Harvey Milk stencil found next to the Noriega Street Safeway in The Outer Sunset.
The Times of Harvey Milk is an amazing Oscar winning documentary from 1984 that Gus Van Sant basically just reenacted in his Oscar winning movie, Milk. There’s about 10-15 scenes that he recreates or fleshes out and there’s another 10-15 scenes where he uses the EXACT same source material and news footage as the documentary, all in the same order. And I’m not knocking that. Talk about being True to your source material.
It’s a pretty amazing documentary about a very surreal story.
What’s amazing to me is how many people from this 25 year old documentary still dominate the local political landscape. Terence Hallinan later went on to become San Francisco’s district attorney and just this week is defending a meth head who killed his baby momma with a baseball bat on his kid’s first birthday. Tom Ammiano is now in the California State Assembly and even gave Willy Brown a run for his money as a write in candidate for Mayor of SF. And Dianne Feinstein is still a cunt. But my personal favorite is Dennis Richmond. He’s been like the black Clark Kent of Bay Area TV news reporting for the past 30+ years. You know that guy goes out and fights crime once he gets off from work. That’s why he finally retired from news casting – to focus on kicking ass fulltime.
Lots of great file footage of San Francisco is all of its goofy 1970s Boogie Nights glory. Dan White with his bowl haircut (Check it out! Same style as the busted Governor of Illinois. Creepy…) and Century 21 jacket. Check out the news guy that interviews Dan White on the streets. Yep. John Holmes had a job at 7 On Your Side for a while there. Not that many people know that.
It’s pretty amazing what Harvey Milk was able to accomplish without any cell phones, twitter, myspace, or blogs. He could put people in the streets. No matter where you live on planet earth or what language you speak, anyone who can mobilize people into the streets has power. Dude was a bad ass. He would go debate his opponents in enemy territory, red zip codes, Orange County. I think that’s a big reason why Prop 6 failed and why Prop 8 passed. We don’t have any Harvey Milks on our team anymore.
I was in Amoeba the other day and noticed that The Times of Harvey Milk is now out of print. It’s going for $60 on DVD but you can watch the entire thing online for free.