(Photo courtesy of StanChris)
DE CE MB E R 1 7, 2021 • VO L U M E 05 • ISSUE 5 1 • AMERICA’ S LGBT Q NEW S SO U R C E • LO SAN G ELESB LAD E. C O M
YouTuber StanChris’s everyday videos have real world impact By ZACHARY JARRELL
(Photo courtesy of StanChris)
02 • DECEMBER 17, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Newsom targets guns in calls to mirror Texas SB8 By BRODY LEVESQUE California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom reacted
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Another Step Closer to Closing the Digital Divide: By LA County Supervisor SHEILA KUEHL
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04 • DECEMBER 17, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
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HISTORIC: Middleton sworn in as Palm Springs mayor First out trans mayor in California FROM STAFF REPORTS
City Councilwoman Lisa Middleton will be swornin as Palm Springs mayor on Thursday. Middleton California and just the third out transgender Springs rotates among councilmembers who serve one-year terms. transgender person elected to a non-judicial position in California in 2017 with the support of Equality California and Victory Fund – is also running for the state senate in 2022 and
we are excited for her to shatter another lavender ceiling with a state senate win in 2022.” “Lisa Middleton has been a transformational as she makes history again — this time as Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. “Just as important as the powerful representation she’s provided, Lisa has been a champion for bold solutions to the big challenges Palm Springs faces healthcare, support for our elders, the climate crisis and more. We know that Lisa will continue to be champion for the Coachella Valley and all Californians when she is elected to the California Senate next year.”
history if she wins. LGBTQ Victory Fund and Equality California jointly praised the news Wednesday. “Lisa’s elevation to mayor is a milestone moment for California, but also for trans people are in California. There are no currently serving across the nation who want to make positive Palm Springs City Councilmembers LISA MIDDLETON and CHRISTY HOLSTEGE out trans mayors, however Stu Rasmussen change through public service,” said Mayor Annise (Photo courtesy Equality California) previously served as mayor of Silverton, Oregon, Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. and Jess Herbst as mayor of New Hope, Texas. “While hateful politicians attempt to vilify trans Only one out trans person has ever been elected to a state senate in the U.S. – Sarah people for their own perceived political gain, Lisa is the model of a true public servant – McBride of Delaware. one who lifts people up and focuses on issues that actually improve people’s lives. Lisa
Racist, homophobic comments jeopardize cases in Torrance descriptions of Black and Jewish people or members of the
homophobic and anti-Semitic texts and images. Today, I can identify According to Queally’s reporting, in the span of one week in approximately 300 letters from prosecutors disclosing potential
direct relation to the text messages, the racist exchanges have led implicated in the scandal.
conspiracy and vandalism after allegedly spray-painting a swastika and a “happy face” into the car after responding to a call. The Los Angeles Times noted that while looking into the vandalism
The broad scope of the racist text conversations, which prosecutors said went on for years, has created a crisis for the Torrance Police
about “gassing” Jewish people, assaulting members of the LGBTQ community, using violence against suspects and lying during an investigation into a police shooting, according to district attorney’s Torrance wants all members of the community alike to be reassured that the city does not condone any member under our employ that expresses or condones behaviour inconsistent with our mission to
investigate the Torrance Police Department in the wake of a scandal
“We will not tolerate any form of bigotry, racism, hate, or
text messages for years the Times reported.
“An internal investigation is being conducted and the involved BRODY LEVESQUE
06 • DECEMBER 17, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
License plate recognition cameras deployed in Melrose ‘If you commit a crime we’re gonna stop you’ FROM STAFF REPORTS
After a series of recent violent ‘smash & grab’ crimes along with a rise in physical assaults and robberies, the City of Los Angeles is installing automated license plate recognition cameras in the Melrose business corridor and surrounding neighborhoods. Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz announced that the city partnered with community organization Melrose Action and is implementing the installation of 12 cameras. “It’s just another step to send a message that if you commit a crime on Melrose we’re gonna stop you, we’re gonna catch you, and we’re gonna prosecute you,” Koretz said and added the cameras being installed will “provide a next level of surveillance.” Melrose Action raised more than $30,000 and Koretz contributed another $10,000 to get the program
been disturbed by recent crimes in the area. “We went through a homicide cycle. Then we then we went through an armed robbery cycle that lasted for several months,” Nichols told the Times. “Now the latest is the smashand-grabs.” License plate readers have come issues as usage has grown among law enforcement agencies, the Times reported. The Times also noted that the California state auditor said last year that the LAPD and three other law enforcement agencies protections.
Los Angeles City Councilmember PAUL KORETZ being interviewed by KTLA
release announcing the project.
(Screenshot via KTLA)
will be shared among local law enforcement agencies including the LAPD and the Los Angeles County
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • DECEMBER 17, 2021 • 07
Beloved author and queer icon Anne Rice dies at 80 By ROB WATSON
ANNE and CHRISTOPHER RICE in Los Angeles in 2017. (Family photo via Christopher Rice Facebook)
08 • DECEMBER 17, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Smollett found guilty of staging hate crime attack The jury in the case of actor Jussie Smollett reached a guilty verdict in faked a hate crime and was responsible for orchestrating it in January 2019. The jury deliberated for just over nine hours last Wednesday and Thursday after the one week trial saw closing testimony and arguments Wednesday afternoon. counts of disorderly conduct, a class 4 felony, is facing potential sentencing of up to three years in prison. According JUSSIE SMOLLETT faces possible jail time after his conviction last week. (Blade screenshot via YouTube) to a Chicago criminal defense attorney speaking on background, he contended that based on his experience with the legal system in the Chicago court system, that the actor will likely be placed on probation and ordered to perform community service. Smollett testifying in his own defense told the court that he was physically attacked around 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 29 by two men who hurled homophobic and racist slurs at him including the phrase “MAGA country,” a reference to former President Trump’s presidential campaign slogan. The former “Empire” star was previously indicted by Cook County prosecutors in February 2019 after law enforcement authorities alleged he had conspired with two Black and wanted to generate publicity to boost his career. In March, the charges against him were dropped, with little explanation from prosecutors – though at the time, presiding Judge Michael Toomin suggested that he could be charged again. that Smollett was charged with six felony counts of disorderly conduct, connected to four separate false reports that he gave to police in which he claimed to be a victim of a hate crime “knowing that he was not the victim of a crime.” After initially investigating the incident as a hate crime, Chicago detectives in their brothers Olabinjo “Ola” and Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo, who are from Nigeria to stage the attack.
that Smollett who is openly gay and Black instructed them to put a noose around his neck, yell racist and homophobic slurs, and rough him up in view of a nearby surveillance camera. Evidence presented by the prospectors showed the two brothers in a local retail store purchasing the rope and other items used to stage the attack that Chicago police determined the actor paid for. Associated Press reported. “Besides being against the law, it is just plain wrong to outright denigrate something as serious as a real hate crime and then make sure it involved words and symbols that have Webb also cast doubts on Smollett’s integrity and credibility in his testimony telling jurors that the surveillance video from before the alleged attack and that later night contradicts key moments of Smollett’s account of the events. Smollett’s defense attorney Nenye Uche disputed the Osundairo brothers testimony labeling them “sophisticated liars” who may have been motivated to attack the actor because of homophobia or because they wanted to be hired to work as his security. “These guys want to make money,” he told the court. The special prosecutor during the trial also took aim at the actor’s refusal to turn over he was concerned about his privacy. “If he was a true victim of a crime he would not be withholding evidence,” Webb said. Smollett’s defense attorney told the court that it was “nonsense” for police to ask the
Uche said. on the day of the incident, while the sixth related to his conversation with a police detective. Cook County Circuit Judge James Linn set a Jan. 27 hearing date for motions in the case prior to the actor’s sentencing. his legal problems also extend to the city of Chicago’s civil lawsuit against the “Empire” star demanding he repay the city $130,000 — the cost of the police investigation into the incident he reported as an alleged hate crime. BRODY LEVESQUE
LGBTQ adult population reaches 20 million: study Community,” report last week.
may still be an undercount.
Survey, a national household probability survey of adults in the United States, at least 20 million adults in the United States could be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender – nearly It also suggests that more than 1% of people in the United States identify as transgender, respondents. used to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars of federal funding each year, and the absence FROM STAFF REPORTS 10 • DECEMBER 17, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
The White House announced last week that Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the White
(Photo courtesy of the LGBTQ Victory Fund Institute)
One of those opposed to the law is a
RAJ MUKHERJI (D-Hudson)
BRODY LEVESQUE LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • DECEMBER17, 2021 • 11
New Zealand passes self-ID bill for trans people She paid tribute to trans New Zealanders who had been
right to make that choice for them, that parents do not
Trans Health Care Now march at Wellington International Pride Parade in 2018 in New Zealand. (Photo courtesy of Trans Health Care Now NZ)
Chilean president signs marriage law
MICHAEL K. LAVERS
State Dept. launches global LGBTQ rights fund
MICHAEL K. LAVERS 12 • DECEMBER 17, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
KEVIN NAFF is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at
Gay Games should boycott Hong Kong over Peng Shuai Join with others in holding China accountable
There are many reasons to boycott China, not least of which is
statement that ignored the central question of Peng’s plight and
said Chinese President Xi Jinping is responsible for “genocide,
“The Federation of Gay Games continues to monitor the
Add to the list the mysterious and alarming case of Chinese publicly accusing Zhang Gaoli, a member of China’s ruling China’s equivalent of Twitter, government censors scrambled amiss by posting photos and videos of Peng were clumsy and
The Federation of Gay Games’s claims of supporting people of color and athletes of color ring hollow when its leaders won’t even mention Peng’s name in response to a direct question
brave step of suspending all tournaments in China in protest of
The Federation should reconsider its posture, denounce China’s treatment and censorship of Peng, and move Gay
ADDRESS 8237 Blackburn Avenue Ste. 201, Los Angeles, CA 90048 PHONE 310-230-5266 E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org INTERNET losangelesblade.com PUBLISHED BY Los Angeles Blade, LLC PUBLISHER TROY MASTERS email@example.com 310-230-5266 x8080 (o), 917-406-1619 (c) SALES & MARKETING SALES EXECUTIVE CHRIS WILMORE firstname.lastname@example.org 310-230-5266 x9461 NATIONAL ADVERTISING RIVENDELL MEDIA email@example.com, 212-242-6863 MARKETING DIRECTOR STEPHEN RUTGERS firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-747-2077 x8077 EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTING WRITER KAREN OCAMB email@example.com NATIONAL EDITOR KEVIN NAFF firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-747-2077 x8088 INTERNATIONAL EDITOR MICHAEL K. LAVERS email@example.com EDITOR AT LARGE BRODY LEVESQUE California CONTRIBUTORS TINASHE CHINGARANDE, ERNESTO VALLE, YARIEL VALDÉS GONZALEZ, PARKER PURIFOY, CHRISTOPHER KANE, AUSTIN MENDOZA, JOHN PAUL KING, JOEY DIGUGLIELMO, CHRIS JOHNSON, LOU CHIBBARO JR., MARIAH COOPER, REBEKAH SAGER, JON DAVIDSON, SUSAN HORNIK, CHANNING SARGENT, SAMSON AMORE, CHRISTOPHER CAPPIELLO, MICHAEL JORTNER, DAN ALLEN, SEAN SHEALY, SCOTT STIFFLER, RHEA LITRÉ
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Tennis Association, said in a statement as reported by the of women and sweep allegations of sexual assault under the
A Gay Games boycott would be consistent with our own The Federation of Gay Games has an opportunity to stand of color herself, and a fellow athlete who was targeted by China would consider a boycott of China, it issued a cowardly
that engages in overt censorship while covering up allegations of sexual assault by sending hundreds of athletes and millions
16 • DECEMBER 17, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
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Golden Globes announces diverse slate of nominees By JOHN PAUL KING If any doubt remained that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has fallen spectacularly out of favor, it was summarily erased by the fact that the sole celebrity on hand to help announce the list of nominations for its 2021 Golden Globe Awards was Snoop Dogg. That’s not a dig against Snoop Dogg. The eminently
among the choices, particularly the inclusion of LGBTQrelevant nominees among the contenders. For television, Black actors Billy Porter (“Pose”) and Omar Sy (“Lupin”), as well as South Korean actor Lee Jung-jae
included Black actress Uzo Aduba (“In Treatment”) and Black/Puerto Rican actress Michaela Jaé Rodriguez (“Pose”) between worlds within the entertainment industry, thanks to a reputation for enthusiastic self-parody and a proven performer to be nominated in this category, a feat she tendency to be pretty much game for anything – and also accomplished at the 2021 Emmys. In the Comedy frankly, watching him read the service manual for a vintage division, Black actor Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”) picked sewing machine would likely be more entertaining than up a nod as Best Lead Actor, with Black actresses Issa Rae sitting through a list of award nominees being recited (“Insecure”) and Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”) included (with perfunctory reverence, of course) by even the most among the nominees for Best Lead Actress. accomplished of screen thespians. In the supporting categories (which are not divided into Still, the glaring absence of any representative from the industry that the HFPA exists to honor is proof that the got a nod for Best Supporting Actor, with no nominees of organization is still a long way from recovering from the season. (Photo courtesy FX) color named within the Supporting Actress slate. scandal that broke in the wake of a Los Angeles Times For performances in a Limited Series, Anthology Series, investigative report earlier this year, which revealed that its or Motion Picture Made for Television, Latino actor Oscar Isaac (“Scenes From a Marriage”) and nearly 90-person membership included no people of color and provided damning details about French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim (“The Serpent”) made the cut for Best Actor, while Black actress Cynthia Erivo (“Genius: Aretha”) was nominated for Best Actress. travel, and other perks from studios and networks behind the potential nominees and winners. The big screen acting categories also included several nominees of color. Though there were The bombshell report, which was published mere days before the Golden Globes presentation no performers of color in the running for Best Lead Actress in a Motion Picture Drama, the last February, led to an embarrassing award show in which the revelation of the winners was Lead Actor slate includes three Black actors – Mahershala Ali (“Swan Song”), Will Smith (“King eclipsed by the organization’s scramble to do damage control. Richard”), and Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”) – among its contenders. In the Leaning into a too-little-too-late show of diversity among the ceremony’s performers and Musical or Comedy division, Latino actor Anthony Ramos (“In the Heights”) scored a nomination presenters, and sending some of the HFPA’s high-level representatives to the podium in a for Lead Actor, with Latino/Polish newcomer Rachel Zegler (“West Side Story”) earning a nod for Lead Actress. (followed by an unconvincing promise to do better), the organization seemed only to have dug In the Supporting categories (which again, are not separated into Drama and Comedy itself deeper into the hole of bad publicity that threatened to put an end to the awards body’s 78-year existence, once and for all. Black/Puerto Rican performer Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”) on the list of Actress nominees, Proposed reforms to the structure and practices of the HFPA were announced, and were and while the Actor category contained no performers of color, deaf actor Troy Kotsur (“CODA”) promptly dismissed by Time’s Up as “window-dressing platitudes.” Major players in the industry made the cut, in a rare show of representation for people with disabilities. When it comes to LGBTQ representation, however, the nominations fall considerably shorter. Among all the acting nominees, the only out members of the community are Porter with three-time winner Tom Cruise even returning his trophies. Perhaps most disastrous of all, and Rodriguez (each in their respective Lead Performance categories for “Pose”), Kristen NBC – the network that had been home to the Golden Globes broadcast – announced it would Stewart (“Spencer”) and Lady Gaga (“House of Gucci”) for Lead Actress in a Motion Picture not be airing another one until at least 2023, saying that “change of this magnitude takes time Drama, and Hannah Einbender (“Hacks”) for Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a and work” and that “the HFPA needs time to do it right.” Television Comedy. In addition to these, Udo Azuba (nominated for Best Lead Actress in a Despite all this, the beleaguered organization declared its intention to continue with its annual awards presentation, and following months of restructuring – in which the HFPA has Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for “tick, tick… Boom!”) and Erivo are noted for their vocal attempted to diversify its ranks by adding new members, rewritten its bylaws, forbidden the from bottom to top – has tenaciously clung to relevance by announcing the nominees for this non-participation of any of the potential recipients of those honors. This means, of course, that it’s time to start gearing up for another awards season in which the dramatic changes wrought by the COVID pandemic upon the entertainment industry are will impact the winners’ circle for the most coveted industry prize of all: the Oscars. Traditionally, the Golden Globes have been seen as a bellwether for Academy Award inclusion, with many of the nominees and winners going on to eventual Oscar glory – but given power-players, it remains to be seen if that long-standing assumption will hold true this year. With that in mind, it’s worth taking a look at the nominees – with an eye to the diversity 18 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • DECEMBER 17, 2021
While nominees Benedict Cumberbatch and Kodi Smit-McPhee (nominated for Lead and Supporting Actor, respectively, in a Motion Picture Drama for “The Power of the Dog”) play nominated as Best Actor in a Limited Series for his star turn as the title character in “Halston.” Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the Best Director of a Motion Picture category, long dominated exclusively by men, this year includes two women: Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”) and Maggie Gyllenhall (“The Lost Daughter”). Whether or not these nominees – or any of the others, for that matter – end up following up their recognition today with nods or wins on Oscar night remains to be seen. In the meantime, prize from an organization now relegated to pariah status by most of Hollywood) on Jan. 9, when the ceremony can be seen on the Golden Globes’ You Tube channel. Visit losangelesblade.com for a full list of nominees.
Garbo: ubiquitous yet mysterious
An illuminating biography of screen icon and her time Few icons are more ubiquitous in the cultural landscape, yet more mysterious than queer icon Greta Garbo. Garbo famously said, “I want to be alone.” Even the most fervent teetotaler would savor watching Garbo say, in the 1930 movie “Anna Christie,” “Gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on the side, and don’t be stingy, baby!” Decades before Cher, Garbo became known by just her last name. “Garbo shouted the ads for her 1939 comedy “Ninotchka.” Yet, 31 years after her death in 1990, Garbo, remains, as she was during her life, enveloped in mystery. “Garbo,” by Robert Gottlieb, a former editor of The New Yorker, is a fascinating biography of the movie legend. Gottlieb, a critic, understands that much of Garbo’s life (her sexuality, her inner thoughts) remains mysterious. Yet Gottlieb, a former Simon & Schuster editor-in-chief and former head of Alfred A. Knopf, pens an illuminating portrait of Garbo and her time. An extensive array of photos and movie stills add to the beauty of the book. A selection of articles by critics and contemporaries enhances our picture of Garbo.
By KATHI WOLFE
The mystery of why Garbo lived in “self-imposed seclusion” after retiring from Hollywood was irresistible, but “almost a distraction,” Gottlieb writes. presented Garbo as a vamp, “luring men on with her vampish ways,” Gottlieb reports, “but she hated that.” Eventually, Garbo became an icon. “But none of that goes to explain,” Gottlieb writes, “why more than any other star she invaded the subconscious of the audience:”
“Garbo is in people’s minds, hearts, and dreams.” Garbo is referenced in Ernest Hemingway’s novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and in the letters of poet Marianne Moore. More recently, allusions of Garbo have appeared in the song “Bette Davis Eyes” and even in “The Simpsons.” Her Hollywood peers loved Garbo as much as movie audiences. “Other Hollywood stars ... were as eager to meet her,” Gottlieb writes, “or just get a glimpse of her as your ordinary fan.” Her work is “pure witchcraft,” Bette Davis said of Garbo. “I cannot analyze this woman’s acting.” While Gottlieb is respectful of and fascinated by Garbo, his biography isn’t hagiography. ‘Garbo’ neighborhood in Stockholm, Sweden. Garbo, who grew up in poverty as a child, could be cheap. In New York, she By Robert Gottlieb Garbo was only in Hollywood for 16 years, and 24 movies, Gottlieb writes. was known for being stingy with tips and salaries for people who worked for her C.2021, Farrar, Straus & Giroux At just 36 years old, and still adored by her fans, Garbo suddenly retired from and shopkeepers. $40 | 448 pages Hollywood. She didn’t give her public a very insightful reason for why she stopped Perhaps, due to shyness or to her lack of education (she had to leave school at making movies. 14 to help support her family), she wasn’t a great conversationalist. “I have made enough faces,” Garbo told actor David Niven when he asked her about it, Gottlieb She had relationships with men and women – from actor John Gilbert to queer fashion reports. photographer Cecil Beaton to writer Mercedes de Acosta. But the extent to which (or if) these After leaving Tinseltown, Garbo lived for nearly half a century, mainly in New York City, until she relationships were sexual isn’t known, Gottlieb reports. died in 1990. Garbo wasn’t as popular as Charlie Chaplin or Mary Pickford, Gottlieb tells us in “Why Garbo,” his Beautiful Woman in the World’ really would rather have been a man,” Gottlieb writes. lively introduction to the bio, “yet the impact she had on the world was as great as theirs.” Reading “Garbo” is like sipping whiskey (or ginger ale) with the iconic star. Drink up!
20 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • DECEMBER 17, 2021
‘And Just Like That’ is clunky, but shows promise By KATHI WOLFE Just in time for the holidays, “And Just Like That,” the 10-part “Sex and the City” (SATC) revival has premiered on HBO Max.
‘And Just Like That’ reunites three of the original four from ‘Sex and the City.’ (Screenshot via HBO Max)
WEARABLE SUSTAINABLE ART www.skullcoaster.com
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • DECEMBER 17, 2021 • 21
FILM A skillfully constructed work of art that engages emotions at every level By JOHN PAUL KING
If you had reservations about the news that Steven Spielberg was remaking “West Side Story,” you aren’t alone. After all, with Hollywood’s track record for producing abysmal remakes of classic movies, it’s probably wise to be skeptical when a new one comes along. That said, you can now rest assured that your skepticism is unfounded. homage to the opening moments of “Citizen Kane” while establishing almost everything we need to know about the setting of the story we are about to see, “West Side Story” immediately dissipates any concern about the master director’s ability to deliver the blend of theatrical and
doubters assumed would be impossible: a new rendering that succeeds in bringing a deeper, more contemporary sensibility to the material while leaving it essentially unchanged. A substantial amount of the credit for this goes to Pulitzer-winner Tony Kushner, whose literate and pitchsome of the story’s blank spots and expands its scope to illuminate the complicated economic and social issues that lie at its core. stories that bestow them with greater dimension and humanity; Tony, for instance, is on parole after a stint in
the visual language of storytelling, he pulls us briskly into
he is. Additionally, the minor role of “Anybodys,” a female
street gangs, white and Puerto Rican, respectively, at war
excluded by her gang mates for being a girl, is here given an embellished presence, which, aided by a powerful performance from Iris Menas, leaves little doubt she is struggling with gender identity at a time when there were no words for such things. In a similar expansion, that the neighborhood is set to be demolished ahead of the construction of Lincoln Center and the highdollar housing
family feud is exchanged for racism as the basis for a tale of young love thwarted by ancient hate. For those unfamiliar, the plot centers on the romance
(David Alvarez), leader of the Sharks. Despite the concerns forbidden love endures even as the rival gangs plan to wipe each other out once and for all, setting into motion a tragic chain of events that will shatter the entire community. Spielberg’s reverent remounting of the classic musical
period as the original work while bringing forward the
Moreno, the original movie’s Anita, who here takes on the rewritten (and re-gendered) role of a neighborhood shopkeeper who serves as Tony’s surrogate parent; she imbues the character with a combination of warmth and hard-won wisdom, and her presence brings an element of having come full circle, a touch of nostalgia that links the roll. The same can be said of the much-revered score by which is here preserved and performed almost completely intact. Some of the songs are reordered within the story, than the ones we’re used to, but arranger David Newman and conductor Gustavo Dudamel succeed in delivering a rousing and passionate rendering of the show’s classic of whom required the kind of dubbing that was standard time around. As for Spielberg, it’s hard to imagine another director constructed work of visual art that handles the spectacular and the intimate with equal deftness and engages our emotions at every level. He frequently references the
medium. He even asserts his self-assuredness by invoking but unmistakable emulation of its color palette and lighting
style that emulates the athletic movement of the original’s dance sequences while leaping to heights of its own. Yet despite all this deference to the past, Spielberg’s rendition of “West Side Story” excels and excites because
income and marginalized communities they continually displace.
is to learn from the past, not dwell in it, and he challenges
“West Side Story” into the present day without removing it from the world that gave birth to it, emphasizing the connections and parallels between the two eras and reminding us just how relevant this American classic continues to be. Similarly, the supremely talented cast is instrumental
perhaps, is his choice not to use subtitles when characters are speaking Spanish; with that one, simple touch, he aims straight at the heart of the divisive turmoil in our culture
just because all the Latino roles are played by Latino performers this time around. Each of the young stars gives Anita a particular standout who commands the screen in
every scene she’s in (as she should!), and Zegler, a screen newcomer, providing a Maria who is as bold and self-
condemnation of bigotry and hatred in a world that has seen enough killing. Spielberg’s vision honors, even celebrates the beloved thrillingly new. Even the most rigid purist can’t ask for a more faithful adaptation than that.
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