Extra Sparkle and Shine at the Ballet: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

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Photo by Sascha Vaughn

There was a time when ballet was the purview of Imperial Russia, when ballerinas Russianized their names from Lilian Marks and Hilda Munnings to Alicia Markova and Lydia Sokolova. Like a certain Norma Jeane Mortenson, the dancers knew their down-home monikers lacked the authenticating glamour of a Slavic pedigree. There was a time when every ballerina was a diva who radiated an individual gleam in the anonymity of the firmament. There was a time when balletomanes went to watch over-the-top personalities rather than over-the-puddle pas de chats. Bay Area audiences won't need to commandeer a time machine, to return to days of yore, when Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo comes to Zellerbach Hall on March 25.

Yes, they're an all-male comedy ballet troupe doing send-offs of classical ballets in full tutu-ed and pointe-shod regalia since 1974. But they are also, in the words of their artistic director Toby Dobrin, at heart a "dusty overblown Russian touring company that doesn't exist anymore."

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Drag Queens Say Farewell to Mission Institution Esta Noche

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Fabian Echevarria
Anna Conda and Heklina at "Save Esta Noche"

Another one bites the dust.

Mission gay bar, Esta Noche, has closed its doors to make way for, you guessed it, another swanky cocktail bar geared toward 20-somethings with disposable income. The venue, which for the past 33 years has catered to the queer Latino crowd and played host to weekly drag shows, was a little rough, for sure. Locals tell stories of walking by mid-afternoon and catching glimpses of dudes blowing other dudes behind open doors. But it's San Francisco. Wouldn't you be a little disappointed if we couldn't stand some mid-day BJ action?


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Where the Bears Are: Oh My!

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They're beefy! They're hairy! They're bears! And they solve murders!

If you're a fan of Murder She Wrote and have a yen for big, hairy, gay guys, Where the Bears Are might be the show for you. Now preparing to shoot its third season, real life bear pals Ben Zook, Joe Dietl and Rick Copp are the stars, and the creative team behind this light, funny look at at three beefy LA guys who solve murders while they search for Mr. Right!

The guys engage in some of the wittiest banter this side of The Golden Girls. Co-star Rick Copp wrote many of the Bears' scripts. Copp knows a thing or two about comedy: his many credits include authoring the screenplay for The Brady Bunch Movie (1995). He even worked on The Golden Girls, which is one of Bear' influences. The Los Angeles resident chatted with SF Weekly about his furry offspring.

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Oscar Shoo-In Dallas Buyer's Club: Talking with Jared Leto

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On March 2 we'll find out if Academy shoo-in Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto will win the coveted Oscar for their courageous performances in Dallas Buyers Club. Both actors have already received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards for their work in the film. Dallas Buyers Club has also been nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

Dallas Buyers Club is the true story of Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), who was given 30 days to live after his doctors diagnosed him with HIV in 1985. Though he appears on the surface to be a white trash escapee from the trailer park, Woodroof was in fact highly intelligent and resourceful.

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Final Tales: Q&A with Armistead Maupin on Concluding his Iconic San Francisco Series

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Juan De Anda/SF Weekly
Armistead Maupin: Chronicling San Francisco one Tale at a time

Armistead Maupin refuses to be the old fart who bickers about San Francisco not being what it used to be, even after chronicling it for nearly 40 years.

What started off as a set of weekly installments in The San Francisco Chronicle in 1976, Maupin's Tales of the City series turned into an eight-novel series, three PBS television miniseries (based off the first three novels starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney), and a stage musical at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater in 2011.

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Harper Collins

However, Maupin's work is more than just a popular fad of literature. It's a big-hearted portrait of a time, place, and people that were misunderstood, oversimplified, or simply ignored. Maupin was able to take a 1970s San Francisco that was the national mecca of sexual liberation/acceptance and depict in an endearing and humane manner.

Tales of the City chart the unexpected adventures of esteemed characters like Anna Madrigal, Mary Ann Singleton, and Michael "Mouse" Tolliver while simultaneously commenting and chronicling the changing times of San Francisco and the world at large.

Now Maupin has chosen to end the series after 40 years with last week's release of The Days of Anna Madrigal, a work that is less about departure than coming home. The book is an 270-page love note and elegy for the characters, their way of life, and to that place we and they call home: San Francisco.

SF Weekly had the opportunity to speak with Armistead Maupin on his literary trajectory, the changing nature of gay identity, writing plot lines and sagas over the span of decades, HBO's Looking, and saying good-bye to the residents of 28 Barbary Lane. Below is the full interview with some slight editing for brevity.


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G.B.F.: New Film Explores Gay Friendships With Humor

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GBF: now playing at AMC Metreon

Darren Stein's new film G.B.F. (Gay Best Friend) won't be drawing comparisons to Will and Grace -- that fondly remembered sitcom was about a gay man and a straight woman who really were best friends. Stein's film is a comedy about high school cliques, where the queen bees use gay male friends as status symbols.

The performances are broad and the dialogue is often silly. Yet, G.B.F. has heart. Through it's humor it manages to make a fairly serious statement on the meaning of friendship and the importance of being true to one's identity.

Michael J. Willet and Paul Iacono are delightful as Tanner and Brent, two closeted gay nerds, best friends who might just be in love. That friendship is tested when bitch/diva Fawcett (Sasha Pieterse) decides to make Tanner over into the kind of hot, trendy, gay man she thinks he should be. Suddenly the invisible geek is the most popular guy at school.

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Will Gays: The Series Be Able to Compete With HBO's Looking?

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They're Gay. And they have their own web series.

The show's title is simple and cuts to the chase: Gays: The Series is creator Peter William Dunn's self described "dramedy" web series.

Dunn, who is also the writer/director/co-star, describes Gays as being "about four twenty-something gay best friends navigating the tumultuous terrain of New York City. Growing up, screwing up, and screwing along the way."

And time will tell if New York-based Gays will steal a few viewers from HBO's San Francisco show, Looking.

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WTF?: San Francisco Ranked 11th Gayest City in America

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Shutterstock/ Nickolay Stanev

There's never a good time to break bad news and sometimes it's best to just come out and say it. The Advocate ranks San Francisco 11th gayest city in America.

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Looking at the Best of Contemporary Gay Cinema

Categories: Film, LGBT, TV

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There's something incredibly refreshing about a movie character admitting that his breath smells like "cock and bum" the morning after a one-night stand.

Some audience members might think it's TMI while others will suddenly feel the urge to chew on some Dentyne Ice. Others, however, will relate to the honesty and frankness of such an admission even if it is somewhat embarrassing and yes -- perhaps TMI.

But so plays out the scene between Russell and Glen in Andrew Haigh's 2011 critical darling Weekend. It tells the story of two working class blokes who meet at a club, shag on that same night and wake up the next morning only to find that there might be something more between them -- if they can remember each other's names of course.

It's a story all too familiar to the masses and yet there's something novel about a movie that unflinchingly depicts two gay men having sex and then falling in love. And to do so without the artificiality of Hollywood rom-coms or the stereotypical we-love-Cher soundtrack of mainstream gay fare -- well that's just plain revolutionary and dare we say, fabulous.

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Let's Kick Ass: Long Term AIDS Survivors Tell HIV Virus to Shove It!

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Tez Anderson, founder of Let's Kick ASS

ASS: AIDS Survivor Syndrome.

According to the mission statement posted on it's website, Let's Kick Ass is a grassroots movement of long term survivors, positive and negative, honoring the unique and profound experience of living through the AIDS epidemic.

"We're dedicated to reclaiming our lives, ending isolation, and envisioning a future we never dreamed of," the statement reads in part.

On Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, members of Let's Kick ASS attended a screening of We Were Here at the Castro Theater. The film is David Weissman's riveting documentary about the worst years of the AIDS crisis. A packed house sat in stunned silence as the film recalled the staggering volume of death that decimated the 1980s gay community. Survivors interviewed for the film tearfully recall losing virtually everyone they knew.

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