Anna Karina in Pierre le Fou


Kimberly Peirce draws blood in 'Carrie' update

Carrie by Kimberly Peirce (Contact Music)
Kimberly Peirce’s films are signs of the times and her latest film "Carrie" opens in San Francisco on Oct 18. “Boys Don’t Cry” (1998), was one of the first motion pictures to deal with a transgender hate crime.“Stop - Loss” (2008) explored a character who involuntarily had to return to Iraq during this unpopular military war and service codes. Now Pierce has tackled the holy ground of “Carrie” and unearthed her. The film stands as a high quality interpretation on a cinematic level approaching the original.
Take a look at "Carrie" from 1976 after you see the new "Carrie" (2013) to witness the reinvention of the story for this generation. Today we have expanded the possibilities for bullying to such an extent that it goes beyond the girl’s locker room into cyberspace. It is a “miracle” that Carrie didn’t kill herself as some young girls have today whose lives have been hung out to dry by insensitive peers. The “Carrie” that Stephen King based his novel on in 1974 was a real life person whose mother (no father mentioned) was a contest fanatic. The girl wore the same outfit to school everyday and was teased mercilessly, even moreso when one day she wore something stylish. Later she married and eventually killed herself.
To address Carrie's insecurities, Peirce told the SF Film Industry Examiner in San Francisco last week that she has equipped her with “superpowers”. They are more arduous and expressive, more snap, crackle and pop than Sissy Spacek’s bug eye fixation on objects that move telekinetically - through psychokinesis, a power often seen in Hollywood movies. An absent father, a demented mother and brutal young classmates can certainly transform a young woman, so telekinetic powers are clearly a way out of the abuse.
This Carrie is younger than the mature 24 year old Spacek at the time, who brought to the role an interpretation immortalized in film history. This Carrie in real life is 16. Chloë Grace Moretz shows more timidity and reserve than in"Kick Ass" and Clark Kent before he runs for a phone booth to make his wardrobe change as Superman. But she gradually becomes the girl that learns how to use psychokinesis, outsmart her mother who locks her in the closet to contemplate Jesus and her sins and outshine her classmates with her visceral symbolist poems.
The budget for this film allowed for some jolting special effects such as Carrie’s attempt at navigating her telekinetic powers. It is not really mentioned in the 1976 "Carrie" but this version shows her at the library researching about her powers and a classmate even tells her where she can find audiovisual material about this on the net. No one shows Carrie how to harness her power, which we learn in other Superhero stories like Spiderman, and Batman.It is quite true that you need to use your hands, not just your eyes when moving objects telekinetically. She tries to remind her mother that her grandmother had this power.
Julianne Moore redefines Margaret White who is not only a religiously twisted woman but whose self-mutilation is more graphic. In that home "confessional", locked in by Carrie who goes off to the prom, she also wants out. Peirce shows her at work as a seamstress in a small shop and her seam ripper and other sewing equipment become new instruments for drawing blood. We see that her life is one huge closet and Moore's performance is outstanding in showing all the angst of that confinement. Peirce has demonstrated that she knows how to work with actors and get the best from them. Moore is so likely a candidate for an Oscar in this film.
On the athletic field at Carrie's high school are fashion conscious heterosexual young women and at the ritualistic prom the same heteronormative crowd gathers. It would have been refreshing to see a few tomboys since Peirce has successfully changed some of the iconography in her modern tale for gender normative teens to witness. Peirce would have liked that too and explained when she was in San Francisco last week that she is bound by the "real estate" of the film to move within certain parameters.
The prom queen crown is the Holy Grail of high school, and Peirce succeeds in piercing the facade of the spectacle in the highpoint of the film. There are enough changes in the new Carrie's rampage to pin spectators to their seats with art direction by Nigel Churcher ("Resident Evil", "The Virgin Suicides", "Safe House"). The beauty of Carrie is that she is a brave young woman with so many disadvantages to overcome hurled at her from birth through her rite of passage in becoming an adult. She embodies the preciousness and cruelty of youth as does everyone around her.
It is inevitable that there will be comparisons with the novel and the Brian De Palma’s "Carrie", the other versions movie and this one. In almost every sense this update gels, from the gutsy gym teacher Ms. Desjardin (Judy Greer) to bad girl (brutal Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) and conscionable good girl, Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) who prompts her good-natured boyfriend Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort) to take Carrie to the prom.
It is not only the characters that are brilliant it is the state of the art film technology that creates an update like this visually pleasurable. Those who bemoan the original as the only interpretation possible should take a look again. Compare the grasp of the cinematography in this film (Steve Yedlin), from the underwater opening scene where the torsos of young women are shot, to the volleyball game on court, to the quintessential horror show of the prom and aftermath. The picture language is multi-dimensional and opens the classic up to modern proportions. That is what a good update does.
Stephen King’s novel "Carrie" has historically been banned in schools. Some of those reasons are evident in the new Carrie as well as the old. Blood, the first blood of a young woman in King’s first short story draft, releases hormones that cause telekinesis. That plan was scrapped. Had it not been for his wife Tabitha, the novel, which was dedicated to her, wouldn’t have been written. He wrote it on a dare to begin with because he was accused of not being able to write about women.
King wrote "Carrie" as a high school teacher but called it “a cookie baked by a first grader”. Maybe he has insecurities about the popularity of Carrie because it is a story about a girl with “menstrual problems" as he put it. However, Peirce has delivered a soufflé that actually stays up, following the archetype of the original with new twists.
Not only is there blood but blood sports and rituals. The site of Margaret's blood during the birth of Carrie is new, and the threat of piercing flesh to draw blood is frequently shown. A young girl's rite of passage is born of blood, which for Margaret inevitably led to rape. Protecting her child is her mission and to keep her in place she insists on zealous chasteness. Promiscuity is a sign of possession, so Margaret must possess her daughter.
"Carrie's" success in 1976 fit in the chronology of horror stories of the time about girls – from "Rosemary’s Baby"(1968) who give birth to Satan’s child to the "The Exorcist" (1973) with Linda Blair. Today we have many more models of women of all ages that have superpowers. Add “Kick-Ass” 'Hit Girl' Moretz to the list in Kimberly Peirce's "Carrie".

Stacie Passon's 'Concussion' heats up the same sex suburbs

Stacie Passon’s "Concussion" opens in San Francisco October 18, a well-crafted film produced by veteran Rose Troche. After a hit on the head, Abby (Robin Weigert) feels that her talents should be spread beyond working out in the gym with body conscious housewives, folding laundry or fielding questions from teachers who are afraid that other WASP mothers might think that Halloween is a sign of witchcraft. Add to that that her partner Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence) seems uninterested in her and miles away.
Sports help, but soon prove unviable. Abby starts noticing women on the street, and she decides to fix up a loft, one of six she has done already, with the help of friend Justin (Johnathan Tchaikovsky). She answers a personal ad. When that proves unviable, Justin sets her up with a woman named Gretchen, who works for 'The Girl' (dating Justin). "The Girl" (Emily Kinney) is in law school and just can’t get caught setting up sex dates for pay, so she disguises the "sales" in “decorator language”.
As a storyteller, Stacie Passon wastes no time, and rather than explaining everything in dialogue, her picture language is both economical and meaningful. The spaces in the interiors and the music by composer Barb Morrison is upscale. Contrasts between the darkness of the bourgeois home and the light of her loft make clear that enlightenment is on the outside not the inside of the confines of her stale marriage with two demanding children - a son who hit her in the head with a baseball and doesn’t respect limits and a daughter with lots of questions. Probably this bourgeois scenario is the kind that stifles marriages.
Abby (Weigert - absolutely brilliant in her role) embarks on a series of adventures with women she both pays for, and who pay her, for sex. She does this for enjoyment, not for money and she is good at it, probably the first thing she has been good at for a long time besides gentrifying lofts and working out.
Most of Abby and Kate’s friends are straight and ask invasive questions like “when did you know (you were a lesbian)", and it’s a safe predictable lesbian relationship of no great depth or interest. Only Abby is interesting because she understands the need to expand and grow. The couple seem to inhibit each other when they entertain and though they are free to express love to each other, Abby and Kate are not, in love.
So, Abby becomes a “hot dyke housewife” catering to young women. As Justin puts it, the young set "with their fathers' credit cards" - "looking for a mature situation".
"They buy you, you buy them, what’s the difference?", he adds.
As for Justin, “I’m your guy that sets things up”, the guy that takes a percentage of the credit card sales.
But .....Stacie Passon in the midst of all of this shows the preciousness of women who just want sex, younger women who have no experience, and older women who want some romance. Even a neighbor on the PTA, Junior League and Food Bank committee - the kind you meet in the supermarket in the canned good section.
With Abby’s interludes how will this all work out? That is the question for "Concussion" and Passon has some challenging and provocative answers.


Pasolini film series closes with passionate panel at Italian Cultural Institute

Pasolini film series closes with passionate panel at Italian Cultural Institute

Ninetto Davoli, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Maria Callas.
Ninetto Davoli, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Maria Callas.
©Center for Pier Paolo Pasolini Studies, Casarsa Italy.

Pasolini Film Series

The Pier Paolo Pasolini Film Series produced by Amelia Antonucci with Luce Cinecittà ended with a panel on September 17 at the Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco. Antonucci has brought the program to seven US cities including the screenings of Sept 14 and 15 at the Castro and Roxie Theatres. The widescreen projections of the late filmmaker's films, some with new 35 mm prints allowed close proximity to his work. The series celebrate the  "Year of Italian Culture in the US".

Ninetto Davoli in 'Canterbury Tales,'  by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Center for Pasolini Studies, Casarsa, Italy

A more extensive series and separate program of Pasolini films will be held at the Pacific Film Archives from Sept 20 to Oct 31 includes “Medea” with Maria Callas, “Teorema” with Terence Stamp, the “Trilogy of Life” –“Canterbury Tales”, “Decameron”, and “Arabian Nights” and “Accatone”, “Hawks and Sparrows” with Ninetto Davoli, “Mama Roma” with Anna Magnani, “Salò”,“Notes for an African Orestes”, and “Oedipus Rex”.
Ninetto Davoli was Pasolini’s favorite actor and closest friend, and the last one to see him before he died in 1975. He was the special guest of the San Francisco series, and shared with the audience that his work in “Canterbury Tales” was praised by Charlie Chaplin, one of his fondest memories. Chaplin's daughter Josephine was in the film. Davoli explained that he initially had no interest in acting but had hung around one of Pasolini’s films shot on location where their friendship began. His first non-speaking role was in “The Gospel According to Saint Matthew” and then was cast opposite the famous Italian comedian Totò in “Hawks and Sparrows” (1966). He was featured in Pasolini’s “Trilogy of Life” and today works primarily in Italian television. Davoli's translator, Dr Antonia Fraser Fujinaga from the Italian Cultural Institute, did a brilliant job of bringing his words and ideas to life.
The director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Dr. Paolo Barlera, translated  Pasolini Requiem”into Italian written by the brilliant biographer Barth David Schwartz, also special guest for the film series. Schwartz said that the late filmmaker had several projects in the wings before his tragic death, including a film on the gospel of Saint Paul where Ninetto Davoli would play the lead. Ninetto also exuberantly spoke of Pasolini’s zest and vitality in a spirited discussion.
Also on the panel was Jack Hirschman, a San Francisco poet and social activist, who read from poems he compiled in his anthology of Pasolini’s literary work, “In Danger” and Dr. Beverly Allen who is currently guest lecturer in Comparative Literature at Stanford and author of “Pier Paolo Pasolini: The Poetics of Heresy”. The evening concluded with a special concerto written for one of Pasolini's works.
Colpa Cinema and their partners Fondo Pier Paolo Pasolini/Cineteca di Bologna and Cinecittà helped to create the posters and advertising for the program 
The Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco holds seminars and special cultural events throughout the year such as the closing panel of the Pasolini Film Series this week.
There is a special Center for Pasolini Studies in Casarsa della Delizia where Pasolini and his mother lived.


Spellbinding debut feature 'Concussion' opens Frameline 37

Stacie Passon and Rose Troche in San Francisco ©Moira Sullivan
The Frameline 37 opening film "Concussion" filled the Castro Theatre to capacity in San Francisco on June 20. On hand were filmmaker Stacie Passon and producer Rose Troche. Troche had been at the Castro 19 years ago as director of the cult classic "Go Fish", and hoped that the experience would be just as good for Passon. Apparently it was, for Passon whipped out a small digital camera to take pictures for her children of the massive audience seated at the Castro waiting to see her film.

"Concussion"will receive its theatrical release in San Francisco in October so the Frameline screening was a peak preview for San Francisco. (Passon and Troche will be featured in an exclusive radio interview for Movie Magazine International San Franciso in the autumn.) This is a smart film with a provocative and captivating script (Passon),  slick edits (Anthony Cupo), brilliant camera work (David Kruta) and a soundtrack that feels Eastern set to Western instruments (composer Barb Morrison and Micki Kaufman,Tommy Mokas).

The film belongs of course to lead actress Robin Weigert who is a master at subtle facial expressions that tell it all without the need for dialogue. An ensemble cast who are equally convincing in their roles supports her.  Weigert plays Abby, a 42-year-old lesbian mom who is ignored by her partner and who doesn’t seem to have much to do. After an accident in which she is hit in the head with a baseball by her son, she decides to redecorate a loft with the help of Justin (Johnathan Tchaikovsky), a young straight man. He has many skills and later sets her up with 'The Girl' (Emily Kinney) who arranges the referrals of rich young college women who are willing to pay for a 'mature situation' with a high scale escort.  Justin somehow even signs up the married Sam (Maggie Siff)  from Abby's community outside New York. 'The Girl' is in law school and just can't get caught, so negotiations are disguised as discussions about home decoration.

Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence) seems oblivious to the needs of her partner and apparently regards her home, job and even her children as possessions. Weigert revealed that when the film opened in Berlin where it won the Teddy Award in February 2013, that she was asked if the film was making a statement about the bourgeoisie. It may sound like a strange question in the USA but it is perfectly relevant with the middle class setup of "Concussion" that does not bring a state of ‘Being’ in the existentialist sense. 

The film is a collaborative effort between Rose Troche (who won the Berlin Teddy Award in 1994 for "Go Fish") and Stacie Passon who were clearly enraptured with each other and the cast and crew on stage. Troche is a clever producer and director who has skillfully stewarded Passon in making a film of such extraordinary completion that it is mind boggling it is a first.  Passon’s 'Being' clearly shows and everyone who worked on the project admitted that the film gelled under her direction.

The subject of the film will be familiar to heterosexual as well as LGBT spectators, since monogamy and the acquisition of wealth by established couples, with or without children, can spin out of control over time, and the unknown in the outside world becomes more and more appealing. This is an intriguing subject, which the film explores with enough space for spectators to pose their own questions.

Frameline has corporate sponsors to maintain its operations, and AT&T picked up the tab for opening night. "Concussion" as a first feature is eligible for an awarrd of $7.500 from Wells Fargo in one of several competitive categories, including the Audience Award.

Frameline is a festival where there are world premieres but films like "Concussion" debuted at one of the A line festivals – Sundance --the others are Toronto, Berlin, Cannes, San Sebastian and Venice. The San Francisco festival is a public festival with a ready-made audience given the expanse of the LGBT community in the area. Some directors don’t like their films to be regarded as a “gay film” in order to reach the widest possible audience. Those who choose Frameline for their world premiere know it is just the right spot. Filmmaker Monika Treut calls Frameline, "the Cannes of LGBT filmmaking". Add to LGBT -- a 'Q' for 'queer'.
Passon and Troche at Frameline 37 ©Moira Sullivan


Jamie Babbit receives 'Frameline 37 Award'

Jamie Babbit at Frameline 37 

Jamie Babbit was honored with the Frameline 37 Award on June 22 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. It's reassuring to know that there are some well-admired talented writers, directors and actors who continually turn out brilliant work in the LGBT world. When they return to Frameline with their films it is a special event. Jamie Babbit is one of them and we always look forward to her latest creations. She is only in her early 40's but has been working for over two decades.

Babbit first gained early critical attention with her short film “Sleeping Beauties” (1999) about two women who become attracted to each other on a photo shoot. It’s an unusual shoot where Sno Blo, a dead rock star, is being made up by Heather (Sarah Lassez), a mortician from 'Rolling Headstones Funeral Home'. Clea (Clea DuVall), the photographer’s assistant, falls for Heather and wonders if she ever has worked on the living. It was just 13 minutes but an enchanting twist on Sleeping Beauty.

But I'm A Cheerleader (2000)

The next year, Babbit’s first feature “But I’m a Cheerleader" was released. There are two other filmmakers that come to mind who can do to the kitschy set design that Babbit did on this film – Pedro Almodóvar and John Waters. The film is a comedy about a conversion therapy camp where young gays are trained to be straight. Megan (Natasha Lyon), a high school cheerleader is sent to be reformed but falls for Graham (Clea DuVall).

The scary therapy is banned in California. On the same day Babbit won her Frameline award (June 22), the news broke about Alan Chambers, the leader of the largest conversion therapy group "Exodus" who resigned, apologized and admitted he was attracted to men.

When I first interviewed Babbit in Paris in 2000, I could barely pronounce her name or get a grasp on the title of this new film. She proceeded to win the Audience and Graine de Cinéphage (youth prize) awards at Créteil Films de Femmes. On stage she told the audience she was surprised she won since she had been told that the French didn’t have a sense of humor. Clearly the humor in this film and those to follow is international and has attracted a dedicated following. Babbit struck an accord with LGBT spectators from the beginning.

Stuck (2002)

In 2002, we met again in Cologne at Internationales Frauenfilmfestival (International Women’s Film Festival) where Babbit’s black comedy short screened - “Stuck”, about two aging lesbians with a long overdue spat who hit something living on a desert road with their pickup. Producer and partner Andrea Sperling and Babbit attended my lecture on filmmaker Maya Deren at the festival. Deren was about the same age as Babbit (26) when she made her first short film and the avantgarde filmmaker is one of Sperling’s mentors. Ace producer Sperling received the Frameline Award in 2007.

Itty Bitty Titty Committee (2007)

We met again at Frameline five years later. I had recommended Babbit's film that screened that year at Frameline - "Itty Bitty Titty Committee"(2007) to a film festival in Sweden. The intelligent and hilarious script by Babbit, Sperling Tina Mabry and Abi Shafran is about the birth of a young woman’s political awareness and her involvement in an extremists group, which was a refreshing sign that the torch of feminist activism had been passed to a younger generation of lesbians.

After the award on June 22 and screening, Babbit and Andrea Sperling, producer of Babbit's latest film "Breaking the Girls" came up on stage with writer Guinevere Turner, one of the most productive actresses and writers in lesbian filmmaking behind several episodes of "The L Word". Multiply that by Rose Troche who was at Frameline Thursday night as producer of the opening film "Concussion" directed by Stacie Passon, and who worked on "Go Fish" with Turner.

Breaking the Girls (2013)

"Breaking the Girls" is a lesbian thriller about a double homicide. Babbit said it was made on a shoestring budget and that Sperling can make a buck stretch a long way. The tint of the film is dark, fitting the noir ambiance of the film, which today is the equivalent of the black and white of the 1950's genre. Babbit threw in some Patricia Highsmith touches - a snail that grossed out Turner but was insistent on keeping in the script.

The story opens with Sarah (Agnes Brukner) who works at a bar and is hit on by the homicidal tipsy hipster Alex (Madeline Zima). Later they return to her condo, break a few glasses make out in a hot tub and attend a party for a Taxidermy conference. As they enter the space there is a stuffed pig on its back, feet up, evoking Hitchcock. Alex falls for Sarah but its complicated since she since she hates her stepfather’s girlfriend Nina (Kate Levering) so much that vengeance gets in the way.
Davenia McFadden as Detective Ross (Breaking the Girls)

The feature has more than a few surprising twists and turns that fuel the plot. Babbit said she appreciated the humor in the audience that Frameline is renowned for during this annual 10-day festival. The slick collaboration of Babbit and Turner on the script includes casting the commanding seasoned veteran Detective Ross - the fabulous Davenia McFadden - who works to solve the homicides. Turner revealed at the Q&A that she is sometimes actor sometimes writer: when she gets sick of people she writes and when she’s lonely she acts. 

In addition to films, Jamie Babbit has directed dozens of TV shows such as "Drop Dead Diva", "United States of Tara", "Ugly Betty", "The Gilmore Girls", and "Emily Owens M.D". You will always find a female character with sharp skills in the centerfold of her films.

Babbit creates believable lesbian characters and scenarios that have endeared her to the public. She is a clever and resourceful filmmaker with a great sense of the bizarre, the comic and real and immediate LGBT issues. She clearly deserves this honor tonight at Frameline.


Aisha Tyler's outrageous stand up intoxicates 'Cobb's Comedy Club'

The crowd is there to celebrate Aisha Tyler:part Lana Kane “Archer” fans from the FX animated sitcom television series and part Andrea Marino fans from the first season of“Ghost Whisperer”.
Tyler transformed into different personas in an electric and intuitive cascade, a litany of eclectic insights on television, racism, hotels and her husband. What is central to her show is her shrewd perception of how our differences give us our humanity. The talented African American reminds us of Jean-Paul Sartre’s claim that “we are nothing other than what we make ourselves”. Her show also illuminates one of the French philosopher’s central tenets on the human condition by “making us conscious of who we are and that we are solely responsible for our existence”. Tyler takes charge and illuminates how TV does NOT make us feel good and that we should get that. The negative messages from ads are abundant, she extolled: “you’re fat”; you’re a slob – clean your house”. She admonishes us that if we take in those messages it is our responsibility. This is an empowering rant.
The San Francisco native has the experience of growing up in a multicultural environment, after the efforts in the 70’s by Mayor George Moscone to carve up the city into broad based districts, represented by the people who lived there, not just businessmen who represented their own interests. Supervisors got together and hammered out criteria for a harmonious existence in the City. It is because of Moscone’s vision that Harvey Milk got elected. The late Mayor’s legacy is part of the magic of San Francisco and why you can sit in a club in North Beach on a Saturday night and listen to one of its most outspoken artists.
This is the San Francisco Aisha Tyler is born from and she represents this cultivated diversity. “How does that work when you go to the Midwest”, asks Tyler? Things change. Some white people can be patronizing. “On tour, someone came up and said I was so cute, she wanted to bake me a pie”. “Honey I don’t know you that well”, Aishi responded. She described a racially divided town where the white people stare at the black people when things need to be done and take turns asking each other “are you going to do it? until a Mexican comes along who says, “I’ll do it”.
Tyler reveals the intricate layers of multiculturalism in a colorful fashion in her standup and it is clear she is one of the gifted artists that undergoes a phenomenal metamorphosis when speaking to the public, becoming an altered spirit. She can deliver her material full throttle and go ballistic, then slow down, cruise, and smile, in an embodied sense of humor, a humor that genuinely goes home with San Franciscans.
Tyler’s shows are not only successful here but also all across the United States and Canada. Americans are feared in Canada says Tyler, like the Mexicans in California. She admits she hails from "the Great State of Mexico", and then adds, “they’ll get it back again”, alluding to the dark history of California where Mexico and Native American land was cheaply sold or just appropriated by the U.S. Government. Canadians fear that Americans will come and take advantage of their social democratic programs too, like the Mexicans in California, quips Tyler. Then there was someone Canada, clearly in awe, who asked her if she owned a gun.
Not all of Tyler’s show deals with race and diversity; a lot of material is focused on sex, and the battle between the sexes for sex. She is proud to be married for 19 years to a white man, and he often comes up in the show. For example, she boasts that he is good to have in the car when she is stopped by a policeman, who figures if she is with a white man she is "supervised", and waves her on.
One unique part of the show is entitled “mysterious injuries”, that freakishly occur walking though your house, explains Tyler especially when you are older. And she illuminates some of the fears of being 40 + and aging (though she claims throughout the show she is 30). She discusses alcohol (mis) use in a way that sounds like the exploits of drinking gone wrong at an AA meeting. (“I am so wasted and am supposed to be at work at 9, and it’s 9.45”.)
Much of Tyler’s material has to do with how repressed men and women are sexually, noting synthetic drugs like Viagra for sustained sexual prowess into the supernatural realm. As proof, when she is in a hotel room with her husband, they, like others, do things they would never do at home and put a glass up to the wall and compare experiences. After a night in a hotel, the bellboy serves breakfast for her and her husband - glass to the wall - “the Cowboy”.
Aisha Tyler is a powerful woman, clearly in command of herself and confident of her abilities. Although this is her commentary, one can’t help wonder why so much attention is given to men when it comes to sexuality and little to women and herself. It is almost as if by discussing male sexuality, she becomes empowered for having the guts to talk about it.This part of the script calls for more ingenuity. Here her material is a little like comedian Margaret Cho, without all the constant accolades to gay men.
In this show, stereotypes are abundant for the gay population and for the heterosexual population in San Francisco from the Mission, to nearby Marin. Diversity is visible. The warm-up act to her show is a gay Iranian man who comes out asking if the audience thought he was a lesbian because of the way he looked: short hair, casual attire - sweatshirt and sweatpants and clearly at least 100 pounds overweight sporting a “Michelin tire”. He then tells the audience he loves lesbians and asks if any are in the house. During one part of Aisha’s routine he comes out dancing when she mentions that she feels like Jennifer Beales in “Flashdance”.
Aisha Tyler defines herself as she chooses to be. The hope is that by pointing out our diversity with humor we are brought together as humanity. The approach seemed to jell with the audience, who were invited to meet her after the show. Judging by sustained applause and hysteria for over an hour, it was obvious that many felt mirrored by her powerful observations.
Reprinted from San Francisco -