Writer-director Lisa Cholodenko earned attention with critically acclaimed features like High Art (1998) and Laurel Canyon (2002). Her latest movie, The Kids Are All Right, is a “personal film” about a lesbian couple raising teenagers. I spoke to Cholodenko about queer politics, explicit content, and keeping things lighthearted.
San Francisco Bay Guardian: Recently, there was a lot of controversy surrounding a Newsweek article, in which the author wrote about the difficulty of queer actors playing straight roles. I was wondering about your take on that, and on the opposite — straight actors playing queer roles. Is that something you even considered when casting?
Lisa Cholodenko: I’ll be honest, I was just told about this article and I didn’t read it. You know, I think it’s kind of weird thing to even discuss in a way, to me. Chiefly because I think actors’ personal lives — I just think people should have a private life, not that they should be in the closet, but that there should be a separation between professional life and personal life. And if a director feels like so-and-so, whether they’re gay or straight, would be good for a role, give them the role. What does it matter? As it turns out, I think gay people have more of an affect, whether they’re lesbians or gay men, that’s harder to camouflage in straight roles. Why that is, I mean, you could talk about that. I think it’s easier to go the other way. That’s just what it is. I say that without a value judgment. It is what it is.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee voted 10 to 1 on June 18 that flibanserin, 100 mg (Girosa; Boehringer Ingelheim), was not significantly better than placebo for hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). They also voted unanimously that the benefits did not compensate for its adverse effects. (Medscape, June 21)
Keyboard and organ player Dave Faulkner didn't have to think too hard about the most golden moments of this year's High Sierra music festival (although he did say that the Black Crowes “nailed it” at their Saturday evening main stage performance). “I love it when you're just walking around, and you see a random jam that's totally rocking. I think High Sierra attracts a lot of musicians - it's like a sample platter of bands.” Read more »
Oakland and San Francisco police and city officials are nervously awaiting the verdict in the murder trial of Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer who shot and killed Oscar Grant on a train platform last year, although the latest word is that verdict won't come today (July 6), and probably not tomorrow, because of the absences of two jurors.Read more »
Newsom needs to decide whether he's serious when he says he wants to work with the supervisors on a budget
EDITORIAL The San Francisco supervisors took a huge step with the city budget this year: they essentially told the mayor that his approach was unacceptable, and that they were going to do it themselves.
The result — the document that the board's Budget Committee approved and sent back to Mayor Gavin Newsom — isn't perfect. But the members of that panel saved $40 million worth of programs from the mayor's budget ax and got rid of two particularly bad plans: privatizing health care at the county jails and allowing more condominium conversions.
The board members are also looking seriously at putting as much as $100 million in new taxes — progressive taxes — on the November ballot. Current plans include a modest increase in the hotel tax, an increase in the real-estate transfer tax on high-end properties, and a tax on commercial rents of more than $200,000 a year, which would be paired with a reduction in the payroll tax for small businesses.
Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 250 of his recent columns.
Although the wage gap between white and African-American workers remains wide, it has been shrinking. But that's not so for the more significant black and white wealth gap.
A new study by researchers at Brandeis University shows that the wealth gap has been growing steadily, leaving African-American families with increasingly fewer resources than white families to cope with serious economic problems such as many families face today.
The Brandeis study found that in the quarter-century from 1984 to 2007, the African-American and white wealth gap more than quadrupled, from $20,000 to $95,000. Read more »
The deadline for submitting enough valid signatures to quality local initiatives for the November ballot is today (July 6) at 5 p.m., which made for a busy holiday weekend for two San Francisco ballot measures that will be close calls: labor's effort to increase the city's hotel tax by 2 percent and the pension reform measure pushed by Public Defender Jeff Adachi.Read more »
There's a mysterious paradox present in the fact the Golden Gate Bridge was essentially born in the pit of the Great Depression. On the one hand, this marvel of architecture and beauty stands for potential and optimism as made manifest in the dreamiest haven of California. On the other, the Golden Gate is like a metallic siren, known as a place where those who have lost contact with American life go to disappear.Read more »
Members of the Board of Supervisors, their legislative aides, and other City Hall regulars were all looking a bit sleep-deprived as they darted from office to office at City Hall July 1 after ongoing budget negotiations kept everyone up late the night before. Just as an agreement on the city budget seemed within reach on June 30, Mayor Gavin Newsom and his chief of staff, Steve Kawa, had expressed strong opposition to several initiatives that progressive members of the Board of Supervisors sought to place on the November ballot.
The mayor's last-minute move was described by some as a quid pro quo that withheld support for an amended budget -- which included about $40 million in restorations to community programs that are high priorities for members of the board -- unless four different proposals were struck from the ballot. Three were proposed charter amendments dealing with commission appointments that would distribute power more evenly between the board and the mayor, and the fourth was a proposal put forth by Sup. Ross Mirkarimi that would have required the San Francisco Police Department to adopt a community-policing model and engage in neighborhood foot patrols, initially cast as an enlightened alternative to Newsom's proposed law banning sitting or lying down on the sidewalk.
Party prince Richie Panic likes to pile it on in a good way. Although he’s been a keen-eared staple of the SF scene for years, he really blew up with the Blow Up party, blasting the table-wrecking new-electro bangers and always eliciting a Panic-specific “oh sh*t!” from the crowd Now he helms two weekly clubs, Wanted (Mondays at Q Bar) and the Boner Party (Wednesdays at Beauty Bar), and his style has morphed a bit into slightly more nuanced territory. It’s still shiny-shiny, with plenty of gold-teeth bite, but now he’s a master craftsman, giving his mixes some thoughtful sheen and a clearer dancefloor narrative.