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10 Dec 2008

Milk fundraiser for Singapore gay pride festival, Jan 7

In this Oscar contender, Sean Penn plays Harvey Milk, a gay man who found himself becoming a community leader and drawn to political office as he got tired of being treated as a second-class citizen even in the supposedly liberal city of San Francisco in the 1970s.

Fridae, Shaw Organisation and Crocodile will present Milk, a biopic about gay rights icon Harvey Milk, on Wednesday, 7 Jan 2009, to raise funds for Indignation, Singapore's gay pride season which has been held annually since 2005.

Second pic from the top: Harvey Milk (played by Sean Penn, right) and Scott Smith (James Franco); second pic from the bottom: Milk (middle) with later boyfriend Jack Lira (Diego Luna, right) and Milk with Dan White (Josh Brolin) who had campaigned against ''social deviancy.''
The fundraiser will benefit Indignation - an annual festival consisting of talks, art exhibitions, readings of plays and poetry, together with some social events, to be held in August 2009 - the same month as the country's national day celebrations. Organised jointly by gay advocacy group People Like Us and other community groups and individuals, the festival started in 2005 as a response to the unreasonable ban on parties for gays and lesbians, and heavy censorship of publications serving the community. All Indignation events are open to the public and are traditionally free of charge, in order to be accessible to everyone.

A movie fundraiser of the film Wilde held on May 13 raised S$10,000 for Indignation.

Milk, which opened in the US last month, is a Gus Van Sant-directed drama about Harvey Milk the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California and who was assassinated shortly after being elected to the San Francisco board of supervisors in 1977.

Explaining the relevance of the film to Singapore and Asian viewers, Alex Au of People Like Us said: "As the first openly gay person to stand for election - and win - Harvey Milk represents audacity. He is the success of hope and imagination over caution and fatalism. Many Asian societies today are not that different from Milk's America of the 1970s. The battles he fought and naysayers he faced we recognise instantly today. Right here in Asia."

Dr Stuart Koe, CEO of Fridae agrees that the film will be inspirational to gay audiences no matter where they are and hopes for them to support the fundraiser.

"The gay community's ongoing struggle for equality faces challenges and obstacles today as it did for Harvey Milk, and it deserves every bit of support we can give it," he said.

Using archival news footage alongside dramatic recreations, the film tells the real-life story of Milk - played by Sean Penn, who left New York City with his boyfriend Scott Smith (James Franco) for San Francisco when he decided in his early 40s that a change was due and he wanted to make something more of his life.

The couple opened a camera shop but found themselves shut out for being openly gay. Milk quickly spoke up against discrimination and asked the gay population to frequent only gay-owned or gay-friendly shops and businesses. Realising that he had the power to motivate and effect change, he decided to run for the city's Board of Supervisors. He won on his third try becoming the country's first openly gay elected official.

Barely a year in office, Milk took on the likes of well known singer and anti- gay crusader Anita Bryant and campaigned heavily against Proposition 6 (1978), a California ballot measure aimed at preventing gay men, lesbians and anyone who supported gay rights from working as teachers in public schools.

At an anti-Prop 6 rally, Milk called on all gay men and women to come out of the closet to those around them. "Once they realise that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and for all. And once you do, you will feel so much better," he said to thunderous applause. Prop 6 was defeated by more than a million votes (59 to 42 percent).

The belief that being able to be open about one's sexuality is so paramount that before he was slain, Milk, who taped several versions of his political will, said in one: "If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door."

The Producers Guild of America on Dec 8 announced that Milk is receiving the 2009 Stanley Kramer Award which honours pictures that take on provocative social issues.

Academy Award winner Sean Penn (Best Actor, 2003, Mystic River) has been widely slated to be a frontrunner for another Oscar for his role in the film which is also expected to be nominated in the Best Picture and Director categories.

Tickets are priced at US$25 and US$50, (which includes a reception) are available on www.fridae.asia/milk. Donations will be accepted online and at the door. For a brief review of Indignation 2008, click on the related link below and/or www.plu.sg/indignation.

Fridae, Shaw Organization and Crocodile presents
The MILK Indignation Fund-raising Gala Premiere
Date: 7 Jan 2009 (Wednesday)
Time: 8.45 pm (Reception for VIP and guests from 8 pm)
Venue: Shaw Lido 1 (Shaw Centre, Scotts Road)
Tickets: US$25 (Standard) / US$50 (VIP*)
* VIP Tickets include goodie bags, pre-show reception and premium seats.
All tickets purchased on Fridae Shop will be allocated the best seat available at the time of purchase.


Reader's Comments

Comment #1 was deleted by its author
Comment #2 was deleted by its author
3. 2008-12-11 08:33  
Great choice of film. Looks like an amazing performance by Penn.
4. 2008-12-11 16:28  
'Milk' wins big among N.Y. critics

New York - Sean Penn and "Milk," Gus Van Sant's biopic about gay rights leader Harvey Milk, won the New York Film Critics Circle's best film award.

Penn was chosen best actor and Josh Brolin best supporting actor for their performances in the film.

From http://www.sfgate.com
5. 2008-12-11 17:12  
Please attend. It's a great, emotional, inspirational film. Thank you Mr. Penn, Mr. Van Sant, Mr. Lance Black and everyone who brought this story to us at such a timely moment, in such a beautiful way that will speak to ALL PLU's, and our family, friends and colleagues around the world.
6. 2008-12-11 21:42  
Anyone remember anti-gay crusader Anita Bryant, who features in the film? She reminds me of someone....
Short newsreel of her getting fruit pie right in the face here before praying for her attacker to be delivered from his "deviant lifestyle".

7. 2008-12-13 03:12  
"Two, four, six, eight,
Gay is twice as good as straight!"
- Protesters at one of Bryant's public speeches
8. 2008-12-13 23:58  
devandre says (Posted : 13 December 2008 3:12) :
"Two, four, six, eight,
Gay is twice as good as straight!"

Well that's half right ;) !
9. 2009-01-08 11:13  
i was there =DD

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