Straightlaced in Oakland!Wednesday 29, April 2009
By Brittney Shepherd, Staff Producer | Straightlaced
The Grand Lake Theater played stage for an amazing event: The East Bay Premiere of Straightlaced! A joint fundraiser for Met West High School in Oakland, Thursday night’s event was a reminder for many here at GroundSpark of why we do the work that we do.
There were more folks waiting to get in the door than we knew what to do with, a harbinger for the energetic reception the film would receive later in the night. As folks settled into their seats, there was an energetic buzz in the air. A sold out crowd of youth, educators, film enthusiasts all crowded into the theater for the film.
After the screening, Debra Chasnoff was rewarded with a standing ovation.
The best part of the night was the speech made at the end of the night by a current Met West High School Student, John Green. John, a junior at Met West High, approached the mic and read the following essay about the effect that the film had on him:
Hi my name is John Green. I’m an 11th grade student at MetWest High School. I watched Straightlaced last week at MetWest and it made me think of about a lot of experiences I have hade, people I know, and changes I been through that I have not talked much about. First and foremost everybody is different in their own type of way. My 9th grade year I was in the trend of wearing simple clothes like a hoody and a black or white tee. I wore because I did not want to wear anything where people would start making fun of it. As I got older and went onto to tenth grade I got out of the box and started my won trend, by wearing clothes that had color and style to it. My friend asked me why I wear such bright clothing now and why my t-shirts have so much color? I told him I wear bright clothes because I feel that I am a bright person. I also tried out a belly dancing activity at our school, I know some guys were going to think it is gay but I joined because I wanted to see the experience of how girls move their bodies; and I also wanted to get some attention from the ladies. This film also reminded me of something that happened in my old neighborhood in deep east Oakland. There was a little clique/gang and their leader was very hardcore. He stole, beat up people, and been to jail a numerous of times. What his other gang members did not know was that he was gay. They eventually jumped him for being gay because he was considered not hardcore. So from seeing from my everyday experience and the film, people can not be too judgmental of others when they do not know them and for that I would like to appreciate my school for the teachers and students we have that make the school comfortable and GroundSpark for showing this film to aware kids to be themselves.
Thank you, East Bay, for making our premiere such a memorable event. We hope all those who couldn’t make it last week come out to our screening of Straightlaced at Frameline on June 26th at 6pm at the Roxy Theater in San Francisco.