When Steve and I were in Brussels we did one of our most favourite activites TWICE, which is go to the cinema. The first was to see Milk at the UCG Brussels, which was pretty much like going to the UCG Anywhere only with French subtitles in the trailers and feature film.
Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The film was quite good and gives a snapshot of the gay right’s movement in the late 1970′s. Though I hasten to add that his victory was not just a victory for gay rights; he forged coalitions across the political spectrum. From senior citizens to union workers, Harvey Milk changed the very nature of what it means to be a fighter for human rights and became, before his untimely death in 1978, a hero for all Americans. Milk’s platform was and is one of hope – a hero’s legacy that resonates in the here and now.
The film chronicles Milk’s foray into city politics, and the various battles he waged in his Castro neighborhood as well as throughout the city, and political campaigns to limit the rights of gay people in 1977 and 1978 run by Anita Bryant and John Briggs. His romantic and political relationships are also addressed, as is his tenuous affiliation with troubled Supervisor Dan White. Aas White and Milk’s political agendas increasingly diverge, their personal destinies tragically converge. Milk was brilliantly cast and gives a beautifully rendered flavor of the times, and an intimate vision of a man finding his place within a community and history.
The next night we went to Flagey Studios to watch the Marx Brothers in ‘A Night at the Opera’.
Now this is a seriously beautiful building which was partially listed in 1994 and was saved in June 1998 by a private Belgian group and has now embarked on a new life as a music and cinema complex.
From the mission statement:
Flagey. Home of metroculture, meeting-point of paths that co-exist, clash, merge and mingle A space for surprises, sights and secrets. A variegated crowd, always different, sometimes familiar. Some sweep by for one performance, others are familiar with its seats. Authors, contemplators, denigrators. Inspiring and aspiring Metro Flagey. The rhythm is that of words, music, song, always in movement, always enthralling. Lover of the future, passionate about the past, cerebral, theatrical, humble and discreet, drunk or crazy. It’s all about fusion and vibration.
Flagey Studios, which has been completely renovated, was one of the first radio broadcasting buildings in the world. Inaugurated in 1938, it soon gained a reputation for its unique architecture and the unrivalled acoustics of its studios. It was in fact dubbed the ‘sound factory’. This highly impressive architectural masterpiece is the work of the Belgian architect from the 1930s, Joseph Diongre. Its style is ‘Streamline Moderne’, a late branch of Art Deco design sometimes referred to by either name alone. This architectural style emphasized curving forms, long horizontal lines, and sometimes nautical elements (such as railings and porthole windows). It reached its height in 1937.
Flagey Studios is found at Belvédèrestraat 27, 1050 Brussels, or:
Before the film, we stood in a very long line over the road at Flagey Frites for two delicious, hot, crunchy servings of fresh frites dolloped with mayonnaise and aioli.
Then ate them in the Flagey Studios foyer accompanied by a Belgian beer from the little bar there.
Place Flagey by night