Celebrating the Legacy of Harvey Milk on his 92nd Birthday and Honoring Open Hand Founder Ruth Brinker

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DP&A, Inc, David Perry/ (415) 676-7007/ news@davidperry.com

Celebrating the Legacy of Harvey Milk on his 92nd Birthday and Honoring Open Hand Founder Ruth Brinker

Sunday, May 22 Events at Castro Theatre feature free screenings of “The Times of Harvey Milk” 

and 

Premiere of “The Ruth Brinker Story”

Free Public Events in Jane Warner Plaza Adjacent to Castro Theatre: 12noon – 5pm

11 May 2022 – San Francisco:  Another Planet Entertainment(www.apeconcerts.com) will host a special day of programming at the Castro Theatre to celebrate two community icons: Harvey Milk and Project Open Hand founder Ruth Brinker.  Castro organist David Hegarty will play before each show with the exception of the 11am screening.

As part of Castro’s Harvey Milk Day celebration, The Times of Harvey Milk will return to the same screen which premiered the 1984 Oscar-winning documentary. Castro Theatre will screen The Times of Harvey Milk at 11am followed by The Ruth Brinker Story at 2pm, and a double feature of both works at 3pm. At 6pm, Project Open Hand will host  a special Gala Screening of The Ruth Brinker Storywill take place, including panel discussions and a post-film reception in the Castro Theatre mezzanine.  

The screenings of The Times of Harvey Milk and The Ruth Brinker Story afternoon screenings are free and un-ticketed.  All seating is first come, first serve. Tickets for the 6pm Gala Event and benefit are $ 50 and must be purchased in advance online at https://BrinkerStory.givesmart.com.

“As stewards of the LGBTQ icon that is the Castro Theatre, Another Planet is honored to help facilitate this special day celebrates the lives and legacies of two community icons, Harvey Milk and Ruth Brinker, ” said Mary Conde, Senior Vice President for Another Planet who is in charge of the overall Castro Theatre Project. “This is exactly the sort of collegial, community partnership we look forward to continuing in years to come.”

In addition to the special Harvey Milk Day screenings, Another Planet will be featuring a number of special events and film screenings in the lead up to Pride Month. 

A full schedule of all Castro Theatre events may be found online at https://apeconcerts.com/venues/castro-theatre/

● Sunday, May 15: The Sound of Music Sing-A-Long

● Tuesday, June 14: A Musical Celebration Starring Debbie Wileman as Judy Garland celebrating Garland’s 100th Birthday

● June 16 – 26: The Frameline International LGBTQ Film Festival

● In the coming days, a series of special film screenings will be announced to mark the 100th anniversary of the Castro Theatre’s 1922 opening.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be telling the story of Ruth Brinker through the beautiful, visual storytelling of this short documentary by Burn A Light Productions. Her story is not just about providing food. It’s about showing compassion to people in your community who are in dire need,” Project Open Hand CEO Paul Hepfer said. “Ruth’s legacy is alive because it is at the heart of everything we do at Project Open Hand. She is our compass, and we are excited to share her story with the hopes that others will follow her path.”

At the age of 63, retired food-service worker Ruth Brinker became a pioneer of HIV care in her community and would become a legend among San Franciscans. The AIDS epidemic hit San Francisco the hardest and created a wave of fear and uncertainty that left many victims feeling hopeless and alone. 

Brinker, a woman whose deep compassion became a source of strength for others struggling to cope with the times, began cooking meals in her kitchen to deliver to her neighbors who were too ill to take care of themselves. Her goal was to not only provide meals but to also revitalize the city’s sense of community and spend time with HIV/AIDS patients to end the isolation they experienced. Providing meals with love became the hallmark of her mission. The work of Brinker and her growing team of volunteers led to Project Open Hand, the largest provider of nutrition to the HIV/AIDS community with sister organizations across the country. Ruth Brinker’s legacy carries on today as Project Open Hand has once again joined the frontlines in facing the crisis of the COVID19 pandemic.

Filmmaker Apo W. Bazidi was born in Eastern Turkey to Kurdish parents. He grew up amid the social injustices and inequality that beset his community. These experiences drove his desire to become a storyteller so he could shed light on these important issues. After high school, he immigrated to the United States and went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Film & Television Production from the University of Southern California in 2011. Apo’s films are primarily concerned with social issues and the importance of global cultural interactions. His feature film, Resistance is Life, won eight festival awards including six for Best Documentary Feature. Apo believes in making a positive change through visual storytelling. His lifelong motto is to “be creative and inspire”. Apo is the founder and CEO of Burn A Light Productions.

On what will be the 92nd birthday of Harvey Milk, the screenings of The Times of Harvey Milk will help mark San Francisco and Castro’s Harvey Milk Day celebrations organized by the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club, the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District, the Castro Community Benefit District, the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza, and the Castro Merchants Association.

“92 years since Harvey Milk’s birth, we face a country much changed and yet very much similar to The Times of Harvey Milk,” shares Jeffrey Kwong of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club, which has organized screenings of the documentary for years. “With a skyrocketing number of anti-LGBTQ bills filed over the past several years – from 41 in 2018 to 238 in just the first three months of 2022 – this Harvey Milk Day is a crucial moment to remember the life and to live out the words of Harvey Milk.”

The screenings of both films coincide with a full day of free community events celebrating Harvey Milk’s legacy from 12 noon to 5pm in Jane Warner Plazaimmediately adjacent to the Castro Theatre.

Premiering at the Castro Theatre in 1984, The Times of Harvey Milk chronicles the political career of Harvey Milk, San Francisco’s first openly gay elected official, and his rise from a neighborhood activist to a symbol of gay political achievement, through to his assassination in November 1978.  Receiving international acclaim, awards and selection into the National Film Registry in Library of Congress, the documentary later became inspiration for Gus Van Sant’s 2008 Oscar-winning biopic, Milk

Background on our Partners:

Another Planet Entertainment is partnering with Bay Properties, Inc., owners of the Castro Theatre, on an evolution and preservation of San Francisco’s world-renowned entertainment and LGBTQ community landmark. With a long-standing history of working to preserve and improve historic buildings such as the Fox Theater in Oakland, the Greek Theatre in Berkeley and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, Another Planet seeks to enhance the Castro Theatre by implementing significant improvements to the sound, lighting, production, HVAC, ADA access and the theatre’s trademark marquee, among other facets of the building: all of this, always, with an eye to honoring its unique place in the lives of the Castro and celebrating its communities and residents.

About Project Open Hand:

Founded in 1985 as a grassroots response to the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, Project Open Hand is an innovative, outcome-driven, client-centered partner in the public health and medical arenas, preparing over 2,500 medically tailored nutritious meals daily for clients with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and HIV/AIDS in San Francisco and Alameda counties.

About The Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club

Founded by Harvey Milk in 1976, the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club continues Harvey’s legacy through political activism, electoral organizing, and building progressive power across communities and issues in San Francisco. To learn more about the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club or to become a member, visit www.milkclub.org. We’re here to recruit you! @harveymilkclub#HarveyMilk2022