Cal Anderson Lecture Series
The Cal Anderson Memorial Lecture Series for 2012
presents an evening with
Thursday, May 31, 2012
6:00 p.m. Hannah Free
9:00 p.m. Jamie and Jesse are Not Together
at the historic
Free and Open to the Public
Independent filmmaker and media activist Wendy Jo Carlton presents two recent works. Hannah Free (2009) is a feature film starring Sharon Gless about the lifelong love affair between an independent spirit and the woman she calls home. Jamie and Jessie are Not Together is a romantic comedy (with musical numbers). It’s a sexy, entertaining romp with broad appeal, exploring universal themes of jealousy, insecurity, and falling in (and out) of love.
Hannah Free makes the case quietly and persuasively for the advantages
of legal marriage over “domestic,” “civil,” or any other kind of
union, neatly detailing the nightmare scenario that haunts many
domestic partners. Played with flinty assurance and chemistry by
Sharon Gless (Cagney & Lacey) and Kelli Strickland, Hannah Free has
been a free-spirited rebel all her life who still rails reflexively
against authority even as she is entering her golden years. Her
lifelong partner, Rachel, has lapsed into a coma after suffering a
stroke and must now live in a nursing home. It is suddenly enormously
difficult for Hannah to even see Rachel, let alone participate in her
care. The results are agonizing and emotional. “Hannah Free is what
used to be called a problem play,” writes Stephen Holden of The New
York Times. “The issues it addresses include the condescending
treatment of the elderly and Christian proselytizing to the bedridden,
the generational divide in attitudes toward homosexuality, the
attempts of strait-laced family members to freeze out a same-sex
partner at the end of life, and the final decisions for patients on
Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together is an irresistible romantic comedy
about friendship and love, and what happens when the two intersect.
Jamie and Jessie have known each other for years and are best friends.
But they’re not together. A fact they both emphasize again and again
to everyone who asks. Just because two people have great chemistry
doesn’t mean they’re in a relationship or anything. But Jessie is
harboring a secret. She does have a crush on her best friend. She may
even be secretly in love with her. When Jamie breaks the news that
she’s moving to New York to pursue a career on Broadway, Jessie is
faced with confronting the truth about her feelings or losing her best
friend forever. Featuring whimsical musical numbers and a smart
sensibility, Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together is like a cool indie
musical that wears its heart on its sleeve. Roger Ebert of The Chicago
Sun Times calls Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together “a sweet and
appealing musical comedy.”
Wendy Jo Carlton directed her first feature film, Hannah Free, starring Emmy-winning actress Sharon Gless, in 2009. Hannah Free has won several Audience Awards and is being globally distributed.
Carlton has a background in photography, radio, and media activism. She was an artist-in-residence at 911 Media Arts in Seattle and a recipient of the Navona Fellowship from the University of Illinois Chicago, where she earned a graduate degree in film/new media. Her award-winning short films have screened internationally, including the American Film Institute, Sundance, and many other festivals. Carlton works as a director for PBS Television and the Sirius Radio Network, and was the founder of a media literacy film program for teen girls called, Chicks Make Flicks.
Jamie and Jessie are Not Together has won an Audience Award (Asheville), a Best Feature Award (Durham), a Jury Award for Best Lesbian Feature (Tucson), and a Jury Award for Best Actress (Jessica London-Shields). The film is receiving very favorable reviews including LA Weekly, Afterellen.com, and Curve Magazine. Distinguished film critics Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) and Michael Phillips (Tribune) both gave the film a 3-star review.