Last night was this month's book club meeting for Denver's Front Range Bears. We read "The Life and Times of Harvey Milk: The Mayor of Castro Street". It was a really good turn out, as people were encouraged to come even if they had not read the book and just wanted to hang out or participate in the discussion.
I read the book after last month's book club, finishing it a few weeks ago. I was afraid it would not be fresh in my mind when we went to discuss it last night, but I found myself being able to quote passages and correct other's chronology. One of the biggest problems was that some of those attending had not read the book, and just seen the movie, Milk. Sam who hosted the book club meeting had the inside scoop on why the book and movie are a bit different chronologically. Sam knew Randy Shilts and had helped research "Conduct Unbecoming". Randy left his rights to the last guy he dated, whose mother has ended up with the rights to "The life and Times of Harvey Milk". There was some back and forth about making it into a movie in the 90's, but she got the reputation of being difficult to deal with, so the film "Milk" was based on events that are publicly known, with less of the in-depth insight Shilts is able to uncover.
The biggest divergence is Dan White's trial at the end of the book. Many of the men at the book club did not realize how hard reporters tried to fight to get the stories out of what really was happening inside the trial. Editors blocked the stories, claiming the jury would get biased, even though they were sequestered. The trial is still known mostly for the twinkie defense, and not for the complete mal-fesence of the prosecutor.
The discussion last night was lively, ranging from thoughts on the book and movies to the "It Get's Better" campaign and whether Harvey's mandate to come out, whoever and wherever you are still extends to everyone. At the end of the night, a few people came up and said they never realized how political I was. I was taken aback, as I don't think of myself as being nearly as political as I could be or should be. I guess one man's political activist is another man's former San Francisco resident.
The next book will be Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis" weighing in at a hefty 56 pages. We'll be reading "Mary Ann in Autumn" by Armistad Maupin for June. No book club in July and then Patti Smith's "Just Kids" for August. I've read all three.