Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Time is running out!

You only have three more chances to see Dear Harvey!

Wednesday 9/30
Thursday 10/1
Friday 10/2
at 8 PM

On Wednesday, be sure to stay after the show to watch the hilarious new comedy, Accidentally Phylla! It's only 20 minutes, it will make you laugh until you cry, and it's FREE with the price of you ticket to Dear Harvey!

On Thursday, stay for a few minutes after the show to ask questions of the cast and production staff.

Remember... THIS Friday is closing night so buy your tickets now and mark your calendars!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sneak Peak

Zwink Photography took some lovely photos of Dear Harvey. Here are just few!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Program Note from the Dramaturgs

In 2008, when San Diego State Alum Patricia Loughrey began developing Dear Harvey with SDSU undergraduate Thomas Hodges, many people had never heard of Harvey Milk. Important gay and lesbian figures are rarely mentioned among the great leaders and civil rights activists children learn about in school. As the first openly gay man elected to public office in the United States, Harvey Milk gave hope to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer community that they could live their lives openly and with pride. By bringing together diverse community members, Harvey successfully fought discrimination and improved his city during his eleven months in office. Dear Harvey is a story of an American hero, told through the words of people whose lives he continues to inspire.

In the 1970s, gays and lesbians won important battles in the fight for equal rights; it seemed the movement was gaining momentum. Harvey Milk was sworn in as a city supervisor, gay rights ordinances were passed in several cities, including the ordinance signed in San Francisco by Mayor George Moscone, and Proposition 6, a proposal to terminate the employment of all gay and lesbian teachers in California, was defeated. The assassination of Harvey Milk and George Moscone on November 27, 1978, devastated the LGBTQ community. Not only had they lost two great leaders, but many felt that their deaths represented the symbolic death of the gay rights movement.

Over the last 30 years, due in no small part to the work of dedicated activists, the United States has become a better place to live for members of the LGBTQ community. However, there continue to be setbacks, such as the passage of Proposition 8 last November. Instead of feeling discouraged, Harvey Milk often saw the positive side of such situations. For example, he saw Proposition 6 as a catalyst to energize and motivate the gay community to fight for change. Harvey believed that progress would be made through dialogue – his televised debates with John Briggs likely changed many minds. He would have seen Proposition 8 as both a motivator for action and an opportunity for education.

If Harvey were here today, his message of hope would be the same. He would encourage all of us to come out, not only gays and lesbians to their families, friends, and coworkers, but everyone else as friends, family, and supporters of the LGBTQ community.

Dear Harvey is a celebration of the life of Harvey Milk, the contributions of LGBTQ leaders, and the continuation of the fight for equal rights for all. In the words of Patricia Loughrey, "Dear Harvey is not a story that was – it is a story that is."

By Lauren Beck, Tawnya Pataky, and Derek Smith

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Patricia Loughrey and Thomas Hodges on KUSI

Last April when Dear Harvey premiered at Diversionary, playwright Patricia Loughrey and composer Thomas Hodges, both appeared on KUSI. Click here to watch the interview.

...And we are all Peter Cirino.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dear Audience...

Now is the time to start thinking about when you would like to see Dear Harvey. With only 7 performances, time and space are limited. Here are some things to think about...

On opening night, Thursday 9/24, there will be a post show discussion panel entitled "Activism Then and Now: Where Do We Go From Here?" with long-time activist, Nicole Murray Ramirez (who is a character in the play), SDSU student activist Thomas Hodges (who wrote the music for Dear Harvey), and the playwright, Patricia Loughrey.

There will be another post show discussion with the entire cast, director, and dramaturg on the following Thursday, 10/1.

Immediately following the performances on Saturday 9/26, Sunday 9/27, and Wednesday 9/30
New Voices, an SDSU student theatre group, will present the comedy, Accidentally Phylla or 'Tis Pity She's a Man, written and directed by Derek Smith and Megan Stogner. Admission is free with the purchase of a ticket to Dear Harvey.
Dear Harvey will open in the Experimental Theatre at SDSU on Thursday September 24 at 8 p.m. and will close October 2 at 8 p.m. Evening performances are on September 24, 25, 26, 30 and October 1, 2 at 8 p.m. with a matinee performance on September 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets and information are online; you may wish to visit the Performing Arts Box Office Monday through Thursday between 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. or call the Box Office direct at (619) 594-6884. For group discounts call (619) 594-6365 or email OnStageSDSU@sdsu.edu.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Brief Look at San Diego LGBTQ History

I realize that this timeline doesn't look "brief." But it WILL when you see the full timeline at the Lambda Archives!

1917. An ordinance is passed that prohibits sexual activity within the city limits of San Diego, except between husband and wife.

1920s & 1930s. Visitors to Alpine find Julian Eltinge, a respected actor and one of the world’s most renowned female impersonators.

1968. Lesbian enlisted person, Diann Pierce, declares her homosexuality to Navy officials in San Diego and is dishonorably discharged. After lengthy court proceedings, Pierce’s discharge is upgraded to honorable due to her excellent Naval record.

1970. The Women’s Studies Department is founded at San Diego State College. It is thought to be the first such department in U.S. academia.

1971. Gay Liberation Front, founded at San Diego State College, pickets the San Diego Police Department to protest police harassment of gays. It is one of the first organized public gay demonstrations in San Diego.

1974. Two hundred men and women march through downtown San Diego to publicly proclaim they are gay. This is the beginning of the San Diego Pride Parade.

1979. On August 23, Assistant Chief of Police Bob Burgreen announces that San Diego will hire qualified gay and lesbian persons as officers.

Al Best runs for San Diego City Council as the first openly gay candidate for elected office in San Diego. He finishes fifth out of eleven.

First-year SDSU professor Bonnie Zimmerman teaches an experimental class in the Department of Women’s Studies on "Lesbian Life and Literature."

1983. Blood Sisters is founded by the San Diego Democratic Club. The donations of blood create credits for blood to be given to people with AIDS. Nearly 200 lesbians give blood in response to news that gay men are no longer allowed to donate.

1987. The Archives is founded in December to “preserve and teach our history.” It is later renamed Lambda Archives.

1988. As part of its nationwide tour, the Names Project’s AIDS Memorial Quilt comes to San Diego on April 12 and is visited by thousands at Golden Hall.

1990. Frank Buttino, an FBI agent in San Diego for 20 years, has his security clearance revoked in May and is fired for being gay. The Bureau refuses to consider his exemplary record and fires him citing “exploitable sexual conduct.”

Police officer John Graham comes out to the press in October. A highly respected officer, Graham says he felt it was important to come out so that gay men and lesbians could see that they could become successful police officers.

1991. After the murder of John Wear in Hillcrest, The Citizen’s Patrol is founded to protect gays and lesbians from violent acts.

1992. After he comes out publicly as a gay man, El Cajon police officer Chuck Merino is notified by the local council of the Boy Scouts that he is no longer welcome in its program because he does not meet their “high standards for membership.”

Despite a show of opposition, the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education approves a policy prohibiting discrimination against both employees and students based on sexual orientation.

1993. One hundred demonstrators march in Balboa Park on July 4th to protest the ban on gays in the military. Some march in uniform; some wear paper bags over their heads to conceal their identities.

Seventy lesbian and gay couples are joined in a Celebration of Commitment ceremony in Balboa Park on October 11, National Coming Out Day.

1994. The city of San Diego extends domestic partner benefits to all city employees.

A teacher at Oak Park Elementary School reprimanded and then transferred after she explained to her class that gay students do not deserve to be the victims of physical violence.

1997. San Diego Pride for the first time attracts more than 100,000 spectators and makes the front page of the Union-Tribune.

1998. San Diego's 1966 Cross-dressing Law that made it illegal to dress in the clothing of the opposite sex is repealed with a 7-1 vote. The one dissenter, George Stevens, says, "The issue to me is deception. It is a very dangerous thing to cross-dress."

1999. A homophobic observer at the Pride Parade hurls a tear-gas canister at the Family Pride contingent in the parade and then escapes into the crowd.

2000. Openly lesbian Christine Kehoe and Toni Atkins win elections. Kehoe moves to the State assembly and Atkins replaces her as Third District Councilperson.

2001. Bonnie Dumanis is elected District Attorney for San Diego County and becomes the first openly gay or lesbian district attorney ever elected in the United States.

The Union-Tribune publishes its first same-sex anniversary announcement in its “Celebrations” section recognizing the silver anniversary of David Rea and Harry Sillen, the owners of David’s Coffee House in Hillcrest.

2003. Guadalupe Benitez is denied fertility treatments by the North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group of Vista because she is a lesbian.

2004. The San Diego LGBT Community Wall of Honor is the nation’s only LGBT community memorial display dedicated to honoring and remembering important local LGBT community members.

2005. Mayor Steve Padilla of Chula Vista comes out publicly as a gay man.

2008. Former Marine Sgt. Bob Lehman and City Commissioner Tom Felkner make history as the first same sex couple to get married in San Diego on June 17th.

2007. "Pride Night" is declared at Petco Park as part of the festivities for Pride Week. Despite protestors gathered outside, "Pride Night" attendance is near capacity. The Padres beat the Braves 8-5.

San Diego Pride honors John Dapper and Lyman Hallowell who celebrate their 63rd anniversary, and Donna Phillips and Gladys Langsford who celebrate their 45th.

On November 15, tens of thousands of people take to the streets across America in protest of the passing of Proposition 8 in California. The largest march takes place in San Diego with an estimated 15,000 participants.

2009. A noisy five-hour sit-in at the county clerk’s office is launched when a gay couple is denied a marriage license.

The first Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast attracts a thousand people on Friday, May 22.

For more information on LGBTQ history, including more San Diego history, visit http://lambdaarchives.org.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chararcter Research: Robin Tyler

Robin Tyler is a stand-up comic and a gay activist who has been working in both fields since the 1960s. Tyler was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on April 8, 1942. In 1972 she moved to Toronto, and later New York City, where she performed stand-up comedy.In 1978, Tyler became the first out lesbian on U.S. national television on a Showtime comedy special, and released her comedy album, Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Groom. Some of Tyler's humor relied on "pro-gay" jokes to counteract the propensity of anti-gay humor. Tyler explains her first attempt at pro-gay humor: "I got up and did this joke about running into a right-wing guy and he said 'I think they should take all you queers and put you on an island someplace.' And I said 'They did, darling, and they call it Manhattan.'" Tyler continued to create jokes in which gays and lesbians were the subject of the humor instead of the object. Since that time, Tyler has used her comedy for the benefit of the gay rights movement. Tyler's humor is edgy and political. One of her most famous jokes answers the question of whether homosexuality is a disease. "If homosexuality is a disease," Tyler says, "let's all call in queer to work: 'Hello. Can't work today, still queer.'"

Tyler has has worked as a national event organizer since 1979 when she organized the first March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights which drew over 100,000 demonstrators to the Washington D.C. Since that time she has organized other marches, lesbian music festivals, and has fought for gay marriage rights. On February 12, 2004, Tyler and her partner, Diane Olson, the granddaughter of a former governor of California, filed the first lawsuit for marriage equality in the state of California. After gay marriage became legal, Tyler and Olson were the first same-sex couple to be married in Los Angeles. Tyler is executive direcgtor of the Equality Campaign and is working to make gay marriage legal again.

In the new version of her show, Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Groom, Tyler says, “We want marriage equality, that’s the front of the bus. The Democrats want us to have civil unions, or domestic partnership. That’s the back of the bus. The Republicans want us off the bus. And the radical religious right wants us under the bus.”

Click here to read Robin Robin Tyler's blog posts on huffingpost.com.

Robin Tyler speaks in Fresno at Meet in the Middle.

Robin Tyler on MSNBC

Robin Tyler works the crowd at the Resolution Action Fair.

Robin Tyler and her wife, Diane Olson, in a NO on 8 television spot


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Harvey Milk: A Timeline

May 22, 1930. Harvey Bernard Milk is born in Woodmere, New York.

1943-1947. Harvey attends Bay Shore High School. He is a basketball player, a linebacker on the football team, and is popular with everyone because of his quick wit and sense of humor. He knows he is gay, but is in the closet. Living so close to Fire Island and New York City, Harvey finds many opportunities to meet other gay young men.

1947-1951. Harvey attends New York State Teachers College at Albany and earns a degree in Mathematics. No one suspects him of being gay. He is described as a “man’s man.”

1951-1955. Harvey serves in the Navy and is an expert deep sea diver on the San Diego-based U.S.S. Kittiwake. He is honorably discharged. Loving a good story, Harvey never contradicts the rumor that emerged during his campaign – that he was dishonorably discharged (like so many others) for being gay.

1956. Milk meets Joe Campbell, a beautiful younger man, whom Harvey courts with love letters. They will be together for six years – Harvey’s longest relationship. Joe Campbell is later immortalized as the “Sugar Plum Fairy” in Lou Reed’s song “Walk on the Wild Side.”

1957-1961. While Joe stays at home as a typical “housewife,” Harvey works as a high school math teacher and basketball coach at Hewlitt High School in New York. When he tires of teaching, he becomes an actuary.

1962. Harvey stops seeing Craig Rodwell, a man he is dating, when he realizes Craig is involved with fighting for gay rights. Harvey prefers to live a peaceful, closeted life.

1963. Harvey begins working in a Wall Street investment firm. His math skills, his quick thinking, and his ability to visualize and predict social trends, enable Harvey’s success. He settles into a new short-lived “marriage” with Jack McKinley, a stage manager for Hair.

1970. After nearly a decade of living with the influence of young hippies, Harvey is fired from his job in finance when he refuses to cut his long hair and burns his BankAmericacard. Craig Rodwell hardly recognizes his formerly conservative friend.

1972. Harvey and his new boyfriend, Scott Smith, move to the Castro in San Francisco. The neighborhood has been a gay mecca for less than a decade.

March 1973. Harvey opens Castro Camera with Scott. The store becomes a place that people go for help. Cleve Jones says, Harvey “was just always helping people, fixing problems.”

1973. Harvey helps the Teamsters union with their Coors boycott, convincing all Castro bar owners to remove the beer – in exchange for jobs for gay deliverymen.

November 1973. Angry about the way San Francisco is seemingly controlled by real estate moguls and huge corporations, Harvey runs for supervisor for the first time. He is not backed by most of the gay political clubs and organizations that think that Harvey wants too much, too soon. He loses.

1974. Harvey organizes the Castro Village Association of local merchants, and helps launch the first Castro Street Fair.

November 8, 1977. Milk is elected to the Board of Supervisors for District 5 in his fourth run for elected office. He is the first openly gay man elected to public office in the United States. Harvey insists on being sworn in the steps of City Hall surrounded by his supporters (including a new boyfriend, Jack Lira) who march from the Castro for the event.

June 25, 1978. Harvey rides in the Gay Freedom Day Parade, urging bystanders and television viewers to come out to their families, friends, and coworkers. Harvey himself never comes out to his parents.

May 21, 1978. The day before his 48th birthday, Harvey dresses up like a clown as part of a promotional publicity campaign for Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. He runs all over town telling people he’s an elected official.

March 7, 1978. Harvey serves as Deputy Mayor for a day. Art Agnos (a future mayor of San Francisco) tells Harvey he has the potential to be mayor within ten years.

April 1978. George Moscone signs the San Francisco Gay Civil Rights Ordinance – a bill that Harvey introduced.

November 7, 1978. Proposition 6, which would have authorized the firing of gay teachers and their supporters, is defeated due in part to Harvey’s diligent campaign against it.

November 10, 1978. Dan White, Harvey’s fellow supervisor, resigns, claiming that he cannot support his family on his salary. He later asks for his job back, but is refused.

November 27, 1978. Dan White assassinates Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone at City Hall. That night, more than 30,000 people peacefully march from the Castro to City Hall and hold a candlelight vigil.

December 2, 1978. Milk’s friends scatter his ashes, along with Kool-Ade and bubble bath, into the Pacific Ocean.

May 21, 1979. Dan White is convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to seven years in prison. Thousands of furious people converge upon City Hall, throw rocks, break windows, and set police cars on fire. Later that evening, several police cruisers filled with officers wearing riot gear arrive at the Elephant Walk Bar on Castro Street, storm into the bar and beat patrons at random. These incidents become known as the White Night Riots.

1982. The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, by Randy Shilts is published.

January 7, 1984. Dan White is released from prison – after serving just five years – and moves back to San Francisco with his family.

March 25, 1985. The Times of Harvey Milk wins the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Director Rob Epstein thanks his partner in his speech.

October 21, 1985. Dan White commits suicide in his garage.

June 14, 1999. Time Magazine names Harvey Milk one of the “Time 100 Heroes and Icons” of the 20th century.

May 22, 2008. On what would have been his 78th birthday, a sculpture of Milk is unveiled in the Ceremonial Rotunda of City Hall – where wedding ceremonies are held.

September 30, 2008. California State Assemblyman Mark Leno’s bill to mark Harvey Milk’s birthday, May 22, as a state day of special significance, which has been passed by the State Assembly and State Senate, is vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

February 22, 2009. After being nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the film Milk, directed by Gus Van Sant, wins Best Original Screenplay (Dustin Lance Black) and Best Actor in a Leading Role (Sean Penn).

2009. The ACLU steps in when a Ramona 6th grader, Natalie Jones, is barred from giving a presentation on Harvey Milk. The principal and district superintendant later apologize and allow Natalie to present her report.

Monday, September 7, 2009

November 27, 1978

The following videos include media coverage the day that Harvey Milk and George Moscone were shot.

The media announces the breaking news story - Mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk are shot.

NBC NEWS November 27, 1978