Saturday, March 08, 2008

Sprig Has Sprug

I awoke at 3:30 a-ebb out of dreabs I was drowding. Scary, but dot teddibly udusual. It’s sprig. *blows nose again*
Yes, I’m aware it’s only early March, but here in a Mediterranean climate, it’s definitely spring. What bees are left in California are buzzing anemically around the almond groves, and the jade plants are threatening to bloom any second now.
It’s still monsoon season, but it’s been sunny all week. Predictably, the sun is supposed to leave us on Sunday, just in time for the filming of the Gay Freedom Day Parade of 1978 for the upcoming film “Milk”.
If you’re not aware, Harvey Milk was, "the first openly gay man elected to any substantial political office in the history of the planet" according to Time magazine. Also known as the Mayor of Castro Street, Milk was an icon of not just SF, but gays nationwide.
He and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by disgruntled (who is gruntled?) recently resigned City Supervisor Dan White an ex-cop/firefighter, and. There are also some as-yet-unplumbed ties with the People’s Temple, which would spectacularly implode with the suicides of most of its members in Jonestown, Guyana ten days later.
Altogether, a fascinating time to be a San Franciscan. At the time, I was an eight-year-old Minnesotan with no more idea of gaydom than I did of California, that is, none whatsoever.
I had no idea that a somber candlelit memorial vigil spontaneously assembled itself and wound through the Castro and down to City Hall, where many remembered Harvey including Joan Baez.
Much like Benazir Bhutto, Supervisor Milk was aware of the danger his celebrity posed, and recorded words to be played only in the event of his assassination (listen here- It includes the quote, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.” Bless you, sir, for as the doors aren’t completely down, they’re louvered doors made of shoddy plywood now, rather than the hermetically sealed, hydraulically locked fortress portals they were when Milk first ran for office.
So I have pledged to get up at 6 am on Sunday morning to commute to Civic Center Plaza to pay homage to the ultimate sacrifice Mr. Milk made for his city/county and his fellow friends of Dorothy. We will gather on the Polk street side of the plaza and re-enact the 1978 Gay Freedom Day Parade for producer Gus Van Sant.
Spring is a time of hope, and in June 1978 San Francisco was full of hope for the future of equality in America, unaware of the looming tragedies of the following November. We owe it to him and to all of us to make the best version of this film possible. It’s not history or herstory, it’s ourstory and we will tell it. May you rest in peace Mr. Milk. We’ll take it from here.

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