San Francisco Pride Returns With Two Epic Movie Nights in the Ballpark
After a pandemic-triggered hiatus in 2020, San Francisco Pride returned this weekend, though without its signature parade that draws up to a million participants. Instead, SF Pride partnered up with Frameline, the world’s largest and longest running LGBTQ+ film festival, and hosted two epic movie nights out in the open of the vast Oracle Park, the baseball stadium at the San Francisco Waterfront and home of the SF Giants.
The screenings included a viewing on Friday, June 11, of the highly anticipated In the Heights, now showing in movie theaters and on HBO Max, and on Saturday, June 12, the world premiere of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which releases exclusively and globally on Amazon Prime Video on Sept. 17.
In the Heights is a collaboration of the creator of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose kinetic music and lyrics were set on-screen by the director of Crazy Rich Asians, Jon M. Chu. It tells the story of the handsome Usnavi in the Washington Heights quarter of New York, and the neighborhood’s fight from the daily grind to the pursuit of their dreams. (You can read Hornet’s official review of the movie musical here.)
Our favorite at Hornet was Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. This movie, inspired by true events, is the film adaptation of the award-winning hit musical from London’s West End, about Jamie New (newcomer Max Harwood), a teenager in a blue-collar English town with a dream of life onstage.
The festival guide wrote: “While his classmates plan their livelihoods after graduation, Jamie contemplates revealing his secret career ambition as a fierce and proud drag queen. His best friend Pritti (Lauren Patel) and his loving mom (Sarah Lancashire) shower him with endless support while local drag legend Miss Loco Chanelle (Richard E. Grant) mentors him toward his debut stage performance. But it’s not all rainbows for Jamie as his unsupportive dad (Ralph Ineson), an uninspired career advisor (Sharon Horgan) and some ignorant school kids attempt to rain on his sensational aspirations. In rousing and colorful musical numbers, Jamie and his community inspire one another to be more accepting, and to see the value in facing adversity stepping out of the darkness into the spotlight.”
We loved the “second coming out” of Jamie as a drag queen, and the search for his identity, inheriting from the legend warrior queens, and adapting to the Instagram-ified age of genderfluidity and non-binarism of the 2020s. The passing of the baton from the early LGBTQ rights movement to today’s Centennial generation is in full swing, and adaptations of our traditional community culture are truly powerful.
Both San Francisco Pride screenings were preceded by more than an hour of SF Pride programming. Special guest Bianca Del Rio was the emcee on Saturday, being named in the movie herself (“This is Sheffield, not San Francisco, and I am not Bianca del Rio”).
Dykes on bikes rode with lots of noise through the stadium, and we all enjoyed the Black National Anthem performed on both nights performed by outstanding artists, together with various other performances and speeches.
SF Pride’s roots as a political movement were on full display, like when the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, gave a 10-minute speech, tying the fun and diversity of a Pride night to the legislative work of her caucus, including the passing of the all-important Equality Act. On Saturday, the stadium held its breath for a minute of silence to commemorate the loss of 49 wonderful, queer lives on the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, five years prior.
Altogether it was a wonderful program given the many constraints still imposed on public gatherings in California, during one of the most consequential Pride Month celebrations in the most LGBTQ-friendly city in the world, San Francisco.
Find more about the San Francisco Pride Movie Night events here, and more info about Frameline here.
All photos courtesy Christof Wittig