. Then we sailed up the coast for two days before arriving back in Vancouver the morning of April 21.
On the trip, we saw Universal Studios, beautiful Catalina and Santa Barbara, and then two days in San Francisco with tours of Muir Woods, Alcatraz, and Sausalito, among others. A write up will follow soon with pictures to illustrate our great time!
Escape into Cuba
Five Mature Friends took off on March 15 for Cuba on an all gay tour with seven days in Cuba. They departed from Seattle and arrived in Havana in time for a group dinner.
The tour included a bus overview trip around the city and visits to a rum-bottling facility and a tobacco farm to see the cigar-making process. We also saw the unique mountains and caves in Vinales National Park. The highlights, though, were the explorations of the city we did on our own.
We saw the beautifully renovated plazas and streets in Old Havana (a UNESCO Heritage Site), strolled along the Malecon with hundreds of cell phone-toting Cubans, saw various museums, and reveled in the joy of riding in 1940s and 1950s vintage American car taxis. We all thoroughly enjoyed one another’s company, and it was a trip we will long remember.
Viking Homelands — April 28 – May 2, 2018
Next year Mature Friends are planning a more ambitious cruise than in 2017. We embark for fifteen days on Viking Ocean Cruises to Bergen, Norway, and disembark in Stockholm, Sweden. We will visit eight countries and dock at eleven ports of call. Accommodations on the Viking Sky include a private veranda stateroom and includes wine and beer with meals. The itinerary comprises eleven guided tours with ports of call that include Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Gdansk, and St. Petersburg.
For full information, contact Shawn (or call him: 360-903-4353) at Woodside Travel.
— Mature Friends President Bruce T.
Other Plans for 2018
For 2018, we are looking at a South American Odyssey. The itinerary includes Santiago, Puerto Varas, Bariloche, two nights on the Argentine side of the Iguassu Falls, and two nights in the wine region of Mendoza. Pricing for 2018 is not yet available, but in 2017, the package ran at $4,000.
We were working with Expedia to develop additional travel offerings. Apparently, our group is too small for a multi-billion-dollar travel company and plans for two additional excursions have failed.
The board voted to try another new travel company. I will be meeting with their representatives by early April. If you have suggestions for future travel, please forward your ideas. Suggestions from members in recent years have gotten us to China, Spain, Russia, and San Antonio.
If you have other ideas, please pass them along to Bruce.
Past Trips and Events
If you missed some of the trips organized by Mature Friends, you might be interested in reading about what you missed. Or if you went on any of these wonderful trips, you might be interested in reliving the fun and adventure. If so, this section is for you!
Sail Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain Sailing Ships
Avast, ye buccaneers! Last summer, our evening sailing on the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain got canceled because of a heavy rain and lightning storm that struck just before our sailing time. This year we tried again.
The three-hour cruise on Lake Washington in reproductions of eighteenth-century sailing ships features booming cannons, close quarter maneuvers, and the singing of sea shanties. Both ships have appeared in numerous movies and television shows. The ships will sailed on Saturday, September 3, at 2:00 p.m. from the docks at Carillon Point in Kirkland.
But don’t take my word for it. Read all about it and check out the pictures!
— President Bruce T.
The Cruise to Nowhere, September 16 – 23
The famous Cruise to Nowhere (actually it went somewhere) departed from Seattle with a one-day stop in Astoria, Oregon, then for two days in San Francisco, and finally one day in Victoria, B.C., before returning to Seattle. This voyage consisted of a full seven-day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas with no airfare required.
Cruise to Nowhere
Rome and Tuscany, April 23 – May 8, 2016
This trip began with a week in Rome. We spent a week in the Eternal City with a gay guide escorting us to the major tourist sights, including ancient, renaissance, and contemporary Rome.
We spent the second week at a private villa in Montisi, a small hill town in southern Tuscany. Day trips took us to Siena, the wine towns of Montepulciano, Montalcino (home of Brunello wine), Assisi, Pienza, Chiusi (Etruscan sites), Orvieto, the antique fair in Arezzo, and Monte Olivetti Maggiore (a major abbey with a large collection of frescoes by the Renaissance painter Sodoma).
The fabulous trip concluded with a day in Florence. Some travelers extended their tour for a day or more in Florence.
Weekend in Texas, October 30 – November 1
On Friday, October 30, nine Mature Friends flew on Alaska Airlines nonstop to San Antonio. We spent a great time in this beautiful city over Day of the Dead (Halloween) weekend, staying at the traditional El Tropicano River Walk Hotel right on the banks of the famous River Walk.
Daily high temperatures hovered around 75º with cloudy and clear skies. San Antonio is a popular convention town and the most visited city in Texas. It has the Alamo, an easily walkable downtown with several museums, and an amazing San Antonio River, which meanders for miles and on which quiet tour boats glide. Great restaurant terraces line the route from which you can watch the lighted boats pass and hear Mariachi and jazz quietly echoing up the canyon. The natural ambiance is romantic and real. And remember the Alamo!
We spent a low-stress weekend touring the city mainly on the hop-on-hop-off sight-seeing bus. Some in our group had booked a Halloween dinner cruise on the San Antonio River, but at the last minute the cruise got canceled due to heavy rains. Undaunted, the dinner guests got re-booked into a fine restaurant on the River Walk. Others of us went off on our own and also experienced fine dining on the River Walk. Two went to Landry’s Seafood and sat outside by the river. When the rain started, everybody scampered indoors . . . all except for two of us, who decided to stay put when the staff erected an umbrella over us.
Aside from the great food and beautiful scenery along the river banks, we enjoyed touring the Alamo, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Tower of the Americas, La Villita, the Spanish Governor’s Palace, the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, as well as many more sights. We could have spent a week and seen something new every day.
We flew home on Sunday evening after a full day of last-minute of sight-seeing. Everybody had a great time. Thank you, Jerry and Bob, for organizing this relaxing, enjoyable long weekend in Texas.
Reno Gambling Trip
Twenty-one people took off for our annual gambling trip on May 12. The package included round-trip airfare and accommodations at the El Dorado Resort Casino. We arrived in Reno shortly after 5:00 p.m., just in time for cocktail hour in the Roxy bar.
But to get the full story, come on and click the link and see some pictures of this relaxing three-day excursion.
Reno Or Bust!
Grand Tour of China
In April 2014, about twenty Mature Friends set off for an adventure of a lifetime — touring China! To read about the trip, all we did, all we saw, please click the link:
Tour of China
And enjoy the pictures, too!
Spain and France
On October 12, 2014, twenty-four Mature Friends took off for Madrid, where they began a two-week tour of Northern Spain and Southern France. Please click the following link to see some of the sights they saw:
Tour of Spain and Southern France
Don’t forget to click the links in the story to see some pictures.
On February 14, 2015, some adventurous Mature Friends took a short winter’s break in a land down south to soak up some warm weather and fine culture, as well as to see incredibly beautiful and fascinating sights. If you missed the tour or have an interest in what we did and what we saw, just click the link below for a description, written by Dan, one of the Mature Friends on the trip. Also, click the links in the write-up to see more:
Tour of Costa Rica
Cruise Down the Asian CoastAt the beginning of the Year of the Dragon, several Mature Friends took a cruise down the East Coast of Asia. We began in Hong Kong and ended up in Singapore. As with the tour of China, we saw several incredible sites, but without the hassle of unpacking and repacking, because our Holland-America ship acted as our home base. Check out this great cruise:
Cruise Down the Asian Coast
Cruise to AlaskaOn April 29, a few Mature Friends set off on a short cruise off the Alaskan coast to Ketchican. Everybody had a great time, as usual on a Mature Friends’ voyage. Check out some of the pictures of this relaxing trip.
Theater and MusicThis section lists local theater and music productions that might be of interest to Mature Friends.
Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)This season’s film festival opened May 18 and ran through June 11.
SIFF 2017 ReportI hope you got to see some good film during this year’s Seattle International Film Festival. I saw a number of Mature Friends members at screenings.
Like any festival, there were favorites and not so favorites. On the whole a great selection of offerings across genres and SIFF continues to have exceptional LGBT film programing. I recommend you watch for some of these to come to a big screen or your own smaller screens in the future.
It is telling that some of the very best films this year were LGBT coming of age stories, showing that we still need positive stories, but now the world cinema is willing to tell them. The restored Maurice (UK, 1987, d. James Ivory) was a special SIFF 30th Anniversary archival presentation. The E.M. Forster novel was written in 1913–14 but not published until 1971 after Forester’s death. Compare this to the 2017 Tom of Finland which was supported by the Finnish government celebrating major artistic accomplishments in the history of Finland. How times have changed.
The edited reviews below are by Ken Rudolph, who sees lots of films and reviews them at his website. I think you will enjoy them.
In Order of John’s LGBT Favorites
GOD’S OWN COUNTRY (UK, 2017, d. Francis Lee) A Brokeback Mountain in Yorkshire.
In this bleak, but hopeful gay themed drama, Johnny (Josh O'Connor) is a young man gradually taking over his elderly parents' sheep farm in the contemporary, hardscrabble Yorkshire, England countryside. Johnny is attracted to men; but deeply closeted. His infirm father (Ian Hart, convincingly lame) hires a temporary worker, Gheorghe (attractive Alec Secareanu), a Romanian refugee who grew up on a similar farm in his own country. When innocent horseplay between the young boss and worker suddenly turns sexual, the two young men commence on a serious and troubled secret affair. This was an insightful coming-of-age story. The relationship between the two men rang especially true...sort of a more enlightened version of Brokeback Mountain, romantic and yet masculine, without the complication of women and with a minimum of homophobia among family and neighbors. The film was slow paced; but due to the fine acting and assured direction from veteran actor Francis Lee making his directing debut, I was totally involved with these characters.
HANDSOME DEVIL (Ireland, 2017, d. John Butler) Superb and uplifting.
Ned (played by cute, red-headed Fionn O'Shea), was a 16-year old Irish prep-school student. He was an introvert, interested in music, and enrolled in a boy's school that is batty for rugby, which made him a picked-on outcast. His new roommate, Connor (attractive Nicholas Galitzine), was mysteriously expelled from his previous school; but he turned out to be a talented rugby player, so he instantly became a BMOC. Also new at the school was a closeted gay English teacher (ingratiatingly played by Andrew Scott). Ned and Connor surprisingly became friends; but there is some sexual ambiguity surrounding both boys...which became the crux of the drama. I was totally involved in this well written and acted gay-friendly coming-of-age story.
HEARTSTONE (Iceland, 2017, d. Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson)
The setting is late summer in a small Icelandic farming village. Thor and Kristjan are best friends, in that stage of adolescence where boys are just approaching (Thor) or have achieved (Kristjan) puberty. Thor is a typical 14-year old "boy"...attracted to the girls of the village, full of mischief; but Kristjan is more sensitive, protective of his smaller friend. The boys horse around; but clearly Kristjan has longings that he can't even express to himself. That is the basis for this achingly beautiful and truthful coming of age story that just illustrated that the difficulties of the teen years are universal...felt just as strongly in the sexually liberated Scandinavian climate as anywhere. The two actors playing the boys, Baldur Einarsson and Blaer Hinriksson, were naturals, perfectly embodying their roles, even if most of the other characters (mainly the girlfriends and parents) were sketchily written. But all in all, the central relationship and the bleak and gorgeous mountain setting of rural Iceland made for a film which resonated with a particular poignancy for me.
WIERDOS (Canada, 2017, d. Bruce McDonald)
Just about anything I could summarize about the plot of this little B&W gem of a film from Canada would be a spoiler. Bare bones: summer of 1976 in Nova Scotia. 15-year old Kit runs away from his teacher father's home with his best friend, feisty Val. They hitchhike to the city to find Kit's mother, who turns out to be a bipolar mess. Adventures happen and truths emerge. The kids were played by Dylan Authors and Francine Deschepper; and both are naturals with a fresh youthfulness that rings true to life. Kit's mom is a cameo by Molly Parker, who maybe overdoes the craziness a little; but she lights up the screen with her energetic performance. It's a mild SPOILER to disclose that this is essentially a gay coming of age story...and a beautifully tender and moving one.
TOM OF FINLAND (Finland, 2017, d. Dome Karukoski)
This biopic follows the life of Touko Laaksonen, who became world famous as the artist Tom of Finland. Tom drew realistic sketches of leather men with huge dicks, built bodies and fetching demeanors that were published in physique magazines and picture books during the era from the 1960s until the artist's death in 1991. His art filled the imagination of generations of gay men (including myself.) The real Touko was a soldier in WWII, a victim of gay persecution in the repressive 1950s in Finland, and finally, after his art was recognized and published in America, he became a revered celebrity. Pekka Strang played Touko with a convincing dispassion. He was surrounded by a series of good-looking men (I was particularly enamored by Lauri Tilkanen who played Tom's ill-fated long-time lover, Veli.) The film progressed as a typical biopic; but it had the scope of a large production; and just based on my interest in the subject matter held my interest throughout.
THE ORNITHOLOGIST (Portugal, 2017, d. Joäo Pedro Rodrigues)
In this strangely mysterious drama from the controversial (but fascinating and gay) Portuguese director J. P. Rodrigues, Fernando (in a charismatic performance by Paul Hamy) was a gay ornithologist, studying the birds of present-day northern Portugal, navigating the rivers by kayak and camping solo in the neighboring jungle-like forest. His kayak was wrecked, and he apparently drowned when he got caught in a series of river rapids. [I'm going to go into SPOILER territory here to try to explain the film, so beware.] After an interlude, he was resuscitated by a pair of Chinese lesbian pilgrims, who drugged and trussed him, preparing to torture him, until he managed to escape. He then became involved with a series of misadventures, including a sexual tryst with a deaf-mute goatherd named Jesus. Finally he was killed and, for some reason transformed into a dead man named Anthony (played by the director himself). The film is steeped in Christian mythology, which was totally opaque to me until I was turned on to a Wikipedia page which totally explained the metaphorical background of the main character. Here is the summary from that page, the knowledge of which made the entire film make sense: "Saint Anthony of Padua (Portuguese: St. António de Lisboa), born Fernando Martins de Bulhões (1195 – 13 June 1231), also known as Anthony of Lisbon, was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. He was born and raised by a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, and died in Padua, Italy." I hope that helps others who might have been as mystified as myself by the film despite really enjoying it.
PROM KING 2010 (USA, 2017, d. Christopher Schaap) Seattle raised Actor/Director
In this modern, gay slice-of-life romantic drama, Charlie is a college student living in New York City. He's mostly out to friends and family (his mother is particularly supportive); but he's dissatisfied with his sex life...longing 1) to finally experience as a bottom "real" sex; and 2) to find true love rather than casual hook-ups. What ensues is a series of encounters with various men that mostly end in disaster. That's about it for plot. However, the film was written and directed by young Christopher Schaap, who also was in every scene playing the central character of Charlie. And Schaap is the real deal: a gay auteur making the most auspicious debut since Xavier Dolan burst onto the scene as an 18-year old wunderkind. Shaap's script is clever and filled with realistic anecdotes that resonate. He's a personable film presence as an actor who nails the character's naive longing and innate good nature. His direction is assured, with high production values including vivid cinematography from Aharon Rothschild that capture New York as clearly as an old Woody Allen flick. The casting of Charlie's friends and boyfriends and family is inspired. For me, at least, this is the find of the festival so far. I'm really looking forward to see where Schaap goes from here as a film maker as he branches out from the personal navel gazing of this debut effort. I predict a bright future.
CHAVELA (USA, 2017, d. Catherine Gund, Daresha Kyi) Amazing lesbian story.
Chavela Vargas was a Mexican torch singer born in 1919, who achieved relative fame in Spain and Latin America for her passionate songs of love and loneliness. She was also an unabashed lesbian from early childhood. This documentary tells her story, much of it from interviews with Chavela herself shot during her long life, along with anecdotes told by her lovers and admirers to the film makers. Additionally the film presents films and videos of her public performances over the years; and they are remarkable at illustrating her talent, which I suspect will come as a revelation to the Anglophone world.
BREACH RATS (USA, 2017, d. Eliza Hittan) Lower class struggle and gritty. **
In this realistic and disturbing coming of age film, Frankie is a teen-age boy spending a summer in the present day Brooklyn suburbs. At home, his father is dying, his younger sister is a pest, his mother is concerned but unsupportive. He runs with a group of straight boys who are into drugs and girls; but secretly he plies the internet gay chat-rooms to find older men to satisfy his inchoate longings. This is a particularly realistic (at least to my point of view) look at the psychology of the closet and the difficulties of growing up poor in the suburban lower classes today. Frankie was played by the attractive newcomer Harris Dickinson, who managed to project surly masculinity and adolescent homosexual confusion all at once. The film also got the tawdry urban milieu right, especially Coney Island and the summer beach scene. There's no happy resolution to Frankie's story here, which for me just seemed appropriate and true to life.
LGBT Documentaries Worth Seeking Out
NO DRESS CODE REQUIRED (Mexico, telling a Mexican gay marriage struggle) My favorite!
BEHIND THE CURTAIN: TODRICK HALL (USA, a world I did not know existed)
THE FABULOUS ALLAN CARR (USA, Disco Diva documentary including the Village People)
DEVINE DIVAS (Brazil, mature performers and their stories)
Other LGBT Films with Interesting Stories
CHRONICLES OF HARI (India, a whole different world)
A DATE FOR MAD MARY (Ireland, a fun story and wild performance)
I DREAM IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE (Mexico)
SANTA & ANDRES (Cuba, the struggles of Andres, an openly gay writer)
John’s Other Top SIFF Films
THE JOURNEY (superb storytelling about understanding and common values, don’t miss it!)
THE FARTHEST (It will be on PBS in August, but see it on the BIGGEST screen you can!)
AFTER THE STORM (Japan, d. Hirozaku Kore-eda, opens June 23 at SIFF)
AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL (Spain, d. Rodrigo Grande, Golden Space Needle Award for Best Film and Best Director. Rear Window with cellphones and computers, not to be missed.)
A DRAGON ARRIVES! (Iran, d. Mani Haghighi, Director Haghighi was denied a US visa to come to the festival and it has no US distributor, very SAD. An amazing and complex film, one reason I go to SIFF.)
MOKA (France, d. Frédéric Mermoud, opens June 30 at SIFF)
Lots of other Great Film Coming to SIFF: SIFF Coming Soon
The National Theater Live productions bring some of the best theater to the SIFF screen. Check out the July openings of the NT:LIVE Angels in America. Part 1: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES Part 2: PERESTROIKA
See you at the movies!
— John Chaney
Fourth Annual Road Trip to AshlandCome join us as we drive down to Ashland August 18 – 22 for the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We will see Julius Caesar, and the two parts of Henry IV in the intimate Thomas Theater and Shakespeare in Love adapted from the film. We will also celebrate Daedalus, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s fundraiser for AIDS, including a reading of a play appropriate to LGBT issues and a talent show produced by the company, which includes the ever popular underwear contest, where you get to stuff your donations into the underwear of the actors or crew members.
Deposit $100 check, due ASAP or at least by the end of February, to me, Bruce B. I have filled all the rooms reserved and will need to reserve additional rooms before they fill for the season. I do have plenty of tickets.
Estimated cost $600 including four nights accommodation at the Stratford Inn (double occupancy), tickets to the four plays, the two Daedalus events, and a group dinner. You provide transportation, by car, including car pooling, or flying to nearby Medford. I can help you arrange car pools. You will pay for lodging directly to the Stratford Inn, approximately $80 per night, when you check out. Single rooms cost about the same as a double, so the single supplement will be around $300, but we can help you find a roommate for the trip or try to accommodate you in a suite for three.
— Bruce B.