Saturday, February 9, 2008

Candlelight, Super

Gosh, what a nice night.
The intersection of Market and Franklin, where I cross on bike daily en route to and from work, was almost completely silent during the shooting of the post-assassination candlelight march for Gus Van Sant's film, Milk, about slain gay supervisor Harvey Milk.

I and about 1,000 extras walked solemnly about four blocks 4 times. Since the original march included more than 40,000 people, a production assistant said they would CGI the trail of candles up Market St. (photo above is from the original 1978 march.)

There were some paid extras who looked very 70s authentic, including guys like actor Kevin Clarke and activist David Smith. Lots of other pals showed up, dressed in great yet not over-the-top 70s looks. Mmm, mustaches and sideburns, when men were men.

But political and community celebs were in attendance as well. Dan Nicoletta, Tom Ammiano (who plays himself in the film) Gilbert Baker, Cleve Jones, and a few affable veterans from the days where this all took place told stories of those days including the fiery White Night Riots (which, I believe, won't be in the film). I was a tad disappointed that they didn't film the march's closure at City Hall. Who knows? Maybe in a smaller shot. By 2am, I went home.

But I think the candlelight march is the closing scene. It seemed to have a sort of "Roll Credits" quality to it, as James Franco, Hirsch and a few other actors did a scene woven into the march. Director Gus Van Sant and the producers said a few words, and the assistants were all cool.

It was also nice to say Hi to Stephen Spinella, whom I met a few times in NYC back in the ACT UP days. Stephen, who won a Tony for his wonderful portrayal of Prior Walter in Tony Kushner's Angels in America, is playing bathhouse mogul Rick Stokes.

For more pics of Sean Penn as Milk, and Emile Hirsch as Cleve Jones, visit Flynet Here and Here. Lucas Grabeel as Danny Nicoletta looks a bit stern, hardly Danny's composure. More Castro set pics Here.

Milk will be released sometime this fall, probably around the time of the Nov. 27th 30th anniversary Harvey's assassination. Anyway, I'm happy to be a part of it, even though I won't be in any shots.

I actually felt bad when Danny's Saint Harvey exhibit had to close at the GLBT Historical Society, and I had the task of replacing it with a new one, Sporting Life. But obviously this film will reach a wider audience, including young gay people who still don't even know who Harvey was. Having some of those people who will be portrayed in the film as friends and mentors is also pretty neat.

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