Photo Credit: Drew Altizer
This week, the social set kicked things off with a very powerful political statement at the San Francisco premiere of the documentary The Mask You Live In. The film, which was produced, written, and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom (wife of possible-future Governor, current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom) examines the state of masculinity in America. “We want to start a national conversation that redefines what it means to be a man,” Siebel Newsom said before a packed house at the Premier Theater in the Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio on Monday night. Before the screening, she quickly thanked her amazing team and mumbled to herself more than the crowd, “I’m trying to think. Who else do I need to thank?” When suddenly her charming and charismatic spouse chimed in, “your husband?” The crowd laughed at the delicate dynamics between the power couple before growing somber at the start of the serious and impactful film.
The movie is a follow up to Siebel Newsom’s critically acclaimed debut documentary, Miss Representation, an eye-opening portrayal of the media’s poor interpretation of the modern day woman. The Mask You Live In delves deeper by looking at the lives of young boys, pre-teens, and teenagers. It illustrates how we as a nation are currently failing our boys by pressuring them “to man up.” The film demonstrates how an extreme repression of emotion causes young men to act out violently.
The 300 or so VIPs who gathered to view the film were so moved that they honored Siebel Newsom with a standing ovation at the end of the movie. A rapid question and answer segment that featured prominent figures from the film (including Ashanti Branch, a motivational educator born and raised by a single mother in Oakland and James Steyer, the founder and CEO of Common Sense Media) was followed by a change of scenery. “Isn’t it time we go to a party at Brooks Brothers?” Siebel Newsom asked the group as the panel came to a close. The well dressed group, including Joy Bianchi, Olga Dzilikhova, Nathan Ballard, Geoff Callan, Mary Gonsalves Kinney, and Kimberly Bakker, headed downtown for an after party at the Brooks Brother flagship.
The group was buzzing about the film and everyone was happy to praise the content and more importantly, the message. The rosemary greyhounds, bubbles, and Cade Sauvignon Blanc flowed freely as the crowd mingled, relaxed on the 4th floor’s plush lounges and enjoyed the tunes of a blonde DJ who looked like she could be Siebel Newsom’s sister. The delectable bites, from the Plumpjack group, included mini grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, bite-sized pigs-in-a-blanket, crab cakes, and beef tenderloin crostini.