Last night’s Gus Van Sant ‘Milk’ premiere in San Francisco

Sean Penn in ‘Milk’

Alas, yours truly did not get to fly south and hobnob with the celebrities, political activists, film reviewers and Portlanders that attended last night’s world premiere of Gus Van Sant’s Milk in the Castro district.

But at least Oregonian writer Kristi Turnquist was there, and has nothing but good things to say about the film.

Sean Penn’s performance as Milk — a community activist who made history as the first openly gay man elected to major public office in the U.S. — is remarkable…In fact, the entire film is suffused with an emotion that makes it unlike anything Van Sant has ever done.

That is certainly refreshing to hear after the painless torture that I felt embodied Van Sant’s last project, Paranoid Park. However, I can’t say I’m surprised, as Gus has certainly made beautiful and poignant films in the past (such as My Own Private Idaho). Still the election and, indeed, death of Harvey Milk, America’s first openly gay elected official, is such a turning point in queer history I’m relieved and excited to hear that it was done so right by all involved.

It was only right to for San Fran to host the world premiere but there’s good news for those of us who weren’t there. Because Van Sant is a Portlander we’ve got a fairly early screening ourselves. On November 14th Milk comes to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall at 8:30pm. Proceeds will benefit Outside In, a homeless youth center that will be celebrating its 40th anniversary. Of course that means a daunting price tag of $37.75-$71.75, but it’s for the kiddies. There is also a patrons’ dinner and director’s reception for 250 event sponsors before the screening. Word is that at least one of the film’s stars will be in attendance so keep those cell phone cams handy. And check out the trailer below.

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