Andrea James

Outfest: Wild Combination, Sex Positive

Last night’s Outfest offerings at the Directors Guild of America included Wild Combination, a beautifully-shot documentary on eclectic musician Arthur Russell. I was not familiar with his work, so it was a great introduction to his life and work. Director Matt Wolf made some fantastic choices in terms of look and feel (lovely B-roll restagings and cool rack focuses on still photographs). Though the music is not something I would want to listen to personally, I came away with a true appreciation of Russell’s innovative style.

Following a reception in the Heineken Green Room, I watched Sex Positive, about the work of Richard Berkowitz in promoting safe sex in the early years of the AIDS crisis. Berkowitz is an activist cut from the same cloth as me. Polarizing, strongly opinionated, and kind of obsessive. It was a real treat to have him there in person as well. He’s very charismatic and cares deeply about the community, even though he was often villified for his views about the causes and prevention of AIDS. Very thought-provoking in light of the uptick in HIV infections in the gay and trans communities.

Outfest website:

http://www.outfest.org/fest2008/index.html

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