Tag Archives: “Sex Positive”

Breaking Upwards With Daryl Wein

“An uncensored look at young love, lust, and the pangs of co-dependency.”

What more could you want in a film?

That’s the thrust of Daryl Wein’s latest production, “Breaking Upwards.” Theatrical distribution and video on demand start April 2 — but Westporters get a sneak peek at what the Staples graduate has created this Sunday (March 28, 2 p.m.) at Fairfield’s Community Theatre.

Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones. It's a scene from their movie, in which art imitates life.

Following the film, Daryl; his co-writer, association producer and Staples classmate Peter Duchan; Westport actor Toby Burns, and co-writer, co-producer Zoe Lister-Jones — who is also Daryl’s girlfriend and fellow co-dependent — will lead a Q-and-A discussion.

Anyone who knows Daryl — from his Staples Players days, to his groundbreaking “Sex Positive” film about the now-forgotten birth of the safe sex movement — understands that “Breaking Upwards” is quintessentially him.

The film loosely interprets a year in Daryl and Zoe’s lives as they explore alternatives to monogamy, the madness that ensues, and the answer to the eternal question:  “Is it ever possible to grow apart together?”

“Breaking Upwards” — which Daryl directed, co-wrote, acted in, played music for, produced and edited — won the Grand Jury Prize at the Brooklyn International Film Festival, and earned acclaim at SXSW.

It’s been called “an effortlessly hip and funny new indie flick that easily ranks among the best films about relationships.”

The wisdom and insights Daryl gained in Westport underpin the New York sensibility he brings to his work.  Calling him the Woody Allen of his 20-something generation might be a stretch.

But his career is on the rise.  He bears watching.

And Westporters can start watching on Sunday, next door in Fairfield.

(Not sure you want to see the film?  Check out the trailer — it’s very cool.  PS:  The original soundtrack is available on iTunes.)

‘Sex Positive’: The Movie

Seder and safe sex.  Not the usual combination — but a winning one for Daryl Wein.

Daryl Wein

Daryl Wein

Two years ago the 2002 Staples grad — now a filmmaker — celebrated Passover with girlfriend Zoe Lister-Jones’ family.  Richard Berkowitz — a lifelong friend of Zoe’s mom — was there.  As Richard — now destitute and alone — reminisced about his life as a sex worker-turned-AIDS activist (he pioneered the concept of “safe sex”), Daryl realized he had stumbled on an important, and untold, story.

After reading Richard’s long-forgotten book, Stayin’ Alive:  The Invention of Safe Sex, the NYU grad recalled his days at Staples.

Sex education then, he says, involved “condom-on-banana antics, generally followed by chuckles of discomfort.”  He and his friends — who grew up hearing, but not really understanding, the safe-sex mantra — always thought of it as “a government-invented advocacy program.”  Researching Richard’s life, and poring through his vast print and video archives, Daryl realized safe sex actually resulted from “the tireless efforts of many fervent activists who paved the way for change.”

Today — with HIV rates again on the rise — Daryl knew this was a movie he had to make.

He spent months interviewing doctors, scientists, activists — and Richard himself.  Learning how many men died in the fight — both personal and societal — against AIDS, moved and impelled him.

The resulting documentary — “Sex Positive” — has received superb reviews at dozens of film festivals.  A Maryland reviewer wrote:

Sex Positive brings back all the horror, sadness, anger, and confusion of the early days of AIDS…. In the process, it offers a portrait of what it’s like to be a messenger burned for carrying an unpopular message — and offers a wake-up call to anyone who may, thanks to the medications that exist for checking and minimizing the symptoms of AIDS, once again live their sex lives as though immune, invincible, or just unconcerned.

“Angels in America” playwright Tony Kushner called it “a beautiful and important story.”

Richard’s book was recently reissued.  “He’s been brought out of hibernation,” Daryl says proudly.  “He’s back to actively promoting the safe sex cause all over the world.”

People often ask, Daryl says, how “a 25-year-old straight filmmaker ends up telling the story of a 53-year-old gay AIDS activist-ex S&M hustler.”  Daryl calls it his “generational duty” to do so.

After 8 years of Bush-backed abstinence-only sex education, Daryl says, “there couldn’t be a more essential time.  I feel I have to challenge complacency by instilling the values of those forgotten heroes, some of whom died in the fight.  One is still standing.”

(“Sex Positive” premieres this Friday, June 12, at the Quad Cinema, 34 W. 13th St., NYC.  Daryl and Richard will be there opening weekend for Q&As after the film.  Advance tickets are available through www.moviefone.com or by calling 212-255-2243.  The website is www.sexpositivethemovie.com.  To view the trailer, click here.)
Sex Positive