The Velocity of Gary
Directed by Dan Ireland
Sony Picture Classics
Remembering the Cosmos Flower
Directed by Junichi Suzuki
Last year, Wild, Wild West star Salma Hayek promised POZ en Español that she would do more to fight AIDS. Is it just a coincidence that this summer we’ll see her whirling into The Velocity of Gary, a quirky love story with a major HIV spin. Costarring Vincent D’Onfrio, the movie chronicles the ambisexual dalliances of a hustler with HIV.
And head to your local art house for the U.S. release of Japan’s award-winning indie Remembering the Cosmos Flower. This import is the next Beautiful Thing. A cutie-pie teen, outed as positive in her conservative town, stands tall with the support of her best friend after the entire school turns against her. It’s a weepie, so bring your best pal.
Morir por Amor
Directed by Martha N. Bautista
Tiempo Azul Productions
Rising HIV infections among the world’s Latinas motivated Argentine filmmaker Bautista to make this Spanish-language documentary. Through interviews and dramatizations, she examines the causes and effects of the epidemic on women.
In the story, after Maria discovers that her husband is unfaithful, a friend asks, “Haven’t you thought about AIDS?” Latinas then share their opinions on why so many in their respective countries do not. What results is a surprising spectrum of views on prevention around the globe.
Rarely Pure and Never Simple
At one point in this posthumous collection of essays and poems, Scott O’Hara, author, editor and porn star, imagines a conversation among him, a libertarian and a committed socialist. Does that make a libertarian socialist like me Scott’s ideal audience? Well, I do miss his voice. (“No, you do not sound like Margaret Thatcher,” I once told him.) This book partially restores that voice.
Based on a year of columns, the volume includes some short opinion pieces that seem rather cranky. But the autobiographical essays crackle with white-hot observations of what it’s like to trick, go limp and get sick. Despite the book’s Wildean title, Scott, unlike Oscar, bore the burden of Puritan parentage; it informs his most poignant passages. The contradictory product—part libertine, part preacher—could argue both for and against recreational drugs, social restraints, porn and boyfriends. And for condomless sex, though Eros here is most regenerative when jerking off or rubbing up or just sitting in a clinic.
Coming to the part about Scott as model, I popped in my favorite O’Hara tape, a show of several artists whose sole subject is Scott, the incomparable carnal chameleon. Shuttling my eyes from page to screen, I almost succeeded in retrieving the singular voice of the man who, in editing the great gay journal of the ’90s, Steam, brought us numerous urgent voices, none more uncompromising than his own.
Photography by Ben Thornberry
Paula Barr Studio
In New York City this summer? Don’t miss “Remember When? A Portrait of AIDS Activism.” Ex-pat Brit Ben Thornberry shadowed ACT UP from ’87 to ’92, so this vast collection of black-and-whites will serve as a memory lane for AIDS vets and a history lesson for new initiates.