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Crying? Maybe there's no use. But as for debating 'Spilled Milk'...

by Jeremy Hooper

Milktrans-2The LGBT community has been largely united in its praise for Milk. However, there are those who feel that the biopic's 128 minute assessment of the slain gay rights leader's life and influence unfairly slighted some of Harvey's friends and allies. On Thursday at San Francisco's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society, that contingent will get to have their say:

San Francisco, CA - February 11, 2009 – Ahead of the Oscars, on Thursday, February 19, from 6-8 pm, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society (GLBTHS) will host "Milk Skimmed," a provocative roundtable about what got left out of Gus Van Sant's movie.

Milk is a powerful fable about human rights, self-invention, and a movement's proud vitality. Critical acclaim, box-office success, and awards underscore the film's relevance. Still, the movie sidelined many prominent activists for gay rights in the 1970s, including lesbians and people of color, who stood with gay hero Harvey Milk. "Milk Skimmed" will explore alternative stories. It will also speculate on what Milk tells us about queer representation in popular culture today.

GLBT Historical Society Roundtable Talks Back in Tales Untold [Milk Skimmed]

And if there's time, we hear there will also be discussions on alternative punctuation marks that could've replaced the slash in Frost/Nixon, ruminations on whether or not Benjamin Button's case is really "curious" or just plain creepy, and a fierce debate around whether Slumdog Millionaire is misnamed since the prize winnings would surely dip under the one million mark once taxes are taken out. Ya know, to satiate those whose movie-going experiences haven't been stymied enough by the usual form of cinematic backlash that crops up around Oscar time.

As for our personal contribution to the Milk discussion? Well, we think there should've been a musical interlude in which Harvey and Anita Bryant start a Captain & Tenille cover band. Perhaps in the sequel.

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Your thoughts

I was around in Harvey's day, and I spent much of the movie in tears. If the GLBTHS is so concerned about the history, maybe they should write a book about it. You can't cover everything in a movie. Sheesh. You'd think a pack of queens would know that.

Posted by: Wilberforce | Feb 16, 2009 7:28:17 PM

Oh But WESTBORO will be there to picket, too... and it won't be SLUMDOG they are picketing against...

Posted by: LOrion | Feb 17, 2009 12:47:11 AM

I usually appreciate the irreverent tone on this blog. But I'm pretty disappointed in this post. The movie was lovely and powerful, but it's true that it made invisible many important contributions of women and folks of color. Harvey's lesbian debate partner against Briggs doesn't appear, and Harvey's core message of building bridges across movements is watered down. The Coor's boycott was sexy, but his work around affordable housing was an amazing model of solidarity and bridge building. Our community and movement weren't built by white, gender-conforming gay men while everyone else sat idly by. I think the "Skimmed Milk" conversation is *very* important!

Posted by: Kip Williams | Feb 17, 2009 3:51:31 AM

Kip: I have to say I'm a little surprised/taken aback by your words. What, exactly, "disappoints" you about the post? I am in no way suggesting that the Skimmed milk conversation is unimportant. I'm in no way saying that all questions concerning the film are without merit. In fact, I'm not really taking sides AT ALL. I'm simply presenting/ promoting the event in an irreverent light -- that's what I do. If you want someone who will simply aggregate the press release, then you'll have to look elsewhere.

No one champions Harvey more than myself. I have exhaustively covered every development associated not only with the film, but also his legacy in general. And I was publicly doing so well before the movie even had a finished script


I know you have an intimate San Francisco connection. However, I think your "disappointment" is a bit misdirected in this case.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Feb 17, 2009 6:36:21 AM

An excellent resource to learn about the Castro:


I showed this link to friend who lived there, and he was crying too, just looking at the photos.

Posted by: TikiHead | Feb 18, 2009 3:39:08 PM

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