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Serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities since 1971

ride, viewed as a puzzle, lets all of our varied communities come together. We identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, black, white, Asian, Jewish, drag, leather, daddy, older, younger, and more. We are all pieces of society, and making those pieces fit into the puzzle that is life is our challenge – and oftentimes we have to confront those whose aim is to relegate us to second-class status or who support outdated ideologies that lead to discrimination. The puzzle analogy is visualized in the cover art by gay local graphic artist Kenshi Westover. Inside this special Pride section, you will find stories of success, perseverance, overcoming adversity, and challenging the status quo. These themes are illustrated through articles on a gay social club, the Billys, and San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s groundbreaking policy to stop classifying transgender inmates who have not had surgery according to their birth sex, meaning that trans women would be housed with women in jail. This year’s San Francisco Pride community grand marshals and other honorees are also profiled – they are a diverse group of people who have started their own businesses, fostered social change, and improved the lives of others.

Vol. 45 • No. 26 • June 25-July 1, 2015

In the news section, you’ll find all that you need to know about Saturday’s new Pink Party and Sunday’s parade and festival, along with other local coverage. The arts section includes a look at the Frameline film festival and other happenings. Along with our coverage of multiple arts events, we have expanded nightlife listings in the BARtab section with information on every notable LGBTQ event this week, and an exclusive interview with Pride main stage headliner, Steve Grand. No matter what the U.S. Supreme Court decides in the marriage case, the LGBT community still has much work ahead combating bias, hate violence, and workplace discrimination. Trans people are still unable to serve openly in the military. Even in a city as diverse as San Francisco, in one of the most liberal areas of the country, the Bay Area, there are those who abhor us. Just read our story about a gay Latino mural in the Mission district that’s been hit by graffiti vandals – three times this month. So as you celebrate this Pride weekend, keep in mind that this is just the beginning of a renewed effort to achieve equality for all. Happy Pride.


Kenshi Westover



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Pride 2015>>

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 3

The Billys foster lifelong bonds

All Inclusive All Embracing All Loving

Dave Hall Photography

Chris Caldwell, left, and Kabhir Pacheco relax at a Billys gathering.

by Matthew S. Bajko


t age 56 Robert Zarren was living life for the first time as an out gay man, a number of years after having divorced from his wife, the mother of his two teenage children. “I just didn’t realize why it was such a struggle with me with women until much later in life. I was determined to be a father; I really wanted to have children and carry on the family name,” said Zarren, who lives in Sebastopol and turns 60 on June 26. “It wasn’t until four years ago that I became authentic with myself and free and clear.” The process began when he met a man at a Christmas party in Marin County and they starting going out. To ring in New Year’s, his date brought him to a celebration hosted by the Billys, a social group for gay, bisexual, and transgender men. The encounter for Zarren, it would turn out, would be revelatory and life changing. “A big part of my coming clear is within four months of coming out I found the Billy community or it found me. I like to say it was beyond my doing; the spirit was involved,” said Zarren, who started his own design consulting business two years ago after being laid off from Knoll, the design furniture company he had worked at for 15 years. A few days after the party Zarren attended his first Billys gathering, where members of the group convene over a weekend to take part in various activities and fellowship building exercises. Nearly all are held at Saratoga Springs Retreat Center, a gay-owned facility two and a half hours north of San Francisco in Lake County. “First of all, it changed my life overnight. I went from being very isolated and coming out with no community and no friends,” recalled Zarren, who this spring joined the Billys board of directors, “to having a whole community of lifetime friends.” The Billys traces its history to 1988, when a group of men involved with the Mendocino County AIDS Volunteer Network hosted a “Good Times Gathering For Rural Gay Men” over the Memorial Day weekend. “Having an isolated lifestyle made living with AIDS much more challenging, and made it more important to find other gay men who lived rurally so we could support one another,” wrote Billys cofounder Ron Vanscoyk in a personal history about the group. “This was also true for those of us who did not have AIDS, yet longed for contact with other gay men since we were so few and far between.” In attendance at the first gathering was Bill Blackburn, 68, who today lives in Camp Meeker, an unincorporated community in Sonoma County located on the Bohe-

mian Highway, between Occidental and Monte Rio. Also formerly married to a woman “happily for 13 years,” Blackburn said that, “early on in my marriage I discovered I was attracted to men. Before that I was totally repressed as a good Catholic guy.” Sixty-five men from Sonoma, Humboldt, Lake, and Mendocino counties in northern California took part in the inaugural Billys weekend, said Blackburn, who would go on to serve on the Billys board for eight years, including a term as president. “We met at somebody’s undeveloped land where we had a pond we swam in. We made our food and shared that and sat around and told stories,” recalled Blackburn.


Senator Mark Leno

Heart circle

The men also formed a circle and took turns speaking about whatever was on their minds. “One memory that sticks out most in my mind from that first circle was there were two men sitting beside each other. They were grizzled, backwoods looking guys with long hair and big beards,” said Blackburn. “One said, ‘I thought I was the only person living in this county who is gay.’ His nearest neighbor was sitting beside me. They had never been out together until they saw each other there.” The heart circle, held daily during Billys gatherings, is a main draw for many participants. The group promotes the ritual as a way to bind members “together in a deep brotherhood.” “Our core defining ritual is the heart circle,” said Blackburn. “We sit for hours each morning, pass a talisman heart rock, and speak deeply from the heart about whatever is in the moment for us.” As for the name the Billys, it is derived from The Billy Club, the name of a handmade card business owned by one of the group’s co-founders, Richard DiGiulio. When sending out invites to the second gathering, held over Labor Day weekend in 1988, the organizers “kinda got lazy and didn’t want to hand write the return address on all of them,” explained Vanscoyk in his history of the group. They instead used a rubber stamp with the name and P.O. Box address for DiGiulio’s business. Billy was also a term of affection between DiGiulio and his boyfriend at the time, Terry Brown, another cofounder of the group. “As it happened, when Terry and Richard got together, Richard had recently broken up with a man named Terry and didn’t feel nearly as warm to the name of this new man in his life as he did to the man himself,” according to Vanscoyk’s history of the Billys. “Wanting to speak affectionately to each other (as lovers do) they See page 6 >>

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Supervisor Mark Farrell

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4 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


Picture uneven for local LGBT inmates behind bars by Seth Hemmelgarn


Proud to represent y it our LGBT commun ge e as Community Coll Board Trustee. These LGBT leaders support me for my campaign this November, I hope you will too. Endorsed by: Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins • State Senator Mark Leno • Supervisor Scott Wiener • Former Supervisor Bevan Dufty • Former City College Trustees Lawrence Wong, Leslie Katz, and Andrea Shorter • Democratic County Central Committee Members Zoe Dunning*, Rebecca Prozan*, and Francis Tsang* • Human Rights Commission Executive Director Theresa Sparks* *For identification purposes only

Vote for Alex Randolph on November 3, 2015!


ith San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s recent announcement that he plans to stop classifying transgender inmates who have not had surgery according to their birth sex, the city is ahead of other local agencies. The move by Mirkarimi, which he and his office have been working with transgender advocates on for over a year, would mean that trans women would no longer be housed with men. The same would be true for transgender men, but the jail population generally sees more trans women inmates. Other local agencies aren’t yet considering such plans, citing concerns for inmate safety. Many have called attention to problems faced by LGBT inmates more generally, including assaults by other inmates and even staff. But finding data that reflects that is difficult. Like other agencies, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department doesn’t break down inmate grievance data by sexual orientation or gender identity. Even if such information was compiled, some say it wouldn’t be that useful, because inmates are afraid to report incidents, and their stories won’t show up in the data. In an interview last week, Mirkarimi said his office’s changes involving transgender people “will elevate the voice of the transgender population” and bring “more awareness and more participation.” Trans inmates who have had surgery are already housed based on their preferred gender identity, the sheriff ’s department said. Trans inmates also have access to hormones. Mirkarimi said people in custody “are instructed on how to file a

From all of us in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, we wish you a happy 2015 LGBT Pride Celebration, and proudly join you to honor 45 years of shared struggle for “Equality Without Exception.” With pride, DENNIS J. HERRERA

June 26, 2013, at San Francisco City Hall: Celebrating San Francisco’s victory as a co-plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case that won marriage equality for same-sex couples in California.

Jane Philomen Cleland

An inmate who did not want their face shown sits in the housing area used for transgender inmates at the San Francisco jail.

grievance,” as is required by law. The most common problems reflected in the agency’s data from this year, reviewed by the Bay Area Reporter, are related to commissary and medical care. Grievances about staff were among the least frequent. Asked about the possibility of inmates being afraid to report problems involving staff because of fear of retaliation, Mirkarimi said that’s why his office has a Prisoner Legal Services unit, which is overseen by a civilian and provides “a check” to the system. If there are grievances about staff, “I really want to know about that,” he said. But Mirkarimi expressed confidence that the lack of complaints about people who work in his agency is an accurate gauge of how they handle their jobs. The “vast” majority of staff in the jails are “outstanding, committed, and dedicated” he said, and the “absence of grievances reflects that.” When there are problems, though, the consequences can be serious. “The penalty for staff who ignore or minimize a grievance or complaint are also quite severe,” Mirkarimi said, adding, “People have lost their jobs over this.” Like many other agencies, the San Francisco Sheriff ’s Department doesn’t track whether complaints are coming from LGBTs. Mirkarimi said it could be worth adding information about how people identify to his agency’s grievance data, but officials have to be careful “not to violate [inmates’] civil rights by forcing any self-identification,” since they may not want to share that information. Flor Bermudez, director of the Detention Project, which works to end the abuse of transgender and gender non-conforming people in prison and similar institutions, also noted that in order for data to be broken down by sexual orientation and gender identity, people would need to self-identify, and there first needs to be “a cultural shift” for that to be safe. The Detention Project is part of the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center. “Policy changes need to come from above,” Bermudez, a lesbian ciswoman, said, and officials “need to give the message that transgender people are going to be respected in their gender identity.” Until “that happens, and there is adequate training of correctional staff,” and other changes are made, “it is not safe to either self-identify or complain.” Jennifer Orthwein, the Detention Project’s senior counsel, said in an email, “We have heard from

numerous trans women over the years” who have had problems with the San Francisco Sheriff ’s Department, “generally alleging” they have been misgendered, faced verbal and physical harassment, and other complaints. Orthwein couldn’t provide more specific details on the allegations. In 2007 and 2008, transgender women filed lawsuits against sheriff’s Deputy Scott Neu and others, claiming Neu had sexually assaulted them while they were in custody. The city eventually settled those cases. More recently, Neu was one of the deputies who allegedly forced inmates to fight each other and gambled on the bouts. The FBI and others are investigating the allegations. Mirkarimi’s office has been working to terminate Neu, who the B.A.R. hasn’t been able to reach for comment. Some say that when inmates have problems, they don’t go to authorities. Bermudez said people may take complaints “to advocates and friends” rather than institutions “because they’re afraid of retaliation.”

Courtesy Tiffany Woods

Tiffany Woods works with trans people at the Tri-City Health Center.

‘A much-needed change’

The changes that have been proposed in San Francisco are not on the horizon in Alameda County, where transgender inmates are housed separately from other inmates. Tiffany Woods, coordinator of the TransVision program at the Fremont-based Tri-City Health Center, called Mirkarimi’s efforts “a muchneeded change.” Woods said people’s transgender identities “should be respected,” and inmates shouldn’t be classified based on their genitalia. “In most cases, if you’re on hormones, your penis isn’t working anyway,” Woods, who’s transgender, said.


Pride 2015>> with other males, there can be mistakes made. It’s been my experience that deputies are pretty respectful and try to use proper pronouns or just not use them at all.” He didn’t know whether transgender people in custody have access to hormones. Last year, according to information provided by the Alameda County Sheriff ’s office, inmates filed 30 reports complaining of sexual assault or harassment. Several of them were determined to be unfounded. The data weren’t broken down by sexual orientation or gender identity. Nelson indicated he didn’t see any value in doing that. Jane Philomen Cleland

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, shown here with department leaders, is finalizing a new policy that would see trans women who have not had surgery housed with female inmates.

From what she’s heard, Woods, who frequently works with people who’ve been incarcerated, said she doesn’t think life for transgender inmates is “as bad as it used to be. ... I don’t hear a lot of bad stories at all.” “They’re away from the main population, so they’re not getting all the violence,” she said. Orthwein, who identifies as genderqueer, thinks it can be a problem when LGBT inmates are placed in separate housing. “When inmates are housed together because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, they tend to be susceptible to discrimination and assault, because essentially they are being outed and can be easily targeted by other inmates and staff,” and they lack access to programming and appropriate recreation, she said. Housing people separately based on their sexual orientation or gender identity without a court order violates the standards of the national Prison Rape Elimination Act, as does using someone’s birth sex as the only means of determining where someone should be kept.

Alameda County Sheriff’s office spokesman Sergeant J.D. Nelson

Sergeant J.D. Nelson, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff ’s office, seemed unfamiliar with the part of PREA related to housing people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. People are housed based on their birth sex, so that transgender women who have not had surgery are placed in housing with men, Nelson said. However, he said, they’re placed in protective custody

and thrives on ou June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 5

“for their safety.” A concern in San Francisco has been that transgender inmates lack access to programs when they’re housed separately. In Alameda County, Nelson said, people in protective custody have the same access to programs as everyone else, but keeping them separate is for their own good. “Historically,” he said, when people “find out that somebody is gay or transgender, aggressive inmates will utilize that and take advantage of that,” assuming that the LGBT inmates are “weaker.” That problem “doesn’t happen very often,” Nelson said, because staff work “to make sure that doesn’t happen.” “We don’t want people to come in here and get raped. That’s the bottom line,” he said. Asked if he could see Alameda County changing its classification policy, as San Francisco is, Nelson said, “Not at this particular time,” but “anything can change.” Using himself as a hypothetical example, he said there’s a “risk” to not housing people based on their birth sex. “I get arrested, and I say I identify as a female, so now I go in the female housing,” Nelson said. “You see there can be some inherent problems with that?” He said he understands Mirkarimi’s stance, “but our reality is so many people try to game the system, you run a tremendous risk of something bad happening” if trans women who have not had surgery are placed in women’s housing. Gay and lesbian inmates aren’t necessarily put into protective custody, Nelson said. “There are gay men in the general housing population,” Nelson said, and there are lesbians housed with other women. In an email exchange, Nelson said sheriff ’s staff are trained under PREA standards, and “We do our best to ensure that our inmates are not harmed while in custody, but in minimum housing units there is one deputy for 300-plus inmates.” Woods, the trans advocate, said she’s heard that transgender inmates in Alameda County are still “regularly” misgendered, with guards purposefully using the wrong pronouns. Nelson said, “If you are housed

Cheers to the Historic 45th Anniversary of the San Francisco


Santa Clara County

Policies in Santa Clara County, about an hour south of San Francisco, are similar to those in the East Bay. Sergeant James Jensen, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff ’s office, said medical personnel determine whether someone is male or female, but he indicated it’s likely transgender women who have not had surgery would still be housed with men. Jensen said, though, that his agency has just started looking at “changing our policies and procedures,” so that trans women may be housed with ciswomen. A B.A.R. review of Santa Clara County Sheriff ’s office data show that out of just over 19,000 records from January 2010 through April 2015, about 75 were related to harassment, and four pertained to rape, but they can’t be broken down by sexual orientation or gender identity, and it’s not clear whether the harassment involved perceptions about either. Jensen said more information on what happened in those incidents isn’t readily available, since the grievances aren’t stored digitally, but citing another agency staffer, he said LGBT-related complaints are rare. He supported adding a column to the data to indicate whether someone’s LGBT. “I definitely think that would help all of us in better serving our community,” he said. When inmates enter custody, they can get a book that includes instructions on reporting incidents, and they’re advised of PREA. LGBTs are placed into protective custody, as are people who fear for their safety, and others. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, if they tell us they’re LGBT, we would place them in protective custody for their own safety,” Jensen said, “even if they don’t request it.” When someone’s in protective custody, a deputy walks with them any time they’re in the general population. Protective custody isn’t the same as solitary confinement, and it doesn’t limit access to programs, Jensen said. He didn’t know when or how the practice of keeping them in protective custody came about, “but we are charged with their safety while they’re in our custody,” and the agency’s concerned about liability, Jensen said. One transgender inmate in See page 26 >>


Scott Wiener


I am proud to be part of our LGBTQ Community and happy to stand strong for our equality.

San Francisco Treasurer

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6 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015



From page 3

fished around for another affectionate name they could call one another. Annette seemed a bit too demure, and Bronco seemed a bit too bold. Billy – now there was a name even Goldilocks would like – just right! It is indeed a name of affection to this day. (Imagine we could have been the Annette Club!).” More than 100 men showed up for the second two-day Billys gathering. By 1990 the group began inviting men from the more urban Bay Area to attend, forever changing the dynamic of the group. “Honestly, the influx of city men has changed the whole dynamics of our gatherings,” acknowledged Blackburn. “Before, the people getting together were talking about road paving and road grading and hydroelectric power systems. Now it is a whole different thing, with people talking about opera or city things.” Over time the numbers of rural men participating declined while those from San Francisco and the surrounding cities have continued to increase. It led to questions on if

the group should limit its focus to just rural men. “We came to realize gay men in the city can be just as isolated as somebody sitting out in the distant rural countryside,” said Blackburn. “We felt it was really important to be open for anybody who felt they needed us. We are no longer a rural organization.” Through the Billys Blackburn has met most of his gay friends. And in the early years, recalled Blackburn, the group cared for those felled by AIDS and consoled the loved ones they left behind. “The Billys helped countless men die and helped countless men grieve and go on to survive,” he said. To this day the comfort and support Billys provide one another is a defining aspect of the group. Kensington resident Peter Carleton, 75, went to his first Billys event in 2010 a year after the death of his husband, Simon Karlinsky, whom he had been with 35 years. The leader of a grief group he attended, where he was the only gay person, suggested he check out the Billys. “It was a good safe place to be,” said Carleton, who works in cogni-

Dave Hall Photography

RJ Raskin, left, Dave Hall, and Jim Tvarian share a hug at a Billys gathering.

tive linguistics psychology and philosophy spirituality. “It was a feeling this really could be my tribe or this is my tribe.” The heart circle, in particular, provided him an outlet to grieve his partner in a safe space with other gay men. “The heart circle was really important to me. You get to vent and share and listen from the heart,” said Carleton, who has been to roughly

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15 gatherings since joining the Billys. “I could talk about really intimate things that happened around my husband’s death I could not talk about in the other group.” Phat Huynh, 54, a self-employed jewelry and watch repairer who lives in San Leandro, also credits the Billys with helping him after the deaths of his partner, Jim Hughson, and a former lover, Richard Seguin, within a nine month span in 2012. Without the Billys, “I would have probably gone crazy,” said Huynh. “Because of them, it helped me get through a rough time. I am very in debt to the Billys.” He volunteers with the Billys as a way to give back to the organization. “It is very positive for me being a Billy. They have enriched my life so much,” said Huynh. “I can say the Billys saved my life now.”

Billys welcome with open arms

With the Billys growing in popularity and size, the members decided to formally organize themselves as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Not only did it provide a way to raise money – $18,000 to $25,000 a year – it also created a board of directors who could manage the gatherings. The Billys current board president is Alameda resident Michael Eccles, 57, the director of alumni relations at UCSF. He and his husband, Michael Towne, 50, joined the group in 2009 after tiring of the bear bar scene that had become the focal point of their social life. “We were going out to the Castro drinking and having that kind of experience. After awhile it didn’t feel very fulfilling. We needed something new in our life,” said Eccles. Towne learned about the Billys while attending a Radical Faerie gathering held in Oregon. The couple, together 21 years, attended their first Billys gathering over the July Fourth weekend. “From the very first minute it was amazing because it was a truly accepting and amazing community feeling. Everyone was nice,” recalled Eccles. “We were accepted from the moment we walked in the door and became part of the group.” It is a story Eccles hears time and again from newcomers to the Billys. “We work hard so everybody who comes to the Billys feels like they have belonged there forever,” he said. The Billys are a particularly welcoming group for those men aging out of the gay bar scene, said Eccles, and feeling like they have no other outlet for forming friendships and socializing with like-minded men. “One thing I don’t feel like we are good at as a community is what we do with people as they sort of age out of the Castro area,” he said. “There are not a lot of places for older gay men to feel accepted, loved, and challenged when the community no longer feels warm and inviting to you ... I don’t think we are as supportive of older people as we are to our younger selves.” Since joining the group, Eccles and Towne have formed lasting friendships with other men with whom they routinely get together

Dave Hall Photography

Kevin Ward, left, joins Frank Salmeri outdoors at a Billys gathering.

for dinner or take trips. “Through the Billys we found a community and friendships we know we will have the rest of our life. They are our brothers and best friends,” said Eccles. “We have created a huge circle of friends that is just invaluable to us.” Any man at least 18 years of age is welcome to become a Billy; the group is free to join. The cost to attend one of the six gatherings the group hosts throughout the year averages $100 a night, which includes lodging and food. There is a scholarship fund to help those on a limited budget attend. The largest gathering occurs over the Fourth of July weekend, attracting 100 to 150 of the nearly 1,000 Billys members. While that weekend is men only, women are invited to attend several of the group’s other gatherings, such as the annual New Year’s party. All Billys gatherings are alcoholand drug-free. “It is really incredible to be in a space like that with everything based on your real authentic self, your real person,” said Eccles. “Having no drugs, no alcohol adds to the experience of feeling connected in a true way.” One of the bigger misperceptions about the Billys, said members, is that their weekend gatherings are just an excuse to meet men for sexual encounters. “We are a sex-positive group. When you bring a bunch of gay men together there is bound to be sex. But we are not focused on sex,” said Eccles. “Our favorite, and also our nemesis, reputation is we are a bunch of guys who like to have sex in the woods. If only it were so true we were getting tons and tons of sex. But that is not who we are.” With the majority of members white men, the Billys have made it a priority to recruit more men of color to join the group. They are also trying to bring in younger men, as most Billys are 40 or older. “We are definitely working on increasing our diversity,” said Eccles. The group now has its own website and Facebook page, attracting men from across the country and the globe who have traveled to California to take part in a Billys gathering. This year there will be a special weekend just for transgender men, called Transmission, and a man who lives in southern California is trying to launch a Billys chapter in that part of the state. “Anything we have is open source for anybody who wants to use it,” said Eccles. Billys members will be manning the gates at this weekend’s Pride celebration in San Francisco and staffing a booth to drum up interest in the group. “We have a really good thing. It is really stupid to hide it from people, especially when you need new people to keep it going along,” sad Eccles.t For more information about the Billys, visit the group’s website at

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<< Grand Marshals

8 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


Garza making Black Lives Matter with Pride by Yael Chanoff and Chanelle Ignant


his month, the global LGBTQ community will celebrate Pride. But for Alicia Garza, a San Francisco Pride community grand marshal, the Black Lives Matter uprising across the country in recent years has been the best Pride she could ask for. “The last couple of years have really kind of demonstrated what black, queer pride looks like. It’s black queer and trans people filling the streets. Leading demonstrations, leading protests. Leading a new vision for what our world can and should look like,” Garza said. In 2012, Garza authored a Facebook post ending in the three words that mobilized a nation around police violence against the black community. Garza’s initial post that proclaimed “Black Lives Matter” was a response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin. She’s now a cofounder of a worldwide Black Lives Matter movement, along with two other women, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors. All three are queer, and have worked to center queer and trans leadership in the movement. It’s part of what’s made Black Lives Matter so powerful. Garza, 34, grew up in Marin County, and she’s since lived in San Francisco and Oakland. She’s now the special projects director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance. In 2012, when Black Lives Matter first went viral, Garza was coexecutive director at People Organized to Win Employment Rights, a nonprofit based in the Bayview. She headed campaigns to fight Lennar, a developer that scooped up acres of waterfront land for a pittance, and

Alana Perino

Alicia Garza listens to speakers at a Black Lives Matter panel discussion in January.

for free Muni for youth. But when she was fighting these local economic battles, she said, it was through a lens of queer black liberation. “I think they’re actually inseparable,” Garza said, especially when many queer people have a harder time accessing housing and employment. “Being excluded from the formal labor market means that you have a much harder time accessing health benefits and services, accessing housing, food. All of the basic necessities that we need to survive.” At POWER, Garza always encouraged leadership by the most marginalized, said Jaron Browne, who was an organizer there at the time. Browne remembers when Garza’s initial Black Lives Matter post began

to catch fire. “She was like, ‘This thing that I started is going crazy.’ It was so clear, this is really the historical moment that Alicia’s been waiting for,” Browne said. Still, Browne said, because of how quickly the words caught on, it was easy to forget that Garza had been the first to write it. Browne wasn’t the only one – as Black Lives Matter was shared, it was also co-opted and used in ways that erased its focus on black liberation. Garza addressed this – and the need to recognize queer black women’s leadership in the movement – in an essay for Feminist Wire that was widely shared as a founding document of the movement.

“It was clear how significant the phrase was, as well as the significant role that [Garza, Tometi and Cullors] played in navigating these political questions of the movement,” Browne said. After two years of gaining traction on Tumblr, and then Twitter, and making some news, a critical mass of people began to proclaim that Black Lives Matter during last summer’s protests in Ferguson, Missouri after a white police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. Garza was part of organizing a series of “Freedom Rides” that brought black supporters of the movement to Ferguson. There, she said, organizers used multiple strategies to cultivate and centralize queer leadership. “The first thing that we do is one, we name that this needs to be a part of the conversation. And we try to do a lot of political education around why. The other thing that we do is we’re very intentional about making sure that queer and trans lives are at the center of our planning processes, and that we kind of adopt strategies that allow for the participation of queer and trans folks,” Garza said. It’s now been more than 300 days since protests began in Ferguson, and the movement hasn’t slowed down. On May 21, a dozen black trans and cis women, recalling West African nude protest traditions, stood in the middle of San Francisco’s Market Street, chests bare and messages ringing clear. The protest, which was part of a National Day of Action for Black Women and Girls, was organized by the Blackout Collective. “It was really important to that team that we not just talk about the bodies of cis women,” Garza said. “That black trans women were a part of planning and executing that ac-

tion. And I think we see that across the country, that folks are not just doing the kind of politics of inclusion piece – which is like, let’s have a trans person speak or let’s have a queer person speak – but really making sure that queer and trans people are part of the planning, the execution, and the visioning of what our activities look like and feel like.”

Irony of her selection

But if these demonstrations, led by queer black people and celebrating a liberatory future, are the real queer pride, how does Garza feel about being honored at San Francisco Pride, the corporate party edition? “It is ironic that Black Lives Matter would be chosen as community grand marshal for the Pride parade, in a city that is hemorrhaging black people and black families faster than any major U.S. city outside of postKatrina New Orleans,” Garza said. She’s also concerned about the corporatization of Pride, particularly, this year, with sponsorship by Facebook. The company has been the target of protests since last fall for a policy of deleting accounts that don’t use “real” names, which has amounted to discrimination against trans people and drag performers on the site, according to the My Name Is campaign and other groups. “It has impacted queer and trans people who have used that service in a very negative way. It’s a big contradiction,” Garza said. Following a spirited protest at the social media company’s Mountain View headquarters earlier this month, Justin Osofsky, Facebook’s vice president of global operations, said in a post that the company is now acting quicker when name issues arise. See page 26 >>

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<< Pride Honorees

10 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


Pink triangle co-founder wants people to remember history by Khaled Sayed

“I realized many people thought the pink triangle was some sort of abstract symbol to represent the LGBT movement, and didn’t know of its tragic origins.”


e is credited with bringing an increased awareness of Nazi atrocities during World War II to a new generation of LGBT people and their straight allies. Now, Patrick Carney will be honored by the San Francisco Pride board of directors as the iconic pink triangle installation he cofounded marks its 20th anniversary. Carney is this year’s Gilbert Baker Pride Founder’s Award recipient, and was selected by the board of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee. For the 20th year, Carney, assisted by a large group of volunteers, will install the giant pink triangle atop Twin Peaks over Pride weekend, June 27-28. The brief installation – the triangle is only up from Saturday morning to Sunday evening – is meant to convey a history lesson and perhaps inspire people to learn more about a Pride symbol rooted in humiliation and discrimination. The pink triangle was used by the Nazis in concentration camps to identify and shame homosexuals. In the camps, gays were forced to wear the pink triangle on their breast pockets to identify them and to set them apart from other prisoners. Of course, it wasn’t just the gays who were forced to wear identifying patches. Jews had to wear yellow, Gypsies were forced to wear brown, and so on. But beginning more than two decades ago, LGBTs started to reclaim the pink triangle, turning it into a symbol of Pride. The pink triangle that’s installed on Twin Peaks has been admired by locals and visitors alike, and first appeared in 1996. It’s made up of more than 175 bright pink canvasses and measures 200 feet across. It is close to an acre in size and, depending on the weather, can be seen for nearly 20 miles. Carney said he was pleasantly

–Patrick Carney

Khaled Sayed

Pink triangle co-founder Patrick Carney hopes people enjoy – and learn from – this year’s 20th annual installation.

surprised when informed of the Pride award. “I am honored by the acknowledgement of nearly two decades of the pink triangle educational effort and hope it might remind others of the many struggles our forebears went through to get to where we are as a community today; they made great sacrifices which we can only imagine,” he told the Bay Area Reporter. He said that he hopes the recognition will “shine a light” on the “hardships so many LGBTs around the world still face today in countries such as Uganda, Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Brunei,

Yemen, and Russia.” “Unfortunately, the list goes on and on,” he added. Carney, 59, grew up in central Washington state in Bridgeport and Ellensburg, He moved to Palmdale, in southern California, when he was in high school. “I moved to the Bay Area a month after Harvey Milk was assassinated,” he said, referring to the November 1978 murders of Milk, the first openly gay supervisor, and Mayor George Moscone by disgruntled exsupervisor Dan White. In 1979, Carney attended UC Berkeley, graduating with a master

of architecture degree in 1980, and he began his career as an architect, later moving to San Francisco. Two years after the installations started, Carney incorporated a public ceremony commemorating the unveiling of the pink triangle. Political leaders, SF Pride officials, and grand marshals attend, along with interested community members. “I realized many people thought the pink triangle was some sort of abstract symbol to represent the LGBT movement, and didn’t know of its tragic origins,” Carney said. “The ceremony reminds people of where the pink triangle came from and the horrors of its original intent.” State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) has spoken at all the pink triangle commemoration ceremonies. He praised Carney’s work. “I first met Patrick as creator and organizer of the pink triangle and I was immediately charmed by him and his creation,” Leno said. “From conception through execution, the installation is a community accomplishment on multiple levels. I will forever be a huge fan of Patrick Carney and his artistry.” As a gay, Jewish man Leno is familiar with the history of the pink triangle and the yellow Star of David. “The Nazis were very specific in

their stratification of those they were determined to destroy,” Leno said. “The fact that our LGBT community has successfully reclaimed the pink triangle as a symbol and source of pride speaks to our resiliency and strength.” Now that the pink triangle has been reclaimed by the LGBT community all over the world as a symbol of pride, Carney said its origins should not be overlooked. “We must never forget how it started or the hatred of the past,” he said. “The Holocaust must never be forgotten.” He talked about what the annual pink triangle installation means to him. “The pink triangle is a visible, yet mute reminder of man’s inhumanity to man,” Carney said. “It is accomplished by a small group of volunteers who, on a tiny budget, construct a gigantic pink triangle on Twin Peaks. We must remind people of the hatred and prejudice of the past to help educate others and try to prevent such hatred from happening again.” Carney has organized the installation and commemoration ceremony every year since it began. He is cofounder of the display and the sole founder of the annual commemoraSee page 24 >>



Congratulations On The 45th Anniversary Of San Francisco Pride

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<< Grand Marshals

12 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

EQUALITY WITHOUT EXCEPTION Thank you Bay Area Reporter readers for choosing Kaiser Permanente for a “Bestie” — “BEST HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.” When you embrace equality, it helps lead to a healthier, happier community. We want everyone to feel their best. Kaiser Permanente is proud to have a long history as a major sponsor of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade. And we’re always proud to be your partner in health. Look for our float in the parade lineup on June 28.


Olivia’s Dlugacz is a traveling trailblazer by Cynthia Laird


he’s been an entrepreneur in the women’s community for most of her professional life, founding a record company and then moving on to cofounding a successful lesbian-focused travel business. Now, Judy Dlugacz will be front and center in Sunday’s Pride parade, where she’s one of the community grand marshals. This year, Olivia Travel marks its 25th anniversary. Started in 1990, it’s now the world’s largest company serving the lesbian community, with cruises and resorts, including riverboat trips, and safaris and other adventures. Dlugacz, 63, was busy traveling this spring and not available for an interview. She and her partner, Claire Lucas, recently hosted a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C., where Dlugacz splits her time when not in San Francisco – or on an Olivia cruise. She and Lucas are also holding an event in support of Clinton Thursday in San Francisco with special guest, Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. A few months ago, when the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee announced her selection as a grand marshal, Dlugacz said she was excited to be chosen and looks forward to riding with her contingent in the parade. “I am thrilled to be chosen as a grand marshal for the most important Pride in the country,” she told the Bay Area Reporter at the time.

Irene Young

Olivia Co-Founder Judy Dlugacz

“I started going to SF Pride in 1978, the year Olivia Records moved to the Bay Area and released Lesbian Concentrate, an album of artists who came out to make musical response to Anita Bryant.” Bryant, of course, is the anti-gay former beauty queen who at the time was a spokeswoman for Florida orange juice. According to her biography on the Olivia website, Dlugacz has served as president of the company for 30plus years. She had a vision to create visibility and freedom for lesbians through her involvement with the record company and Olivia Travel. When Olivia charters a cruise or organizes a trip, it books the whole ship or resort, Dlugacz explained, See page 26 >>

This ‘Lazy Bear’ is full of Pride by Brian Bromberger


or Harry Lit, his epiphany came at poolside one day. He and his husband, Allen Eggman, were relaxing at the Triple R in Guerneville (now the R3) where they saw a poorly attended bear contest. Talking together they decided they could do a better job and started planning the first Lazy Bear Weekend in 1995. The rest is history, as Lazy Bear has become a preeminent event on the bear party circuit. Now in its 19th year, this year’s incarnation takes place July 29-August 3. Lit loves being a bear. “I have always been overweight and having a man who loves me for being larger and hairy makes me feel wonderful,” he said. “If I weren’t a bear, I wouldn’t have him.” This year, Lit is being recognized by the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee, with its Heritage of Pride, Pride Community Award, given for his outstanding service to LGBTQ communities. He will be riding in Sunday’s Pride parade. Lit, 55, was born and raised in Philadelphia. His brother, Stewart, who was five years older and a role model, died in 1984 at the age of 28 of AIDS-related complications. Lit came out at age 16. He moved to San Francisco in 1989. He met Eggman at the Lone Star Saloon 22 years ago this December. They got married at City Hall in 2008, during the brief time same-sex marriage was legal prior to the passage of the now-overturned Proposition 8 marriage ban. Their wedding was officiated by the couple’s good friend, Audrey Joseph, the former

Courtesy Scott McGillivray

Harry Lit, producer of Lazy Bear Weekend, has received this year’s Pride Community Award.

Pride main stage producer who is receiving this year’s inaugural Audrey Joseph Entertainment Award. Lit and Eggman recently relocated to the Fort Lauderdale area to take care of Lit’s mother. They will continue to organize Lazy Bear Weekend this year and next, then hand off the event to someone else to carry on the work they started. The main source of joy for Lit has been the more than $1.5 million raised for charity through Lazy Bear events over the years. “I am happy that I have been able to raise money so that nobody has to go through what my brother went through,” he said. Receiving the Pride Community Award is a great honor, but for Lit the biggest recognition he ever received was after he suffered a stroke while doing an event in Cancun, Mexico in 2010. “After all my years of fundraising, See page 26 >>

<< Grand Marshals

14 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

For Basinger, the fight for housing goes on


by David-Elijah Nahmod


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rian Basinger, director of the AIDS Housing Alliance/San Francisco, hasn’t had an easy time of it. The long-term HIV survivor left his St. Louis, Missouri home in 1981 at age 15 after coming out as gay. “There was violence in the home and at school and I was in fear of my life,” he recalled, speaking to the Bay Area Reporter from his San Francisco office. “I bought a $200 Chevy and headed west.” Basinger’s journey to San Francisco included a stop in Dallas. “I helped in the founding of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Youth Alliance when I was 17 years old,” he said. “At the time it was quite controversial – LGBT people were very, very nervous about being associated with youth. Especially those of us who were underage, sexually active, and in the firestorm of the AIDS panic. You could say that I’ve always been attracted to new movements that are at the leading edge of social change.” The longtime activist said that he wasn’t afraid of controversy. “I’m fearless that way, or stupid, still not sure,” he said. When this weekend’s San Francisco Pride parade takes place Sunday, June 28, Basinger will be one of several community grand marshals. It’s an honor that was bestowed upon him by the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee board for his work in finding – and saving – low-income housing for people with HIV/AIDS, seniors, and the disabled. Basinger, 48, said he’s gratified for the recognition. “To be appointed as one of San Francisco’s community grand marshals in the Pride parade this year, on top of everything else, is almost beyond human comprehension,” he said. “Not only do I thank everyone who has supported our collective work, I thank the universe for letting me live to see such abundance. I’m profoundly grateful.” Basinger said the mission of the alliance is simple.

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perfect delight” · worshipping many name at all · Easter bonnets to die for in the communion blessing · same-sex

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Rick Gerharter

Brian Basinger speaks at the June 17 opening of Jazzie’s Place, the city’s new shelter for LGBTQ adults.

“The greatest challenge in my work is the attitudes and morals of some of the people we elect to public office.” –Brian Basinger “We believe in a world where all people have a safe, decent, and affordable home,” Basinger said. “Toward that vision we prevent homelessness for the HIV and LGBTQ communities by protecting the housing we already have, providing resources to secure new housing, and promoting public policy to expand opportunity for all.” In addition to saving and securing housing, which the AHA has done for around 5,000 people, the agency provides over 10,000 mostly vegetarian brown bag lunches to their members each year. This program, called Simply Sandwiches, is a project that AHA coordinates with Mercy Housing; LYRIC, the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center; Episcopal Community Services; and the Coalition on Homelessness. AHA, which has an annual budget of $1.5 million – Basinger said he started the agency with $100 from his disability check in 2004 – this year received $600,000 from the city to provide housing assistance to 61 seniors living with HIV. He’s also proud of his work on the shelter for LGBTQ adults that recently opened at 1050 South Van Ness Avenue in the city’s Mission neighborhood. “Five years ago, Tommi Avicolli Mecca and I started the crusade for the nation’s first LGBTQ adult shelter, which just opened in time for Pride,” he said. “It’s named Jazzie’s Place, after our fellow activist, the late Jazzie Collins, who committed her life to fighting for transgender people, people of color, homeless folks, seniors, those of us with HIV/ AIDS, and so many more.”

Avicolli Mecca, who served as a community grand marshal last year, praised his colleague. “It is so appropriate to honor Brian as a grand marshal. Long overdue, in fact. I remember when AIDS Housing Alliance was a desk and phone in the back of my office,” said Avicolli Mecca, director of counseling programs at the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco. “Since then it’s helped house thousands of homeless people with AIDS. Brian’s is a legacy of caring to be proud of.” Basinger described some of his frustrations around housing work. “The greatest challenge in my work is the attitudes and morals of some of the people we elect to public office,” Basinger said. “It is exceptionally frustrating to witness people who are in a position to affect positive change who continually use their position to further their own career goals.” He said that his greatest disappointment is seeing people die while they wait for housing, especially when they die on the street or give up and die by suicide. “My heart breaks a little every day,” Basinger said. But the job also comes with its joys. “Without a doubt the greatest joy in my work is the shared success we have with our members who get out of homelessness and into safe, decent, and affordable housing,” he said. “The greater the challenge, the greater the reward when success is finally achieved.”t For more information, visit http://


Pride Honorees>>

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 15

History-making honor for longtime allies

Brian Bromberger

Sam and Julia Thoron received SF Pride’s Jose Julio Sarria History Maker Award.

by Brian Bromberger


or many parents in 1990, hearing their son or daughter was gay would have been a shock, perhaps eliciting anger, regret, or guilt. These feelings of remorse were not the reaction of Sam Thoron and his wife, Julia, when their daughter Liz informed them she was a lesbian. “When Liz came out we realized she had not changed, that she is the same wonderful human being she was before she shared the information with us,” Sam Thoron said. “At the same time we did not know what being a lesbian really meant for her in her life, nor what having a lesbian daughter would mean for our lives.” The Thorons figured there must be a group that could help them become more informed, so they joined the San Francisco chapter of PFLAG (formerly Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), initially as support for themselves. “Not long after, we came to the realization that support meant support for our daughter in a hostile world. Supporting her meant we needed to make a commitment to advocacy,” the couple said. The Thorons’ long-standing involvement in PFLAG and their support of equal rights for all is being recognized by the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee board of directors, which named them recipients of the Jose Julio Sarria History Maker Award. Sam Thoron, 75, said he was asked from time to time “to do things outside of my comfort zone, like making speaking appearances and public statements for TV.” “Each time I had to ask myself if I cared about equal treatment for my daughter,” he explained. “The answer is always ‘yes.’ I really never had any other choice but to go ahead and do what I was asked to do.” Starting in 1992, Sam Thoron served on PFLAG’s national board for nine years, then after a brief sabbatical became national president for four years and a member at large for another five-year stint. He has now retired from the organization. “Service on the board has been the most challenging and the most rewarding assignment I have ever undertaken,” he said. “Attempting to effect social change is always interesting. Progress is often halting, at best.” The couple was the public face of the No on 8 campaign in 2008, when they were featured in the first television commercial urging people to vote against Proposition 8, the state’s nowoverturned same-sex marriage ban. When asked if the mission of PFLAG has changed in 25 years, Sam Thoron said that in 1990 the organization was focused primarily on gay and lesbian issues. “The organization and its mis-

ou, Castro!

sion have evolved over time,” he said. “We have gradually broadened our focus to be much more inclusive, first with bi and then to trans people. Now we include the variety of orientations and the spectrum of gender identity, advocating full equality and safety for all.” While observing that acceptance about coming out is now much easier than in the past, it can still be challenging today. “Many have been socialized to believe that being LGBT is not a good thing,” Sam Thoron said. “The family member coming out rarely expects the revelation will be received as good news. For many, it is just not in the script. Abandoning the script can be wrenching. There are still wide varieties of communities in which being LGBT remains unacceptable.” Even with the likely legalization of same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the Thorons still see many areas in which LGBTs have not yet secured equal treatment, so continued advocacy and education for full equality is needed. The Thorons advise parents who learn that their child is LGBT to check out PFLAG. “Always remember that your child has not changed,” the couple said. “They have just told you a bit more about who they really are. This is a gift and an indication of trust.” Their daughter, Liz Thoron, is thrilled for the distinguished honor bestowed on her parents. “I feel their PFLAG work, although I was the catalyst for their involvement, was not in the end, about me, but about the kind of people they are,” she said. Ultimately, the Thorons see no real difference between straight folks and LGBTs. “We are all birds on the same branch,” they said. “We need to look at our similarities rather than our differences. We need to share our humanity at every level.”t

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<< Grand Marshals

t Cipriani brings disability awareness to Pride parade 16 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

by Brian Bromberger


t is the nightmare moment every LGBT person dreads, being physically attacked, which was what occurred to Belo Cipriani. In 2007, when Cipriani was 26, he was assaulted by a group of former friends in the Castro. He was repeatedly kicked in the head, and blows to his face left him blind. “I will never know why they did it – only they can answer that – but I assumed it was envy,” Cipriani told the Bay Area Reporter. “The San Francisco Police Department dropped the case due to a lack of witnesses. I did win a civil lawsuit against them. I was angry at them for a few years but forgave them the day my memoir Blind was published.” That was in 2011. This vicious attack was a life-

changing event and the transformation in the last eight years has led Cipriani, now 34, to becoming a teacher, writer, and leader in the gay disability movement and being selected as one of this year’s San Francisco Pride grand marshals. He already knows that this honor will be one of the high points of his life. “As a disabilities advocate, being named a grand marshal means that the disabled are finally being acknowledged and included in the LGBTQ festivities,” Cipriani said. “I feel that disabled people are not always a part of anything mainstream and I hope that by being the first blind grand marshal, people begin to add disability to their concept of diversity.” Diversity has been ingrained in Cipriani from the very start. He

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was born in Guatemala to a Brazilian father and an Italian mother. His first language was Portuguese, but having always attended British schools when he lived in South and Central America, he became fluent in English. His family settled in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1987. Cipriani came out to his mother when he was 16 and she was super supportive, he said, as is his whole family. “I feel very lucky to have them and I know it’s their love that has been my biggest catalyst,” Cipriani said. After he lost his sight, Cipriani went to graduate school at Notre Dame De Namur University in Belmont, where he began writing his memoir. While a writer at residence at Holy Names University (a continuing position), he authored Midday Dreams, a novella about a 1940s Portuguese family that has financial problems and is debating leaving for the United States, while discovering that one of the uncles is gay. Additionally, Cipriani has published over 300 articles in more than 30 national and international publications. Currently, he is working on a book of essays. He also writes the Seeing in the Dark column for the B.A.R. Still, there is the challenge of having to cope with a disability daily and its concomitant difficulties. “The worst thing about being blind is living in a world that’s not fully accessible,” he said. “The best thing about being blind is that I don’t judge things by their appearance.” And then there are the trials of dating for Cipriani, who is single. “I tend to meet guys through friends,” he said. “I think that my disability makes it hard to meet guys because I cannot make eye contact or smile from across the room. Thus, I have to wait for guys to make the first move. Sometimes, I feel that guys focus so much on

Brian Bromberger

Belo Cipriani and his guide dog, Oslo, will give visibility to the LGBT disability community in this year’s Pride parade.

my disability at the beginning that they don’t realize that they are being condescending. At times, I notice it’s tough for some people to understand that I live alone and that I am fully independent. One of the biggest misconceptions of a lot of gay guys I have met on dates is that I need to be taken care of.”

Helping others

Belo has been a spokesman for Guide Dogs for the Blind since 2013, representing the organization in various capacities. Most recently, he narrated Guide Dogs’ awardwinning documentary, Harnessing the Power of Partnership. And if you meet Cipriani, right beside him will be his guide dog, Oslo, a black Labrador retriever. Guide Dogs paired the two together in 2013 and they have become inseparable. “He is truly a great guide and I am thankful every day for him,” Cipriani said. “I refer to him as the dog that could almost talk.” Cipriani used to be the careers blogger for the San Francisco Chronicle and the careers correspondent for Talk 910AM KKSF. In these roles, he received many emails

from readers and listeners wanting to hear more about what was happening in his life and more about disability topics. “With my regular column, Seeing in the Dark, in the B.A.R., I hope to give a voice to the many disabled people in the LGBT community that often don’t get heard,” he said. “I think that the LGBT community has a lot of work to do to become more inclusive of people with disabilities. However, I believe some positive changes have been made and that progress is happening. For example, becoming the first blind grand marshal will make the community more aware of people with disabilities on Pride day.” To harness this opportunity at visibility and because the white cane is the national symbol for blindness, Cipriani is asking people in his contingent to wear a white shirt. “For the parade, I am having a rainbow cane made. Oslo and I will ride in the convertible and I am still working out the other details,” Cipriani said. “I want people to know that I am more than my disability. Yes, being blind is a big part of my life but it’s not all of me.” t

Couple known for generosity receives Pride service award by David-Elijah Nahmod


San Francisco couple who annually turn their front yard into a winter wonderland that draws people from around the area will be honored by the San Francisco Pride board for their years of service to the LGBTQ community. Tom Taylor and Jerome “Jerry” Goldstein have been together since 1973. They’ve become icons in the community, not only for the lifelong love they’ve shared with each other, but for their consecutive years of service to others. Longtime HIV survivors, they were told to prepare for death in 1983. Three decades later, in October 2013, they were married in a glorious ceremony performed in front of their Dolores Heights home – no less than comedy legend Bruce Vilanch introduced the couple to wedding guests, who then celebrated with a block party. But it’s the holiday season for which they are best known. The home they share has become a Christmas destination for people all over the Bay Area. Taylor and Goldstein recreate Santa’s Workshop and the North Pole on their front lawn every year – at night the lights from the hilltop abode are visible for many miles. This incomparable display is now simply known as Tom and Jerry’s Christmas Tree, as the star attraction is a decorated 65 foot tall Norfolk Island pine. They said that they first started the holiday tradition 26 years ago.

Courtesy Tom Taylor

Tom Taylor and Jerome Goldstein have provided many years of service to the LGBTQ community.

Taylor and Goldstein’s legacy goes far beyond Christmas lights. When the 2015 Pride parade commences Sunday, June 28, Taylor, 71, and Goldstein, 73, will participate as recipients of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee board’s Heritage of Pride, 10 Years of Service Award. According to SF Pride officials, the award honors “those organizations, individuals, or other entities that have contributed 10 years of consecutive service to the LGBTQ community.” The men said their home was the site of meetings and fundraisers for a variety of LGBT organizations over the years. “We have hosted at our home the San Francisco AIDS Founda-

tion’s initial meetings, Project Open Hand; the San Francisco Lesbian/ Gay Freedom Band; IGLA, the International Lesbian and Gay Association; and fundraisers for many organizations dedicated to the diversity of San Francisco,” Goldstein told the B.A.R. They also hosted an AIDS support group for many years. A noted physician, Goldstein was an original founder of Bay Area Physicians For Human Rights and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. A Jewish man, he was also an original founder of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, a historically LGBTQ synagogue. See page 26 >>


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<< Grand Marshals

18 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Elizondo revels in lifetime of service


Khaled Sayed

Felicia Elizondo sits in her San Francisco home, with the transgender flag in the background.

by Khaled Sayed


well-known transgender activist who was at the Compton’s Cafeteria riots in San Francisco in August 1966 will be riding in this weekend’s Pride parade as the lifetime achievement grand marshal. Felicia A. Elizondo, also known as Felicia Flames, received the honor from the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee’s board of directors. Elizondo, 69, is a longtime AIDS survivor and a transgender woman who was one of the participants at the Compton’s Cafeteria riots. Born in San Angelo, Texas, she first visited San Francisco in the mid-1960s but she decided to come back to San Francisco to live in the early 1990s. Knowing she was different didn’t

“I continue to hold the torch for all who fought in the 1966 Gene Compton’s Cafeteria riots, making sure they are not forgotten.” –Felicia Elizondo comfort her when she was young. “I was in the 12th grade and I left because I was being bullied,” Elizondo said in a recent interview. It’s a story that is familiar to many LGBT people around the world and in the U.S. alike. Elizondo has a long resume of things she did and jobs she excelled at. “I have been a clerk, a nurse’s aid, a receptionist, a long distance operator,” she said while catching her breath. She also worked as a customer service representative for Goodwill, and had stints at Los Gatos Community Hospital, Santa Clara Medical Center, and Catholic Charities. She also is a Vietnam veteran, having served in the Navy. “If the Navy won’t make me straight nothing will, honey,” she said, laughing while she sat on what she calls her “Czarine chair.” Behind her chair hangs the transgender flag.

Compton’s riots

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Elizondo was one of the few transgender people who witnessed the Compton’s Cafeteria riots and is still around to tell the story. The protest was an important historical moment when the LGBT community came together to defy discrimination that took place in San Francisco in 1966, three years before the more famous Stonewall riot in New York City. The exact date of the riots is unknown. Compton’s Cafeteria was part of a chain of cafeterias owned by Gene Compton, located at 101 Taylor and Turk Street from the 1940s to 1970s. “It was a hangout for the transgender community,” Elizondo said. “At that time transgender people were not welcome in most gay bars. Police used to arrest and harass transgender people at that time because crossdressing wasn’t legal.” Even though Compton’s was open 24 hours, it decided to start closing at midnight to stop transgender people from socializing there. Elizondo noted that this policy change led to a demonstration, and the San Francisco police were called because some of the transgender demonstrators allegedly were making disturbing and loud noise. After the police arrived they started arresting transgender people.

But one of the transgender women threw her coffee in the face of one of the police. That is when the situation escalated and the violence spilled out into the street. Windows were smashed, chairs and dishes were flying, and many people were arrested that night. Many of the people involved in the riot were members of Vanguard, the first known gay youth organization in the United States, according to the Wikipedia entry on the protests. “What makes this incident unusual is that the news at the time never reported on the riot,” said Elizondo. “Compton’s Cafeteria was fixed up and back to normal business the next day as if nothing had happened.” The next night more transgender people and other members of the LGBT community came together to picket Compton’s Cafeteria, demanding that transgender people be allowed back into the establishment. The newly replaced windows were smashed again, and the protests went on. “I continue to hold the torch for all who fought in the 1966 Gene Compton’s Cafeteria riots, making sure they are not forgotten,” said Elizondo, who is featured in Screaming Queens, a documentary on the riots. She also said that she is excited to be this year’s Pride lifetime achievement grand marshal. “I am honored and overwhelmed to have been chosen by the SF Pride board of directors to be the lifetime achievement grand marshal,” she said. “The new board has become more open and accepting of all communities, and that is what we need in a SF Pride board of directors; to be open minded and have an open heart, and listen to all communities.” Elizondo has been active with Openhouse, the LGBT senior agency, and is a participant in its Friendly Visitor program, as noted in a B.A.R. article earlier this year. She has also made, by her calculation, 80 panels for the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and has helped raise funds for various LGBT-centered nonprofits, including Project Open Hand, Shanti Project, and the San Francisco LGBT Community Center.t

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<< Pride Honorees

20 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


Joseph steps out from behind Pride main stage by Matthew S. Bajko


nce before, back in the early 1980s, Audrey Joseph participated in San Francisco’s annual Pride parade. That time she rode a motorcycle as part of the Dykes on Bikes contingent. This year will mark her second time participating in the parade. As the inaugural recipient of the Audrey Joseph Entertainment Award, Joseph will be riding in a car as part of her own contingent. The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee board initiated the award, which honors those who have made a significant or historical impact, or left an indelible impression, on the LGBTQ community and the movement for LGBTQ rights, through artistic expression, or through their contribution within the entertainment industry. “Quite frankly, my place is backstage, not on the stage. I was embarrassed and humbled at the same time by the whole thing,” said Joseph, adding that news of the award in her honor came as a complete surprise. “It was shocking; I was shocked.” For most of the past three decades Joseph, a member of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission, has worked behind the scenes on the city’s annual LGBT celebration. “I first worked on the main stage then that morphed into helping with the motorcycle contingent. Then I did the dance stage and

“Quite frankly, my place is backstage, not on the stage. I was embarrassed and humbled at the same time by the whole thing.” –Audrey Joseph

Courtesy Audrey Joseph

Audrey Joseph is being honored for her contributions through entertainment.

then I did the main stage,” recalled Joseph, a lesbian and former dance club owner. “I have been working on Pride probably since 1983 or 1984 in one way or another.” As the longtime main stage producer at SF Pride, Joseph each year could be found at work in the Civic Center beginning at 3 p.m. the Friday of Pride weekend until 8 p.m.

Sunday. This year she has finally stepped down and handed over the producing job to Jenn Stokes. “Maybe I will take part in the Dyke March this year. I have only

seen it once,” said Joseph, who is hosting a VIP Pride party Saturday night. As it turns out, Joseph will not be sticking around Sunday afternoon for the Pride celebration post-parade. Instead, she will be racing to the airport to catch a flight for Chicago where she will be attending an entertainment industry conference. She said she will “always miss” overseeing the main stage at Pride but is happy to let Stokes make her own mark on overseeing the entertainment lineup. “I am very big on change,” said Joseph, who declined to give her age. “I am very excited to see what Jenn is going to do.” It has been a challenging year for Joseph, who learned in early September she had ovarian cancer

and underwent 18 rounds of chemotherapy. Her cancer is now in remission, and her hair is starting to grow back. “At first I kept it a secret because I didn’t want it to become a conversation on Facebook. But it has taught me a lot of things,” said Joseph, who lost a close friend, Sashie Hyatt, to ovarian cancer in 1988. “It taught me about simplifying my life, making sure I don’t put anything off to tomorrow, and to live my life to the fullest each day.” The ordeal also showed her the power of friendship and family, as someone was always with her over the course of her five months of treatment. “It was an amazing realization about the world I live in and my community,” said Joseph.t

Midgett is living life to its fullest by Heather Cassell


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ary Midgett has lived a full life, and at 78 years old, she isn’t stopping. A ball of energy, one can hardly believe she’s nearing 80 and continues to devote her life to the LGBT community. This year the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee is honoring Midgett, a lesbian, for her commitment to the community with its Heritage of Pride, Pride Freedom Award. “I’m overwhelmed,” said Midgett, as she’s known by those close to her. “I want to thank the community for acknowledging my existence.” Midgett came to San Francisco in 1974 with her two young children in the heat of what was then called the gay liberation movement. After settling into the City by the Bay and getting a job as a teacher at Booker T. Washington Center in the Western Addition, she jumped right into the action. She got involved with Operation Concern, counseling people with addictions, and co-launched Bay Area Black Lesbians and Gays and the NIA Collective, a retreat for lesbians of African descent. She followed up that experience with facilitating and running workshops at the Becoming Visible conference and other organizations such as Lesbians and Gays of African Descent for Democratic Action, New Leaf: Services for Our Community, Old Lesbians Organizing for Change and many more during her nearly 45 years of activism in the Bay Area. “History, history, wonderful history. I’m so happy that I was able to be around during those times, because those times are no longer now,” said Midgett, who loved being around so many women and continues to date. Midgett retired from teaching full-time in 2007, but she continues to be an in-demand substitute teacher, she said. She’s also very much involved in the LGBT senior community through Openhouse. Midgett is the author of Grandma Brown, a collection of black lesbian

Courtesy SF Pride

Pride Freedom Award honoree Mary Midgett

erotica, and has had stories published in volumes I, II, and III of Hot and Bothered. Currently, Midgett is working on a memoir, NY Flava with a San Francisco Beat, and an inspirational book, Girlfriends, I’m 78 and Still Having Fun, focused on life after 60 and addressing issues like mental and physical health and employment. For the past eight years, Midgett has written a monthly inspirational column, Midgett’s Corner, for the Western Edition, a newspaper that caters to San Francisco’s Western Addition neighborhood. Midgett’s books have been used in university classes and she continues to talk about LGBT issues at San Francisco State University, where she’s been a regular speaker for 20 years. “One good thing about my life is that I do enjoy it. Everybody can’t say at my age that they are enjoying their life,” said Midgett, who has 12 grandchildren between her own children and stepchildren and con-

tinues to live a full life. Born in Boston, Massachusetts into a West Indian family, Midgett, the second oldest child, joined the Army for a bit after high school against her three brothers’ wishes, but she was having a great time being surrounded by women, she said. When she got out of the Army three years later she moved to New York, where she met her first husband, a gay man, with whom she had her son, and her second husband, with whom she had a daughter, after briefly returning to Boston and living in Cleveland, Ohio, intermittently. She left the East Coast for good when she decided to follow her dream to live in San Francisco and never looked back. “The nicest thing in my life was that I made a decision to have children, but it didn’t stop my life,” said Midgett, who never stopped partying and being politically active. Midgett has also received the Pat Bond Award for her community activism.t

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Pride Honorees>>

t Creator surprised at popularity of trans pride flag by Elliot Owen


ehind every revolutionary symbol, is a creator. Nearly 16 years ago, Monica Helms, a transgender woman, conceptualized the transgender pride flag, which is now an established mainstay in today’s Pride events throughout the world. This year, the San Francisco Pride board of directors selected Helms, 64, as the recipient of the Heritage of Pride, Pride Creativity Award to honor her contribution to the transgender and greater LGBT community. “I’m just thrilled,” Helms told the Bay Area Reporter. “I would never have expected this. I wanted to come to San Francisco Pride one day just to say I went. And then

being told about this award – I’m humbled.” The idea for a transgender pride flag emerged in conversation between Helms and the creator of the bisexual pride flag, Michael Page, in 1999. “Then one day,” Helms said, “I woke up with the image in my head. I drew it, came up with the colors, and it worked. No matter how you fly it, it’s always correct, which signifies finding correctness in our own lives.” The flag’s blue stripes represent the traditional color for baby boys, the pink stripes for baby girls. The center white stripe represents intersex, transitioning, and genderqueer people. “It’s important to note that the flag only represented how I felt

“I woke up with the image in my head. I drew it, came up with the colors, and it worked. No matter how you fly it, it’s always correct, which signifies finding correctness in our own lives.” –Monica Helms

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 23

about being trans,” Helms said. “But I told myself that if other people wanted to use it too, they could. And apparently, they did.” The flag made its first public appearance a month later in the LGBT publication Echo magazine. Helms, who is also a Navy veteran, marched with the flag at its first LGBT event in the Color Guard contingent of a 2000 Pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona, her hometown. Since then, it’s been carried at countless events. “I’ve seen it in so many places,” Helms said, “even carried to the tallest mountain in Europe. Next I’m hoping that the first trans person to go to space holds it up at the International Space Station.” Last year, Helms donated the original transgender pride flag to the Smithsonian. Slated for display later this year, the flag exhibit will also showcase items from Helms’ Navy career, activist history, and personal life. Helms was stationed in Vallejo twice over her eight-year military service. It was during that time she began to express her identity, albeit quietly. “The first time I went out in public as Monica was in 1976,” Helms said. “I went to a motel, got dressed, and drove from Vallejo to San Francisco. I knew no one could find out. At the time, I thought I just liked dressing as a woman and didn’t put a label on it until later. That first label wasn’t even correct.” After being honorably discharged two years later, Helms re-

Courtesy Monica Helms

Monica Helms stands in front of the transgender pride flag, which she created.

located back to Arizona. Identifying as a “heterosexual crossdresser,” she married “the one,” had two children, and began working at Sprint. In 1997, she decided to “live full-time as Monica.” “That realization happened in San Francisco,” Helms said. “I was dressed as Monica for the weekend and my friend started telling me her reasons for transitioning. Then, all the puzzle pieces came together. I needed to do that, too. My trans history has a lot of roots in San Francisco.”

She said that her two sons and three grandchildren are “very supportive” of her. Staying employed with Sprint, Helms moved to Atlanta in 2000. Three years later, she co-founded the Transgender American Veterans Association where she was president until 2013. In January, Helms retired from Sprint. Still residing in Atlanta, she lives with her partner of five and a half years, Darlene Wagner, who is also a trans woman.t

TLC leader looks toward a prideful future by David-Elijah Nahmod

“We are proud to be honored alongside people like Tita Aida and Felicia Flames, who, with their decades of leadership in the trans community of the Bay Area, could not be more deserving of the recognition.”


ince 2002 the Transgender Law Center has been a leader in the fight for transgender equality. It’s often been an uphill battle, but TLC has prevailed more times than not. In many places, transgender people are now routinely included when equality laws are passed. And, in the last few years, trans kids have role models to look up to with the emergence of transgender celebrities such as Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, and Chaz Bono. Caitlyn Jenner’s recent announcement of her new name and upcoming reality show will only increase America’s exposure to trans people, albeit in Jenner’s case, someone who has the financial resources many transgender people lack. In short, transgender people are becoming mainstream. Last year, Cox graced the cover of Time magazine. The daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful features not one, but two transgender characters. Scott Turner Schofield, a transgender actor, has been cast in one of those roles, a first for daytime TV. In many ways, particularly around legal and policy areas, TLC has been a major player in the strides that have been made. TLC will proudly participate in this year’s San Francisco Pride parade as organizational grand marshal. It’s an honor the Oaklandbased nonprofit won via a public vote earlier this year that was conducted by the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee. Kris Hayashi, 40, who became executive director of TLC in January, spoke to the Bay Area Reporter about what has been achieved and what still needs to be done. “The Transgender Law Center is humbled and excited to represent the transgender and gender non-conforming community at SF Pride this year,” Hayashi said of the organizational grand marshal honor. “We have come such a long

–Kris Hayashi

Rick Gerharter

Transgender Law Center Executive Director Kris Hayashi spoke at a rally decrying anti-trans violence in February outside San Francisco City Hall.

way both as an organization and as a movement since the law center was founded in 2002.” Initially, TLC was a project of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. It eventually became its own nonprofit agency. Its budget is about $1.4 million. Hayashi, a transgender man, noted that there were others from the trans community who were being included in the parade. “We are proud to be honored alongside people like Tita Aida and Felicia Flames, who, with their decades of leadership in the trans community of the Bay Area, could not be more deserving of the recognition,” Hayashi said, referring

to Aida, who is the recipient of SF Pride’s Teddy Witherington Award, and Flames, also known as Felicia Elizondo, who is this year’s lifetime achievement grand marshal. “From Laverne Cox and Janet Mock to the president’s State of the Union address, there has been an undeniable increase in trans visibility in the last few years,” Hayashi said. President Barack Obama specifically mentioned transgender people in his State of the Union speech, which was a first. Mock and Cox, both African American trans women, have successful careers. Mock wrote the best-selling Redefining Realness; Cox stars in the Net-

flix series Orange is the New Black. Hayashi said that the community could not celebrate its gains without also acknowledging and addressing the rising epidemic of violence against trans women. “At least 10 transgender women of color have been murdered in 2015 alone,” he noted. “Bills have been introduced across the country to criminalize transgender people for simply using the bathroom. Here in California an initiative has been proposed that would require people to ‘prove’ their gender to use the bathroom and place a bounty on any transgender person found in a bathroom.” Hayashi was referring to an initiative proposed by the right-wing Pacific Justice Institute that would require a person to use restrooms and other facilities in government buildings “in accordance with their biological sex.” As the B.A.R. noted in an earlier article, should the bathroom privacy initiative pass, it would allow individuals to file a civil claim for violation of privacy against a government entity or a person for “willful violation” of the act, with violators potentially liable for no less than $4,000 in damages and attorney’s fees. A person whose privacy “was

violated while using facilities,” or who was unable to use facilities because of a violation under the act, would be able to seek damages through the state courts. High rates of transgender unemployment – higher than 50 percent according to some reports – and the need for better access to health care were other issues that Hayashi said are faced by trans people. Hayashi said that he’s ready to face these and other challenges. He also said that he loved his new job. “Things are going really well,” he said. “Pride is just the start to an exciting summer for us. We plan to open our first office in the South through a partnership with Southerners on New Ground.” There are also, Hayashi said, new projects in the works to address injustices faced by trans people, in particular trans women of color, in the prison and immigration systems. Challenges regarding HIV issues are also being dealt with. “There is still a lot of work to be done, all of it exciting and much of it groundbreaking,” he said.t For more information, visit www.

<< Pride Honorees

24 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Mayor’s award goes to leader in API community by Chris Huqueriza PHOTO: JULIE WEISBERG

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an Francisco Mayor Ed Lee selected one of the city’s most prominent LGBTQI activists to receive San Francisco Pride’s Teddy Witherington Award, which recognizes an individual who has contributed a long-standing, large body of work to the LGBTQ community. “When I heard that I was selected by SF Pride’s board of directors and the mayor for this award, the first word that I uttered was, ‘Why me?’” Aida, a transgender woman who jokes that she stopped counting her age after 30. “Then later on, it started to slowly sink in that this was a special recognition, then I got really excited and honored. I will cherish this recognition for a long time and I hope it serves as inspiration for others to continue to do the work to empower our communities.” Aida recalls coming to the United States from the Philippines and how San Francisco’s Pride celebration helped realized who she really is in regards to gender identity and sexuality. Since then, Aida has contributed to the advancement of the LGBTQI community for over two decades, working mainly to help improve the lives of those in the Asian and Pacific Islander LGBTQI community. She decided to stay in the U.S. permanently in 1989. “When I saw the opportunity to stay and thrive here in the Bay Area, I took the opportunity,” she said. Aida was the first trans member on the Commission on the Status of Women when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed her in 2008. She served on the panel for just over a year. While creating many initiatives to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in the 1990s, Aida has also mobilized San Francisco’s transgender community by raising support for organizations such as the Transgender Law Center and the AIDS Housing Alliance/San Francisco. Aida also served on the board of directors of San Francisco Pride, including a stint as chair in 2010. The award is named after the first permanent, full-time executive director of SF Pride. Witherington came on board in 1997, and received the recognition in 2008 from Newsom after seven and a half years contributing to the legacy of SF Pride. Overjoyed by Aida’s award, Witherington, who has known her for 16 years since they worked together at SF Pride in the early 2000s, praised her selection. “Tita is not only a warrior and a tireless advocate, she is one of the kindest and gentlest souls that I am lucky to count in my universe,” said Witherington, 53, a gay man who left SF Pride in 2005. “Because of her work, her heart, and determination thousands upon thousands of queer folk from the Asian and Pacific Islander communities – of many genders – are able to find a place, a home, not just at Pride, but in San Francisco. She is a role model for me and, I suspect, many others.” Out of her extensive nonprofit work, she has several accomplishments. In 1997, Aida worked for the San Francisco Department of Public


Pink triangle

From page 10

tion ceremonies. He considers those who help out to be “Friends of the Pink Triangle,” but there is no formal group. Two of those longtime helpers are Carney’s husband, Hossein, and his sister, Colleen Hodgkins. Many hardworking individuals volunteer their time to make the dis-

Niccolo Cosme

Tita Aida is this year’s recipient of San Francisco Pride’s Teddy Witherington Award.

“Tita is how we call our aunties in the Philippines and ‘Aida’ is a similar concept for a ‘Dear Abby’ column. Fused together, Tita then became the point person, adviser, big sister, and friend that one can approach around these issues that permeated in the community.” –Tita Aida Health’s AIDS Office as a research associate, which jumpstarted many funding opportunities for local and statewide transgender programs. In 2000, Aida, who’s also known as Nikki Calma, volunteered with the Filipino Task Force on AIDS and birthed the identity of “Tita Aida” as a character who would help and support Filipino men who have sex with men with issues like HIV/ AIDS education and prevention, identity, coming out, sexual health information, and more. “As a volunteer, I was happy to step into the role of Tita since Tita was born,” she recalled. “Tita is how we call our aunties in the Philippines and ‘Aida’ is a similar concept for a ‘Dear Abby’ column. Fused together, Tita then became the point person, adviser, big sister, and friend that one can approach around these issues that permeated in the community.” Currently, Aida manages the

Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center’s Trans Thrive program. The program is a drop-in center helping the transgender community as a safe space for personal expression and empowerment. “I work with an amazing staff who are talented and the smartest trans individuals, in which we provide a safe space for our trans brothers and sisters who may need a helping hand in navigating the systems in place for them to live productive lives,” said Aida. Aida will continue her community work but would like to be involved at the national and global level, especially when it comes to HIV awareness and supporting the transgender community. There have been talks about documentaries, but no decisions have been made. Whatever the future holds, she says to herself: “Watch out world, I am only starting life!”t

play possible and organizations and businesses have contributed funds. Financial sponsors for 2015 include SF Pride, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Castro Lions Club, the Apothecarium, Toad Hall, Badlands, Steamworks, Hodgkins Jewelers, and Haus of Starfish. Starbucks provides coffee, tea, and snacks for the volunteers; Barefoot Wine and Bubbly provides the champagne used in the

ceremony. The San Francisco Police Department provides 24-hour coverage during the installation. The B.A.R. is a media sponsor, along with Betty’s List. Carney noted that it’s still not too late to help out with this weekend’s installation. For more information, see the News Briefs in the main section of the B.A.R. or visit www.

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<< Pride 2015

26 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015



From page 12

unlike other lines. That makes it a haven for lesbians who embrace their community and have fun. “Today, we march under the banner of Olivia Travel and celebrate 25 years of creating exclusive vacations,” she said this spring. “And throughout this time Pride has been there each year celebrating and marching, showing the world that we will accept


Love and Justice A Special Evensong and Reception for Marriage Equality

Thursday, July 2, 2015 Music begins at 5:30 pm • Service at 6 pm

All are welcome California and Taylor Streets


‘Lazy Bear’

From page 12

the community recognized that I needed help and they came to my rescue. They raised $30K within five days to fly me home on a medevac, which saved my life,” he said, referring to his medical evacuation from Cancun back to San Francisco. Lit says he feels more comfortable in his own skin at the age of 55 than when he was 18 years old. “Times have changed and it’s nice to think that we have done our part to be accepted as bears in the overall


Pride service

From page 16

Goldstein explained the couple’s philosophy of community service. “Creating lasting and sustainable benefits to the community,” he said. The Diversity Foundation, which they co-founded, was created to that end. “We personally oversee each and every project of the Diversity Foundation from beginning to end so that a lasting benefit is guaranteed,” Goldstein said. Projects that have benefited from the Diversity Foundation include repairs for the gay freedom band’s hats and new lighting for the rainbow flag that flies at the corner of



From page 8

Osofsky wrote that Facebook has also expanded the types of documentation it will accept for name verification, which can now include mail, a library card or a magazine subscription. “We clarified language throughout our site to make it clear that when we say authentic name, it does not necessarily need to be a legal name,” Osofsky wrote.

Staying focused

In her community grand marshal position, like everything she’s done, Garza wants to keep the focus on black liberation.


LGBT inmates

From page 5

California who’s drawn attention recently is Michelle-Lael Norsworthy, 51, who began identifying as a woman in the 1990s. The state has been fighting a judge’s order to give Norsworthy, who’s been convicted of second-degree murder, sex reassignment surgery. Norsworthy’s case is typical, Orthwein said. “Right now in California there is a blanket policy against providing any kind of surgical treatment for gender dysphoria,” she said. The Los Angeles Times has reported that in court documents, Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office has claimed, “evidence showed that there was no medical or psychological need for immediate sex-reassignment surgery.” The B.A.R. reached out to numerous nonprofits, government agencies, and individuals – including Norsworthy – in an attempt to find current or former inmates who are LGBT to talk to for this story. Most didn’t provide any. Deyna Loveless, 49, a transgender woman who lives in San Jose, spent years in and out of custody but is


no less than our full rights.” To Dlugacz, the Pride parade is a visible symbol of the fight for equality. “The parade also reaffirms that our community has a strength of commitment to the diversity of our community and an understanding of the preciousness of freedom.” Dlugacz has received numerous awards from business groups over the years. She has been recognized by the Golden Gate Business Association, an LGBT chamber of com-

merce, and honored by Ernst and Young as its northern California Entrepreneur of the Year. Her commitment to community is exemplified in the many nonprofit organizations Olivia Travel has supported. These include the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, and the Lesbian Community Cancer Project.t

community,” he said, adding that Eggman has competed at the Gay Games. “It also doesn’t hurt to be married to a Gay Games gold medalist. Being visible as a gay couple all over the world for the Gay Games has allowed us to promote Lazy Bear worldwide. Lazy Bear Weekend is not just for older retired bears but for all people who love to have fun times, hear great music, and be in a place they could just let their hair hang out.” Lit pointed to another reason bears and their admirers flock to the Russian River every summer. “Lazy Bear Weekend is popular

because of the beautiful surroundings, the great weather, the hot men of all shape and sizes, and the lack of attitude,” he explained. “Bears love to have fun and it shows during this weekend. It’s like a giant family reunion with your favorite relatives.” Since his fight over his physical challenges in Cancun and his recovery afterwards, Lit’s philosophy of life has been, “Never give up. Fight the fight.”t

Castro and Market streets. Taylor is the man in charge of that iconic flag, which greets visitors as they approach the “gayborhood.” “The foundation also supports all the rainbow flags that adorn Market Street during Pride,” said Goldstein. The couple couldn’t be happier about all that they’ve done, and the Pride recognition. “We were surprised and pleased to receive the 10-year award,” said Goldstein. “We chuckled at the 10year mark. Our activism began in the 1970s when the gay community faced the ‘orange juice crisis’ and Anita Bryant and the hate directed toward gay teachers in the classroom. We marched against that.”

Bryant was a beauty pageant winner and orange juice spokeswoman who was instrumental in getting a gay rights ordinance repealed in Florida. In California in the late 1970s, state Senator John Briggs campaigned for the passage of a law, nicknamed the Briggs initiative, that would have barred gay men and lesbians from teaching in California schools. Supervisor Harvey Milk campaigned heavily against the measure, which was defeated just weeks before Milk was assassinated in November 1978. Decades later Taylor and Goldstein are still in love. They continue to serve the community that means so much to them both.t

“Can we celebrate the contributions and the rebellion and the resistance of queer and trans people without legitimizing some of the very forces that continue to repress us? That’s a question that we’ll be raising in my role as grand marshal,” she said. “We will continue to raise it.” After the Pride celebrations, which Garza will probably mostly spend on the East side of the Bay Bridge – “I’ll be honest that I tend to frequent the ones that happen in Oakland. Because they just feel a little bit more diverse” – Garza and the Oakland chapter of Black Lives Matter are going on a few different trips. In June, the group did a retreat

in Detroit, and in July they’ll be in Cleveland for a convergence of the national movement for black lives. But in the end, Garza said, she will always come home to the Bay Area. “The Bay Area has changed a lot in my lifetime,” she said. “And so I think the promise of it is in contention right now. But I will say that the Bay Area has always been an incubator for social justice movement, for radical and thinking and practice. “You know, this is my home,” she added. “I think, having been all over the world, there’s really no place like the Bay Area. And it’s important to me to do work where I’m from and where I have roots.”t

now free. Loveless struggled to adjust at first – “I know how to live on the street. I didn’t know how to live in there,” she said – but she “never really had any problems” while incarcerated.

transition surgery, she lives in a female institution. As with local agencies, the CDCR doesn’t have data categorized by sexual orientation or gender identity. “We do know that LGBT inmates can also be harassed or victimized,” Thornton said, but she doesn’t have any sense how often that is. “We don’t break it down by the way you’re looking for it,” Thornton said. Explaining why that is, Thornton said there are “lots of reasons.” “We already do a lot of things to protect vulnerable inmates, whether they’re LGBT” or for other reasons, she said. “There are a lot of reasons inmates can be victimized ... so we do our best to protect all inmates.” Asked whether analyzing the data by LGBT status might show trends, Thornton said, “It might, but then would you do it for child molesters, too? Would you do it for gang dropouts? You’d have to do it for everybody.” She said she wasn’t “trying to minimize” what LGBT people go through, but “LGBT inmates are not the only ones who can be preyed upon. We have an obligation to keep all inmates safe.” t

State approach

Santa Clara and Alameda counties’ policies are similar to the guidelines of California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which oversees the state’s prisons. Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the agency, said inmates are housed based on their birth sex “regardless of how a person self-identifies.” That’s “for safety and security reasons,” Thornton said. “You would not want to put a person that has female genitalia in a men’s institution.” She said of 112,000 inmates, less than 300 are transgender people. “If a person is receiving hormones before they come to prison that is continued after they come to prison,” she said. There’s “only one male-to-female post-op transgender inmate in the entire state prison system,” Thornton said. The woman started in a men’s facility but since she’s had

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SF Pride P to be exceptional

by Seth Hemmelgarn

eople from San Francisco and around the world are preparing for the 45th annual San Francisco Pride parade and celebration, which is set for Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28. This year’s theme is “Equality without Exception.” George Ridgely, executive director of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration

Vol. 45 • No. 26 • June 25-July 1, 2015

Oracle volunteers carry a string of rainbow balloons in last year’s Pride parade.

Committee, said the tagline was prompted by proposals in several states to allow business owners to cite their religious beliefs in order to exclude LGBTs from services. The theme “really came out of public policy and legislation that was using religious exemptions as ways to get around laws that have passed for equality,” Ridgely said. “As long as those exemptions or exceptions are being made, then it’s not true equality.” See page 56 >>

Rick Gerharter

Pink Party set for Castro by Seth Hemmelgarn


he pre-Pride street party in the Castro will start sooner and end earlier this year. The inaugural Pink Party, set for 3 to 8 p.m., Saturday, June 27, replaces Pink Saturday, the event that for years drew thousands of people to the gayborhood’s streets the night before the city’s Pride parade. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, which had organized Pink Saturday for more than 20 years, announced in February they were withdrawing from the event this year, citing concerns about violence. Worried that people would flock to the neighborhood even without a planned party, gay Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose District 8 includes the Castro, brought in the city’s LGBT Community Center to help produce what’s become known as the Pink Party. The Sisters, who own the Pink Saturday name, decided not to allow the new organizers to use the moniker and plan to revamp Pink Saturday at a different site for next year.

Castro Street was jam-packed during the 2012 Pink Saturday street party. This year’s event, renamed the Pink Party, will run from 3 to 8 p.m. June 27.

See page 54 >>


Rick Gerharter

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Pride 2015>>

t Last call for pink triangle volunteers

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 31

Courtesy Patrick Carney

Dignitaries christen the pink triangle with champagne at the end of last year’s commemoration service.

compiled by Cynthia Laird


ride weekend is almost here and organizers of the pink triangle installation atop Twin Peaks are putting out a last minute call for volunteers. About 125 people are needed to install the giant pink canvasses that make up the triangle, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Patrick Carney, who cofounded the project, said that over the years, the installation, which can be seen from the East Bay if the weather is clear, has helped educate people about the symbol rooted in hate. The pink triangle was originally used by the Nazis in concentration camps to identify and shame gays, but has been reclaimed by LGBTs and now represents a symbol of Pride. Carney will receive the Gilbert Baker Pride Founder’s Award this year from the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee for his work on the project over the years. The installation involves volunteers hammering the canvasses to the hillside with thousands of 12inch long steel spikes. Following the installation, there will be a ceremony at the site that will feature speakers, local politicians, SF Pride grand marshals and honorees, and others. The installation takes place Saturday, June 27 from 7 to 10 a.m., followed by the ceremony at 10:30. Then, volunteers are needed Sunday, June 28 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. (after the Pride parade) to take down the triangle. People who are interested in helping out should bring a hammer and gloves, wear closed-toe shoes (sandals are not recommended), and wear sunscreen. Fashionable pink triangle T-shirts will be provided to all who help, Carney said. For more on Carney, see the feature story in the Pride section. To sign up, email friends@ or visit www. The site includes detailed driving instructions, videos of previous installations and ceremonies, and more.

B.A.R. columnist to receive sports honor

Roger Brigham, the Bay Area Reporter’s longtime sports columnist, will be inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. Brigham will be inducted along with several other sports figures at a July 24 ceremony at the Center on Halsted in Chicago. Brigham was the first openly gay sports editor at a major metropolitan daily, the Anchorage Daily News, in 1982. He’s also the founder of the Equality Coaching Alliance. He’s the author of the B.A.R.’s Jock Talk column.

Fellow inductees include: Gene Dermody, founder of Wrestlers WithOut Borders, a two-time Federation of Gay Games president, president of the Golden Gate Wrestling Club, and a 2014 winner of the Tom Waddell Award. Dale Scott, the first out active Major League Baseball umpire. Robbie Rogers, a soccer player who became the first active openly gay player in any of the five U.S. men’s pro leagues. Kye Allums, an activist and the first out transgender Division I basketball player. Megan Rapinoe, an American pro soccer player and Olympic gold medalist who came out as lesbian. Chris Morgan, an eight-time world champion powerlifter who got his start at Gay Games V and who is active in Europe’s campaign against homophobia in soccer. Additionally, two people will be inducted posthumously. They are Roy Simmons, a former pro football player who came out as gay after he retired and who died in 2014, and Helen Hull Jacobs, a top-ranked tennis player who won 10 Grand Slam titles and was known to be a lesbian. She died in 1997.

Dance party for long-term HIVers

Long-term HIV survivors and the Shanti Project’s HIV services program will hold a Pride dance party Thursday, June 25 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist, 1661 15th Street at Julian in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood. “It’s an amazingly beautiful church with a wonderful history of serving our community in the early days of the epidemic,” said Gregg Cassin, one of the organizers. The night, with the theme “Revival,” will include well-known DJ Page Hodel spinning. The party is for everyone, regardless of HIV status. Those who are older are welcome, as are younger people. The event is free. Food will be served for the first hour, and then the beats start at 7.

Black Brothers Esteem event

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s Black Brothers Esteem program is holding a free event Saturday, June 27 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Luggage Store Gallery, 998 Market Street, where three long-term survivors of HIV will share their stories of redemption, survival, and hope. “The process of writing and performing has been very healing for these men,” said Shawn Demmons, Black Brothers Esteem community See page 50 >>


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<< Pride 2015

32 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


Campaigns promote safety at Pride by Matthew S. Bajko SAN FRANCISCO LOS ANGELES NEW YORK TORONTO


t is an annual complaint heard about San Francisco’s Pride festivities. Too many of those participating are focused on partying and less so on celebrating the city’s LGBT community. In an attempt to turn the focus more toward the celebration aspect, San Francisco Pride officials have taken several steps this year to refocus participants on why Pride matters. In late May on the organization’s blog, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee released a 30-second TV commercial, created by SF Pride board member Michelle Meow, featuring several people who are members of Pride talking about what the weekend-long event means to them. The ads have been airing on KOFY TV, cable channel 20, and on several radio stations owned by iHeart radio, both of which are Pride media partners. “She got great video literally of people speaking in a heartfelt way about the difference Pride has made in their life or why Pride is important for them,” said Pride Executive Director George Ridgely. “That campaign will be ongoing.” In coordination with the ads, Pride is encouraging people to post their own videos or messages on social media sites, using the hashtag #MyPride, talking about their own reasons for celebrating Pride. “Pride has a lot of meaning to each and every one of us. We share history, we share good times, bad times, differences, disagreements, and more,” wrote Meow, who produces her own local cable TV show and co-hosts the live Pride parade coverage. “In the end and at critical times, we have each other. What is Pride? Speaking up is Pride. Engaging the community is Pride. Giving back is Pride. Being out is Pride. Pride is us, each and every single one of us.

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Courtesy QP campaign

Sister maeJoy B. withU’s QP campaign poster for this year

New wristbands

Another step Pride officials have taken this year is to institute a new policy at the alcohol booths scattered around the Pride festival area in the city’s Civic Center. In addition to people over the age of 21 needing to show their photo ID each time they purchase an alcoholic beverage, they will also be required to show a wristband those of drinking age will be given. “We are going to be wrist-banding this year, which we have not done in the past. I think that is a significant change,” said Ridgely. “It helps to quickly identify people who have been carded by the event and have purchased alcohol at the event itself.” Pride officials had discussed marking people’s wristbands each time they ordered a drink, but in the end, they ruled out taking such

a step. The volunteers staffing the alcohol booths will be trained to only serve people one drink at a time, said Ridgely, and will be instructed not to serve people who are inebriated. “We do not have a mechanism in place to track how many drinks somebody has. It is no different than a guest going out to a bar in that regard,” said Ridgely. Now overseeing his second Pride celebration, Ridgely said he believes the organizers have a good track record in how they handle beer and alcohol sales. “I think Pride has always done a good job in how we were managing our alcohol sales and consumption in a thoughtful way,” he said. “Adding wristbands is a natural progression. I think it is always positive when you get people to stop and think for themselves about the amount of consumption they are intaking.” Pride’s latest steps to curtail overconsumption follow other actions taken to ensure Pride weekend remains safe for participants. Following years of violent incidents at the annual Pink Saturday party in the Castro, the outdoor party, which is not affiliated with SF Pride, has been retooled this year and will take place during daylight hours rather than in the evening. [See story, page 29.]

QP campaign

And Sister maeJoy B. withU, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a drag nun group that funSee page 38 >>

‘Kill gays’ initiative kept from ballot by Seth Hemmelgarn


judge has granted California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ request to keep a proposal to kill gay people off the November 2016 ballot. In his ruling Monday, June 22, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Raymond M. Cadei said that Orange County-based attorney Matthew McLaughlin’s “Sodomite Suppression Act” is “patently unconstitutional on its face” and “any preparation and official issuance of a circulating title and summary for the act by the attorney general would be inappropriate, waste public resources, generate unnecessary divisions among the public and tend to mislead the electorate.” “The attorney general is relieved of any obligation to issue a title and summary for the act,” Cadei said. Harris said that she was pleased with the judge’s decision. “This proposed act is the product of bigotry, seeks to promote violence, is patently unconstitutional and has no place in a civil society,” Harris said in a statement. “I applaud the court’s decision to block its title and summary. My office will continue to fight for the rights of all Californians to live free from hatred and intolerance.” The act called for gays to be killed with “bullets to the head” or other means. The proposal also called for imprisonment of people who support LGBTs, and that they should be fined, exiled from the state, and barred from public office. Political leaders were quick to praise the judge’s decision. “Today, justice trumped ignorance as a Superior Court judge threw out the so-called ‘Sodomite Suppression Act,’” gay state Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) said in a statement. “In California, we export our values and lead when it comes to progressive, inclusive, and forward-looking policies. There is no place in serious political dis-

Rick Gerharter

Attorney General Kamala Harris

course for repulsive conversations about killing off an entire population based on who they love. I applaud the court for this decision and commend our attorney general for her steadfast response in helping prevent this measure from advancing.” Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), chair of the Legislative LGBT Caucus, also issued a statement. “Today’s decision has affirmed what we believed all along,” said Eggman. “This measure was unconstitutional, and was itself speech inciting violence, and therefore unprotected by the First Amendment. We applaud the initiative taken by Attorney General Harris and the wisdom of Judge Raymond Cadei, together sparing California any further effort in fighting it.” Lesbian Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), called the proposed initiative “toxic waste.” “The court has brought an appropriate end to this disturbing episode,” Atkins said in a statement. “LGBT Californians shouldn’t be threatened and our initiative process shouldn’t be hijacked. Let’s hope it’s the last time See page 57 >>


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34 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Volume 45, Number 26 June 25-July 1, 2015 PUBLISHER Michael M. Yamashita Thomas E. Horn, Publisher Emeritus (2013) Publisher (2003 – 2013) Bob Ross, Founder (1971 – 2003) NEWS EDITOR Cynthia Laird ARTS EDITOR Roberto Friedman BARTAB EDITOR & EVENTS LISTINGS EDITOR Jim Provenzano ASSISTANT EDITORS Matthew S. Bajko • Seth Hemmelgarn CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ray Aguilera • Tavo Amador • Race Bannon Erin Blackwell • Roger Brigham Brian Bromberger • Victoria A. Brownworth Brent Calderwood • Philip Campbell Heather Cassell • Belo Cipriani Chuck Colbert • Richard Dodds Michael Flanagan • Jim Gladstone David Guarino • Liz Highleyman Brandon Judell • John F. Karr • Lisa Keen Matthew Kennedy • Joshua Klipp David Lamble • Max Leger Michael McDonagh • David-Elijah Nahmod Elliot Owen • Paul Parish • Sean Piverger Lois Pearlman • Tim Pfaff • Jim Piechota Bob Roehr • Donna Sachet • Adam Sandel Khaled Sayed • Jason Serinus • Gregg Shapiro Gwendolyn Smith • Jim Stewart Sean Timberlake • Andre Torrez • Ronn Vigh Ed Walsh • Cornelius Washington Sura Wood ART DIRECTION Jay Cribas PRODUCTION/DESIGN Max Leger PHOTOGRAPHERS Jane Philomen Cleland • FBFE Rick Gerharter • Gareth Gooch Lydia Gonzales • Jose Guzman-Colon Rudy K. Lawidjaja • Georg Lester • Dan Lloyd Rich Stadtmiller • Steven Underhil Dallis Willard • Bill Wilson ILLUSTRATORS & CARTOONISTS Paul Berge • Christine Smith ADVERTISING/ADMINISTRATION Colleen Small VICE PRESIDENT OF ADVERTISING Scott Wazlowski – 415.829.8937 ADVERTISING ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Lance Roberts NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE Rivendell Media – 212.242.6863

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News Editor • Arts Editor • Out & About listings • Advertising • Letters • Published weekly. Bay Area Reporter reserves the right to edit or reject any advertisement which the publisher believes is in poor taste or which advertises illegal items which might result in legal action against Bay Area Reporter. Ads will not be rejected solely on the basis of politics, philosophy, religion, race, age, or sexual orientation. Advertising rates available upon request. Our list of subscribers and advertisers is confidential and is not sold. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, and writers published herein is neither inferred nor implied. We are not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or artwork.

<< Open Forum

Put Sarria in CA Hall of Fame


ose Julio Sarria should be inducted into the California Hall of Fame and we all must organize now to make it happen. It would be a fitting tribute for Sarria, a gay man and drag queen who died in 2013 at the age of 90. He made history in 1961 as the first out gay person to seek elective office in the U.S. His bid for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors was unsuccessful but his public declaration to fight for gay rights paved the way for many LGBT candidates who followed to seek and win elective office, not only in the Golden State, but across the country. Sarria was also a pioneer in San Francisco’s nascent but growing gay community in the 1950s. He created what became known as the Imperial Court System and crowned himself “Her Royal Majesty, Empress of San Francisco, Jose I, The Widow Norton.” The title was in homage to Joshua Norton, an eccentric city resident who in 1859 declared himself Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. But more than just a social club for drag queens, the Imperial Court has raised millions of dollars for charity and helped educate the public about drag culture and LGBT rights. The San Francisco Imperial Council celebrated its 50th anniversary this year and was the first of numerous Imperial courts around the country and the world. Significantly, Sarria was an inspiration to many LGBTs when it wasn’t common for us to be out, much less stand up for ourselves, because we risked losing our jobs, families, and housing and, at worst, faced incarceration. Sarria gave the gay community a voice, and was a source of strength that gave gay people the courage to organize and fight back against anti-gay police discrimination. As lesbian Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), who’s serving as the honorary campaign chair for the effort to induct Sarria, told us, he “helped end raids of establishments that


catered to LGBT people and helped 2006 included astronaut Sally Ride, move our community toward equal who was identified as a lesbian only treatment under the law.” after her death in 2012, and author A portion of a Castro neighborAlice Walker, one of whose former hood street is named after him lovers was singer Tracy Chapman. – Jose Sarria Court – and being To be considered for the Hall of included in the California Hall of Fame, nominees are first vetted by Fame would be a fitting tribute to the California Museum’s board of his legacy. trustees, which then sends a list of Rick Gerharter The California Hall of Fame was qualified candidates to Governor created in 2006 by then-Governor Jose Julio Sarria Jerry Brown, and his wife, Anne Arnold Schwarzenegger and his forGust Brown, who both ultimately mer wife, Maria Shriver. It honors make the decision. residents of the state who have made lasting Anyone can nominate candidates for concontributions to society. Honorees resideration, and this is where Sarria’s friends ceive the Spirit of California medal, and admirers can have an impact. More nomiand their accomplishments benations increase the chances for the museum’s come part of the permanent record board to take note and move the candidate in the California State Archives. forward. Only four of the 93 individuals A statewide campaign to induct Sarria in the hall are from the lesbian and started earlier this year, and now is the time to gay community. While they are all get behind this effort because nominees will be deserving members, we think the considered this summer. Hall of Fame could be more diSan Diego resident Nicole Murray Ramirez, verse. Among the honorees are the a former Imperial Court empress who curlate Harvey Milk, inducted in 2009, rently holds the title Queen Mother I of the and tennis great Billie Jean King, inAmericas, Canada, United States, and Mexico, ducted in 2006. Hall of Fame bios of the other is one of the leaders of the Sarria campaign. two inductees do not explicitly acknowledge “It is not only a salute to the gay community, their sexuality. The first class of inductees in but choosing him is a salute to the Latino community and a salute to World War II veterans,” Ramirez told us back in January when we first reported on her effort. To nominate Sarria, people can use the online form found at http://www.californiamuseum. org/nomination-form. Coco LaChine, director of the campaign, requests that anyone who nominates Sarria email her at so she can compile the information. We can’t think of a better Pride gift than to take a few minutes to go online and nominate Sarria. He’s made a lasting contribution to the Bay Area – and California – and deserves this honor. Our lives are better today because of him.t

Why Charleston matters to the LGBTQ community by Jim Mitulski

I remember how it felt 25 years ago when Metropolitan Commun Wednesday night, June 17, nity Church-San Francisco and a white gunman spent an the gay synagogue that shared our hour in Bible study at the historic building on Eureka Street, CongreEmanuel African Methodist Episgation Ahavat Shalom, were firecopal Church in Charleston, South bombed by a white supremacist Carolina. He then brutally shot group that had also firebombed and killed nine black participants, several other synagogues in the Bay including the church’s pastor, the Area. I’ll never forget the flames Reverend Clementa Pinckney. The and smoke from the building – gunman’s actions were cruel, vile, mercifully empty at the time of violent, and motivated by racism. the bombing – and how it felt for A lone gunman giving expression months afterwards to have the vulto systemic racism, reflecting the Courtesy nerable feeling that we who were in culture in which he was raised, The nine victims of the Charleston, South Carolina church massacre. our sanctuary, our safe place, could fed by a deeply rooted and ubiquihave lost our lives. I applaud the tous racist ideology, confirmed by bravery and the determination to symbols like the Confederate flag, the congregation at Emanuel who of other attacks by young white men with guns which can be found throughout the South. But gathered this past Sunday to reclaim their space. at Columbine High School and the Aurora this is not just about the South; that same racI can only imagine how it will feel to gather there movie theater are still fresh. It is time for the ism can be found all across the country – even this week for the many funerals about to LGBTQ community to care deeply about in the San Francisco Bay Area. take place. I am haunted, still, by the both racism and the availability of This attack on Mother Emanuel, as the unrelenting, inconsolable wailing of guns to the same extent that we church is known, was not the first one on an African American woman who is care about equal marriage. a house of worship in recent years. Black a member of our church as we gathWe should care because LGBTQ churches historically have been the subject of ered last Thursday evening in Denincludes African Americans. We white racist terrorist attacks. Synagogues, Sikh ver for a prayer service in solidarity should care because of the partictemples, and Islamic centers have also been with Mother Emanuel AME. ular tragedy on its own terms. We targeted. This year has already seen numerous Audre Lorde’s poem “A Litany should care because our LGBTQ racially motivated attacks by whites on blacks for Survival” contains the hauntliberation movement has its roots – from McKinney, Texas to Baltimore and ing refrain particular to her lesin both the women’s and civil rights beyond. The attack in Charleston resonates bian, black experience: It is better to speak movements. We should care to the extent that in particular with the history of the African remembering we were never meant to survive. as we celebrate Stonewall, no observance takes American civil rights movement: on SeptemBut it is important to note that “Emanuel” place that does not also acknowledge what hapber 15, 1963, four little girls gathering for a means “God is here.” So with a reminder of pened in Charleston. We should care because the Bible study lesson on “A Love that Forgives” our humanity combined with the knowledge new “Gay Agenda” from this moment forward were killed by four white bombers with ties to that God is with us, now is the time for the has no more important goal than to end racism. the Ku Klux Klan, an early American terrorist LGBTQ community to rise up – to be here for We, as a movement, can bring to bear what we group that still continues to function. each other and to do whatever it takes to end have learned from years of surviving HIV/AIDS The murders in Charleston are about unracism in ourselves, among each other in our and determine to bring an end to racism in our checked, rampant, lethal racism. And about community, within our society. lifetimes. We should care and bring our environthe ready and unnecessary availability of guns. mental activism skills to effect a social climate See page 40 >> In Colorado where I now work, the memory change where racism has no place.



Letters >>

Take a stand

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 35

I felt a need to respond to the incessant barrage of antiIsraeli actions I see almost daily in the Bay Area. LGBT activists protest Frameline for accepting money from Israel. The divestiture movement shouts down all opposition and sees Israel as the only government to fight. At UC Berkeley a man waving an ISIS flag goes unchallenged while that same man is accosted within seconds of waving an Israeli flag. On college campuses students set up “checkpoints” so they can show the world what the Palestinians deal with. All of that would be fine if there was any attempt at balance. There is not. I cannot fathom why these misguided protesters are not 100 times more outraged by the inhuman treatment of the LGBT community in every other country in the Middle East and most of Africa. There are 10 countries in the Middle East and Africa where homosexuality is punishable by death. In Syria, gay men are thrown from towers by ISIS militants. Any who survive are stoned to death. In Iran, gay men are hanged from cranes. Throughout the Middle East and Africa, men are jailed for homosexuality. In Nigeria, gay men are beaten while police watch. San Francisco holds an Arab Film Festival with support from homophobic Arab countries. Three hundred thousand Arabs have been murdered by fellow Arabs in Syria. Hamas tortured and murdered many fellow Palestinians in Gaza last year. Where is the outrage? This year, 180,000 people attended the Tel Aviv Pride parade. The theme was “Tel Aviv Loves All Genders.” Last

week the Knesset was filled with 200 transgender high school students and parents urging government help in the journey each of them must take. The Knesset debated how to stop homophobia in the medical system. Israel abolished the ban on sodomy, abolished workplace discrimination, allows gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, allows spousal benefits to same-sex couples, grants LGBT couples full adoption rights, recognizes same-sex marriages performed abroad, and prohibits discrimination in schools based on sexual orientation. And yet in the eyes of so many Israel is the “problem” while homophobia and other atrocities throughout the rest of the world is ignored. What’s worse, Israel’s wonderful LGBT rights record is treated as a negative and called “pinkwashing” as if it means nothing to live in the only country in that part of the world that provides the LGBT community with legal protections, freedoms, and dignity. It is time for some common sense. The next time you read or hear or see people ranting about pinkwashing, or Israeli genocide, or the Palestinian problem, please ask yourself why you do not see that same outrage about the treatment of LGBTs in the rest of the Arab and African world. Israel is the only friend the LGBT community has in the entire Middle East and Africa. Take a stand. Say something. Challenge that protester or editorial. Don’t just let insane anti-Semitic accusations go unanswered. The LGBT community’s only friend in the Middle East is Israel. Joe Barrett San Francisco

PG&E senior VP comes out as gay by Matthew S. Bajko


wo years ago PG&E Corporation Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kent Harvey had some surprising news to share with his coworkers. The San Francisco resident came out as gay. “I figured myself out later in life,” said Harvey, 57, who began working for the utility company in 1982. In his first press interview about his coming out, Harvey told the Bay Area Reporter that his colleagues were “very supportive and very caring” after learning the news. “The short answer is I learned first hand what a safe and inclusive work environment really means,” said Harvey when asked how his coming out was received at work. The utility company has long embraced LGBT issues, signing on as San Francisco Pride’s first corporate sponsor in 1986 and creating one of the oldest LGBT employee resource groups. In the 2008 fight over Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that defined marriage as between a man and a woman in California, PG&E was one of the first companies to sign on to the No on 8 campaign. Later, after the anti-gay initiative’s passage was contested in court, the company filed an amicus brief in the case calling on the courts to throw out Prop 8, which the U.S. Supreme Court eventually did in 2013. PG&E routinely scores 100 percent on the Corporate Equality Index issued yearly by the Human Rights Campaign, the national LGBT advocacy group. Last year PG&E backed AB 1678, which encourages public utilities in the state to offer supplier contracts to LGBT-owned businesses. Yet within its corporate offices there was very little visibility promoting its pro-gay policies and culture until a few years ago, as noted in a B.A.R. story last year about local nonprofit Friendfactor’s Workplace Ally Challenge. PG&E, which has 4,000 employees working in its headquarters in San Francisco, won the contest. One of the initiatives that helped PG&E win was the “I’m an ally” campaign, which Harvey helped to champion. At the start of 2015 he became an executive sponsor of the PG&E Pride Network Employee Resource Group.

Courtesy PG&E

PG&E Senior Vice President Kent Harvey

“I am really focused on making our senior executives, not just me, but everyone be visible in terms of showing support for LGBT inclusion,” said Harvey, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in engineeringeconomic systems from Stanford University. Cognizant of there being few out LGBTs in the corporate offices of major American companies, Harvey said he is looking to play a role in helping other executives come out of the closet and be visible. “I am trying to get to know other executives. Because the reality is, although huge gains have been made for equality, the number of visible out executives is relatively small,” he said. “I am hoping I can make it easier for others in the corporate world to be their full selves at work.” In February the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce named Harvey its “Outstanding Corporate Leader of the Year.” The honor was announced during the chamber’s Financial Services Diversity Leadership Awards held at the New York Stock Exchange. “It has been really meaningful for me. But the honor was not just for me but also for the company,” said Harvey. In recent years the utility has weathered a series of negative publicity, from its being slapped with a record $1.6 billion penalty for causing a fatal gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno to the company’s close ties to the California Public Utility Com-

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mission, which is now under investigation by state and federal officials. Asked about his long tenure with PG&E amid the various controversies, Harvey said, “It is a great company. The work we do is essential for our customers. I have always been proud to work here.” As he becomes more comfortable taking a public role as an openly gay business leader, Harvey said he is looking for opportunities on the national level to push for LGBT workplace protections. “The reality is there are a lot of places in the U.S. were someone can still be fired for being out at work,” noted Harvey. “I believe we have a responsibility as industry leaders to publicly support efforts that promote a culture of inclusion. I would say, even where there are legal protections, many people don’t feel safe being out at work. I think some people worry they will be thought less of, or won’t fit in, or could be passed up for promotion.” One area Harvey remains reluctant to talk about publicly is his personal life. Married for 30 years, Harvey is now divorced. He and his ex-wife have two sons, both in their 20s, who are “still adjusting,” said Harvey. He demurred when asked what had triggered his realization he is gay, citing his desire to keep his private life private. He would only divulge that he had never questioned his sexual orientation until late in life. “I have been fortunate to be introduced to people with similar experiences. I found out it is not that uncommon,” said Harvey. “It has been helpful for me as I work through what is a big change in your life. The support at work has made it immensely easier.” His current partner lives in New York City, and the couple plans to take part in the East Coast city’s Pride festivities this weekend. Last year, Harvey marched in his first Pride parade when he joined the PG&E contingent in San Francisco’s parade, the first time the company had participated in the city’s parade. “It was fantastic,” he said. “I was able to march with a very large PG&E contingent, which was wonderful.”

DCCC chair pledges to name LGBT to vacancy

San Francisco Democratic Party Chair Mary Jung informed the B.A.R. this week that she intends to See page 57 >>


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36 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

A papal confrontation by Gwendolyn Ann Smith

himself for who he is, as one who did not create himself.” From this, Pope Francis said the following: “It is enough to recognize that our body itself establishes us in a direct relationship with the environment and with other living beings. The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation. Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. “Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different,” the pope continued. “In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment. It is not a healthy attitude which would seek ‘to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it.’” This is not the first time Pope Francis has made similar statements, and indeed, the last part of


ope Francis recently released an encyclical – a letter the pontiff sends to all the Roman Catholic Church’s bishops – addressing climate change. As you can imagine, many right-wingers have been up in arms long before it had even been penned. This particular encyclical letter, titled “Laudato Si’” (“Praise Be to You”), speaks of the need to reduce the causes of climate change, putting the blame squarely on humanity in the process. It’s a great move by a pope who has been largely praised for being very progressive and forward thinking, especially in the light of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. Yet buried in this 184-page letter is something only tenuously related to the climate, and something much more in line with the core beliefs of the right wing than perhaps anything else in the encyclical. Pope Francis started by quoting Benedict, who said in a 2011 address that, “man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will. Man does not create himself. He is intellect and will, but he is also nature, and his will is rightly ordered if he respects his nature, listens to it and accepts

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Pope Francis

the previous paragraph referred to an address of his from last April. That address, on the family and subtitled, “male and female,” contained many attacks on gender theory. “I ask myself, if the so-called gender theory is not, at the same time, an expression of frustration and resignation, which seeks to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it,” said the pontiff in that address. “Yes, we risk taking a step backwards. The removal of difference in fact creates a problem, not a solution.” The pope was even more direct in Pope Francis’ book, This Economy Kills, published in February. “Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings,” he stated. “Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, Full Grooming of the manipulation of life, or of the for new clients only, Full Grooming For ALL Customers gender theory, that does not recogwith this ad FullValidGrooming Valid For ALL Customers Valid For ALL Customers nize the order of creation. With this

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attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator.” This last quote reminds me that it was Christine Jorgensen who, in 1952, pushed atom bomb tests off the front pages when she returned to the United States after her gender reassignment – but that’s about as close as I can get to equating those like me with the world’s nuclear arsenal. I was not raised Catholic, and aside from assisting my father in photographing weddings at St. John Vianney, my personal experiences with Catholicism are largely academic. Indeed, my whole childhood experience has caused me to have a very strong agnostic streak. I don’t mind any belief that any one wishes to hold dear, provided it harms none. With the pope’s words, he’s gone against that. I think he is spot on when he speaks of the environment, about man’s greed and how that has damaged Mother Earth – but to take that


same opportunity to tell transgender people to somehow “suck it up” seems nothing but hurtful. One of the hardest things for a person such as me to come to terms with is the very fact that their own physical body lies. It’s not a simple matter of accepting “what God gave me,” any more than it is for someone born with a cleft palette. All the things that others like me go through simply to be comfortable in our own skins has little to do with having “absolute power over creation.” I would also contend that it is Pope Francis, not I, who is facing some crises around being able to recognize his self and somehow “confront” gender differences. To borrow the old Queer Nation slogan, “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.” I want a better world, and I want the harm done to our environment to be addressed. I am happy to see the pontiff speak out while so many other leaders won’t. Yet this continual cycle of attacks on gender theory and transgender people from the pope is tiresome and hurtful. How many transgender people, brought up in the Catholic Church, is this harming – and how many may take their lives as a result? With that in mind, I don’t feel the good done by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ fully outweighs the harm it can cause to transgender people – and he needs to take a new look at transgender people if he expects to be as progressive as many claim him to be.t Gwen Smith is not a nuclear weapon; she is a human being. You’ll find her on Twitter at @gwenners.

South Bay drag pageant group retools

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by Diana Heideman















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a very difficult year, with allegations of mismanagement and missing funds, the royal court of what was the California Panache Pageant has found a new home and is now known as the Golden State Panache Pageant. The newly reconstituted drag group, based in the South Bay, will be performing Friday, June 26 as part of the San Francisco Trans March festivities. The Ultimate Panache system, of which the Golden State chapter is a part, has three inclusive titles that allow people to compete regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. CPP was owned and produced by Therese Wonnacott, who was assisted by event promoter Lupe Villarruelas. Together, they produced two pageants in 2014 and March of this year, hosted at the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center in San Jose. Both were fundraisers, with the proceeds to be split 90/10 between the winners’ travel funds to the national Ultimate Panache Pageant in Hawaii and the DeFrank center. At the March pageant, Terri Jay was announced as the winner of the Miss California Panache title. Lady Phoenix, 36, a trans woman also known as Raquel Santiago, was announced as first alternate. However, problems arose later that evening when Villarruelas went upstairs to the CPP office at the DeFrank center to go over the books and turn in her receipts for reimbursement. When she asked Wonnacott for the fundraiser’s total, she was shown an envelope containing much less than the

Diana Heideman

Lady Phoenix was crowned Miss Golden State Panache at the new chapter’s investiture earlier this month.

roughly $2,500 she expected. “I asked [Wonnacott], ‘Is all the money in here?’ And she replies yes,” Villarruelas said. “Then I asked her, ‘Where is all the ticket money from the contestants from the night before?’ She started stuttering and was looking in her purse and in the bottom of the cash box.” Villarruelas was also told that she would not be reimbursed for her expenses. The situation worsened when Villarruelas went back to the office a few days later and found it completely empty. Gabrielle Antolovich, board president of the DeFrank center, con-

firmed the center “never received any funds from the 2015 pageant.” Phoenix has filed a complaint with the state attorney general’s office on behalf of GSPP and is seeking access to CPP’s past two years of financial documents. In the complaint, Phoenix, who signed the document under her name Raquel Santiago, alleges Wonnecott has mismanaged the money. Wonnacott declined to respond directly to the allegations, but issued a statement. “Frankly, I have removed myself from tired of the lies – drag queen, faux queen – drama,” she said via Facebook Messenger. “I have removed toxic people in my life and deleted 4,480 people in my life – only have my inner core people who get me, who respect me and visa versa.” She added that she has been under a doctor’s care and has moved on with selected community involvement and retired. “I have no public comment,” Wonnacott added.

Complications, new pageant

Further complications occurred when the March pageant scorecards were reviewed a few weeks later. During contestant interviews, Villarruelas said, “Therese told one contestant that it was OK to turn in her money for ticket sales the next day” without penalty, even though pageant rules said all competitors “must have all money and tickets not sold that night, or they will be out 25 points.” The score review showed that if Wonnacott had not unilaterally See page 58 >>


Michael Kaufmann Business Analyst


I’m proud to work at a company that demonstrates a deep commitment to equality and to a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we proudly serve.

At PG&E, our customers are our neighbors. The communities we serve as PG&E employees are where we live and work too. That’s why we’re investing $5 billion this year to enhance pipeline safety and strengthen our gas and electric infrastructure across northern and central California. It’s why we’re helping people and businesses gain energy efficiencies to help reduce their bills. It’s why we’re focused on developing the next generation of clean, renewable energy systems. Together, we are working to enhance pipeline safety and strengthen our gas and electric infrastructure—for your family and ours.

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in the Bay Area

SEE THE FACTS IN THE BAY AREA Replaced more than 30 miles of gas transmission pipeline Invested more than $2.1 billion into electrical improvements Connected more than 65,000 rooftop solar installations

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<< Pride 2015

38 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


Pride AIDS contingent regroups 25 years later by Matthew S. Bajko


ressed as Dr. Frank-N-Furter from the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Harry Breaux marched up San Francisco’s Market Street on the last Sunday in June 1990. He had gone that day on his own to participate in the annual Pride parade. Along the route he ran into a group marching on behalf of the Healing Circle, which he had partic-

ipated in, and joined the contingent. “I decided I didn’t want to watch the parade so I put the costume on,” recalled Breaux, 70, who a decade prior while living in Houston had performed as the transsexual character from the stage show-turnedfilm. “I went down to the parade and started walking the route. When I was walking down the street I got to that group and hung out for quite a while.” A black and white photo of

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Breaux dressed in drag in front of the Healing Circle banner, with another banner reading “Love Heals” in the near background, ran in that week’s Bay Area Reporter. “It was fabulous. I just sort of sashayed down the street. Everybody loved it,” recalled Breaux, who works two days a week in the administrative office for the Diamond Heights Shopping Center. “Straight girls shoved their boyfriends out in the street because they had to get their picture with Frank-N-Furter. Everybody recognized the iconic look.” To mark the 25th anniversary of that Pride appearance, Breaux will once again be donning a Dr. FrankN-Furter outfit Sunday, June 28, and reuniting with the surviving members of the 1990 Healing Circle contingent to march in this year’s parade. It will be his fourth time taking part in the Pride parade. Last year he rode in a motorized cable car vehicle with the Shanti Project contingent. “I am marching for those who can’t,” said Breaux. “Other than that I will just be celebrating the fact that gay people can be doing this without bother.” The Healing Circle, said organizer Gregg Cassin, was a support group for HIV-positive people and their friends and family. The members were all grappling with the death and despair brought on by the AIDS epidemic at a time before there were HIV drugs to treat the virus. “We were coming together and building community at a time when everyone felt isolated and stigmatized,” said Cassin, himself a longterm survivor of HIV. Not only was it powerful for HIVpositive people to march in the parade, recalled Cassin, there also was a need to remind the people lining the parade route that love can be healing. “It is a powerful message,” he said. “And we don’t often, I think, give ourselves credit, for we as human beings have a profound impact on one another.” He is making a new “Love Heals” banner to march behind Sunday. Bringing together the men who marched 25 years ago to again walk the parade route this year will send another powerful message, said Cassin, who facilitates the Honoring Our Experience retreats and works at Shanti Project as an HIV health counselor for the agency’s HIV LIFE program.

Breaking the isolation

The long-term survivors of the AIDS epidemic, said Cassin, “need to be brought together and need to join as a community. We need to break the isolation. So many guys feel like they won the booby prize because they lived but all of their friends died.”


Pride safety

From page 32

draises for charitable causes, is once again promoting her QP campaign with the tagline “Pride don’t gotta be a drag.” It is now in its seventh, or possibly eighth, year, said Sister maeJoy. QP doesn’t stand for anything, said Sister maeJoy, who welcomes people coming up with their own meaning for the acronym, whether it be “queer pride or queerly purple or whatever people want.” The campaign urges people to “Stay hydrated; stay standing; stay proud.” This year’s campaign poster – found in various locations in the Castro and around town – focuses on the need for people to drink fluids, especially if out in sunny, warm weather for hours on end over Pride weekend. In that regard, SF Pride has once again teamed up with the city’s

Courtesy Gregg Cassin

Harry Breaux, left, dressed as Dr. Frank-N-Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, led the Healing Circle contingent in the 1990 Pride parade.

Breaux, who has lived in San Francisco off and on since 1972, today is living with AIDS. He contracted HIV in 1980, and first developed full-blown AIDS in 1996. “I slutted around in the 1970s. I was here in the Castro from the beginning. I played heavy and hard and did all I could for gay freedom,” recalled Breaux, who grew up in Morgan City, Louisiana on the banks of the Atchafalaya River. “So I wasn’t surprised when they told me I was HIV-positive in 1984. That wasn’t a big surprise; I expected to live a couple more years at most.” The surprise for Breaux has been his surviving into retirement age, especially after he collapsed in December 1996 and was told by doctors he was suffering from three diseases at once: Pneumocystis, Mycobacterium avium complex or MAC, and Cryptococcal meningitis. “I kept waking up and living,” marveled Breaux, who saw his HIV become undetectable once he began retroviral therapy. Having retreated from being active with the city’s AIDS community – “Basically, I didn’t want to hear the word AIDS anymore,” he said – Breaux began reconnecting three years ago when he joined the Billys,

a social group for gay, bisexual, and transgender men. (See story in the Pride section, page 3). “Someone said why not come to a gathering. I figured it was time to come out again rather than be sitting at home,” said Breaux, who earlier this year joined the Billys board of directors. “I had my heart opened. I realized in my mind everyone had died but there I was standing there with people who were alive.” He now volunteers as a Castro ambassador, greeting visitors to the city’s gayborhood, and also started attending the Honoring Our Experience retreats run by Cassin. It was at a recent retreat that Cassin showed Breaux the photo of him as Dr. Frank-N-Furter. The two started talking and decided to recreate the picture. Their decision, said Breaux, recalled for him a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, / Creeps in this petty pace from day to day ...” “In other words, it rolls along the way it rolls along,” said Breaux. Anyone who also marched with the Healing Circle contingent in 1990, and would like to do so again this year, should email Cassin at

water department to place free water bottle filling stations in the Civic Center festival grounds. Other advice found on the QP campaign’s smaller handouts reminds Pride participants to eat brunch and carry emergency rations for themselves and their friends; take time to relax and rest throughout the day; and plan ahead for their visit if from out of town by making sure to pack whatever medications they need. Under the heading “co-factors of various natures and tendencies,” code for sex and drugs, Sister maeJoy urges people to party smartly and “don’t be duped.” Sister maeJoy, who works in the harm reduction field, said her campaign’s main aim is to remind people to take care of themselves and their friends throughout the weekend. “A lot of folks get caught up in

the joy and celebration of Pride and we forget to take care of ourselves,” she said. “We forget about the things that are important to make our celebration better.” Each year Sister maeJoy estimates she spends roughly $600 on the campaign posters and smaller handouts. To raise the money, she sells her own version of a “dime bag” beginning at Easter time up through Pride weekend. Each comes with “white glitter in it, a rose petal and a piece of paper not for internal use,” she said. “And there is an actual dime so it is an authentic dime bag.”t For more information about the QP campaign, visit Pride’s TV commercial can be viewed online at http://sfpride. org/blog/.


<< Pride 2015

40 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


Gay evangelical Christian to speak at SF Pride by Khaled Sayed


young gay evangelical Christian will take the main stage at San Francisco Pride this weekend with a message he’s hoping the throngs of people will hear. Matthew Vines, who stopped attending Harvard University after two years, is an evangelical Christian from Kansas. He’s on a mission to appeal to Christians who will listen to him about homosexuality and same-sex relationships.

Vines believes that he can be openly gay and hold on to his Christian community and tradition. The author of God and the Gay Christian, Vines will be speaking at the San Francisco Pride main stage Sunday, June 28 at noon despite never having been to such a large LGBT Pride event before. Vines, 25, is aiming to open a dialogue about homosexuality and same-sex marriage that he hopes will result in acceptance by evangelical churches. Vines’ book set out

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to answer some of the questions he posed, like: Do biblical teachings on the marriage covenant preclude same-sex marriage or not? How should we apply the teachings of Jesus to the gay debate? What did Paul have in mind when he warned against same-sex relations? His book convincingly counters the millennia old argument that homosexuality is a sin. Many Christians who oppose same-sex relationships cite six key biblical passages, which Vines deconstructs to reveal a theologically sound interpretation. Acknowledging that there are passages condemning homosexuality in the Bible, Vines, who is single, said he believes that people still can learn about relationships from it. “There are these passages in the Bible that refer to homosexual behavior,” he told the Bay Area Reporter in an interview this week. “All of them are negative. The behavior that the Bible addresses is significantly different from the type of long-term committed relationship same-sex couples experience today.” According to Vines, the core of the Bible’s teachings about marriage is about “keeping covenant with your spouse, about that commitment, the same way that same-sex couples can and do live out every day.”

Khaled Sayed

Author Matthew Vines

“The core of my argument in the book is that Christians can both fully affirm the authority of the Bible and fully affirm things like [same-sex] relationships,” Vines said. “My book shows exactly how Christians can do that through the interpretation of the Bible.” Vines’ book is geared to evangelical Christians who have more liberal views or are open to the idea of accepting LGBT people. When it was published last year, the Southern Baptist Convention, one of the most

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conservative religious denominations, released its own chapter-bychapter rebuttal to Vines’ central argument – that Christians who affirm the full authority of scripture can also affirm committed same-sex relationships. “The target audience for my book is evangelical Christians who are at least more open to learning about LGBT people’s issues, especially as they relate to the Bible,” Vines said. Vines, who lives in Wichita, Kansas, is no longer part of the church in which he grew up. After his own church rejected him for being gay, he is working on attracting new people to his message and creating a new community that would accept him as a gay Christian man. “The church I grew up in is very far removed from where I would like them to be on this topic. But I attend a church now that is certainly more supportive of what I’m doing,” he said, declining to name either congregation. Responses to his book have been mixed, but Vines said that they were similar to what he expected. “Some of the Christians are very much not open to learning more or having a conversation, and for these people, the responses were more like knee-jerk condemnation,” Vines said. “However, there are many other Christians who may not be supportive of marriage equality but who are really receptive to having a conversation.” Even though many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are against homosexuality and samesex marriage, Vines thinks that there are others who are interested in learning about LGBT people, but they are not saying it out loud. “It is important to me to change people’s minds for the same reason marriage equality is important to the LGBT community across the board,” Vines said. “Because these are our communities, and for me the church I grew up in, the church I’m traditionally a part of, is a core part of my community and my support system. I don’t want that to fade away just because I’m gay.” “For Christians in general it is important to have the family and the church to support them,” Vines said, adding that he came out to his parents in 2010. “Otherwise that adds a tremendous amount of pain and rejection to their life which is unnecessary.” In 2013, Vines launched the Reformation Project to train and empower LGBT-supportive Christians in conservative churches.t


Guest Opinion

From page 34

For myself and for the work I do, I pledge not to let a Sunday go by that we do not include some acknowledgment of the ongoing reality of racism and what we can do about it. Otherwise I am not doing my job. What will you do? Here is a simple, concrete list of where to start: Watch Spike Lee’s film Four Little Girls for background on the 1963 church bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church in which Carol Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Robertson were killed ( wiki/4_Little_Girls). Read and discuss Oakland-based theologian and activist Sandhya Rani Jha’s new book Pre-Post-Racial America: Spiritual Stories from the Front Line (Chalice Press, 2015). Act every day to challenge racism wherever it is found in large or small ways. Join a group that makes a difference in a tangible way. Put See page 48 >>


Pride 2015>>

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 41

The gay saviors of San Francisco’s Victorians by Matthew S. Bajko


hen a friend he had sold the house next door to suggested Richard Jordan buy the old Victorian for sale at 658 Elizabeth Street when it went on the market in 1971, the former real estate agent at first expressed misgivings. “I said, ‘That old dump?’” recalled Jordan, 78, who in the end purchased the house and spent decades rehabbing it. “It was uninhabitable when I came here.” Constructed in 1893 and built in the Italianate style, the mustardcolored duplex features slanted bay windows, Corinthian columns, and a cow motif frieze a friend created specially for Jordan, who has a wide selection of bovine collectibles. “I wanted to try the best I could to keep it in the style it was built,” said Jordan, a gay man who lives alone in one half of the house and rents out the other unit and a separate downstairs garden apartment he had built. He named the house Rosewood Hall due to the rose bushes planted in the backyard and the narrow, hall-like structure of the home. “I always liked old houses,” said Jordan, who was born in San Francisco, grew up in Glendale, and returned to the city in the late 1950s. “My family lived in many of them over the years.” Many gay men share Jordan’s fondness for the city’s older housing stock of roughly 13,000 Victorian era structures that remain, according to the Victorian Alliance of San Francisco. The preservation group, formed in 1973 to protect the historic houses from being torn down, estimates that half of its 3,000 members are gay homeowners. “The alliance was formed in response to the wholesale slaughter of these buildings during the urban redevelopment era of the 1960s and 1970s,” said Roger K. Reid, a gay man who is the current president of the Victorian Alliance and owns his own interior design firm. Victorians derive their name from England’s Queen Victoria, whose reign lasted from 1837 to 1901. They come in a variety of styles, such as Stick, Italianate, and Gothic Revival. The rarest style of Victorians are Queen Anne’s, with 400 left in the city, according to the Victorian Alliance. They are known for their arches and turrets, often resembling a witch’s cap. While they can appear to be similar to Victorians, homes constructed between 1901 and 1910 are known as Edwardians, due to their being built during the reign of King Edward VII. In San Francisco many of the neighborhoods with large concentrations of Victorians were attractive to the influx of gay men arriving in the city five decades ago. As longtime straight homeowners fled for the suburbs, these newer arrivals scooped up the housing stock at relatively cheap prices.

Rick Gerharter

Roger Reid, president of the Victorian Alliance, points out the elaborate ceiling paper in the Victorian home owned by Richard Jordan.

In August 1965 Richard Reutlinger acquired the Italianate house at 824 Grove Street, the site of a black Baptist church for the prior 12 years. City officials were bulldozing many of the stately old homes in the surrounding area, which at the time was the heart of the city’s African American community, and replacing them with public housing developments. “It was in pretty bad shape. But because I wanted a big Victorian house, and this was the only neighborhood I could afford at the time, I bought it,” said Reutlinger, 78, who worked for 35 years as an office manager at Arthur Andersen and Company. “Nobody else wanted it. It was just junk and redevelopment was about to start.” Since moving to San Francisco in 1956, the Nebraska native had been enamored with the city’s famous Victorian housing stock. He first bought a small Victorian in the Mission that he fixed up and sold prior to buying his current home, originally built in 1886 for businessman Henry Brune. “I couldn’t believe they were going to tear down all these old homes in the Western Addition,” said Reutlinger. “But, of course, they did.” As it turned out, several other gay men had bought homes on his block and were also restoring them to their Victorian grandeur. Three gay male friends in 1957, for $13,000, had bought the Victorian at 814 Grove Street. Because Bill Plath, Dick Rousseau, and Billy Brunski were white, it spared the 800 block of Grove from being included in the city’s redevelopment plans for the area, said Mike Finn, a gay man and performance artist who in the early 2000s inherited the home from the men. He had befriended Plath and later became his caretaker. “We were friends long before I knew they had this house,” said Finn, 48, who rents out several of the houses’ five bedrooms via Airbnb to help pay the property taxes, which are now “more than what they paid for the house.”

Desirable homes

In today’s super heated real estate market, the once frowned upon Victorians are now some of the most expensive housing to be had in the city. Finn readily acknowledges he would be unable to buy his home in the current market, as he estimates it’s worth $4 million. “No one lives in these houses today unless they are rich,” said Finn. Reid, 54, the Victorian Alliance’s president, is himself priced out of owning a Victorian. He and his husband own a mid-century house built in 1947 west of Twin Peaks. “I think it is an interesting thing to note that even though I don’t live in a Victorian, I am willing to volunteer so much time and energy into the preservation of these buildings,” said Reid. “It is because of how important they are to our sense of place.” “The only way to have a sense of place is to have historic houses in town,” added Reid. “Otherwise we run the danger of looking like a strip mall or Anywhere, USA.” Yet many Victorians are being bought by housing developers or younger homeowners, who rip out their historic interiors to install more open layouts to the horror of preservationists. Others are simply torn down to make way for modern buildings. “They are being destroyed. It is appalling,” said Jordan, a member of the Victorian Alliance. “People don’t like restoring things. What can you do?”

Rick Gerharter

Richard Reutlinger, bottom left, closes the gate outside the Brune-Reutlinger Victorian house at 824 Grove Street.

The Victorian Alliance has been pushing the city to enact tougher rules for what developers and homebuyers can do to both the exteriors and interiors when remodeling a Victorian. The current zoning, argues the group, provides very little protection for either. “Interiors are the most important aspects of this whole thing and there are no protections for interiors and indoor spaces. It is something I want to personally draw a lot of attention to as president,” said Reid, who specializes in historic interiors. “The resources they were made of cannot be replicated. All these houses are built out of old growth redwood that are gone.” One issue is that the layout of many Victorians, said Reid, has fallen out of favor with today’s homeowners. The houses were typically built with front and rear parlors, dining rooms, and a servant’s

area that included the kitchen and a laundry porch. Upstairs were the bedrooms and shared bathrooms. “People completely gut the entire thing and get rid of the historic mantel. They get rid of the walls separating these rooms and put in sleek European cabinetry,” said Reid. “In some cases they rip out gorgeous wood staircases and put in a glass railing. I think there is a huge sense of loss. It is hard to put into words.” The city’s zoning rules can also hamper attempts to restore a Victorian’s exterior that has been removed or hidden behind stucco, argued Reid. “It is illegal to create false historicism,” he said. “They do not allow you to restore the facade even if the building is a Victorian and has shingles or been stucco-overed.” See page 49 >>



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Rick Gerharter

The stately dining room, looking into the parlor, of the BruneReutlinger House in the Western Addition.


<< Travel

42 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Summer deals heat up in gay Palm Springs by Ed Walsh


s I left San Francisco to catch a SamTrans bus to San Francisco International Airport last month, the city was socked in with heavy drizzle. I wore two jackets to keep warm. But it was a reversal of fortune that afternoon when I arrived in Palm Springs: crystal clear skies and about 90 degrees. Despite the heat, Palm Springs does a big summer business, especially on weekends when many of the city’s nearly twodozen gay resorts fill with people driving in from other parts of southern California and Nevada. The city also gets a lot of business from visitors flying or driving down from the

Bay Area, seeking a getaway in virtually guaranteed sunshine. For gay travelers, the wide variety of the city’s LGBT resorts may be the biggest draw. Many folks return to the same gay inns year after year. Most owners also actively manage the properties and are on a first name basis with regular guests. “It’s all about meeting people, connecting,” said Tim Phillips who owns the La Dolce Vita resort along with his partner, Ken Stabins. He added that he’s not big on hosting groups at the resort out of concern that other guests may feel left out. But on rare occasions when groups stay there, he insists organizers promise to include other guests in the group’s activities.

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If you can get to Palm Springs over the summer, you will be met with some great deals. The city’s gay business community is bringing back its Summer Splash program offering visitors deals through mid-September. Participating hotels offer discounted summer rates with deep discounts for weekday stays. Many resorts offer a third night free for weekday stays. Be sure and pick up a Splash pass when you arrive at a gay resort. It includes discounts and giveaways at gay bars, restaurants, and shops. You can check out the deals at The average high summer temperature in Palm Springs is about 108, but don’t let the heat scare you. Most resorts have misting systems that spray a light mist in the air, keeping it cooler in the sun. Also, Palm Springs has an early sunset when the sun sinks behind the mountains to the west, treating the city to an extended twilight and relief from direct sun.


The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway ( is the perfect attraction to take in the middle of the daytime summer heat. The tram whisks visitors from the hot desert to the peak of Mount San Jacinto in 10 minutes. The round trip fare is a reasonable $23 or, if you would like to include lunch at a restaurant on the summit, $36. I took the tram one afternoon last month. While it was about 100 degrees in the city, the summit was in the mid-60s. There are a number of trails you can take to hike around shaded mountain meadows at the top. The Indian Canyons (http://www. are well worth a visit in the summer, but it is a good idea to visit early in the morning before it gets too hot. The most popular of the Indian Canyons, Andreas Canyon, is just a 10-minute ride from

Ed Walsh

Business and life partners Joanna Funaro, left, and Denise Roberson own Casitas Laquita, Palm Springs’ only resort that caters to lesbians.

downtown and includes an ever-flowing stream along a grove of palm trees. You can take a self-guided onemile loop train along stunning rock formations and palm trees that line the stream or you can take a scheduled guided tour at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. A series of grinding holes can Ed Walsh be found on the rocks adjacent to the visitors’ A piano mailbox sits outside of one of parking lot. Each inch Liberace’s homes in Palm Springs, part of of depth in the grind- Desert Adventures’ celebrity tour. ing holes is equivalent homes. Former San Franciscan Bob to 100 years of grindGross runs a fabulous LGBT-orienting. Some of the holes were worked ed tour through Desert Adventures by generations of Native American that includes the gay history of the families for more than 500 years. city as well as drive-bys of gay and Desert Adventures (red-jeep. gay icon celebrity homes. com) offers a number of guided If you prefer to explore on your tours throughout Palm Springs, inown, Palm Springs is making it easier cluding the Indian Canyons, Joshua to get around without a car. A free Tree National Park, the San Andreas shuttle bus service began last fall. fault, the city’s famed windmills, and a tour of past and present celebrity See page 44 >>


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<< Travel

44 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


Ed Walsh

People walk along the trails atop Mount San Jacinto, after riding the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.


Palm Springs

From page 42

Palm Springs Buzz runs every 15 minutes from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. ThursdaySunday. The colorful buses make various stops in a loop around the city. A detailed map and app can be found on the site One of downtown’s newest attractions is the Palm Springs Art

Museum Architecture and Design Center, Edward Harris Pavilion. It’s located at 300 South Palm Canyon Drive. The epicenter for change in Palm Springs is two blocks away at the corner of South Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way. On one corner, you will find the city’s new visitors center. The opposite corner is the construction site where the new Museum Market Plaza, in-

10 years of “I Do” Vancouver proudly celebrates 10 years of marriage equality in Canada.

cluding a 155-room Kimpton Hotel, is slated to open in fall 2016. The new plaza will give visitors a view of the Palm Springs Art Museum from Palm Canyon Drive.


Palm Springs has more gay resorts than any other place in the world and there are a wide variety of resorts that can satisfy just about anyone. All the resorts are marketed toward gay men except for the lesbian resort, Casitas Laquita. After the recent closing of the Queen of Hearts Inn, Casitas Laquita is now the only lesbian resort in Palm Springs. Most of the gay hotels include a continental breakfast and free Wi-Fi is standard. Casitas Laquita and the East Canyon Hotel and Spa are the only gay properties that don’t allow nude sunbathing. Some of the men’s properties are very sexually charged while others cater more to couples or singles looking at the resort as more of a place to relax and socialize. The Triangle Inn ( is a good example of why the gay resorts are so popular in Palm Springs. The couple who have owned the property for 15 years, Stephen Boyd and Michael Green, make all the regulars feel like family. They are resident owners and very active in the community. If you seek more privacy, the resort offers the best of both worlds. You can rent the adjacent home, including your own pool and hot tub, and you can also use the main hotel grounds when you want to socialize. The aforementioned La Dolce Vita Resort and Spa ( is another property that keeps guests coming back time and time again. The hotel has two pools and two hot tubs because it used to be two properties that were eventually joined together. If you want to get a taste of a gay resort but aren’t ready to commit, you can sign up for a spa treatment and then hang out for free before or after your appointment. The East Canyon Hotel and Spa ( is one of Palm Springs’ most upscale gay properties. The spa is also open to non-guests. The owner, Richard Weiss, makes sure all the guests are well looked after. The hotel has a liquor license and serves guests free alcoholic drinks poolside. El Mirasol Villas (, in the very gay Warm Sands neighborhood, has been going strong since it opened in 1975 and is Palm Springs’ oldest gay resort. The property was originally built in the 1940s by Howard Hughes as a getaway for his Hollywood pals. The spacious property has two pools, a steam room, and a large hot tub. InnExile (http://www.innExile. com) is El Mirasol’s next-door neighbor. The very cruisy hotel is being run now by the owners of the All Worlds Resort. It was most recently called the La Joya Inn but See page 46 >>

<< Community News

46 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Gay mural defaced in SF’s Mission district by Seth Hemmelgarn


mural depicting gay Latinos in San Francisco’s Mission district has been defaced three times in recent days. Ani Rivera, executive director of Galeria de la Raza, at 2857 24th Street, where the digital mural known as Por Vida (For Life) is located, said police are investigating the attacks as a hate crime, based on social media messages and threats.

The piece shows a gay couple, a transgender man, and a lesbian couple. “We did this to bring visibility to a sector of our community, and we’re not going to stop because of the threats,” said Rivera, who identifies as a queer Chicana and lives in the Mission. The first incident occurred Monday night, June 15, and was discovered the next day. Someone had spray-painted over about half of the

piece, Rivera said. Then, that Tuesday night, the mural was defaced again. The gallery repaired the damage, but the mural was defaced again with spray paint around midnight Sunday, June 21. Cameras were installed after the second incident, and Rivera said the footage shows the person painting on the mural and their face, although “we haven’t been able to identify them.” She wouldn’t say what the person looks like, since “it is an active investigation.” Police spokespeople didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment. Artist Manuel Paul, in a statement released by Galeria de la Raza, explained the reason for the mural. “Por Vida was created to celebrate the LGTBQ Chican@/Latin@ culture within the context of a historically Chicano barrio,” Paul, who worked on the mural and is with the Los Angeles-based Maricon Collective, said, using the @ symbol to refer to Chicanos or Chicanas.

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Rick Gerharter

A gay-themed mural on the Bryant Street exterior wall of the Mission district’s Galeria de la Raza was recently defaced with black spray paint.

“Through our art and our work we present counterstories that reflect queers growing up in the Barrio. “Barrio queerness is not a new concept or trend, it has always existed but has been silenced by centuries of patriarchy and machismo that plague PUB: Bay Area Reporter our communities,” Paul Issue: 5/28 added. “The love depicted Client: in Aston the mural is meant to reach AD:more Hotel Renew than just LGTBQ people; it Size: Page to create bridges of love is 1/3 meant (5.75” andx 11”) support with one another. ... Colors: We Full remain positive and hope that DUE: 5/19 can see the message of the people mural and what it represents to us as Chican@s/Latin@s that face obstacles in life due to racism, sexism, and homophobia.” Rivera thinks the same person or people are responsible for all the incidents. “I do believe that, because through social media, we can see that they’ve been keeping tabs on what’s happening,” she said. “ ... It’s the same people through social media continuing to post hateful messages.” She added, “They’re following every single conversation.” Rivera declined to say which usernames go with the people the gallery suspects are involved, but the gallery provided screenshots of several comments that had been made on social media. In one remark posted to a photo of the defaced mural, sharktank_408 said, “Looks a lot better like this. Fuckin maricones [faggots] coming up north trying to paint up sf that shits a mockery.” Barrio2barrio said, “So apparently the first gay cholo/a mural was put up in San Francisco mission district over the week. The mural was put up by ‘DJ’ and member of the #MariconCollective Manuel Paul ... I find it funny aside from disrespectful that


Palm Springs

From page 44

when All Worlds took it over last fall, it changed it back to its old name, InnExile. It has the best workout room of any of the gay resorts, with free weights and aerobic machines. The aforementioned Casitas Laquita (http://www.casitaslaquita. com) is owned by longtime business and life partners Joanna Funaro and Denise Roberson. The upscale property has a Southwestern theme and all the rooms have kitchens. One of the hotel’s suites has its own private outdoor hot tub. The hotel has a very unique feature in Palm Springs, a wine cellar basement that is used for special events and as an entertainment venue. Vacation home rentals are becoming a more popular option in Palm Springs. Depending on the price point, vacation home rentals can offer visitors a good value. If you are traveling with a group, you can often save money by renting a home and dividing the cost among your fellow travelers. For a complete list of what is available, check out

this guy was invited from Los Angeles to paint that mural up here. It’s funny because this guy is obviously not from around here so therefore knows nothing about the Bay Area cholo lifestyle. If he did, he would know that we don’t play that up here.” The commenter added, “The majority of people who support this and encourage it are feminist, lesbians, and groups of people who have no connections to real street or gang, low rider, or cholo lifestyle. ... It seems like the gay community is doing its best to try to cross over into all aspects of life, even the ones that don’t apply to them.” Another poster, Moneybags415, said, “Yeah but now if we smack them up they calling the gay police and then we through. But if we smack them up and bounce out the unknown suspect style old school way.” The latest damage hadn’t been repaired as of this Monday. Rivera said the gallery’s in the process of organizing a date to fix the mural and a community forum “to have a conversation around what’s happening.” A street celebration would follow the repair day. Dates hadn’t been set yet. The mural will stay up until the end of July, and until then “we’ll replace it and fix it as many times as we need to.” Replacing the mural costs about $1,200 each time, Rivera said, and the gallery’s already on the third one. Rivera said this isn’t the first time the gallery has had problems with a mural. Another piece depicting a lesbian couple was defaced in 2000. To make a donation, go to https:// d o n a t e n o w. n e t w o r k f o r g o o d . org/1392515. For more information about the gallery, visit http://www. the city’s official website at http://


The biggest concentration of gay nightlife is in downtown Palm Springs on a block of East Arenas Road between South Indian Canyon Drive and South Calle Encilia. The newest Arenas Road hangout, Chill Lounge and Video Bar, opened on New Year’s Eve. It is in the space where the old Rainbow bar and restaurant was but it has been completely redone in a modern open-air motif. The bar’s patio and wrap-around windows give this beautiful bar a very open feel. The other Arenas Road bars include Chill’s neighbor, the video bar, Spurline; the unabashedly dive bar, Score; and the local and karaoke favorite, Streetbar. Hunter’s is the largest gay nightspot on the block with a main bar and a disco space that is open on weekends. Toucan’s Tiki Lounge is at the north end of Palm Springs and draws a good mix of people for drinks and dancing. See page 55 >>

Community News>>

t Coalition formed to fight anti-trans bathroom initiative

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 47

by Cynthia Laird


GBTs dodged one mean-spirited effort Tuesday when a superior court judge threw out the proposed “kill the gays” initiative, but state Attorney General Kamala Harris cleared an anti-trans ballot measure that would restrict access to public restrooms. The proposed ballot measure from the anti-LGBT Privacy for All group now has the official title: “Limits on Use of Facilities in Government Buildings and Businesses.” It would prohibit transgender people from using facilities in government buildings and require the government to monitor bathroom use. Backers of the proposed initiative have until December 20 to gather 365,880 valid signatures to qualify it for the November 2016 ballot. Oakland-based Transgender Law Center and Equality California quickly issued a news release June 23 stating they have joined a coalition with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, the Human Rights Campaign, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Coalition members said that right-wing activists have increasingly targeted the transgender community for discrimination, proposing a spate of bills and initiatives across the country that would prohibit transgender people from using public bathrooms and otherwise participating in public life. One of the most onerous parts of the proposed initiative in California is that it would allow anyone offended by the presence of an individual

Courtesy EQCA

Equality California’s Rick Zbur

in a restroom to sue that person for $4,000 in damages, as well as attorney’s fees. Government analysts say the measure could cost California millions of dollars every year in legal expenses and lost federal funding, coalition members stated. Privacy for All is backed by the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, a right-wing legal organization. “Our opponents clearly have a taste for irony,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “Why else would they include ‘privacy’ in the name of their organization that seeks to invade the most basic dignity of the transgender community – or really, of anyone who doesn’t match subjective standards of masculinity or femininity? This initiative has no safeguards about who does the interrogating or how an individual would prove their identity. It’s a recipe for harassment.” See page 58 >>

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<< Community News

48 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


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Labor dept. inducts Kameny into Hall

Courtesy U.S. Dept. of Labor


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he U.S. Department of Labor inducted the late gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny into its Hall of Honor during a ceremony Tuesday, June 23 at the Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C. With pictures of Kameny in the background, speakers, including D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, above, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, and U.S. Defense Department Chief of Staff Eric

Fanning, a gay man, talked about Kameny’s accomplishments. Kameny, a World War II veteran and Harvard-educated doctor of astronomy with the U.S. Army Map Service, was fired for being gay in 1958, but went on to fight for gay rights. He organized the first protest for gay rights held in front of the White House in 1965 and coined the phrase “Gay is Good.” Kameny died in October 2011.

Santa Clara County funds LGBTQ affairs office by Matthew S. Bajko


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anta Clara County, which includes the city of San Jose, is set to become the country’s third municipal jurisdiction with an Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Affairs. Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. already have similar offices up and running. The California county will have the only county-level office of its kind. The Santa Clara Board of Supervisors Tuesday, June 16 approved funding the new office with a budget of $307,805 in the fiscal year that begins July 1. It passed the entire county budget Friday, June 19. Sometime next month the county will post job notices for the newly created manager and management analyst positions to oversee the LGBT office. The salaries and benefits are expected to be less than $156,938 and $150,867, respectively, for the office’s staff. Gay Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, who earlier this year had pushed for the creation of the office, heralded that the “concept became a reality” in a June 18 email to his constituents. “Santa Clara County has launched a number of initiatives to address the needs of the LGBTQ community over the years. The Office of LGBTQ Affairs will keep these programs on track while ensuring adequate resources and collaboration across departments for years to come,” wrote Yeager in his email.


Guest Opinion

From page 40

your body with your intention in protest, in coalition, in voting and by supporting the voting rights of all, and by supporting actions promoted through #sayhername and #blacklivesmatter, to name a couple of sources. Pray, whether or not it is your normal practice, in solidarity with the slain and living members of Emanuel AME Church because Black Churches Matter: “God/Goddess of my understanding, help me see today what I can do to end racism in my lifetime.” Intentional repeated and reverent recitation of the names of the Mother Emmanuel Nine is a kind of prayer: the Reverend Clementa Pinckney,

Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager

County officials estimate that LGBTQ people account for 4 percent of its population, which totals 1,894,605 people, based on 2014 U.S. Census numbers. A Gallup survey released in March that looked at LGBT residents of the country’s top 50 metro areas found that the LGBT population in the San JoseSunnyvale-Santa Clara area was 3.2 percent, or 3,368 residents age 18 and older. South Bay LGBT leaders praised the county board’s decision to fund the new affairs office. “I am very excited that our Santa Clara Board of Supervisors is funding a LGBTQ affairs office here in Santa Clara County,” said Omar Torres, a gay man who serves on the FranklinMcKinley School District board and pastor, state senator, and father; Tywanza Sanders, recent college graduate; Cynthia Hurd, librarian with 31 years of service; the Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, pastor, high school track coach, and mother; Myra Thompson, wife of a local pastor; Ethel Lance, church employee for 30 years; the Reverend Daniel L. Simmons, member of ministerial staff; the Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor, counselor at Southern Wesleyan; Susie Jackson, age 87. Give because the immediate trauma of what has happened at Mother Emanuel Church cannot allow the building or the community to falter. Give generously as an expression of condolence and of commitment to that church’s future: Mother Emanuel Hope Fund c/o City of Charles-

this year was elected Region 7 director for the California Democratic Party. “Our issue is not just about marriage but having essential human services free of discrimination for our LGBTQ community.” Gabrielle Antolovich, board president of the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center in San Jose, believes the new office will have an impact in terms of LGBT residents of the county accessing the services they need. “The county LGBTQ Office of Affairs is very significant because it will make sure all county and county-contracted services are sensitive to the unique needs of gay men, lesbians, the bisexually oriented, and the transgender population,” wrote Antolovich in an emailed reply. “The dominant culture doesn’t realize how diverse we are among ourselves, and that each category has huge variation of needs.” Antolovich added that not only is she “very excited” to assist with the new LGBTQ office, but the DeFrank’s staff and board of directors “will actively participate in any ongoing committees and forums to better understand and serve our community.” She also praised Yeager for his leadership on the office’s creation. “Supervisor Ken Yeager has always been part of our LGBTQ community, and is eager to work with us too,” wrote Antolovich. “This is a great example of government working for the good and welfare of the people, including our people.”t ton, P.O. Box 304, Charleston, SC 29402 or visit No matter what happens when the Supreme Court rules on equal marriage this week – whether the news evokes celebration or outrage – we as the LGBTQ movement cannot forget or be distracted from the unfolding and unending story of what happened in Charleston a week ago Wednesday. Let’s not let hate win.t The Reverend Jim Mitulski is the interim pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Rockies in Denver, Colorado, one of the oldest LGBT churches in the country. For more information, visit or contact Mitulski at revmitulski@ or via Twitter at @revmitulski or @mccrockies.


National News>>

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 49

Advocates prepare for court fights as marriage ruling looms

Rudy K. Lawidjaja

Mary Bonauto, from Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, spoke to reporters outside the U.S. Supreme Court in April following oral arguments in the same-sex marriage case.

by Lisa Keen


he United States Supreme Court will rule any day on whether it is a violation of the federal Constitution for states to bar same-sex couples from marrying. But for weeks now, in apparent anticipation that the court will strike down such bans, states that still have or want to keep their bans have been passing legislation aimed at trying to circumvent such a ruling. Legal advocates promise court fights if states do try to get around same-sex marriage if the high court legalizes it. North Carolina’s Legislature this month overrode its governor’s veto and enacted a law that permits public magistrates and registrars to refuse to process marriage license applications for any couple by claiming to have a “sincerely held religious objection” to the marriage. Indiana, of course, passed a law to allow any person, organization, or business being sued for discrimination to claim he or it is exercising religious beliefs as a defense in any proceeding against him or it. The aim of the measure was to enable businesses, including restaurants, bakers, and florists, to deny service to same-sex couples. But there was such a backlash nationally against the law, the legislature amended it, within days, to



From page 41

The rules follow the Secretary of the Interior Standard for Rehabilitation of Historic Properties, said Tim Frye, a preservation coordinator with the city’s planning department. The guidelines require a homeowner to use historical images of the house to recreate what the facade looked like when it was first built or some other evidence to support the design of the proposed façade. “For instance, the standards say don’t use conjecture in restoring a building. Don’t guess what a building looked like,” said Frye. “Use physical evidence.” That could include historic siding found underneath the stucco or shadow or paint outlines on the building that can provide clues to what the shape of the millwork initially was on the house, explained Frye. Visual clues from nearby identical houses can also be used. “Your building may have been modified, but two doors down is a similar building that has not been modified. We can use that as a guide,” said Frye. “We don’t want people creating a false sense of history. We want people to look at the building and know what they are looking at.”

Tighter controls

If a property has been listed on

state that the law did not mean businesses could refuse service based on sexual orientation. Texas legislators, who missed a deadline to introduce a bill this year, will no doubt try again next year to prohibit the use of state funds to process and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, advocates said. And the Alabama Supreme Court ordered state clerks to defy a federal court ruling to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. As states that are now trying to resist compliance pre-emptively with a possible Supreme Court decision striking down their bans on marriage for same-sex couples, LGBT legal activists are clearly ready. “If we win at the Supreme Court and state or local authorities refuse to comply, they should expect to be sued,” said Jon Davidson, national legal director for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. “Public officials will need to keep in mind that the right of same-sex couples to marry will have been clearly established at that point, and any interference with that right likely would subject government officials to personal liability for damages and attorneys’ fees.” Davidson also said such tactics could be viewed as being in contempt of court. “In addition, refusal to comply with court orders that will control the city’s register of historic places, then there are tighter controls on what can be done to a house’s exterior. If it is within a historic district, then there are more protections even if the house is not registered individually as being historic. Neither such designation applies to a house’s interior. Indoor spaces can only be protected if publicly accessible. “Those give us a framework in outlining how work should occur on a building,” said Frye. Anyone can petition the city to landmark a property or create a historic district, noted Frye. It is up to the Board of Supervisors to approve any such requests. “You do not necessarily have to own it,” he said. “We are always supportive of folks wanting to preserve these buildings. It is part of what makes the city special.” The planning approval process can be so cumbersome as to discourage homeowners from attempting to protect the historical integrity of their home, argued Jim Warshell, a longtime Victorian Alliance member. “The cheapest and easiest way to go is either do nothing or do it modern,” said Warshell. He and his wife 12 years ago bought a Victorian, known as the Fisk House, in Hayes Valley built in 1883 and spent years giving it the

them in some jurisdictions may lead to them being held in contempt of court and the imposition of sanctions,” Davidson explained. “I think there will be less resistance than some are predicting, but we are ready to hold officials responsible for failure to comply with the law – indeed, we’re looking forward to it.” Lambda senior attorney Jennifer Pizer says it’s possible “obnoxious – even outrageous – measures will be proposed.” “Bills seeking to expand religious exemptions in inappropriate ways are likely to continue to be among the most pernicious,” said Pizer. “I hope we’ll continue to be able to stop most of them, if not all ... [or] of those that pass, at least to narrow them substantially.” Pizer said it may be “essential” that the LGBT community and friends “be prepared to help from all corners of the country, much more than we’ve done up to this point.” But legal activists also expect that resistance will follow the same course it did in Massachusetts. “If we win,” said Mary Bonauto, with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, “... I think it is fair to expect that there will be a few last ditch efforts to block marriages. They will fizzle.” Efforts to avoid complying with a court order to provide equal protection to same-sex couples were tried in 2003 in Massachusetts when the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled, in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, that the state constitution requires equal treatment of same-sex couples in marriage licensing. The court gave Massachusetts 180 days to comply with its order, but the Legislature instead held a special session to vote on proposals to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex couples from marrying and to offer them only civil unions. One proposal passed its first vote but was killed the following year. There were also four different lawsuits (three in state court, one in federal court) to challenge whether the court had jurisdiction to decide the marriage issue. None succeeded. Then-Governor Mitt Romney pushed for a stay of the court’s de“love and attention and nurturing and repair” it needed. Yet they have not sought to place it on any historic register to date, fearful doing so would negatively impact their preservation work on the house. “Here, it seems, anything I want to do to it then requires so much more review. You lose so much control over the process of doing anything, and everything is going to be slower, infinitely more expensive, and possibly less the way I wanted it,” said Warshell. “So why the hell would I even consider doing it?” Apart from talking to city officials and planning staff on re-examining the historic preservation rules, the Victorian Alliance also tries to recruit the public to support its goals of saving these 115-year-old plus homes. Each October it hosts house tours in a different neighborhood where alliance members open the doors to their homes and invite the public inside. “It is depressing and it is frustrating,” said Reid of the fight to save the city’s remaining Victorians. “The only thing we can do is have our annual house tour to show the public how fabulous these houses are.”t For more information about the Victorian Alliance, visit its website at

cision. That failed, too. But for a few years, Romney did succeed in blocking the state from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples from other states who might travel there seeking a license. He did this by reviving an obscure law passed in 1913 to block interracial couples from marrying in Massachusetts. And there were rumors that Romney might order town clerks to defy the court’s ruling and refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Although the governor did not issue such an order, Bonauto, the attorney who argued Goodridge and also argued the current case at

the U.S. Supreme Court, recalled that some marriage clerks in Massachusetts were reluctant to comply with the SJC ruling and “a few resigned.” Despite its initial vigorous resistance, Massachusetts did ultimately comply with the decision, the Legislature repealed the 1913 law, and though opponents still exist, the fighting in Massachusetts has long been over. The U.S. Supreme Court decision this month – if it does strike down state bans – will only reinforce the Massachusetts court’s landmark decision.t


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<< Pride 2015

50 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


Author examines early SF laws against cross-dressing by Yael Chanoff

man nor a woman and I’ve lation ballooned from 800 to got no sex at all,” according 35,000 and that in 1850, only 8 s a professor of sociology at in the Evening Post from Ocpercent of the city was women. San Francisco State University, tober 2, 1890. But as Sears describes, IndigClare Sears is generally concerned The judge determined that enous women were not counted with the present. But for her recent Ruble suffered from “a halluin those numbers (here Sears book, she reached back in history cination that she should wear references the work of historian to help answer a modern question: men’s clothing,” and sentenced Antonia Castaneda). Indigenous Why do LGBTQ and gender nonRuble to the state-run psychiwomen and non-binary people conforming people seem to be faatric hospital in Stockton. were some of the many groups vorite targets of law enforcement? “They died there 18 years who were misrepresented or un“I came to this project through later of tuberculosis,” Sears der-represented in the archives an interest in the ways that the said, using gender-neutral that exist of gender in early 19th police would harass and arrest pronouns for Ruble. “But century San Francisco. trans women, butch lesbians, drag there was this moment, one “I was able to piece together queens, particularly in working class day in court, when they were the story that showed up in Alana Perino communities. And arrest people not so defiant.” newspapers, in police court reSan Francisco State University professor Clare for their sexual behavior but for To find Ruble’s story, Sears cords, and in private papers that Sears stands in the GLBT History Museum. their clothing,” Sears said. combed through the handsomebody thought was worth The result is Arresting Dress: written records of the hospital, preserving. But there’s a lot of with the visibility of prostitution.” Cross-Dressing, Law, and Fascinathen known as the Insane Asystuff that gets erased,” Sears said. In researching these laws, Sears tion in Nineteenth-Century San lum of California. Sears read through The archives do describe a kind said, the archival gold was the stories Francisco, released in December. It records of “thousands of people inof gender fluidity in gold rush San of people arrested for cross-dressing tells the story of how San Francisco stitutionalized, a lot for 20 years until Francisco. Contemporary observers told in their own words. criminalized cross-dressing in 1863, they died, for such minor stuff. There told of miner dances where “it was “It was relatively easy to find stalaws police continued to enforce for were women who were locked up understood that every gentleman tistics for the number of people who more than 100 years. Sears, a lesbian because their husband thought they who had a patch on a certain part of were arrested every year. But I wanted who’s also a board member of the read too much.” his inexpressables should be considto know, who were they?” Sears said. GLBT Historical Society, reveals how Today, most women can read withered a lady for the time being,” and anti cross-dressing laws intersected out state intervention. And the antimen “airily assumed the character Searching records with prohibitions on sex work, imcross-dressing laws Sears describes of ball-room belles.” This began to Among the most striking stories migration quotas and deportation were repealed in the 1970s. But much change when the Board of Superin Arresting Dress is that of a San practices, marginalization of Native of the repression described in Arrestvisors passed the first laws against Franciscan, surname Ruble, who people, and even early zoning codes. ing Dress has stubbornly followed cross-dressing in 1863. went by both the first names Mamie From the start, the book chalSan Francisco into the 21st century. Sears, 44, found that those laws were and Dick. Ruble was arrested for lenges common assumptions about For example, Sears said, “the stuff couched in prohibition of sex work. wearing men’s clothing. gender in early San Francisco. that people described as happening “Cross-dressing was never crimi“A lot of people, for good reason, San Francisco is known as a Gold in jail and what happens to trans nalized as a distinct offense,” Sears would show up in court and say Rush “instant town.” Conventionpeople in jail today is so similar.” said. “It was just one manifestation I’m sorry, it was just a joke, I didn’t ally accepted numbers show that Then, as now, Sears said, jailers of public indecency, and all of those mean to do it, I won’t do it again. between 1848 and 1850, the popuwere “deliberately placing somebody public indecency laws were concerned But not Ruble,” Sears said. arrested for cross-dressing into a sexInstead, Ruble “walked with a segregated cell block that they knew swagger up to the witness stand” they’re going to be uncomfortable in. 1903 Market Street and told the judge, “I’m neither a It was part of the punishment.” (between Guerrero St. and Duboce St.) gococcal vaccination for local HIVNews Briefs Se Habla Español positive MSM, as well as for local From page 31 MSM regardless of HIV status who To schedule have close or intimate contact with engagement and mobilization manmultiple partners, or who seek partan appointment ager. “It has been inspiring to witners through the use of online apps. call 415-552-PETS (7387) ness their transformation as they reThere have been no cases of IMD or e-mail us at flect on their own life experiences.” reported among San Francisco The participants include Wil$5 OFF WITH THIS AD MSM since 2011. liam Dean, who is marking the San Francisco health officials 25th anniversary of his HIV diagsaid that IMD is transmitted by nosis by acknowledging the gifts close or intimate personal contact. left behind by his now-deceased Serogroup C is contained in the friends, which have enabled him to currently available meningococcal survive; Raephel Rodgers, who will conjugate vaccines; however, vaccitalk about overcoming the guilt and nation is not 100 percent effective in shame of being molested as a child; preventing IMD. and Stanley Allison, who will conIMD results from Neisseria menfront deep-seated issues as an HIVingitides bacteria, which can cause negative elder gay black man. meningitis (infection of the tissues The three worked with perforsurrounding the brain and spinal mance artist Anthony Julius Wilcord) or septicemia (infection of liams, artistic director of the Iruke the blood). Even if diagnosed early Project, during a six-week workSurrogacy • Adoption • Prenuptial Agreements and treated with appropriate antishop. The project uses personal stoDivorce • Custody • Parentage Disputes biotics, IMD still sometimes results rytelling as a way to explore factors in death, permanent brain damcontributing to disparities in health age, hearing loss, or kidney failure, and wellness, such as shame, stigma, health officials said in their bulletin. isolation, internalized homophobia, Symptoms usually appear one to racism, and transphobia. 10 days after exposure, often within African American gay men and four days. For meningitis symptoms other men who have sex with men include sudden onset of fever, headare disproportionally affected by ache, and stiff neck, accompanied HIV. Black MSM make up 12 perby nausea, vomiting, and altered cent of the city’s HIV-positive popmental status. Symptoms of blood ulation, while African Americans infection include fatigue, vomiting, are only 6 percent of the population. cold hands and feet, chills, severe For more information on the muscle aches or abdominal pain, event, visit diarrhea, or a purpuric rash. events/our-stories-our-freedom. People who think they may be html. at risk should consult with their doctor. Health department



issues IMD advisory for MSM

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The San Francisco Department of Public Health will continue to monitor a reported outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in Chicago. Earlier this month, the Chicago Department of Public Health reported a cluster of Serogroup C IMD among men who have sex with men since mid-May. Characteristics of cases include HIV-positive status and the use of digital apps to meet sexual partners. Chicago health officials have recommended menin-

GRGR West announces Real Bad DJs

The Grass Roots Gay Rights West Foundation has announced its 2015 season and beneficiaries. The foundation produces the Reach Pride Tdance party that takes place Saturday, June 27; the Real Bad party that follows the Folsom Street Fair Sunday, September 27; and Recovery, which takes place Sunday, October 4 following the Castro Street Fair. The foundation will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the

[San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is in the process of finalizing a new policy that would allow trans women who have not had surgery to be housed with female inmates. See story in the Pride section.] As Sears writes in the book, “Judges approvingly noted that placing cross-dressing offenders in the men’s or women’s cell, according to their legal sex, could add to the severity of their sentence.” Sears believes that the country is still very much in the era of legislating “public decency.” “Today’s local governments do it through quality of life laws, most explicitly anti-homeless laws,” Sears said. “In the 19th century, you couldn’t sit on the street if you were ‘an unsightly object.’ Today, we have sit-lie. You can’t sit on the street at all.” Sears said that today’s gang injunctions are also a part of this legacy. “For certain people, they restrict what items of clothing you can wear, what colors, and where in the city you can be,” she said. Sears tells the story of unsung heroes, the bold predecessors of the “trans women, butch lesbians, drag queens” whose modern harassment at the hands of police Sears had set out to explain. Laws meant to remove those who defied gender norms from public space are almost as old as San Francisco itself. But as Arresting Dress and a growing body of historical work shows, the lives of people themselves – of trans people, gender non-conforming people, and anyone else who defies gender norms simply by being who they are – are absolutely timeless.t sale of general admission tickets to the historically sold out Real Bad party to six LGBT health and community service organizations. This year’s beneficiaries include Project Homeless Connect, HIV Story Project/National AIDS Memorial, Let’s Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome), the National Center for Transgender Equality, Project Inform, and the Castro Country Club. This year’s main dance floor DJ for Real Bad will be Jesus Pelayo from Madrid, Spain. The Recovery party will feature the return of San Francisco DJ Philip Grasso. This Saturday’s Reach party will be held at Oasis, 298 11th Street, and feature DJ Amy Alderman. Last year Real Bad and the foundation raised $175,000 for its beneficiaries. For more information, visit www.

Hawaiian LGBT resort, local TV station offer Pride sweepstakes

In celebration of Pride Month, Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort, Virgin America, and KOFY TV 20 have teamed up to create the “Maui FlyAway with Pride” sweepstakes. Virgin America is a sponsor of the San Francisco Pride parade. KOFY is the official television partner of SF Pride. Maui Sunseeker will join them to promote the contest. One lucky sweepstakes winner will receive two round trip tickets from San Francisco to Maui on Virgin America, plus a five-night stay in one of Maui Sunseeker’s luxurious penthouse suites. Entries may be submitted at www. until Tuesday, June 30. Additionally, entries may be submitted at the KOFY booth at the Pride festival Sunday, June 28, between 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. The booth should be located in front of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. People from any of the 50 states can enter the sweepstakes. The winner will be randomly drawn Saturday, July 4. For full contest rules, visit the abovementioned website.t


Community News>>

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 51

Activists recall 1990 protests, lost members

Rick Gerharter Liz Highleyman

Rebecca Hensler, left, Luis Pardo, and Tim Kingston help lead a march from the Women’s Building to the Castro remembering activists who died of AIDS-related complications.

by Liz Highleyman


early 200 former members of ACT UP/San Francisco and their allies gathered last weekend to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the protests surrounding the sixth International AIDS Conference and to memorialize those lost to the disease. The anniversary events included an evening of performances, a living history panel, a party at Cafe Flore – a popular queer activist watering hole in 1990 – and a memorial celebration.


Friday’s performance event, dubbed “What’s Your Damage,” drew a standing-room crowd that spilled onto the sidewalk outside Magnet, the gay men’s health center in the Castro. “Queers haven’t stopped dying, queers haven’t stopped being vulnerable,” said Jorge Cortinas, who co-organized the event. “Feelings are something we figure out together – they move us forward.” Others said that 25 years ago, many didn’t see a future. “We didn’t get to believe in a future, so being in this room feels a little unreal,” added Keiko Lane, a Los Angeles psychotherapist who read from her memoir, Blood/Loss: Toward A Queer Poetics of Embodied Memory.

Living history panel

The history panel, featuring members of the original ACT UP/ SF, looked at how activists “crashed the 1990 AIDS conference and changed the agenda and the world.” Moderator Deborah Gould, author of Moving Politics: ACT UP’s Fight against AIDS, described her work on the movement’s history and trying to understand how people turned grief into activism. “By the mid-1980s all levels of government were either aggressively ignoring the epidemic or using it as an excuse to attack those who were suffering the most,” she said. “There was a widespread view that queers were expendable, and in fact better off dead. The only response was coming out of the lesbian and gay community.” During the early years the community responded with the vital work of caregiving, candlelight vigils, and lobbying, she recalled, but about six years into the epidemic there was a “dramatic shift to streetbased activism” – in part spurred by the 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick U.S. Supreme Court ruling criminalizing consensual sex between homosexuals. As described by panelist Mike Shriver, people with AIDS and their advocates had little presence at the then-annual international AIDS conferences during the 1980s. That changed at the 1989 conference in

Montreal, when activists unexpectedly marched into the meeting and took over the stage at the opening session, demanding more access to scientific information for people living with HIV. “The [conference] organizers had no idea what to do with us,” Shriver recalled. “If they can cause this much disruption in Montreal, what will happen when we take it to their home base [in San Francisco]?” Those fears were well-grounded: by June 1990, AIDS activists had already that year interrupted the Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena and shut down the Golden Gate Bridge. Negotiations between activists and International AIDS Society officials led to conference scholarships for people with AIDS, an activist speaker at the opening plenary, and community outreach sessions with leading researchers. But activists were not about to give up their plans for street activism during the week of the conference, held at Moscone Center in late June. The week of action had a different theme each day. Tuesday focused on the ban against HIV-positive immigrants and visitors. On Wednesday, as the conference opened, people with AIDS demanded a say in setting the research and treatment agenda. Thursday was devoted to the crumbling San Francisco Model of community-based care, while Friday’s focus was women and AIDS. In 1987 then-Senator Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina) added HIV to the list of reasons for excluding people from entering the U.S. or becoming naturalized as citizens. Due to the ban, the IAS stopped holding international conferences in the U.S. after 1990. President Barack Obama finally lifted the ban in 2010. “The travel ban was the least of it,” panelist Cortinas said, explaining that mandatory testing of immigrants in the U.S. was the largest HIV testing program of civilians in the world. Members of the ACT UP immigration working group “feared white activists would only care about the travel ban,” he recalled. “There were repeated temptations to throw immigrants under the bus, but the coalition held to repeal the entire law.” Women organizing the Friday demonstration also were concerned that people would not show up for the action, but it led to the largest number of arrests, according to panelist Laura Thomas. The protest highlighted the fact that women with AIDS died faster than men, due to later diagnosis and poorer access to health care, and usually were excluded from clinical trials of HIV treatments. “We were concerned about a twotiered system of care – even when we got good treatment, who would

have access?” Thomas said. Activists were afraid treatment would be available only to people who could afford it, and that is “absolutely the reality we have ended up with.” During a “tour of the ruins” on Thursday, activists called attention to how the San Francisco Model of community-based services and volunteer care was stretched to its limits with little government support. “The entire model was built on the idea that thousands of volunteers would sacrifice thousands of hours over weeks, months, and years,” said panelist Eric Ciasullo. “You don’t fund a health care system by throwing a bake sale and you don’t run a health care system with volunteers.” That Saturday a large coalition march, which brought together activists and AIDS service organizations, ended with protesters storming Nordstrom department store – thought to be the origin of

As part of the ACT UP/San Francisco’s 25th reunion, a panel entitled “How AIDS Activists Crashed the AIDS Conference and Changed the Agenda” was held at the LGBT Community Center with participants, from left, Laura Thomas, Mike Shriver, Eric Ciasullo, Jorge Cortinas, and Deborah Gould.

the chant, “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re not going shopping!” On Sunday activists entered the conference and shouted down the closing speech of Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan, the highest-level Bush administration official to attend, after which activists and conference delegates joined the Pride parade on Market Street. “The conference probably would have gotten a blip of attention without activists shutting down the city,” Ciasullo said. “The demonstrations made a huge difference in making the country aware of the epidemic and humanizing it. It significantly changed the kinds of relationship we had with people in authority – the government, AIDS Inc., docs, and researchers – we were taken more seriously and seen as a voice that needed to be at the table.” Over the next few years the Laven-

der Sweep put many lesbian and gay people in office in San Francisco, the Ryan White CARE Act (now known as the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act) brought federal AIDS funding to the city, and the San Francisco Department of Public Health got a “very fat budget,” Ciasullo noted. But he said the need for activism continues unabated. “The majority of people with AIDS in San Francisco are over 50 and we are not dealing with longterm survivors,” he stressed. “They are bearing the brunt of the wholesale displacement happening in San Francisco right now. The single fear I hear most is that they are going to lose their place – not just their home, but their place in San Francisco. I would love to see our housing disaster branded much more fully as an AIDS issue.” See page 58 >>


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<< Pride 2015

52 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

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They often couldn’t party in the Castro. ver breakfast at Sam’s “Amongst some of the bars in Diner, Randy Burns is tellthe Castro, they didn’t like peoing the story of We’wha. We’wha ple of color. So they’d give you a was a 19th century Zuni artist bad time, and you’d have to fork and priestess, a “cultural ambasover these three forms of ID to sador” who famously met with get in. That’s one of the main President Grover Cleveland. reasons we started Gay Ameri“By today’s standards, We’wha can Indians as a group. To have would be a transgender or third a place at the table,” Hall said. gender person,” Burns said. That place at the table soon Burns is a co-founder of Gay became a matter of life or death. American Indians, the first orGAI lost its first member to ganization for queer Natives in AIDS in 1985. The group started the country. the Indian AIDS Project in 1987, “When We’wha passed away providing home care and supinto the spirit world,” Burns port, resources, and referrals to said, “you know, the Zuni vilNative people living with AIDS. lage at the time was separated. Now, the memorial programs Men here, women buried here. for the 82 GAI members lost to So they had a big catfight about AIDS are a part of Burns’ archives. what cemetery he belongs in. They sit alongside remembrances The women went and were of GAI members who were fighting with the men. They said murdered for being transgender. Alana Perino no, we raised her. We taught her Three transgender members were Randy Burns, who co-founded Gay how to make pottery, we taught American Indians, stands in the James killed in the first years of the orgaher how to weave. And the men C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center at the nization, Burns said. said no, he sat in ceremony with San Francisco Public Library, where there “Yes, there are new words for us, he’s a dude.” transgender people and transis a reference to an early two-spirit Native In the end, they buried person in a mural on the ceiling. gender youth. But they’ve always We’wha on the women’s side, been here,” Burns said. “That’s dressed in women’s clothpart of the legacy I want to leave lating the Native Americans. ing, but with a pair of pants behind, is that tribute. Making Their knowledge was precious. underneath. sure there is honor to these beautiful Burns’ own parents, along with many “Talk about a traditional twotransgender persons.” Natives in their generation, had been spirit person,” Burns said. to boarding schools where Native chilThat burial was in 1896, about a Some recognition dren were punished for speaking their century before the term two-spirit As Burns’ archive was growing, aclanguage or practicing their religions. would be coined. The Zuni language ademia was beginning to take notice. “There’s a lot of PTSD from the already had a gender role for people One of the first books to focus on boarding schools,” he said, referring like We’wha, called Lhamana. Most berdache history, by anthropologist to post-traumatic stress disorder. Native cultures had diverse concepts Walter Williams, came out in 1987. “They took away tribal language, it of sex and gender. “It was the first book written was forbidden. You didn’t have the As Burns said, “It was not about on our Native LGBT community,” right to be Native. Everything Nawhat you had between your legs. Burns said. But it failed to recognize tive was washed out.” It’s what you brought home to your that LGBT Natives still existed. GAI members would eventually people.” “Williams – he was saying the last compile their knowledge, gained 2015 marks 40 years since Burns, known berdache, which would have through oral history and archival a gay man, co-founded GAI along been Hasteen Klah, died around research, in the GAI History Projwith the late Barbara Cameron. 1928. So in the press, Williams is ect. They published the result in the Now, two-spirit is a widely used saying we’re all dead. You’re saying Journal of Homosexuality in 1987, umbrella term for the diverse gender we’re all dead? Then why are we along with a list of 135 tribes and and sexual identities in North Amerhere?” Burns said. their words for two-spirit people. ican Native cultures. At least 25 orgaWilliams is now in prison for But even as GAI members were nizations exist for two-spirit people child molestation. Burns said that reclaiming their history, they were around the U.S., and multiple annual in the 1980s, his actions were suspifighting in the present against both a gatherings bring two-spirit people ciously exploitative. gay culture and a Native community from around the world together. “He was going to bed with his inthat often insisted they didn’t exist. “Today there are two-spirit formants. He was going to bed with Burns, 60, remembers tabling at movements all over in the country. all these gay Native men. And look a UC Berkeley powwow soon after There’s two-spirit encampments at where he is today,” Burns said. GAI was founded. and gatherings in the summer Williams showed up to a GAI “So we were invited, no problem! months,” said Clyde Hall, a foundparty in 1987, Burns said, and a GAI But then we put our big old banner ing member of GAI. member, “a Native lesbian sister,” out. It said ‘Gay American Indians, confronted him. This led to a series of San Francisco.’ And all the old peoHumble beginnings meetings with the American Anthrople, all the homophobes said, where None of that existed when GAI pological Association, which ditched are they from?” Burns recalled. “The started. The historical literature the term “berdache” and took up the students asked us to take down was sparse and riddled with biased use of two-spirit a decade later. our banner and leave, because they descriptions of Natives with diverse “All of you PhDers, non-Native didn’t want any more trouble.” sexual orientations and gender people, stop being the gatekeepers. In these situations, Hall said, Burns identities. They were called sodYou’re not gatekeepers of Native didn’t go down without a fight. omites, sinners and “berdaches,” a queer studies. We are,” Burns said. “I can just see him now with his French word meaning “kept boy.” Meanwhile, the two-spirit movehands on his hips, arguing with these “When GAI started, it was a soment was growing – on its own terms. people, saying ‘girlfriend, what are cial club,” Burns said. It was a small The first national gathering of twoyou thinking? We were here a long group of LGBT Natives who met in spirit people took place at the 1982 time, you don’t know your own ways. the basement of the old Indian CenGay Rodeo in Reno (“that happened You don’t know your own culture,’” ter at Valencia and Duboce. Part of in a strange way. But hey, gay cowHall said. “Randy was right in their the meetings was sharing whatever boys, gay Indians – we took together face. He’s a brave warrior person.” they knew about their histories. like ducks with water,” Hall said.) Hall There was also the struggle in the “We did our own tribal research,” himself was the first speaker at the largely white male San Francisco gay Burns said. “A lot of the stories 1987 National March on Washington scene. In the early 1980s Cameron were shared by gay elders. And they for Lesbian and Gay Rights. was among a group of queer women would whisper. Now, a new generation is doing of color who led a protest at Pride. “Many of the gay men, the elders the work. Locally, the Bay Area They stormed the stage, demanding back then, the only outlet back then American Indian Two Spirits, or more input in the planning. was the gay bars,” Burns added. The BAAITS, was founded in 1999. “They wanted women’s input, barstool storytellers were mostly peo“GAI used to always march at the minority input. At the time it was ple of Burns’ parents’ generation who front of the Pride parade. In 2000, called Third World,” Burns said. had moved to San Francisco during BAAITS started marching behind Actions like these were planned the controversial Relocation Program, them. Now, BAAITS marches in and discussed at the unofficial a 1956 law that incentivized Native front, with GAI behind,” Burns said. LGBT center at 32 Page Street, and Americans to leave their lands and Hall said GAI is part of local Naat bars like Esta Noche. move to cities, including San Frantive history. “Esta Noche – that was our social, cisco. It was part of the overall “termi“GAI were the grandfathers and political place for brown boys and nation policy” of the 1940s to 1950s, grandmothers and foundation of all girls. That was where GAI partied,” which included several laws aimed at See page 53 >> Burns said. ending tribal sovereignty and assimi-



Pride 2015>>

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 53

New York’s MoMA acquires rainbow flag by David-Elijah Nahmod


ilbert Baker was a young gay activist and a friend of Harvey Milk’s when he designed the rainbow flag in 1978. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City recently acquired one of his flags, which have gone on to become the international symbol for the LGBT community. The museum announced the acquisition in its online newsletter, which included an interview with Baker, a former San Francisco resident who now lives in New York. “It feels really good,” Baker said of the MoMA inclusion. “It’s a real honor, for me and for the community. I made a special flag for them.” In its announcement MoMA officials said they were “thrilled” to announce the flag will now become part of its design collection, where it joins similarly universal symbols such as the @ symbol, the Creative Commons logo, and the recycling symbol. Baker told the museum that he began paying attention to flags in 1976, which was the country’s bicentennial. “And I thought, a flag is different than any other form of art,” Baker said in the MoMA interview with Paola Antonelli, senior curator in the department of architecture and design, and Michelle Millar Fisher, a curatorial assistant in the department. “It’s not a painting, it’s not just cloth, it is not just logo – it functions in so many different ways.” He said that he thought the gay community needed that kind of symbol, “something that everyone instantly understands.” Baker, 64, who arrived in San Francisco this week for Pride festivities, reiterated that thought in an interview. “We need a flag,” Baker told the Bay Area Reporter. “It’s about our struggle and our defiance. Just because we get a measure of civil rights doesn’t end our struggle.” Baker, a former member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence known as Sister Chanel 2001, cur-


rently works as an artist and specifically for us with all the continues to spread the meshope of rainbows, whereas sage of the rainbow flag. One the pink triangle, too, was inof the reasons he came to San vented just for us, but it has a Francisco was to see his friend tragic origin which over time Patrick Carney, the co-founder has become a more positive of the pink triangle that will be symbol when it represented installed atop Twin Peaks for defiance at a time when we Pride weekend. were being largely ignored The San Francisco LGBT by the federal government as Pride Celebration Committee is thousands died of AIDS,” he honoring Carney this year as the said, referring to the fact that recipient of the Gilbert Baker originally, the pink triangle Pride Founder’s Award. Baker was used to identify gays in plans to present the award to Nazi concentration camps Carney, he said. during World War II. Carney said he was surprised. Carney noted that the Gil“Wow, that is news to me; this bert Baker Pride Founder’s is the first I have heard of it,” he Award is intended as “hontold the B.A.R. in an email. “Of oring those who have made course, it will be wonderful to be a significant and historical given this honor by the award’s impact on the LGBTQ comnamesake. What a wonderful munity and the movement Rick Gerharter surprise. Gilbert has attended for LGBTQ rights.” four pink triangle events and Gilbert Baker shows one of his original eight“As namesake of the award, there is a kinship between the color rainbow flags during a 2012 talk at the there is nothing else the award two symbols (pink triangle and GLBT History Museum. could stand for because Gilrainbow flag) even though one bert certainly fits that bill,” was forged in tragedy but has Carney said. “Being in his with his activism and his art.” been reclaimed, while the other company is a great honor.” Carney also said it was “appropriis all-new and is a solely optimistic The rainbow flag’s original deate” that MoMA would add a rainsymbol for the LGBTQ movement sign featured eight colors: hot pink bow flag to its collection. (without a tragic past). Gilbert has for sexuality, red for life, orange for “The rainbow flag will always done so much for our movement, healing, yellow for sunlight, green for be special because it was invented not only by creating the flag, but nature, turquoise for magic and art,

indigo/blue for serenity and harmony, and violet for spirit. The current design features six colors. Pink has been removed, while indigo and turquoise were replaced by royal blue. Baker noted that few items make the MoMA cut, which underscores the importance of the flag’s inclusion. “They’re very highbrow,” he said of the museum. “You don’t come to them, they come to you.” Baker feels that having the flag installed at MoMA, and the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality in the coming days, shows how far the community has come. But he cautions people not to get complacent. “We have come a distance,” he said. “But I try to keep things in a global perspective. It’s nice to be able to get married in a few countries, though we can get married today and fired tomorrow. Just because we get a measure of civil rights doesn’t end our struggle.” Baker named some of the other issues that have yet to be resolved. He placed anti-LGBT violence at the top of that list. “On the civil side, it’s nondiscrimination,” he said. “Employment, housing, and family law. Equality is going to be something we have to keep fighting for.”t

Gay American Indians

From page 52

of that,” Hall said. “Our little ragtag group of Indian people started it so many decades ago. It’s part of history. And it needs to be recognized.” After breakfast, Burns headed to the main library. He said We’wha is featured there, in a mural in the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center on the third floor. On the way he passes the Pioneer Monument, that towering bronze statue that depicts a Native American seated on the ground, seemingly submitting to the looming figures of a cowboy and a Franciscan friar. When Burns gets to the center, he cranes his neck to look at the mural on the ceiling. He can’t find We’wha. Finally he sees the name, half-obscured by a sprinkler head. “It’s just a dot up there. But just being at a major main library – it’s a public institution,” Burns said. The stacks themselves are a testament to GAI. A body of work, books where two-spirit people can learn about themselves, lines the shelves. Among them is Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology, published by GAI in 1988. Burns isn’t done writing history. He’s working on two more books, a history of the AIDS epidemic and a personal memoir. He’s still trying to answer the question that brought GAI together in the first place. “Who are we, historically speaking? Are we alive or dead?” Burns asked. “The way I see it, we’re a sleeping giant. And we’re waking up.”t

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<< Sports

54 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Best. Pride. Ever.


by Roger Brigham


on’t know about you, but I’m planning to enjoy my best Pride celebration ever this weekend. There could not be a better Pride Month for a sports junkie, especially a sports junkie who is a lifelong baseball fan, and most especially for a sports junkie who is a longtime convert to basketball fandom. Put together my fantasy Pride sports month and you’d have a couple of parades, one of them to celebrate a championship. You’d have a chance to see a gay pitcher start an independent pro baseball game and hear a transgender woman sing the national anthem. You’d enjoy a game with a stadium full of fellow LGBT folks and enjoy a few flicks about fellow queers in sports. Hell, for good measure, you just might find your ticket punched for the Hall of Fame. Well, clap if you believe in Tinkerbell: fantasy is reality this month. We begin with the mighty Golden State Warriors, who wrapped up a historic season with three consecutive victories over the Cleveland LeBron Jameses to win their first NBA title in 40 years. I grew up despising basketball because the players were all so tall and I was so short, but during my sports writing career, from covering Division II basketball in Alaska in the 1970s to the Magic Johnson Showtime LA Lakers in the 1980s to the George Karl-coached Albany Patroons of the Continental Basketball Association in the 1990s, I grew to admire the incredible team skills, individual athleticism, and minute-by-minute drama of each and every game. What was so beautiful for me about the Warriors this season was not that they won so much, but that they played so beautifully, so unselfishly, throughout the entire season. The coach in me weeps with appreciation.

Jane Philomen Cleland

Ecstatic Oakland A’s fans decked out in rainbow finery exult as their team scores a run at the A’s first LGBTQ Pride Night June 17. The team went on to defeat the San Diego Padres 16-2.

Of course, the players and front office were rewarded with a smashing parade in Oakland, which meant that Rick Welts, president and chief operating officer of the team, became the first openly gay senior executive of an NBA franchise to go riding down Broadway in an official team float. And as if that weren’t enough, Welts was named a celebrity grand marshal for the San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade on Sunday. The night after the Warriors wrapped up their championship, the Oakland A’s held their inaugural LGBT Pride Night Wednesday, June 17. I’ve been going to A’s games at the Coliseum since the late 1970s and never have I seen so many rainbow flags, rainbow scoreboards, and rainbow everything as I did that night. The interviewer talking with fans in the stands carried a rainbowswaddled microphone, the A’s lineup was presented on a rainbow colored background, and big proud rainbow flags were waving in the outfield stands. Transgender mezzo soprano Breanna Sinclaire belted out the

national anthem – beautifully. Kate Hunts, marketing assistant for the A’s, told the Bay Area Reporter that more than 3,000 special event tickets were sold, raising $23,250 for Frameline, AIDS Project East Bay, and Bay Area Youth Centers’ Our Space. Oh yeah, and the A’s plastered the San Diego Padres, 16-2. Not a bad night all around. The following afternoon, June 18, I was told that I am going to be inducted next month in Chicago into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. [See News Briefs, page 31.] That particular accolade hasn’t quite hit me yet. But having won the Lifetime Achievement Award last year from Wrestlers WithOut Borders, I am starting to think that these awards are signaling that I am

Jane Philomen Cleland

Gay Golden State Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts, center, rode in the victory parade Friday, June 19 after the team clinched its first NBA title in 40 years.

a few years older than I think I am. Scary thought. On the last day of spring, June 20, the San Francisco Track and Field Club hosted its eighth annual Pride Track and Field Meet at San Francisco State University. Results are available at www.pridemeet. org. Congrats to my buddy, longtime FrontRunner Bob Callori, 72, who in age group competition took bronze in the 400-meter sprint, gold in the 100 and 200, and silver in the 800. Oh yeah, and bronze in the shot put. This week, gay pitcher Sean Conroy will get his first pro start when his Sonoma Stompers, an independent professional baseball team, host a 7 p.m. Pride Night game at Wilson Park against the Vallejo

Admirals Thursday, June 25. The following night, Friday, June 26, the San Francisco Giants are sold out for their LGBT Night game against the Colorado Rockies. On Saturday, June 27, at 11 a.m., I’ll be at the Roxie Theatre with Team SF President Tyler Cole as we present, “Score! Queers in Sports,” as part of the 2015 Frameline film festival. The program includes seven short sports-themed films featuring everything from tennis players and arm wrestlers to soccer coaches and bike builders. Team SF is also presenting the film Out to Win earlier in the festival at the Castro Theatre. That film features interviews with such sports icons as Martina Navratilova, David Kopay, Billie Jean King, and Jason Collins.t

Warriors celebrate NBA title with parade


olden State Warriors player Draymond Green, with confetti falling behind him, hopped off a bus to high-five fans at the June 19 parade in downtown Oakland to celebrate the team’s first NBA title in 40 years. Other players, including league MVP Stephen Curry, finals MVP Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and Andrew Bogut were also in the parade, along with coach Steve Kerr and Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts, a gay man who will also be riding in Sunday’s Pride parade as a celebrity grand marshal. (See the Jock Talk column.) The Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers four games to two in one of the most exciting NBA finals in recent memory. The team received a key to the city from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf at the rally. A crowd estimated at close to a million people attended the parade and rally.

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Pink Party

From page 29

Pink Party organizers, still without a firm budget just days before the event, nevertheless said it will be fun. “We want people to have a great time, celebrate the LGBT community and culture, and also to be safe,” Rebecca Rolfe, the center’s executive director, said in an interview this week. The party will include four different stages, with entertainers including Disco Daddy, featuring DJ Bus Station John; Hard French, with Tom Temprano and Brown Amy; the Monster Show, featuring Sugah Betes, Sue Casa, and others; and Shawna Virago. Food trucks and other food vendors will also be on hand.


For years, the city declined to directly fund Pink Saturday. Last year’s party cost the Sisters $80,000. This year, the city will pay for most of Pink Party, which Rolfe estimated would cost twice as much – from $150,000 to $160,000. She said producers are “still wait-

ing” on fees and permits from the city, and the final budget figure “could still vary pretty significantly.” The city will be paying for a “significant amount” of the costs, Rolfe said, but she didn’t know how much. “We’re still negotiating what that final budget will look like,” she said. The difference would be made up in funds from sources including sponsors, merchandise, and gate revenue. Fundraising has been a primary goal for Pink Saturday, and that will continue with Pink Party. Beneficiaries will include Center for Sex and Culture, El/La Para TransLatinas, and others. Beneficiaries contacted for this story didn’t respond to requests for comment.

New times

By starting the party in the afternoon and ending early in the evening, organizers are hoping that the crowd will be less likely to get rowdy. During last year’s Pink Saturday, one of the Sisters and his husband were attacked at about 9:30 p.m. Asked about how producers are planning to get people to leave at 8 p.m., Rolfe said they would “list a variety of different events available” after

the Pink Party on Saturday night. The dispersal plan also includes moving out the stages, cleaning the streets, and opening the roads back up to traffic. More security personnel and volunteers will be present at this year’s festival, but “not necessarily more police,” Rolfe said. There’s a suggested gate donation of $10, although no one will be turned away for lack of funds. People can pre-register at https:// The site includes several ticket options. With a Pink Pass, which is $20, partygoers will get 50 percent off the cover charge Saturday at several neighborhood bars. Castro VIP tickets are available for $50. VIP ticketholders will receive the 50 percent cover discount and access to an area behind the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, complete with restroom facilities and light refreshments. Pink Party is an all-ages, alcoholfree event at street level, meaning alcohol can’t be taken into the street. Area bars will, of course, be open for business and are expecting robust crowds.t

Community News>>

t Gay man loses San Jose council bid

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 55

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High quality medical grade products from San Francisco, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino & Humboldt counties. Serving all 23 states, Washington DC, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands • 1–3 Day Delivery to Most Cities Tim Orozco came up short for a seat on the San Jose City Council.

by Matthew S. Bajko


GBT residents of San Jose will continue to lack out leadership on their City Council after a gay man lost his bid for a council seat in a special runoff election Tuesday. Political aide Tim Orozco had placed first in the April 7 special election for the council’s vacant District 4 seat, which covers the South Bay city’s Berryessa, North San Jose, and Alviso districts. It became up for grabs after the former officeholder, Kansen Chu, won election to a state Assembly seat in November. Despite his front-runner status and support from union and LGBT leaders, Orozco faced long odds in capturing the seat to represent the largely Vietnamese district. The second and third place finishers in April were two Vietnamese community leaders whose combined percentage of the vote total was 38 percent, far surpassing Orozco’s 22 percent of the vote. Thus the runoff was seen as journalist Manh Nguyen’s to lose, as he could easily court the supporters of third place finisher Lan Diep and those of several other Vietnamese candidates in the 10-person primary. Nguyen had the support of business interests and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. That scenario played out in this week’s vote, with Nguyen easily capturing the council seat with nearly 57 percent of the 9,392 ballots counted as of 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 23 when the polls closed. Orozco had 43 percent of the ballots counted. The Santa Clara County registrar


Palm Springs

From page 46

It is popular with women and straight folks that like partying with the gays. The two bear/leather bars are Tool Shed on East Sunny Dunes Road and Barracks Bar in Cathedral City. By the way, the other two gay bars in Cathedral City are the lounge and piano bar, Studio One 11 and Digs. The bars in Cathedral City tend to draw more locals. The only gay hotel in Cathedral City also doubles as a nightspot. The Cathedral City Boys Club, known as CCBC, is open 24 hours a day and regularly hosts sexy special events. A barbeque lunch on Wednesdays is included with the discounted $18 day pass. (The usual 12-hour day pass is $23 but if you show your key from another gay resort, it costs just $15 to get in.)

Cool food in the desert

Pinocchio in the Desert (http:// in downtown Palm Springs is famous for its huge portions of delicious American and Mexican comfort food. It is open for breakfast and lunch and offers $3.95 bottomless champagne. Trio ( continues to be one of the city’s most popular restaurants. It is open for lunch

of voters estimated it had counted 80 percent of the ballots cast at polling places and by mail. According to a press advisory the office released Wednesday morning, 1,290 ballots remained to be counted. It will announce Friday, June 26 the exact number of outstanding vote by mail ballots before adding them to the final results tally. But it is unlikely to change the race’s results, set to be certified Tuesday, June 30. Nguyen, 62, will replace interim Councilwoman Margie Matthews, who was named to the seat by former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. He will be the second Vietnamese council member, serving alongside District 7 Councilman Tam Nguyen. Orozco, 56, is a senior assistant to freshman state Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), who he has worked for since 2013 when his boss served in the Assembly. He grew up in the district’s Berryessa neighborhood, and after moving to San Diego in the early 1990s for graduate school, he moved back home in late 2012. He was supported by labor groups and earned the endorsements of two LGBT groups, Equality California and BAYMEC, which stands for Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee. The first LGBT person to serve on the San Jose city council, Ken Yeager, also endorsed Orozco. Yeager resigned from the city council after winning a county supervisor seat in 2006. Since then San Jose’s LGBT community has lacked out representation on the city council.t and dinner and offers a three course $19 prix fixe meal if you eat before 6 p.m. Trio’s newer sister restaurant is the Purple Room (, known for delicious food served up in a traditional 1960s supper club style. Entertainer Michael Holmes is famous for his Sunday Judy Garland shows. You can save 10 percent at Trio and the Purple Room with the Splash pass. In the heart of downtown Palm Springs, Lulu California Bistro (http:// serves gourmet food with patio seating with some of the best people watching along Palm Canyon Drive. The Splash pass offers a 10 percent discount. The Tropicale ( draws a big crowd for happy hour drinks and finger food and its full service restaurant. The backyard patio space is the place to be on warm summer nights. Splash pass also offers a 10 percent discount there. Wangs in the Desert ( continues to be the place for Asian food in Palm Springs. Its famed Friday night Boys Night Out happy hour packs ‘em in. Splash pass offers 10 percent off food.t For more information, check out the city’s official Web site http://







and coming to The


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<< Pride 2015

56 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015



SF Pride

From page 29

The celebration runs from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday at Civic Center. The festival is free, but there’s a suggested donation of $5 to $10. Donations from the celebration have helped Pride contribute nearly $2.4 million to nonprofits since 1997. The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Market and Beale streets and ends at Market and Eighth streets.

Marriage decision

The celebration will include more than 20 community stages and venues and about 300 exhibitors, and Ridgely said this year’s parade would likely be Pride’s biggest ever. “We’ve definitely seen more people who are interested in having floats in this year’s parade,” he said. The last time he checked, he said this week, there were nearly 240 contingents registered. “I think people are really excited about the expected Supreme Court decision this week,” Ridgely said, referring to the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce this month whether samesex couples will be able to legally marry in all 50 states. The justices’ decision was expected as early as Thursday, June 25, after the Bay Area Reporter went to press. This year’s main stage lineup will include a wedding ceremony, where Hydie Downard, 74, will marry Beate Siedler, 66. The women, who’ve been together 33 years and live in Oakland, were nominated for the honor by Pride board President Gary Virginia. “Hopefully, those supremes are going to vote right this week,” Downard said, referring to the Supreme Court justices. “If they do [marriage] will be legal in the whole country.” Referring to her home state, Downard said, “They don’t accept us in Kentucky yet. They’re going to have to after this ruling. I thought this would be a good time” to wed. Kentucky, in fact, is where one of the cases being considered by the justices originated. In an email, Virginia said that Downard and Siedler’s “33-year relationship and decades of service to the LGBTQ community combine to make them most deserving of an official wedding in this historic year. SF Pride wishes them a meaningful, joyous ceremony, and thanks them for serving as an example of why all loving, committed relationships are deserving of equality without exception.” Among other honors, according

Courtesy Hydie Downard

Hydie Downard, left, and her longtime partner, Beate Siedler, will marry on Pride’s main stage Sunday.

to Downard, the couple received a proclamation from former Mayor Willie Brown after their domestic partner ceremony “for helping to raise awareness about the need to legalize marriage for same-gender couples and being in the forefront of the lesbian and gay movement for marriage rights.” The wedding ceremony is set for 1:50 p.m. Sunday and will be officiated by the Reverend Cecil Williams of Glide Memorial Church. Also this weekend, Marriage Equality USA will be in the parade and organize a marriage pavilion. “After married couples, families, and supporters head down Market Street in festive style Sunday, we will be hosting a new activity in the marriage pavilion – signing rainbow, trans, and bi pride flags with messages of hope and love for individuals and entire nations that are not able to join in the pride celebrations – we want to share the love, and also renew our dedication to full equality for LGBTQ people worldwide in all aspects of our lives,” MEUSA’s Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis, a married couple long involved in the marriage equality issue, said in an email.

Entertainers, honors

The main stage is best known for its entertainment offerings. This year’s entertainers include Big Freedia, the “queen” of bounce music, and Anthony Wayne, who’s playing disco icon Sylvester in the biomusical Mighty Real – A Fabulous Sylvester Musical. Celebrity grand marshals will include Rick Welts, president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors, the Oaklandbased basketball team that recently won the NBA championship. Welts is the highest-ranking out executive in men’s professional team sports.

Jane Philomen Cleland

Parade spectators reach for confetti at last year’s Pride parade.

Jane Philomen Cleland

Members of the Dykes on Bikes contingent lead off last year’s Pride parade.

Other grand marshals include Alicia Garza, co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and Brian Basinger, director of AIDS Housing Alliance/San Francisco. (For profiles of the grand marshals and other honorees, see the special Pride section of this week’s B.A.R.) The anti-LGBT American Family Association is the recipient of this year’s Pink Brick award, which Pride gives to a group or individual that’s worked to harm the gay community. Reached by email, Deborah Hamilton, a spokeswoman for AFA, declined to comment. With the buzz around marriage expected to bring larger crowds than usual this weekend, Ridgely said there would be increased police and private security presence. This year’s budget is “just over $2 million,” Ridgely said. Sponsorships make up almost half that. Each year, community groups provide volunteers for Pride and share in proceeds from the festivities. Daniel Redman, co-chair of Pride Law Fund, said money his organization makes from Pride “will go to fund grants for new lawyers proposing innovative LGBT- focused civil rights projects.”


Every year brings some controversy for Pride, and 2015 has been no exception. This year, many have been upset by Facebook’s policy of using legal names instead of stage names or other names on Facebook pages. In May, Pride’s board voted not to ban the social media company from participating in the parade. “It was important to us to talk to the community and talk to the sponsor and understand what steps have been taken to get to where we are today,” Ridgely said, and it was felt “the best way forward was to leave the door open to continue the conversation between Facebook and the community,” and to “make impactful changes to the reporting policy, which is at the heart of the discussion.” In an email, Facebook spokeswoman Genevieve Grdina said, “Facebook is proud of our commitment to diversity and our support of the LGBTQ community as a company and an employer. We have been strong supporters of the San Francisco parade for many years. Last year more than 1,500 people associated with Facebook marched in the San Francisco parade, and this

year we are participating in 12 celebrations around the world. We look forward to joining this year’s 45th annual celebration.” Grdina wouldn’t say how much Facebook is spending to be a San Francisco Pride sponsor. “We don’t share how much money we spend on the parade, or other Pride-related activities,” she said. Another Facebook spokesman, Justin Osofsky, vice president of global operations, said in a recent post that the company is now acting quicker when name issues arise. The involvement of the homesharing company Airbnb in Pride has also drawn criticism because some activists see it as taking housing stock off the market. Ridgely said this is the company’s second year supporting Pride. “They’ve been a great partner,” he said, and “it’s important to them to be part of this community and highlight the LGBTQ hosts they have here in the city,” which is where the company is headquartered. In an email, Darcy Nenni, a spokeswoman for Airbnb, said, “Airbnb is thrilled to continue to support Pride in the city we were founded in, and celebrate the 45th anniversary of culture and heritage of the LGBT community. We believe that the Airbnb community plays an active role in fostering understanding among diverse individuals around the world and we want to honor San Francisco for being a beacon of belonging. We are committed to diversity in our offices and in our communities ... .” Airbnb workers “show their pride through ongoing volunteer commitments with local organizations that support the local LGBT community,” Nenni added. She wouldn’t say exactly how much Airbnb is spending to sponsor Pride. Ridgely didn’t know how much money either Facebook or Airbnb is contributing.

Trans, Dyke marches

Rick Gerharter

A colorful clown was part of one of the many contingents that marched in last year’s Pride parade.

Rick Gerharter

The housing crisis was a focal point of last year’s parade, and promises to be front and center in several contingents this year as well.

Other events this weekend include the Trans and Dyke marches. According to the Trans March Facebook page, the event Friday starts with a youth and elder brunch from noon to 3 p.m., on Dolores Street between 18th and 19th streets. The march starts at 6. There will be an afterparty at El Rio, 3158 Mission Street, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, the Dyke March will start at 3:30 p.m. Marchers will line up on Dolores then head north on 18th, eventually arriving at the Pink Party in the Castro, which begins at 3. [See related story, page 29.]t For more Pride information, visit

t <<

Community News>>

Political Notebook

From page 35

name an LGBT person to fill a vacancy on the committee that oversees the local party. As reported in last week’s Political Notebook, Arlo Hale Smith, a gay man who for 31 years has served on the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, resigned due to health reasons. He asked Jung to replace him with someone from the LGBT community who resides in the 19th Assembly District. Of the 10 DCCC members representing the city’s westside Assembly seat, currently held by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Smith was the sole LGBT person. “Hale and I talked about that. That goes without saying, as his leaving would leave a void, which I will try to fill,” Jung said in regard to the need to find an LGBT person to serve out the remainder of Smith’s term, which expires next July.


‘Kill gays’ initiative

From page 32

our system is abused to promote the political equivalent of toxic waste.” Gay Assemblyman Evan Low (DCampbell), said he was pleased the court agreed with Harris. “I am pleased to hear that the Superior Court has agreed with Attorney General Harris’ decision not to issue a title and summary for the Sodomite Suppression Act,” Low said in a statement. “The initiative is hateful, attacks innocent people, and if relief was granted, it would have been a waste of state resources. I applaud Attorney General Harris on her leadership on this issue. While the court’s ruling on this egregious initiative proposal is both legally and morally the right action to take, the events bring attention to the need to reform the initiative process.” Rick Zbur, executive director of the statewide LGBT lobbying group Equality California, said, “I think it’s

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 57

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is the featured speaker at this year’s Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club Pride breakfast fundraiser. The former district attorney of San Francisco, Harris is the leading Democratic candidate in 2016 for

the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Barbara Boxer, who opted not to seek re-election. Her appearance before the moderate LGBT political club comes days after Harris won her court fight against the proponent of the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” a ballot measure that called for killing all of the state’s gay residents. Tuesday the B.A.R. broke the news that on Monday, June 22 a Sacramento Superior Court judge agreed with Harris that the initiative was unconstitutional and that her office could block its backer from collecting the signatures needed to place it on the 2016 November ballot. The Alice club’s event begins at 8 a.m. Sunday, June 28 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, located at 5 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco. The program will begin at 8:45. The breakfast is expected to sell out. Check the club’s website at for limited availability.t

a positive thing that the judge recognized that public funds should not be wasted, and the initiative process should not be allowed to proceed on a matter that is so clearly unconstitutional and calls for unlawful violence against LGBT people.” However, Zbur said, “it’s not shocking” that the proposal “got this far.” “The initiative process doesn’t have any real mechanisms that easily allow for our public officials to screen clearly unlawful and abusive and frivolous initiatives,” Zbur said. He said that’s partly why EQCA is backing two pieces of legislation that would “try to make it hard for these crackpot initiatives to get to the point where title and summary is required to be issued.” Zbur added, “There needs to be changes in our constitution to reform the initiative process, so that initiatives are not used to target communities that are not popular and restrict our civil rights.” “In this case,” he said, “the attorney

general’s efforts not to move ahead with this ballot measure were successful,” but that’s because McLaughlin’s proposal “was so extreme and called for, really, murdering gay people.” Zbur said there are “many other ballot measures that are also unconstitutional and restrict people’s civil rights that should not get on the ballot either, but there are not tools in place that allow our public officials to screen” those measures that target “the civil rights of unpopular groups and communities.” In response to the judge’s ruling, which the Bay Area Reporter broke the news about Tuesday afternoon on Twitter via the profile @politicalnotes, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin tweeted, “Lest there was any doubt, a California ballot initiative to put gay people to death is ‘patently unconstitutional.’” McLaughlin hasn’t previously responded to multiple Bay Area Reporter requests for comment since filing his proposal in February.t

Jung expects to name a replacement in either July or August, and the DCCC members would then vote to affirm her nominee. The person would need to seek election to a full four-year term on the June 2016 ballot when all of the DCCC’s 24 elected seats will be up for grabs. One name mentioned as a possible pick is that of Leslie Katz, the president of the city’s Port Commission. Katz did not respond to a request for comment by press time. Last May she had to step down from her DCCC seat representing the 17th Assembly District after she moved into Ting’s district.

CA AG headlines Alice Pride breakfast

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971

58 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


1990 protest

From page 51

Thomas talked about the mixed messages activists received. “In retrospect everyone says they love ACT UP, but at the time everyone said activists were taking it too far, pissing off our allies, and needed to tone down our tactics,” Thomas concluded. “We used these tactics because they work – we felt that otherwise no one would pay attention. People with AIDS in ACT UP felt they had so little to lose.”

When comrades fell

The anniversary weekend concluded with a memorial Sunday, June 21, offering participants a chance to remember fellow activists and others who have died, most of them due to HIV/AIDS. Sister Mary Ralph of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence offered an opening blessing, followed by a song by Pansy Division’s Jon Ginoli. Organizer Rebecca Hensler, who founded the secular grief-support website Grief Beyond Belief, called for people to contribute names of the dead on a Facebook page for the anniversary events. The list grew each day, and the reading of the names continued for more than 10 minutes. Community historian Gerard Koskovich noted that many of the deceased from ACT UP/San Fran-


Drag pageant

From page 36

waived the penalty, Phoenix would have placed as the winner and Jay as first alternate. Villarruelas discussed options with the erstwhile Panache titleholders, and together they decided to create the Golden State chapter, which Villarruelas has incorporated. “I have had all titleholders sign a letter renouncing their titles under the CPP,” she said. The Golden State chapter’s first event was court investitures June 13. Phoenix was crowned Miss Golden State Panache. Calypso Jete, a previous contestant, was invited on as first alternate. Danny Lagunas, a 21-year-old gay cis man from Los Angeles, was awarded Mr. Golden State Panache. Donny Mirassou, a 39-year-old genderfluid intersex woman from San Jose also known as Jean Battiato, named as first alternate. Vega Bond, 21, of Mountain View, also known as Maria Griffin, was crowned Ms. Diva Golden State. Lagunas and Jete were unable to attend in person due to prior obligations with Los Angeles Pride, which was occurring that same weekend. The event also served as a fundraiser to help get the new court to Ultimate Panache in Hawaii for the nationals October 17. The investitures raised over $1,000, enough to get two court members to Hawaii. The Golden State chapter still needs at least $2,500 to send remaining court members and staff and has a fundraiser planned for October.

Diverse court

The first Golden State Panache Court is particularly diverse and politically active. Phoenix serves on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s Equity Advisory Com-


Bathroom initiative

From page 47

A statement on Privacy for All’s website that was written before the measure received its title and summary said that petitions “will be available” in coming months. Privacy for All officials did not immediately return an email seeking comment. Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, said that all Californians should be able

cisco are included in an archive of more than 11,000 obituaries that appeared in the Bay Area Reporter, available online through the GLBT Historical Society. After the reading of names, participants “dished the dead,” recounting stories about friends, lovers, and fellow activists. Tim Kingston, a San Francisco Bay Times reporter in 1990, recalled activist Hank Wilson describing how to set a police car on fire, as was done during the 1979 White Night riots after a jury convicted Harvey Milk assassin Dan White of manslaughter instead of murder. Virg Parks and Rebecca Denison, founder of Women Organized to Respond to Life Threatening Disease, remembered the many women affected by AIDS who did not fit in with the ACT UP crowd, for whom “HIV was just one more thing that was trying to kill them.” After the ceremony participants marched from the Women’s Building to the Castro and placed photos of the deceased at the corner of Castro and 18th streets, a traditional site of community memorials. “We got really good at the anger part of our grief. That anger did end up saving lives, but not enough of them,” Hensler said. “There is no zap, no banner hang, no bridge we could block, and no flag we could burn that will bring them back.”t mittee. As a sufferer of degenerative spinal stenosis, she is also involved in disability rights. “I am very passionate about equality for everyone, and have never been afraid to tackle tough or taboo topics,” she said. “With my reign in the Golden State Panache Pageant, I am working on bringing the different communities together to work as a team and address issues that are affecting every community and every person. I believe strongly in teamwork and working hard to keep everyone working together.” Mirassou, who is serving concurrently as Ms. San Francisco Sober Leather 2015, entered to “combine my love of costuming and to use it as a platform to bring a few things I care about to light. I took the chance to talk about trans and intersex issues. And let’s be honest, I really wanted to see the faces of the very prim and proper kings and queens when they suddenly have to face a crazy little Gothic horror punk.” Lagunas is active in his local gay community. “My hopes are to win nationals so that we can further our ability to raise awareness and support for the homeless LGBT youth in our nation,” he said. “I’m starting this with my current reign as Mr. Golden State Panache 2015 by raising that awareness and support in California.” After GSPP has raised enough funds to cover the Hawaii trip and preliminary expenses needed to produce the 2016 pageant, the court intends to focus on community support and fundraising. “We are working on raising money to make a huge change in our community,” said Villarruelas. “We are also trying to prove to the community that you can be diverse and get along. We want to try to help our future brothers and sisters believe in themselves and to believe in others.”t to use restrooms without fear of being searched or questioned. “All Californians should have the same freedom to go about their lives and access government buildings without having their privacy invaded or being forced to undergo invasive examination simply to use a public restroom,” he said. “The bathroom policing initiative would unfairly single out transgender people and people who don’t meet stereotypes of what it looks like to be male or female for interrogation and exclusion.”t



To all heirs, beneficiaries, creditors, contingent creditors, and persons who may otherwise be interested in the will or estate, or both, of DAMIEN DONGSUN KIM. A Petition for Probate has been filed by CRAIG KIM in the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco. County of San Francisco. The Petition for Probate requests that CRAIG KIM be appointed as personal representative to administer the estate of the decedent. The petition requests the decedent’s will and codicils, if any, be admitted to probate. The will and any codicils are available for examination in the file kept by the court. The petition requests authority to administer the estate under the Independent Administration of Estates Act. (This authority will allow the personal representative to take many actions without obtaining court approval. Before taking certain very important actions, however, the personal representative will be required to give notice to interested persons unless they have waived notice or consented to the proposed action.) The independent administration authority will be granted unless an interested person files an objection to the petition and shows good cause why the court should not grant the authority. A hearing on the petition will be held in this court as follows: JUN 29, 2015, 9:00A.M. Rm. 204, Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, 400 McAllister St., San Francisco, CA 94104, Probate Branch. If you object to the granting of the petition, you should appear at the hearing and state your objections or file written objections with the court before the hearing. Your appearance may be in person or by your attorney. If you are a creditor or contingent creditor of the decedent, you must file your claim with the court and mail a copy to the personal representative appointed by the court within the latter of either (1) four months from the date of first issuance of letters to a general personal representative, as defined by section 58(b) of the California Probate Code, or (2) 60 days from the date of mailing or personal delivery to you of a notice under section 9052 of the California Probate Code. Other California statutes and legal authority may affect your rights as a creditor. You may want to consult with an attorney knowledgeable in California law. You may examine the file kept by the court. If you are a person interested in the estate, you may file with the court a Request for Special Notice (form DE-154) of the filing of an inventory and appraisal of estate assets or of any petition or account as provided in Probate Code section 1250. A Request for Special Notice form is available from the court clerk. Attorney for petitioner: HEATHER R. STONEMAN, ESQ. (SB# 214917) JEWEL & STONEMAN, LLP, 220 MONTGOMERY ST #678, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94104 Ph. (415) 394-6800.


In the matter of the application of: MICHAEL YINGXIAN HUANG, 418 SILVER AVE, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94112, for change of name having been filed in Superior Court, and it appearing from said application that petitioner MICHAEL YINGXIAN HUANG, is requesting that the name MICHAEL YINGXIAN HUANG, be changed to SKY YINGXIAN HUANG. Now therefore, it is hereby ordered, that all persons interested in said matter do appear before this Court in Dept. 514, Room 514 on the 11th of August 2015 at 9:00am of said day to show cause why the application for change of name should not be granted.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: ITAFIT, 1910 JACKSON ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94109. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed SERGIO MELISSANO. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 05/29/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/01/15.



The following person(s) is/are doing business as: CAPIULI ARTS, 171 LIBERTY ST #401, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94110. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed KENNETH LEAF. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 05/28/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 05/28/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: ALEX ILNICKI CONSULTING, 3876 CALIFORNIA, UNIT 3, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94118. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed ALEXEI LEON ILNICKI. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 05/27/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 05/27/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: SAN FRANCISCO BALLOONS, 533 BAKER ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94117. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed CLIFF COURRIER. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 05/27/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 05/27/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: OCTAVIA; CLEMENT; NOIR LUXE; SUMMER & SAGE; AVA; CAMILLA; HAYES; 3130 20TH ST #225, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94110. This business is conducted by a corporation, and is signed STRAPLESS INC (DE). The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/01/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 05/19/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: MYMY, 1500 CALIFORNIA ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94109. This business is conducted by a corporation, and is signed DOWNTOWN MY MY, INC (CA). The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on NA. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 05/22/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: KNOW RESEARCH LLC, 605 MARKET #505, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94105. This business is conducted by a limited liability company, and is signed KNOW RESEARCH LLC, (CA). The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on NA. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 05/27/15.

JUNE 04, 11, 18, 25, 2015 PUBLIC NOTICE

Pursuant to Section1988 of the Civil Code, notice is hereby given that One Of A Kind will cause to be sold at Public Auction at Ghirardelli Square 900 North Point San Francisco, CA 94109 following described property deem to have been abandoned by One Of A Kind Retail Store. INVENTORY: Woodworking of Bruce Abbott incl. bowls, vessels, jewelry boxes, pens, letter openers, misc. decoration items, carved animal and abstract carvings and all inventory of store & storage area. Said Public Auction will take place online only at www. and begins ending at 10AM on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Auction conducted by Huisman Auctions, Inc. 209745-4390 CA Bond # 0447219


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: ACUTE SALON, 3450 18TH ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94110. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed LINDA THOMAS-MAYFIELD. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on NA. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 05/13/15.

The following person(s) is/are doing business as: ACTISYNC; SERAPHIM PORTAL; OITATIO; THE HAPPY CEO; INSPIRED ALTERNATIVES; 45 BROSNAN ST #9, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed ALEX OMAR JOERG BRANDIN. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 06/01/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/03/15.




To all heirs, beneficiaries, creditors, contingent creditors, and persons who may otherwise be interested in the will or estate, or both, of YOSHIO NOGUCHI. A Petition for Probate has been filed by JUNJI SUZUKI in the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco. County of San Francisco. The Petition for Probate requests that JUNJI SUZUKI be appointed as personal representative to administer the estate of the decedent. The petition requests the decedent’s will and codicils, if any, be admitted to probate. The will and any codicils are available for examination in the file kept by the court. The petition requests authority to administer the estate under the Independent Administration of Estates Act. (This authority will allow the personal representative to take many actions without obtaining court approval. Before taking certain very important actions, however, the personal representative will be required to give notice to interested persons unless they have waived notice or consented to the proposed action.) The independent administration authority will be granted unless an interested person files an objection to the petition and shows good cause why the court should not grant the authority. A hearing on the petition will be held in this court as follows: July 01, 2015, 9:00A.M. Rm. 204, Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, 400 McAllister St., San Francisco, CA 94102 Civic Center Courthouse. If you object to the granting of the petition, you should appear at the hearing and state your objections or file written objections with the court before the hearing. Your appearance may be in person or by your attorney. If you are a creditor or contingent creditor of the decedent, you must file your claim with the court and mail a copy to the personal representative appointed by the court within the latter of either (1) four months from the date of first issuance of letters to a general personal representative, as defined by section 58(b) of the California Probate Code, or (2) 60 days from the date of mailing or personal delivery to you of a notice under section 9052 of the California Probate Code. Other California statutes and legal authority may affect your rights as a creditor. You may want to consult with an attorney knowledgeable in California law. You may examine the file kept by the court. If you are a person interested in the estate, you may file with the court a Request for Special Notice (form DE-154) of the filing of an inventory and appraisal of estate assets or of any petition or account as provided in Probate Code section 1250. A Request for Special Notice form is available from the court clerk. Attorney for petitioner: EDWARD S. MIYAUCHI (SBN 230553), MARSHALL SUZUKI LAW GROUP, LLP, 150 SPEAR ST #725, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94105 Ph. (415) 618-0090.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: WEB REVAMP, 18 BEAVER ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94114. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed BERNARD ARIAS. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/01/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/08/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: AGUILERA TRUCKING, 1065 IOWA ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94107. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed JUAN ANTONIO AGUILERA. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on NA. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/09/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: ZAMAN CLINIC, 3600 CALIFORNIA ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94118. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed TAUHEED ZAMAN. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 05/22/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 05/22/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: ESPANA IRON WORKS, 1318 FITZGERALD AVE, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94124. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed GABRIEL CANEDO. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 05/04/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/04/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: THE AVENUES SPA, 3929 CALIFORNIA ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94118. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed HENRY H. NGUYEN. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 05/27/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 05/28/15.

The following person(s) is/are doing business as: VILLYSF, 2795 41ST AVE, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94116. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed JILL MYERS. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 06/01/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/02/15.

The following person(s) is/are doing business as: JUST THE LITTLE THINGS, 601 VAN NESS AVE E805, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102. This business is conducted by a limited liability company, and is signed JUST THE LITTLE THINGS, LLC (CA). The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 05/13/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/03/15.

JUNE 04, 11, 18, 25, 2015

JUNE 11, 18, 25, JULY 02, 2015

JUNE 11, 18, 25, JULY 02, 2015

Read more online at

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 59


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: HEALTHY PLACES, 5128 GEARY BLVD, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94118. This business is conducted by a limited liability company, and is signed MELANIE LOFTUS CONSULTING LLC (CA). The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 05/20/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/02/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: OREILLYS IRISH BAR & RESTAURANT, OREILLYS BAR, OREILLYS IRISH PUB & RESTAURANT, OREILLYS PUB, OREILLYS PUBLIC HOUSE, 1237 POLK ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94109. This business is conducted by a limited liability company, and is signed 1237 POLK STEET, LLC (CA). The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 06/03/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/04/15.


The following persons have abandoned the use of the fictitious business name known as: SERAPHIM BLUEPRINT, 45 BROSNAN ST #9, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103. This business was conducted by an individual and signed by ALEX OMAR JOERG BRANDIN. The fictitious name was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 02/14/2011.


(Notice pursuant to UCC Sec. 6105 and 6106.2) NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a bulk sale is about to be made. The name(s), business address(es) to the Seller(s), are: KEVIN CHEN, Doing Business as: TATTLEFISH, 3409 Geary Blvd. San Francisco. All other business name(s) and address(es) used by the Seller(s) within three years, as stated by the Seller(s), is/are: KAIJU EATS. The location in California of the chief executive office of the seller is: 3409 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94118. The name(s) and address of the Buyer(s) is/ are: GUANGLIANG LIANG, 520 Summer Ln., San Pablo, CA 94806 and JINGU WEI, 16321 Mateo St., San Leandro, CA 94578. The assets being sold are generally described as: All stockin-trade, fixtures, equipment, leasehold, and leasehold improvement of Japanese restaurant business and are located at: 3409 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94118. The bulk sale is intended to be consummated at the office of: To, Long & Associates, Attorneys At Law, 311 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94118 and the anticipated sale date is 07/07/2015. The bulk sale is subject to California Uniform Commercial Code Section 6106.2 The name and address of the person with whom claims may be filed is: To, Long & Associates, Attorneys At Law, 311 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94118, and the last date for filing claims shall be 07/06/2015, which is the business day before the anticipated sale date specified above. Dated: 06/12/2015 Kit To, Esq./s/ Kit V. To, Attorney at To, Long & Associates.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: FOG CITY K-9, 68 PALM AVE, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94118. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed ERIK BALIN. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 06/15/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/16/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: EARLY CHILDHOOD THERAPY SPECIALIST/ INTERVENTIONIST, 2232 18TH AVE, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94116. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed SUSSETTE MEJIA-VALENTINI. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 06/15/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/15/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: METALBOB TRAINING, 1001 BRANNAN ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed ROBERT VECCHIARELLO. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 06/01/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/05/15.


Classifieds The


In the matter of the application of: KAREN SEGAL, 125 CAMBON DR #34, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94132 for change of name having been filed in Superior Court, and it appearing from said application that petitioner KAREN SEGAL, is requesting that the name LILAH ROSE SEGAL ANGEL, be changed to LILAH ROSE SEGAL-ANGEL. Now therefore, it is hereby ordered, that all persons interested in said matter do appear before this Court in Dept. 514, Room 514 on the 20th of August 2015 at 9:00am of said day to show cause why the application for change of name should not be granted.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: AURORA SKIN SOLUTIONS, 352 6TH ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed MICHELLE ESTANISLAO. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 05/28/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 05/28/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: INDEX REALTY, 4194 MISSION ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94112. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed TOMMY GALLEGOS. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 08/18/09. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/10/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: DAN KRAMER LAW GROUP, 633 BATTERY ST #110, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94111. This business is conducted by a corporation, and is signed DJK LAW GROUP, P.C. (CO). The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 06/01/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/11/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: ENGEL & VOELKERS SAN FRANCISCO, 582 CASTRO ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94114. This business is conducted by a corporation, and is signed SAN FRANCISCO REAL ESTATE HOLDINGS INC. (UT). The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/12/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/04/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: CALA RESTAURANT, 149 FELL ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102. This business is conducted by a limited liability company, and is signed LA MILPA LLC (CA). The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on NA. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/01/15.


The following persons have abandoned the use of the fictitious business name known as: BEST WESTERN PLUS THE TUSCAN, 425 NORTH POINT ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94108. This business was conducted by a limited liability company and signed by 425 NORTH POINT STREET LLC (DE). The fictitious name was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 11/21/14.

JUNE 18, 25, JULY 02, 09, 2015 STATEMENT OF ABANDONMENT OF USE OF FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME FILE A-033409200 The following persons have abandoned the use of the fictitious business name known as: TUSCAN INN, 2455 MASON ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94111. This business was conducted by a limited liability company and signed by 425 NORTH POINT STREET LLC (CA). The fictitious name was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 03/10/11.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: SIERRA TRAINING AND YOGA, 864 FOLSOM ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94107. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed SIERRA KELLOGG. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 05/10/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/02/15.

The following persons have abandoned the use of the fictitious business name known as: TUSCAN, THE; TUSCAN; TUSCAN HOTEL; TUSCAN HOTEL, THE; 425 NORTH POINT ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94108. This business was conducted by a limited liability company and signed by 425 NORTH POINT STREET LLC (DE). The fictitious name was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 08/30/13.

JUNE 18, 25, JULY 02, 09, 2015

JUNE 18, 25, JULY 02, 09, 2015


The following persons have abandoned the use of the fictitious business name known as: PESCATORE; PESCATORE RESTAURANT; 2455 MASON ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94111. This business was conducted by a limited liability company and signed by 425 NORTH POINT STREET LLC (DE). The fictitious name was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 08/30/13.

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The following persons have abandoned the use of the fictitious business name known as: CAFE PESCATORE, 2455 MASON ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94111. This business was conducted by a limited liability company and signed by 425 NORTH POINT STREET LLC (DE). The fictitious name was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 10/29/14.


The following persons have abandoned the use of the fictitious business name known as: CAFE PESCATORE, 2455 MASON ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94111. This business was conducted by a limited liability company and signed by 425 NORTH POINT STREET LLC (CA). The fictitious name was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 03/10/11.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: NEW LIVING, 346 1ST ST #206, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94105. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed CELINA PHAM. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 06/22/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/22/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: READ A BOOK PUBLISHING CO, 1321 EVANS AVE #C, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94124. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed ALPHA J. BUIE. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 05/27/03. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/18/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: ORO, 1299 BUSH ST #401, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94109. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed JARRETT S. DOWNS. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 06/01/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/17/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: LAIKE VENDING 4U, 660 4TH ST #324, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94107. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed YONGYUAN YU. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 06/16/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/16/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: COCO FRIO, 2937 MISSION ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94101. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed MANUEL TORRES. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 06/18/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/18/15.


The following person(s) is/are doing business as: NOC NOC ON BROADWAY, 515 BROADWAY, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94133. This business is conducted by an individual, and is signed RAHMAT OLLAH SHIRAKHON. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 06/22/15. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 06/22/15.

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Vol. 45 • No. 26 • June 25-July 1, 2015

Frameline 39 offers its finales by David Lamble


rameline, the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, is 39, and like the jokes of comedian Jack Benny, the festival’s offerings, including its drag-friendly trailer, become more endearing with each viewing. The final four days, June 25-28 at the Castro, Roxie and Victoria Theatres in San Francisco, and the Elmwood and Piedmont in the East Bay, continue this year’s themes of female and transgender empowerment, as well as the festival’s traditionally strong gay male features, documentaries and shorts. See page 62 >>

Scene from Indian director Shonali Bose’s Margarita, with a Straw.

Surprising summer attractions by Richard Dodds


ummer will have begun by the time you read this column, which usually can be registered in a change in the theater temperature if not on the thermometer mounted outside your bedroom window. Most theaters are catching their breaths before fall reboots, making way for the productions that typically arise in summer months (lots of outdoor Shakespeare), and then there are the surprises, several of which are highlighted here. See page 76 >>

Australian performer Denise Wharmby stars in Acoustic Voice’s production of Call Me Miss Birds Eye: A Celebration of Ethel Merman at the Geary Theatre in July.


Kevin Berne

Spring and summer mean later sunsets and later hours at the Asian Art Museum. We’re open ‘til 9 PM on Thursdays and for just $5 after 5 PM, you can spend an evening in our beautiful building enjoying the galleries, special exhibitions, fun talks, lively gatherings and intimate hangs with artists. On first Thursdays, there are even cash bars, DJs and more. For details, visit



<< Out There

62 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


Frameline, week 2

From page 61

Note: The East Bay venues will offer their swan-song features tonight (Thurs., 6/25), with the Elmwood playing the transgender sports doc Game Face and the Canadian transgender pregnancy comedy Two 4 One, and the Piedmont reprising the Thai gender doc Visible Silence and French bad-boy director Francois Ozon’s The New Girlfriend, a comedy about today’s superabundance of LGBTQ parenting choices. Margarita, with a Straw Indian director Shonali Bose tells the story of her cousin Malini, who struggles to overcome barriers to career goals presented by her cerebral palsy and the limitations to female careers imposed by sexism on the subconti-

nent. (Piedmont, 6/23; Roxie, 6/27) Hidden Away In this absorbing, truly offbeat homo-buddy adventure, two very attractive teen boys, Rafa and Ibra, at first find a flirtatious bond through food fights, water polo and playful wrestling. Then (bam!) they’re in love, an attachment that shocks friends and family. Spanish director Mikel Rueda makes the most of the sturdy talents of his adolescent leads. German Alcarazu was 15 when he played the increasingly lovesick Rafa, and Adil Koukouh gives a subtler turn as the enigmatic Moroccan lad who fears expulsion from Spain because of his illegal migrant status. Filmmaker Rueda pushes the envelope artistically. The story arc is fractured, with key scenes from the first act repeated for emotional effect towards the story’s finale. What

Courtesy Frameline

Scene from director Mikel Rueda’s Hidden Away.

could be irritating or confusing in a longer narrative, here is tolerable, even endearing. While the boys don’t truly “get it on,” their various forms of “foreplay” get the job done, so that we greedily anticipate more than we get, yet are not disappointed. Rafa and Ibra’s lips hover near the point of frisson a couple of times, allowing our imaginations to fill in the blanks. The filmmakers also make the most of what will be, for many viewers, unfamiliar locales of Northern Spain in and around the ancient Basque city of Bilbao. (Victoria, 6/26) 54: The Director’s Cut Like the young, bare-chested, blond-boy Adonis of this disco-fueled drama from one-time up-and-coming helmer Mark Christopher, I worked as an all-around schlepper at a late70s/early-80s dance club where beautiful kids danced, drank and drugged til they dropped, sometimes enduring 96-hour non-stop marathons of party-down debauchery: all this before the onslaught of AIDS. While it’s not a great film, 54: The Director’s Cut allows us to view Christopher’s original take on Gotham City’s most glittering and notorious 70s dance palace. The director’s cut contains 26 minutes of restored footage that reinforce the film’s biggest claim to our attention, namely the two standout performances at the drama’s core: Mike Meyers (false nose and all) as See page 66 >>

t Found in the chords

by Roberto Friedman


ay back in the last century, we were enjoying some nonmedical marijuana with a buddy in our college dorm room. We were listening to something on our stereo (it might have been an LP!), we can’t remem-


SEP 4 - OCT 11, 2015

OCT 2 - NOV 1, 2015

It’s back!

NOV 6 - DEC 13, 2015

DEC 4, 2015 - JAN 17, 2016

JAN 22 - FEB 28, 2016

MAR 4 - APR 3, 2016

MAR 18 - APR 24, 2016

MAY 13 - JUN 12, 2016


ber what, but all of a sudden, our pal, let’s call him Fred, sat up and ejaculated, “That’s me! That chord! I am that chord!” “You’re a B-flat major chord?” Out There replied, skeptically. But yes, there was something about the key, and the notes sounded within it, that spoke to Fred. Now, he was an unusual dude, but this brief exchange has always stayed with us. We’d heard of people identifying with their astrological sign, or their spirit animal, but with a musical iteration? How odd. But then recently, we were at home, sitting around in our underwear and listening to music on our stereo (it might have been a CD!), when a passage in the piece sure enough called out our name. It was the third movement, Tempo di valtzer lentissimo, in Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 6, and we realized: that measure of music was us! We understood what Fred had been getting at, all those years ago. Now, there were reasons for this that go beyond mere aural hallucination. First, we’ve always found Russian music of the 20th century compelling, it speaks to us. Second, we had piano training as a youth, so we “hear” music for keyboards in our fingers as well as our ears. Third, the recording we own, of Prokofiev’s Piano Sonatas 6 & 8, played by the gifted young pianist Francois-Frederic Guy (Naïve), is an excellent one. Finally, perhaps a tempo di valtzer lentissimo correlates with our natural rhythms. Music is an art-form that has been key in our life. As a child, OT was enrolled in a young recitalists’ program through the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. It’s one of the oldest and most distinguished music schools in the country, and its building in the Mount Vernon neighborhood is stately and grand. Our recitals were held in church basements and school auditoriums, but the love of music they instilled in OT remains until this day. As a young man, OT was fortunate to live in group houses with pianos, even when we lived at the radical faerie sanctuary in Wolf Creek, OR. We remember playing a Chopin piece in the living room there when a faerie came up to us and proclaimed, “Even though it’s mere juvenilia, you put it across well.” In our middle age, we’re lucky enough to live within metronome range of Davies Hall and other recital halls in Civic Center, where we’ve heard some of the best pianists in the world perform. We love all kinds of music, but it’s the Western classical repertory that really gets us where we live. We can listen to these works over the course of a lifetime without their ever getting old. Here’s to the crunchy chords and queer time signatures that get us where we live!t

As colorful as San Francisco.

Discover natureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s secret language at this vibrant new exhibit. Generously supported by

ColorfulAs_BayAreaRep_9.75x16.indd 1

6/18/15 4:42 PM

<< Theatre

64 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Communication breakdown

by Richard Dodds


Kevin Berne

Shona Tucker and Sharon Lockwood find that sharing a secret has unexpected ramifications in a scene from Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information, the first production in ACT’s new Strand Theater.

aryl Churchill’s Love and Information is a fitting play with which to launch the Strand Theater, ACT’s new Mid-Market counterpart to its larger and more luxurious home base at the Geary Theater. The Strand has been crafted from an old moviehouse, nearly a century old, that closed its doors in 2003 after a downward spiral into a porn house of questionable repute. The new space is no-frills stylish without the superfluous curlicues, as Churchill’s play is stripped of traditional ornamentation. In the script, the author of such plays as Top Girls and Cloud 9 provides no names for the characters, only a few suggestions of gender or age, and hardly any stage directions. Reading descriptions of the play’s 2012 London debut, or any other subsequent production for that matter, reveals how much latitude a director has. The words may be identical, but the same scene described in one production is conceptualized very differently in another. Even the order in which the scenes are presented, according to the author’s notes, is largely up to each director.





ACT-SF.ORG | 415.749.2228


This makes it harder to separate what the playwright provided and how director Casey Stangl has chosen to stage it. But it seems that Churchill hasn’t provided enough fuel for a fully satisfying experience, and that Stangl has not always found the best ways to maximize the challenging material at hand. Among other things, the play is made up of 57 vignettes, ranging from a few minutes to just a few seconds, with a dozen actors playing upwards of 100 characters. While the title of the play is Love and Information, the priority of the title words might be reversed. Most of the short pieces deal with how information may be received, interpreted, misinterpreted, rejected, or modified to suit specific beliefs. While not even the longest of the scenes achieves a payoff, at least not in typical dramatic style, the intended effect is clearly meant to be cumulative. But at a certain point through the 110-minute play, tedium sets in as the material, as presented here, loses it ability to support the evening. But for a good stretch, Churchill’s concise dialogue, often written as interrupted fragments of thoughts between two characters, can be amusing and thought-provoking, with wisps of social criticism of parochial attitudes. In one scene, a character begs a friend to share a certain secret, but when she does, the recipient is unhappy with the knowledge received and tacitly scolds her friend for sharing it. In another scene, a woman is showing off her multilingual skills by saying “table” in numerous languages. “That’s fantastic. They all mean table.” “They all mean the same thing as each other.” “Yes, they all mean table.” “Or they all mean ‘meza.’” “I can’t help feeing it actually is a table.” There are occasional suggestions of the modern media age, with a reference to Facebook in one scene and to cellphone reception in another, but the play doesn’t feel so much a commentary on information overload as it does on more basic issues of communication. Stangl’s production, abetted by Micah J. Stielglitz’s projection design, uses a large video screen to sometimes suggest the setting of a scene. A couple of scenes are enacted on video, a technique not overused, but the collages of stockphoto faces that swirl about between the play’s sections looks like a feel-good ad for a life insurance company. With so many actors playing so many roles in so many scenes, it’s hard to talk about individual performances. But it’s a sturdy ensemble, and among the cast members repeatedly making distinct impressions are Sharon Lockwood, Shona Tucker, Cyndi Goldfield, and Dan Hiatt. In a note in the published text, Churchill notes that while the characters are different in every scene, the exception should be the random “depression scenes” that should feature “the same depressed person” throughout the play. In a play with such an array of characters, it’s interesting to note that the only running character is depressive. But every once in a while, the “love” component suggested in the title does get to blossom – albeit not without first plowing through a clumsy thicket that is human communication.t Love and Information will run through Aug. 9 at ACT’s Strand Theater. Tickets are $40-$100. Call (415) 749-2228 or go to

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<< Film

66 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Crazy lesbians at Frameline 39


by Erin Blackwell


eek Two of Frameline’s smorgasbord of LGBTQ films spotlights the imperative to go mad if you want to find some meaning in life. Abnormal, non-conformist, artistic, visionary, ecstatic, mystic women are routinely burnt, stoned, jailed, and committed, because being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer is by definition crazy under misogynist monotheist patriarchy. Fortunately, here in San Francisco we do things differently, a fact you can celebrate at the Roxie, Castro, and Victoria Theatres. Welcome to This House, a film about Elizabeth Bishop (Roxie, 6/25), the first in this week’s trifecta of documentaries about lesbian artists, is exquisitely hallucinogenic. Mentored by established weirdopoet Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop had lost her mother to a madhouse as a child. She described her existential crisis, age seven: “I felt, you are an I. You are an Elizabeth. You are one of them. Why should you be one too? I scarcely dared to look, to see what it was I was.” Luminous dyke director and psychotropic editrix Barbara Hammer’s film shimmers with voices, flowers, willfulness, love, mystery, emotion, and buzzes with flies, alcohol, betrayal, work, despair, and transmutation. Photographs, poems read by Kathleen Chalfant, and choice talking-heads follow Bishop from the all-girl Camp Chequesset to Vassar College, Key West, Brazil, Harvard, through old age, new love, retreat, honors, and death, to cult status. Fresno (Castro, 6/26), an inspired black comedy about a death-onwheels hotel-maid service, disastrously arrests itself mid-climax to devolve into a lackluster paean to a smug, self-policing status quo. The twist is, straight sister Shannon (Jane Greer) is the high-spirited sexual transgressor and lesbian sister Martha (Natasha Lyonne) the self-limiting rule-follower. The two actresses start neck-and-neck, but Greer pulls away at the three-quarters mark, digging deep into her character’s


Frameline, week 2

From page 62

the famous club’s slippery-smooth owner, and a breathtakingly young Ryan Philippe, who spends half the film naked to the waist, as the young “outer-borough kid” who comes to symbolize the sweaty dreams and drug-fueled ambitions of the era. (Castro, 6/26) Bare For those for whom the rugged Nevada desert is just a slice of moonscape on the road to Vegas, director Natalia Leite may open some eyes, allowing this most inhospitable piece of the American West to become a character in a poignant coming-of-age tale. Sarah (Diane Agron from Fox-TV’s hit nighttime soap Glee) is a lonely teen, untethered from family, friends and realizable dreams. Her main connection to her missing dad is his now-closed vintage clothes store. Sarah’s adult life gets a sudden jumpstart after she cute-meets an experienced stranger camping out in dad’s ruined business. The slightly older and vastly worldlier Pepper (Boardwalk Empire’s Paz de la Huerta) not only baptizes Sarah into queer romance, but also leads her into the seductively dangerous environs of big-city casinos. (Castro, closing night, 6/28) The Surface Director Michael J. Saul provides an offbeat coming-ofage tale involving a young orphan whose impulsive purchase of an 8mm film camera becomes a portal into a possible future family of his own. Saul achieves a marvelous visual synthesis between the tentative

Courtesy Frameline

Scene from Welcome to This House, a film about Elizabeth Bishop.

outlandish contradictions and insatiable appetites to become a transcendent icon of transgression for its own sake. Director Jamie Babbit gets sizzling results from a topdrawer cast of comic actors until the exhilarating ride screeches to a halt, U-turns, and backtracks into soulcrushing normalcy. Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer (Castro, 6/27) is the second of three documentaries on lesbian artists, about an innovative dancer/choreographer who came out late in life. Rainer was in the right place at the right time: Judson Church on Washington Square in Manhattan in the early 60s, where a cross-discipline, postmodern, iconoclast’s collective reconfigured American avant-garde music, dance, and painting for the Cold War. Rainer single-mindedly set out to strip dance of entertainment value and charm, largely succeeding. Director Jack Walsh intercuts monotonous talking-head Rainer with sound bites from friends and contemporaries, plus archival footage of solos and more recent restagings of her choreography. We’re given hints of her personal life. Non-initiates to the rarified world of contemporary dance might find this somewhat impenetrable. Stories of Our Lives (Castro, 6/27) is required viewing if only because Kenya’s film classification board claims it “promotes homoexplorations of his achingly beautiful and lithe hero Evan (the softspoken and seductive 20something newcomer Harry Hains) and the film’s leisurely framing of Evan’s tale set in the decadent sunbathed SoCal landscape. Early on, Evan describes being without a family while he languidly slips through the waters of a backyard pool. “Most people know where they come from. They have ancestors, they have family in another town or another country, or down the street. They have family reunions, swap treasured family recipes, draw complicated genealogical histories, but not me. My family could be living next door to me, and I’d never know it. We might as well be strangers in the street.” It doesn’t hurt that the pool sequence segues seamlessly into some hot sex with Evan’s equally humpy if slightly bitchy, bad-tempered boyfriend. This film offers a profound take on the role family plays throughout our lives, even if we are not in touch with our biological clan. (Castro, 6/27) Eisenstein in Guanajuato Remember when the British avantgarde film artiste Peter Greenaway wowed the Bay Area intelligentsia with Castro Theatre screenings of films with artfully ambiguous titles (The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover; The Draughtsman’s Contract)? Well, he’s back! This time, Greenaway crafts a witty and quite watchable political comedy, at least loosely based on a true-life incident. It’s 1931, and the acclaimed Russian

sexuality, which is contrary to our national norms and values.” Director Jim Chuchu has devised a stunning filmic language of crisp black-and-white images that refresh viewers’ jaded palettes, even as the stark realities and rich subjectivities of gay Kenyan characters sear themselves into our psyches. Five vignettes carefully crafted from a collective’s field research depict lesbians, gays, and the people who fail them. Characters experience loss of sexual innocence, terror of homophobic violence, frustration with a straight love object, passion with a white rent boy, and a lesbian’s crazy dreams of a more sympathetic universe. Stories is a manifesto from the heart and loins, a declaration of first principals that doesn’t preach, and merits the widest possible audience. Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Wilkinson (Victoria, 6/27), the week’s third and final dykeartist hommage, documents the rehabilitation of a painter from the Provincetown Artists Colony, circa 1914. Director Michele Boyaner films Wilkinson’s great-niece Jane Anderson and spouse Tess Ayers as they worry the riddle of Wilkinson’s 1924 fall from grace, when she was committed to a sanitarium at the peak of her artistic powers. In the absence of hard answers, they consult a psychic, who channels on-camera: Edith fell in love with a beautiful young woman and

Courtesy Frameline

Scene from director Peter Greenaway’s Eisenstein in Guanajuato.

silent-film master Sergei Eisenstein (Ten Days that Shook the World, The Battleship Potemkin) has retreated south-of-the border after failing to get a film off the ground for his Hollywood backers, including the muckraking novelist Upton Sinclair, whose novel Oil became the basis for Paul Thomas Anderson’s sublime 2007 satire There Will Be Blood. Greenaway makes the most of his stars’ (Finland’s Elmer Back and Mexico’s Luis Alberti) willingness to play full-frontal nude scenes to the camera. Greenaway gives us his own

Courtesy Frameline

Scene from director Jamie Babbit’s Fresno.

Courtesy Frameline

Scene from writer-director Natalia Leite’s Bare.

her live-in ladyfriend wrecked her world. Having lost both parents in 1922, the vulnerable eccentric was suddenly at the mercy of a lawyer who helped himself to her inheritance. The upside to this cautionary tale is the well-publicized return of Edith’s artwork to Provincetown, where she’s given a hero’s welcome. Bare (Castro, 6/28) is that unsettling thing, a portrait of dystopic Americana. How very adult of Frameline to choose this demoralizing panorama of small-town options as its kiss-off, closing-night film, sending us out into the night slightly woozy on America’s diminishing

returns. The dynamic BrazilianAmerican duo of writer-director Natalia Leite and producer-performer Alexandra Roxo posted their compelling background research for the film, Life as a Truck-Stop Stripper, on The fictional narrative Bare follows Sarah, a superstore cashier, as she leaves her hunky redneck boyfriend for druggy drifter dyke Pepper. Sarah climbs into Pepper’s baby-blue truck without noticing its cargo of peyote and bad debt, or the posse of ex-girlfriends waiting for them at the end of their road trip. Turns out, there are options for a cute blonde bisexual.t

playful take on the long exile of the queer Russian cinema genius, here hoisted on his own creative petard, having shot 200 miles of film footage he would never be permitted to edit. Greenaway makes good use of actual Eisenstein footage as a kind of subliminal decoration for his lovely male-on-male romantic idyll. (Castro, 6/25) Love Island Director Jasmila Zbanic’s tempestuous romantictriangle feature is set against the backdrop of an Adriatic sea resort. (Castro, 6/25) Welcome to This House, a film about Elizabeth Bishop Famed director Barbara Hammer gives us a multifaceted view of this worldfamous poet, whose life was also the subject of Reaching for the Moon (Frameline 37). (Roxie, 6/25) Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson Michelle Boyaner explores the life of the 1920s-era Post-Impressionist lesbian painter. Wilkinson, who was committed to an insane asylum at the height of her artistic powers, provides a poignant reminder of how far non-conformist women have come in the last century. (Victoria, 6/27) Finding Phong Directors Tran Phoung Thao & Swann Dubus explore the year of transition for a 20somethingVietnamese transwoman. The film is an intimate video diary, with Phong at times expressing her extreme discomfort and emotional distress during this painful transition year, along with the views of Phong’s elderly and tra-

dition-bound parents. (Roxie, 6/27) Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw Rick Goldsmith helms this true-life tale of championship female basketball interrupted by bouts of bi-polar depression. (Roxie, 6/26) Fun in Girls Shorts & Fun in Boys Shorts For those who don’t love a parade, the festival offers a reprise of its signature female and male short-film showcases. These programs frequently offer guest cameos from individual directors. (Girl Shorts, Castro, 6/28, 11 a.m.; Boys Shorts, Castro, 6/28, 1:30 p.m.) Plus, for those who missed this visual delight at its first screening: In the Grayscale Chilean director Claudio Marcone draws us into the early mid-life crisis of a Santiago architect when he leaves his hetero marriage for a fling with a male tour guide. (Castro, 6/28) Info:

Non-festival attraction

Rebels of the Neon God (opening June 26 at Landmark Theaters) Taiwanese auteur Tsai Ming-liang’s 1992 debut feature includes a handful of trademark elements: a deceptively spare style often branded minimalist; actor Lee Kang-sheng as the director’s alter ego, Hsiao-kang; and copious amounts of water. This early work comes with the director’s patented bows to his cinema god, French New Wave pioneer Francois Truffaut. Neon God is a slyly funny minor classic, a great introduction to modern Chinese film comedy. t






JULY 2–3

JULY 18–19







with the SF Symphony

with SF Symphony principal trumpet Mark Inouye and his jazz trio



Feature film with live orchestra

Music from the Bond films and favorite spy movie themes. Featuring Grammy Awardwinner Sheena Easton. JULY 24

RUSSIAN FAVORITES with the SF Symphony

sings with the SF Symphony


JULY 25–26



JULY 25–26




A tribute to the Beatles with the SF Symphony

Feature film with live orchestra

For the entire summer lineup, please visit:




Concerts at Davies Symphony Hall. Programs, artists, and prices subject to change. *Subject to availibility. + Free kids tickets must be ordered through the San Francisco Symphony Box Office, are not available online, and have a limited supply. One free kids ticket will be offered for each full price adult ticket purchased. This offer not valid on previously purchased tickets, cannot be combined with any other offer, and is based on availability. Valid for 7/24 concert only. Some restrictions may apply. Box Office Hours Mon–Fri 10am–6pm, Sat noon–6pm, Sun 2 hours prior to concerts. Walk Up Grove Street between Van Ness and Franklin

<< Music

68 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Another pass at a Mozartean classic


by Philip Campbell


he third and final offering in the San Francisco Opera’s amazing summer season, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) is now playing in repertory at the War Memorial Opera House through the 5th of July. The John Copley staging, traditional in the extreme, has now been revived for the fifth time (and counting) since its last airing in 2010. Resuscitating the tried-and-true production comes almost in the nature of a gift to SFO loyalists and other more conservative opera audiences (not to mention a big savings on production costs). Twenty-nine years have passed since Copley first brought his old-style view of merry Mozartean lovers to the venerable old house on Van Ness, but there is nothing that smacks of administrative cynicism or pandering, as the showcase remains timeless and deservedly admired. Mozart’s and Lorenzo Da Ponte’s classic war between the sexes and social classes is re-told without a lot of “concept.” You won’t find any directorial tinkering or high-tech stage effects in this version. Director Robin Guarino (SFO debut) re-creates the old blocking with faithful accuracy, and wisely leaves the cast to supply the sparkle

Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

Don Basilio, Susanna and the Count (Greg Fedderly, Lisette Oropesa and Luca Pisaroni) in San Francisco Opera’s The Marriage of Figaro.

Philippe Sly as Figaro and Lisette Oropesa as Susanna in San Francisco Opera’s The Marriage of Figaro.

as they romp through the still attractive and remarkably sturdy scenery. Gary Marder’s expert and unobtrusive handling of the lighting design completes the visual framework. The much-beloved music and truly funny and smart libretto get the royal treatment this time around as an ensemble of exceptional singing actors, wonderfully supported by conductor Patrick Summers and the rich-sounding SFO Orchestra, make three hours and 40 minutes

bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni in the role of the blustering and borderline bully Count Almaviva. Pisaroni played Figaro in the 2010 Copley production, and he has since made an international reputation for his sexy and savvy servant in a variety of other European productions. He enacts the Count with an equal but different intelligence. Still physically imposing and fast on his feet, the Italian star brings more humor to the otherwise fairly offensive char-

(including intermissions) zip right along with a wink and a smile. Of course, nothing can save the final act from dragging on a bit, but there is nothing for it when convoluted plot twists need tying up and there remain some songs to be sung. Along the way we are treated to genuinely amusing farce and physical comedy, further insights to the characters, and instantly recognizable tunes. One of the most interesting aspects of the revival is the casting of

FEB 11–JUN 29 2015


Revel in the golden age of Hollywood through an exhibition of photography from George Hurrell—one of America’s finest photographers, credited with creating the opulent glamour portrait of the 1930s and 40s. See rare and vintage prints of Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn, Carole Lombard, and more, including Hurrell’s uncle-in-law, Walt Disney. Image: George Hurrell, Carole Lombard in The Princess Comes Across, 1936; courtesy of Pancho Barnes Trust Estate Archive, © Estate of George Hurrell. Lights! Camera! Glamour! The Photography of George Hurrell is produced by The Walt Disney Family Museum. The Walt Disney Family Museum® Disney Enterprises, Inc. | © 2015 The Walt Disney Family Museum | The Walt Disney Family Museum is not affiliated with Disney Enterprises, Inc.

acter than is usual, and his repeated fits of anger earn more than a few laughs. He can also sing beautifully, even as he plays a pompous fool. Stepping into the buckled shoes of the title character, French-Canadian bass-baritone Philippe Sly (former SFO Adler Fellow) brings a different kind of sexiness to the role. Sly’s Figaro is suaver and more elegant, with an occasionally aristocratic attitude that suggests he might make an excellent Count himself one day. He impressed SFO audiences last in 2014 with a standout performance in Handel’s Partenope. He makes good on his original promise with an appearance marked by subtly expressive acting and truly attractive singing. As Susanna, maid to Countess Almaviva and Figaro’s hard-won bride, soprano Lisette Oropesa gives charming life to the only female character with any real sense of perspective. Oropesa’s bright tone matches well with Sly’s darker sound in the duets, and she commands attention with her unmannered natural reactions. Nadine Sierra is the lovely and unfairly lovelorn Countess. Looking maybe just a bit young for the part, she still manages to convey the fraying dignity and heartbreak of a wife enduring a philandering husband and the unwanted attentions of a horny teenaged admirer. Sierra (also a former Adler Fellow) made her SFO debut in 2011, most recently as an enchanting Musetta in La Boheme. The clarity of her voice is underlined with a velvety quality that made her big arias (and the Countess certainly gets some big ones) the gemlike moments they deserve. Mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsay was Mozart’s Zerlina in the SFO’s 2011 Don Giovanni, and her return as the rutting page-boy Cherubino in Figaro could not be more appropriately contrasted. With comic dexterity she gives the pants role believability and understanding. Her (his) yearning and unfiltered adolescent lust is not only convincing, but also kind of endearing. Secondary roles are taken with veteran know-how by American bass-baritone John Del Carlo as Doctor Bartolo, and San Francisco mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook as the old biddy Marcellina. Cook gets close to the biggest laugh of the night when her character, who has been pursuing Figaro as a potential mate, finds she is actually his longlost mother. The expression on her face and quick-change in attitude is downright hilarious, and she accomplishes it without a trace of vulgarity. Re-shuffle the cards for the next incarnation of Copley’s loving interpretation of Mozart’s evergreen tale, and we will be there. As long as the singers and orchestral musicians maintain the tradition, there will always be time for another deal. Mezzo-soprano Angela Brower appears as Cherubino in several performances, including the upcoming SFO at AT&T Park free live simulcast on Fri., July 3, at 7:30 p.m.t

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<< Fine Arts

70 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Surviving AIDS with art & defiance


by Sura Wood


hirty years ago, an AIDS diagnosis was a death sentence. But thanks to the tenacity of vociferous activists and the life-saving treatments whose development they helped expedite, many, though not all, people with the virus are currently living with what has come to be regarded as a manageable disease. The phenomenon of and fallout from surviving an epidemic that took a tremendous toll, psychic and physical, on the gay community has been filtering into the sensitive, tuning-fork psyches of artists who have begun to interpret and address issues and emotions surrounding AIDS in their work. The latest iteration, Long-Term Survivor Project, now at SF Camerawork’s minimalist, white-walled space in mid-Market, includes thoughtful images and varied approaches by three gay photographers: Hunter Reynolds, Frank Yamrus and Grahame Perry, who grapple with the subject. “I think that there was a time where survival didn’t seem possible,” reflects the San Franciscobased Perry, whose color-picture collages document with flair the travails of someone who’s HIVpositive. “It was followed by a slowly returning belief that I (we) would have a future. There was some anger at what I had gone through and an effort to turn the page, to focus on something else. Yet dealing with HIV and its effect had become so much of my life.” Perry faces an onerous daily drug regimen, as well as a recurring loop of blood draws and paraphernalia that are inescapable reminders of an ongoing battle to maintain his health. In The Materials of Survival, he photographs patterned pieces such as “Memories of Medicine,” in which he has stacked prescription bottles that co-

Courtesy of ClampArt, NYC

Obsession (2010), archival pigment print by Grahame Perry (Edition 2/25).

Derek Entwistle (2014), C-print by Frank Yamrus.

olds had collected. In 2010, he began sifting through them, using the material to revisit and comment on older bodies of work. He scanned and, in some cases, altered headlines and stories about the cancellation of a Mapplethorpe exhibition; gays in the military; efforts to save the discos; news of Nureyev’s illness, among other topics. The reconstructed newsprint serves as a grid for enlarged spots of Reynolds’ HIV-positive blood (from an earlier performance project); pictures of his gender-bending alter ego, Patina du Prey, modeling a strapless “Memorial Dress” imprinted with the names of 25,000 who died from AIDS; and, in a section titled “Why We Fight,” a rumination on an ACT UP “fighting for our lives” demonstration. Reynolds, wrapped like a mummy in a glittery superhero skin, is pulled by a rope tied around his bound ankles, his fist thrust high in a gesture of defiance. Unlike the two other participants in the show, Frank Yamrus tested

Courtesy of P.P.O.W. Gallery, NYC

Sex and Consequences (2011), photo-weaving, C-prints, thread by Hunter Reynolds.

alesce into a blurry pharmaceutical pyramid, while the top-most point of a triangle of pills stretches out in the foreground toward the viewer in a bluish haze. “AIDS Typewriter” shows an old-fashioned typewriter in rainbow colors, its reordered keys referring to the names of drugs and test results. The last image, “Every AIDS Obituary,” which resembles a photographic contact sheet, is one of a dozen panels taken from a larger work where the artist appropriated obituaries published in this paper of people who died from AIDS between 1982 and 2005. (An expanded version is on display at SOMArts until June 27.). “Survival can make me wonder why I am still here [and] others I knew and loved are not,” Perry observes in an exhibition text-panel. “While the anxiety, fear and loss of the past decades

Courtesy of SF Camerawork

have decreased significantly, the knowledge of how HIV has transformed and burdened our lives has deepened.” New York visual artist Hunter Reynolds integrates performance, photography and installation to convey a multi-faceted experience of being HIV-positive. A seminal member of ACT UP and co-founder of Art Positive, an organization that confronts homophobia and censorship in the arts, his work here is essentially an archive of his personal, artistic and activist histories. Each of five large-scale 48 x 60 inch panels in Survival Aids is composed of multiple individual images woven together. His rich tapestries of history and reportage integrate clippings of HIV/AIDS and LGBT articles from The New York Times, dating from 1989 to 1993, Reyn-

negative for AIDS, while his former long-time partner, whom he still considers family, tested positive and has survived for 27 years. Yamrus, who has buried countless friends, has contributed eight dignified documentary portraits from A Sense of a Beginning, a series of 38 color photographs of his friends and acquaintances, mostly in their 50s and 60s, who are living with the disease and whose very existence is a testament to human resilience and, perhaps, the vagaries of fate. “It was a war on some level,” Yamrus recalls. “So much bad stuff came out of the AIDS epidemic, but for many people there were things that put us on a different path, and for that I am grateful. It truly impacted my sensibility.” Some of his subjects bear the ravages of the disease, and all share a sober gaze that suggests they’ve looked death in the eye and won’t soon forget the view. “I really don’t want these people to be forgotten,” he says. “It’s a miracle they’re alive.”t Through July 18.

The post-decision edition will publish on July 2, 2015. The

Serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities since 1971

Vol. 43 • No. 26 • June 27-July 3, 2013

City to embrace Pride by Seth Hemmelgarn


Rick Gerharter

Members of the Kaiser Permanente contingent enjoyed the sun and music as they headed down Market Street at last year’s Pride parade.

t’s been a rough year for organizers of the 43rd annual San Francisco LGBT Pride parade and celebration, but Pride chief Earl Plante still sounds enthusiastic about this year’s theme, “Embrace, Encourage, Empower.” Plante, CEO of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee, said that to him, the theme means, “embracing all aspects of our community” and “diversity at all levels.” It also invokes “empowering the broader global LGBT movement.” “San Francisco Pride is a thought leader ... it has been since its inception,” Plante said. This year’s Pride festivities begin Saturday with the festival in Civic Center, from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, the celebration in Civic Center runs from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. at Market and Beale streets and ends at Market and Eighth streets. The Pride festival is free, but a donation of $5 is suggested. There will be jubilation in the streets as well, following Wednesday’s historic victories at the U.S. Supreme Court. See page 22 >>

Phyllis Lyon is escorted down the Rotunda stairs in San Francisco City Hall by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, left, and Mayor Ed Lee.

Court victories!

Rick Gerharter

by Matthew S. Bajko and Lisa Keen


n a stunning double victory, the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday issued decisions that strike down both a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, California’s same-sex marriage ban. The DOMA decision, a 5-4 split, was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and joined by

the four liberal justices of the court. It strikes DOMA as unconstitutional because it violates the guarantees of equal protection and due process. The DOMA dissent, based largely on matters of standing, was led by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by the court’s three other conservatives. See page 22 >>

Activists to honor Manning at SF parade by Cynthia Laird


ay Army private Bradley Manning was stripped of his grand marshal status and is 3,000 miles away in Maryland at his court-martial but supporters will honor him in Sunday’s San Francisco LGBT Pride parade anyway. The Bradley Manning Support Network contingent, which has marched in San Francisco Pride parades for the last two years, is expected to be teeming with activists, probably a couple politicians, and supporters of the WikiLeaks whistle-blower. In a statement released this week, Manning’s local supporters said in essence that they didn’t care that the San Francisco Pride board refused to honor him – Manning will be their grand marshal. Manning, 25, is accused of leaking some 700,000 classified government documents to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website. He has confessed to some of the charges against him, but is being court-martialed on other charges. The most serious, aiding the enemy, could send him to prison for life. After initially naming Manning as a grand marshal in late April, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee board reversed itself two days later. Initially Pride board President Lisa Williams, in a statement, said that it was a “mistake” to name Manning a grand marshal. Later, the board came out with a sec-

The Free Bradley Manning contingent, shown here in last year’s parade, is expected to be larger on Sunday. Rick Gerharter

ond statement that said Manning couldn’t be considered for a community grand marshal slot because he is not local. After a contentious community meeting May 31, the Pride board declined to recognize Manning in any way for the Pride celebration. Joey Cain, a former Pride Committee board president and a former parade grand marshal,

was the person who nominated Manning for the honor. He has been by turns, angry, hurt, and disappointed in how the controversy has played out, and the lack of communication and transparency from Pride officials. “There’s a major leadership problem at Pride that needs to be addressed,” Cain said in a recent interview with the Bay Area Reporter.


To those who say that even though Manning is gay, what he did was not specifically gay-related, Cain has a different perspective. “The reason I nominated Bradley Manning was because the LGBT community needed to know about him and embrace him,” Cain said. “Bradley Manning is a gay man who did See page 6 >>

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ASIAN ART MUSEUM JUN 5–AUG 16, 2015 28 Chinese explodes narrow concepts of contemporary art in China, presenting 48 artworks from 28 of the most notable Chinese artists working today—from internationally acclaimed stars like Ai Weiwei to the newest generation of game changers like Liu Wei and Xu Zhen. These artists embody a multiplicity of perspectives and practices, including painting, photography, new media and breathtaking installation, like Zhu Jinshi’s Boat—a colossal 40-foot creation you’re invited to walk through. See it for $5 on Thursday nights. W W W. A S I A N A RT. O R G # 2 8 C H I N E S E

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28 Chinese is organized by the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Presentation at the Asian Art Museum is made possible with the generous support of China Art Foundation, Gorretti and Lawrence Lui, Silicon Valley Bank, The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Fund for Excellence in Exhibitions and Presentations, William Mathews Brooks, Lucy Sun and Warren Felson, and an anonymous donor. Image: Boat, 2012, by Zhu Jinshi (Chinese, b. 1954). Xuan paper, bamboo, and cotton thread. Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Zhu Jinshi, © ARS, New York.

<< Music

72 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Can you feel the love tonight? by David-Elijah Nahmod


ride, the High Holy Days for the LGBT community, is often a time to celebrate how far we’ve come, how far we have to go, and to honor our past. On June 26 & 27, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus will celebrate the legacy of Sir Elton John. Forty-five years after becoming a music superstar, Sir Elton John remains a best-selling recording artist who plays to packed stadiums around the world. Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in 1947, Sir Elton John may have been the pop world’s first out superstar. As early as 1976 he told Rolling Stone magazine that he was bisexual. In 1988, he said that he was “comfortable being gay.” Long before Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris and other gay celebrities were accepted by mainstream audiences, Sir Elton proved that talent trumped sexual identity. Many Elton John songs became rock standards and were embraced by gay and straight audiences alike.

The fans cared more about the quality of John’s work than about his personal life. The recipient of many Grammy Awards, Sir Elton won an Oscar for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?,” the hit single from Disney’s The Lion King. When the SF Gay Men’s Chorus celebrates the legacy of Elton, the audience will be invited to participate. The Chorus’ artistic director and conductor Dr. Tim Seelig chatted with the B.A.R. about Elton: The Sing Along. Dr. Seelig has been an Elton John fan ever since he was a young Baptist boy in Texas. He wished he could have worn Elton’s colorful, flamboyant clothes. “The music of Elton John has encompassed five decades and has managed to hit every person alive with a flood of memories and emotions,” Seelig said. The audience, Seelig said, is encouraged to “dress up” for the show. “The Chorus members certainly will be,” Seelig promised. “It’s absolutely time to get your Elton on!”

Elton’s Twitter feed

Sir Elton John proved that talent trumped sexual identity.

Seelig spoke a bit about Elton John’s legacy. “Sir Elton is one of those people in our lives who was a gay icon from the beginning. Since he has come out and married and become a father, he has become not just an icon but a role model. He has been one of those artists that millions have loved,

and to have him as an out gay ally at this point is amazing for all of us.” And of course, there’s Elton John’s impressive career longevity. “Only Cher, Barbra Streisand and a few others have been performing for five decades,” said Seelig. “Elton hasn’t only performed, he’s composed. We feel this is a fitting tribute to one of our legends.” The Chorus will be performing over 30 Elton John tunes. “We’ll be rocking the house with everything from ‘Crocodile Rock’ to the empowering anthem ‘I’m Still Standing,’” Seelig said, pointing out that lesser-known tunes will also be included. “These include Sir Elton’s AIDS anthem ‘The Last Song’ and his Matthew Shepard tribute ‘American Triangle.’” Guest performer Breanna Sinclaire will be seen and heard when she belts out “Elaborate Lives” from John’s Aida. Sinclaire will no doubt bring down the house with her beau-


tifully trained operatic pipes. “Breanna Sinclaire is jaw-droppingly gorgeous and talented!” said Seelig. “She fits this show perfectly. She was the first transgender woman to graduate from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with a degree in vocal performance, the first to perform the national anthem at a major sports event [Oakland As], and the first to grace our stage next week.” Of course Chorus members will get to enjoy their own moments in the spotlight. “It’s hard to describe all that this concert will include,” said Seelig. “There will be more than 250 singers, a fabulous band, over 50 soloists, oh, and of course, 250 boas and bedazzled spectacles!”t San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus performs Elton: The Sing Along at the Nourse Theater on Fri., June 26, at 8 p.m., and Sat., June 27, at 3 & 8 p.m. Ticket ($20-$60) info:

Stage & screen by Gregg Shapiro

L presented by




esbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s universally lauded graphic novel Fun Home might not seem like the most ideal candidate for a Broadway musical. The autobiographical story of Bechdel’s coming out in college, her childhood growing up in her family’s funeral home, and her complex relationships with her parents, particularly her bisexual father Bruce who committed suicide, is an emotional roller-coaster. But leave it to Jeanine Tesori, who co-wrote new songs for the Broadway musical Thoroughly Modern Millie and collaborated with Tony Kushner on Caroline, Or Change, to bring it to fruition, with lesbian book writer and lyricist Lisa Kron. Fun Home: A New Broadway Musical (PS Classics), the original cast recording of the multiple 2015 Tony Award-winning show, features Tony-winning actor Michael Cerveris as Bruce, Tony nominee Judy Kuhn as Alison’s mother Helen, and three actresses as the lead character: Small Alison (Sydney Lucas), Medium Alison (Emily Skeggs) and Alison (Beth Malone). To the credit of all involved, Fun Home maintains the humor and tragedy of the book, honoring the original material and brilliantly expanding the audience for both book and show. If you love the quirky movies of Wes Anderson, including Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, you probably have the same affection for the soundtracks to them. Alexandre Desplat, who composed the score for Grand Budapest Hotel, won an Oscar for his work on that film. Anderson’s 2007 film The Darjeeling Limited, starring Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman, took the filmmaker’s eccentricity to another level. It’s fitting that The Darjeeling Limited: Original Soundtrack (ABKCO), making its LP debut on 180-gram vinyl, would also be on the unconventional side. A delightful blend of 1960s British Invasion (Rolling Stones, Kinks), classical, and “borrowed” film scores from the likes of Satyajit Ray and others, The Darjeeling Limited soundtrack offers unlimited pleasures. Bisexual blues diva Bessie Smith is given the biopic treatment in HBO’s Bessie, starring Queen Latifah. Bessie: Music from the HBO Film (Legacy) features Latifah, who continues to develop into a masterful vocalist, performing Smith classics “Down Hearted Blues,” “Long Old Road,” “Preachin’ the Blues” and “Young Woman Blues,” as well

as classic performances by Louis Armstrong & His Hot Seven, Fats Waller & His Rhythm and Sippie Wallace. The disc closes with the 2015 remix of “Gimme a Pig Foot & a Bottle of Beer” featuring Smith and Latifah. Not one, but two Comden and Green musicals are currently on Broadway. Both revivals (and both Tony nominees), 1978’s On the 20th Century and 1944’s On the Town are certified hits. The double-disc On the 20th Century: New Broadway Cast Recording (PS Classics) stars Kristin Chenoweth, Peter Gallagher, Mary Louise Wilson, Mark LinnBaker and Andy Karl. The musical about show people is based on Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur and Bruce Milliholland plays, adapted by Betty Comden and Adolph Green (book and lyrics) and Cy Coleman (music). On the Town: New Broadway Cast Recording (PS Classics), also a two-disc set, based on an idea by Jerome Robbins, features book and lyrics by Comden and Green, with music by Leonard Bernstein. For pure Broadway bliss, you can’t go wrong with either of these cast recordings. The D Train: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Lakeshore), from the unexpectedly queer Jack Black/James Marsden movie, opens with a new song co-written by Andy McCluskey (of OMD) and the film’s score composer Andrew Dost (of fun.). It’s an infectious tune, owing as much to fun. as it does to OMD. The next few selections are 80s pop classics, including OMD’s “So in Love,” Mr. Mister’s “Kyrie” and the Vapors’ “Turning Japanese.” Dost’s 11 compositions for the score are See page 74 >>



Kansas • The Marshall Tucker Band Tribal Seeds • Pablo Cruise • Aaron Neville Judy Collins • La Misa Negra • Queen Nation


Giant Ferris Wheel • Zipper • Yo Yo • Ring of Fire Scrambler • Tornado • Thunder Bolt • Gravitron Cliff Hanger • Jungle of Fun • Orient Express


The STEAM Carnival • Jeremy the Juggler Stars of the Peking Acrobats • LEGOJEEP Something Ridiculous • Rawhide Express Train The Amazing Bubble Man


<< Books

74 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Transforming his life into art by Tavo Amador


t’s almost impossible to overstate the influence Marcel Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu, once translated as Remembrance of Things Past, but today known in English as In Search of Lost Time, has had on literature since the 1913 publication of the first part, Swann’s Way. Ultimately consisting of seven volumes, the last of which appeared in 1927, it totaled in English over 4,000 pages. Begun in 1909, this epic roman a clef recaptures France during the anxious years of the Belle Epoque. Many of the characters are homosexual – virtually unprecedented. Indeed, homosexuality takes center stage in the last parts. Valentin Louis Georges Eugene Marcel Proust (1871-1922) was born in Paris. His father was a prominent pathologist, his mother a descendent from a wealthy Alsatian Jewish family. An only child, he suffered from severe asthma. A member of the haute bourgeoisie, Marcel attended prestigious schools and was regarded as a social climber. He was fascinated by the old nobility, whose influence was waning with the rise of his own class. Swann’s Way was rejected by several publishers, so Proust paid for

it to be privately printed. In it, he evokes the power of memory – of childhood experiences – and how it shapes adult lives. Passages about how the narrator (eventually called Marcel) waited eagerly for his mother’s good-night kiss, or the description of a tea-dipped madeleine, are justly celebrated. The Jewish Charles Swann is an elegant, old friend of the family. He is contrasted with the noble Guermantes family, especially Baron Charlus, openly homosexual and often antisocial. The frail youth dreams of visiting Venice, but is too sickly to go. Instead, he focuses on the adult world around him, letting no detail escape his eye. Each subsequent volume – The Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, The Guermantes Way, Sodom and Gomorrah, The Prisoner, The Fugitive and Finding Time Again – shifts the focus and perspective from one carefully drawn character to another. The nuances of behavior distinguishing each social class are memorably depicted. Although the many stories are interwoven and details are realistic, it isn’t a plotdriven, action-oriented work. It is more contemplative and observant. It is, nonetheless, compelling. To contemporaries who recog-

Gay Jewish author Valentin Louis Georges Eugene Marcel Proust.

nized many of the individuals upon whom Proust based characters, it was especially gripping. Charlus, for example, was modeled on the aristocratic Robert de Montesquiou, an intimate of gay artist John Singer Sargent. Proust based the Duchesse de Guermantes on Elisabeth, Countess Greffulhe. Initial readers recognized Madame de Caillavet, nee Leontine Lippmann, as the culture vulture, social-climbing fictionalized Madame Verdurin. It isn’t important for modern readers

to know these details, because the characters are vivid, complex, and fascinating in their own right. Proust expounds at length about the nature of art and how it is manifested in literature, painting, and music. For him, art is autobiographical – the artist takes his or her individual experiences and transforms them into a universal truth. Lesbianism appears in Swann’s Way, as both Swann and the narrator are concerned that their respective mistresses/lovers (Odette and

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Albertine) are also having affairs with women – and fear they will never truly have their love or control them. The beginning of Cities of the Plain features a lengthy section on Charlus’ sexual encounter with his tailor, Jupien, who would later manage a male bordello financed by the baron. Although Proust’s ideas about the nature of male homosexuality are dated – he believed homosexuals were women trapped in men’s bodies – they reflected the most progressive views of the era, first articulated in Germany by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-95) and Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935). What was revolutionary and remains relevant about Proust’s portrayals of homosexuality is that it is natural, innate, and found in every socio-economic class. Additionally, Charlus, perhaps because of his aristocratic background with its sense of entitlement, is unapologetic about his nature. The relative openness of many of the male characters reflected the reality of life in France, and specifically, Paris. Unlike the United Kingdom or Germany at the time, homosexual sex between consenting adults wasn’t illegal in France. It faced social disapproval, but no one could be jailed for it. Proust never “came out,” but was understood to be homosexual by his contemporaries. He had intimate “friendships” with writer/artist Lucien Daudet and Venezuelan-born composer Reynaldo Hahn. After Proust’s death, the openly gay Nobel Prize-winning writer Andre Gide (1869-1951) published their correspondence and confirmed that Proust had been homosexual. Equally noteworthy is the sympathetic portrayal of the Jewish Swann. The notorious Dreyfus Affair, which began in 1894 with the false allegation of treason against Captain Alfred Dreyfus – he was finally exonerated in 1906 – revealed strong French anti-Semitism. His Jewish heritage and homosexuality made Proust a double outsider – and he knew the pain that could cause. Proust was rewriting the last volumes of In Search of Lost Time when he died. Clearly, the work would benefit from judicious editing. Nonetheless, authors as different as Virginia Woolf, Colette, Vladimir Nabokov, and Edmund White have lauded it. It had a profound impact on Truman Capote, who hoped his Answered Prayers would equal it. In Paul Bailey’s superb 2014 novella The Prince’s Boy, the beautiful teenage narrator, Dinu, is obsessed with Proust, and visits the male bordello run by M. Albert, whom he recognizes as the model for Jupien. There he meets and falls in love with the title character, the handsome Razvan. Harold Bloom wrote that In Search of Lost Time is “widely recognized as the major novel of the 20th century,” a judgment many critics share.t


Stage & screen

From page 72

full of synthy melodiousness and dramatic turns. After a string of mediocre films, Cameron Crowe needs a hit movie, and his latest, Aloha, starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and John Krasinski, could be the one. Songs of Aloha: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Legacy) features songs by out Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi, as well as Beck, the Blue Nile, Fleetwood Mac, the Tallest Man on Earth, Josh Ritter and Kurt Vile. It’s the Hawaiian music, including “Alika” by Genoa Keawe, “Hanohano Hanalie” by Alfred K. Alohikea and “I’ll Weave a Lei of Stars for You” by the Royal Hawaiian Serenaders, that’s the real treat.t

<< Theatre

76 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


Steven Underhill


415 370 7152


Summer at the Cliff House


Summer stages

From page 61

At the top of the list you can find Call Me Miss Birds Eye: A Celebration of Ethel Merman. This biographical musical revue runs July 8-19 at the Geary Theatre, although it is not an ACT production. The producer is Australia’s Acoustic Voice, a company that foregoes amplification in a repertoire that ranges from classical to pop. With optimism, the Miss Birds Eye engagement is billed as a “pre-Broadway run.” For those not versed in Broadway lore (or legacy brands of frozen foods), the title comes from Merman’s riposte to songwriter Irving Berlin, who violated her edict against changes less than a week before an opening. But several days before the opening of Call Me Madam, Berlin excitedly suggested some changes to a song. No dice, Merman bluntly told the legendary songwriter. “Call me Miss Birds Eye,” she famously said. “It’s frozen.” Denise Wharmby, a native of Australia and now a Bay Area resident, stars as Merman, and sings from the vast song catalog Merman introduced on Broadway. Wharmby has toured with Acoustic Voice and was once a member of Britain’s satirical musical troupe Fascinating Aida before falling in love with a San Francisco musician and relocating here. Martin Grimwood and Don Bridges also perform and help narrate the story that takes Merman from her 1930 Broadway debut in Girl Crazy to her 1959 triumph in Gypsy. The show came about when Acoustic Voice uncovered a script written by London theater critic Jack Tinker for a 1985 series of showbiz revues staged in the West End. “As the only theater company in the world that works exclusively with the Bel Canto technique, Acoustic Voice has long celebrated Merman’s talent,” Artistic Director Graham Clarke said. “Now we look forward to sharing her life and songbook in its most authentic form.” Tickets are available at (415) 7492228 or

Courtesy Del Shores

As a divorced gay man, Sordid Lives playwright Del Shores talks about reentering the dating world in his new standup show SINfully Sordid at NCTC this summer.

‘Sordid’ & ‘Salome’

Cliff House and Beyond! Guided Historical Walks Spend a memorable Saturday morning exploring Lands End. Start at the historic Cliff House with a continental breakfast then walk through Adolph Sutro’s magical ‘kingdom by the sea’ with historian guide John A. Martini. Regarded as the ultimate authority on this part of the City’s fabled past John’s walks will be offered on July 18, August 1, September 5, and October 10. For more information and to make reservations please visit

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There are two summer surprises coming up at New Conservatory Theatre Center, first with a standup visit from the creator of Sordid Lives, and then the premiere of a glam-rock, faux-queen reinterpretation of Oscar Wilde’s Salome. Del Shores is best known as a writer, with Sordid Lives and Southern Baptist Sissies among his credits, but he’s also a raconteur who performed his Sordid Confessions show at the late Rrazz Room several years ago. He’s now bringing his newest standup act to NCTC, where his plays Southern Baptist Sissies and Yellow have been presented. Del Shores: SINfully Sordid will have performances on July 31 and Aug. 1. Shores, who has theatrically mined his Southern Baptist background for comedy, now looks to a more contemporary topic: the aftermath of gay divorce. As a single man redux, Shores talks about bad dates, navigating through Grindr, Tinder, and OKCupid, and what it’s like to be on the prowl again as “a minor gay celebrity.” And then it’s on to a rather liberal interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s recounting of a Biblical seductress rebuffed by John the Baptist, with unhappy results for him. Salome, Dance for Me begins a four-week run at NCTC on Aug. 5, with the lower-cased trixie carr starring in the one-woman show developed through the theater’s Emerging Artists program. A well-known SF faux queen (basically a woman pretending to

Courtesy of PBS

Solo performer Anna Deveare Smith explores a broken school system in Notes From the Field: Doing Time in Education, the California Chapter at Berkeley Rep in July.

be a man in drag who pretends to be a woman), carr wrote the score with Robert Mollicone. Director Ben Randle is a frequent carr collaborator, and their previous work includes Hold Me Close, Tiny Dionysus: A Greek Comedy Rock Epic at CounterPULSE. In the new show, the brutal ancient story collides with 21st-century debauchery in a multidisciplinary musical based not only on Wilde’s play but also on the Richard Strauss opera Salome. Ticket info on the NCTC shows is available at (415) 861-8972 or go to

Pipelines to prisons

Berkeley Rep lends a serious side to summer with its special attraction. In her latest one-woman show, Anna Deveare Smith speaks in the words and personalities of dozens of people she interviewed about the connection between increasing early expulsions from high school and subsequent incarceration – what she calls “the school-to-prison pipeline.” Notes From the Field: Doing Time in Education, the California Chap-

ter begins a three-week run on July 11 at Berkeley Rep, which developed the piece in collaboration with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Smith has performed her solo shows internationally, and Berkeley Rep audiences have seen her tackle topical subjects in Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, Fires in the Mirror, and Let Me Down Easy. Directed by Leah C. Gardiner and with musical guest Marcus Shelby, the new show takes different tacks in its two acts. The first act follows in her tradition of portraying multiple characters derived through interviews. In the second act, Smith invites the audience to enter into an exchange about how an educational system that sheds off future lawbreakers might be redirected. “This thing I’m working on is to really be a member of a conversation,” Smith told web magazine AlterNet last year. “I hope, in our audience, there will be judges and professors and jailers and kids. And what am I? I’m an artist. I want to bring that fact of being an artist into the conversation. It’s not about a finished work of art. It’s about using certain skill sets I’ve developed over time to convene this conversation.” Ticket info at (510) 647-2949 or go to



June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 77

True gay man of letters by Brian Bromberger

1970s. He burst into national consciousness in 1977 as the co-author along with psychiatrist Charles Silverstein of The Joy of Gay Sex, a gay version of the popular heterosexual manual. The book detailed not only the sexual practices but the emotional joys and pains of the gay lifestyle. White’s first gay novel, Nocturnes for the King of Naples, experimental in form, appeared in 1978, the miracle year that also saw Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance and Larry Kramer’s Faggots, which established fiction geared towards a gay audience. In 1980, White wrote States of Desire: Travels in Gay America, a guide to the major centers of gay life, revealing its enormous variety, and helping readers understand gay male subculture following Stonewall. During this same period, White became associated with the Violet Quill, a group of Manhattan writers whose purpose was to create and promote gay American fiction. Fellow members included Holleran, Felice Picano, and Michael Grumley, among others. The idea was to tell their own stories via fiction to help combat stereotypes and misinformation. Their inspiration helped White complete his first and arguably greatest autobiographical novel, A Boy’s Own Story, in 1982,


dmund White is by general critical consensus now considered the greatest living openly gay writer. He just turned 75, and because his literary output has had an enormous influence on LGBT culture, which in turn has impacted American society, it seems the right time to review and celebrate his 40+ year oeuvre. White’s career parallels the rise of gay rights in the US and one could even say his books helped change views about same-sex people, demystifying their subculture, making them seem less alien, and so indirectly arguing that curtailing freedom for gays and lesbians is unjust. White was born in 1940 into a wealthy Cincinnati, Ohio family. His parents divorced when he was seven, and with his child psychologist mother, Edmund moved to Evanston, Illinois, outside Chicago. By the time he was 13, he was already having sex with other boys and men, informing his supportive mother at 14 that he was gay. Graduating from the University of Michigan in 1962, he became a staff writer at Time-Life Books. He worked as an editor for Saturday Review and taught creative writing at Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University in the

which covers his life in the 1950s and early 60s as he struggles with his shame of being gay. The book gave him a wide international readership. White would produce two more autobiographical novels in this series, The Beautiful Room Is Empty (1988), following his anonymous narrator through the Stonewall riots; and The Farewell Symphony (1997), dealing with the sexual hedonism of the 1970s, then the bleak AIDS years of the 80s through the mid-90s. Testing positive for HIV in 1985, White was one of the first openly gay celebrities to reveal his diagnosis publicly, so as to fight the fear and shame associated with AIDS. He was instrumental in helping found, along with Larry Kramer, the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, a social service agency providing education and moral support for PWAs. In 1983, White moved to Paris, where he would reside for the next 14 years. Having always been influenced by European writers, he wrote the definitive biography of the gay French playwright and novelist Jean Genet in 1993. He would later pen biographies of two other gay authors: Marcel Proust in 1999, and Arthur Rimbaud in 2008. Following the death of his See page 85 >>

Author Edmund White.


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<< Books

78 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

James Merrill, poet of great lucidity by Tim Pfaff


hile James Merrill (1926-95) was anything but a confessional writer in the usual sense, like all great writers he wrote best about what he knew best, and that was himself. While he was not, in today’s terms, out about his homosexuality or, later in life, his AIDS, he was so transparent in both respects that he hardly needed to be demonstrative. His writing exhibits a pendular swing between the narcissistic and the transpersonal, and the boundaries between his life and his works – that is, his words – was seldom clear, perhaps especially to him. The single greatest achievement of Langdon Hammer’s Brobdingnagian new biography James Merrill: Life and Art (Knopf) is the author’s deft interweaving of the life narrative and the texts it yielded. Clearly, Merrill’s work, prose as well as poetry, is meaningful all on its own, or it would not have won every award available to an American writer. But it’s unthinkable that it will ever have meant as much prior to this most artful and engaging of literary biographies. Merrill’s father, Charles, the cofounder of Merrill Lynch, whose trust fund for his worryingly artsy son seemed an almost limitless largesse, was a man James in some sense could never quite live up to. His mother, the aptly double-ll’d Hellen, was someone he could neither live down nor outlive. At a 1995 Palm Springs, Florida memorial service for her recently deceased son, his friend Frederick Buechner told Hellen he’d been dreaming about James. “I’ve never dreamed of Jimmy” was her reply. In an Afterword, Hammer further tells us that, upon first being

informed of the death of the son she loved complicatedly, whose literary achievements she loudly extoled but whose homosexuality she could not countenance despite his lifelong efforts for acceptance and reconciliation, Hellen responded, “Well, he certainly didn’t waste any time.” What she meant by that cryptic, laconic reply is puzzling, since Merrill took his time dying of telltale AIDS, the last thing she wanted out and something Jimmy himself was reluctant to have known beyond a small circle of his closest friends and associates. “But AIDS was written on his face,” Hammer writes, and few people would have been fooled – even fewer after the publication of his 1992 memoir, A Different Person. While Merrill was the first to claim that he did waste time, lots of it, the evidence of Hammer’s biography is that, particularly for someone who would never have had to work at all, he didn’t waste much of it. Despite having a life partner of four decades, a string of significant others, countless good friends, innumerable tricks, a complete set of STDs, prolonged spells and squalls of interpersonal emotional chaos and a travel schedule that exhausts you just to read about, Merrill wrote like a man possessed. The sheer volume of his poetry was Miltonic – his 560page magnum opus, The Changing Light at Sandover, runs to more than 7,000 lines of epic, multiform verse – and that’s not to mention the novels, written and planned, the plays, composed and sometimes


performed, the journals and, yes, the vast correspondence. Having somehow found his way out of The Orchard, the most sprawling of the Merrill family’s many homes, an experience consecrated poetically in “The Broken Home,” it’s little wonder that “Jimmy” spent the rest of his life making his own homes, in Stonington, Connecticut; Athens (Greece, not Georgia); and Key West. He didn’t buy palaces but rather, fixeruppers in places where common folk lived. He was anything but a wastrel with money and uncommonly generous in his financial support of others, often anonymously. His lover of a decade and partner of three more, David Jackson, a South Dakota-born novelist and painter wannabe, was as insuscep-

tible to revision of his mediocre work as Merrill was enslaved and liberated by the painstaking rewriting of his. They most shared a predilection for promiscuous sex. Hammer writes that when, in Mirabell, the second section of Changing Light, Merrill “jokes about himself and Jackson as ‘docile takers-in of seed,’ he’s being perfectly frank about their sexual preferences and practices, and he knew that some readers, but especially his mother, would choke on the joke.” Hammer later observes, “David Jackson was a mirror Merrill didn’t like to look into.” “When he reviewed [Mirabell rabell] in 1979, [prominent Bay Area gay poet] Thom Gunn called it ‘the most convincing description of a gay marriage I know,’” Hammer notes. The poem chronicles the lives of Merrill and Jackson in the activity in which they remained full partners, as mediums for revelations from the Ouija board. Merrill’s first Ouija board was a somewhat joking birthday gift from Buechner in 1953. “It was cheap, unpretentious – in fact a piece of kitsch,” Hammer writes. “It spoke to Jimmy’s pleasure in games and word games in particular.” Soon after, it started to speak to Jimmy and David in something more like dead earnest, and over the ensuing decades they would channel through it W.H. Auden and other historical personages, as well as denizens of the Other Side including Ephraim, Michael and, more portentously, the Archangel Michael. Merrill took dictation from them

all by the ream (much of which he himself later ritually burned), and that record became the basis for The Changing Light at Sandover, though the poet took the oracles far beyond their original proclamations. “He turned the garbled, telegraphic Ouija prose into much briefer, much more lucid verse,” Hammer explains. Asked by one of his closest friends whether the Ouija board didn’t embarrass him, Merrill replied, “The mechanics of the board – this absurd, flimsy contraption, creaking along – serves wonderfully as a hedge against inflation.” Hammer’s book is necessarily at its densest in its chapters about the writing of the three sections of Changing Light, which for me is the Infinite Jest of American poetry in the baroque nature of its construction and the utter sincerity and truthfulness of its message. Hammer considers its first section, The Book of Ephraim, Merrill’s “single best poem, a postmodern romance.” The combined intellectual integrity and interpretive delicacy with which Hammer leads the reader, like Beatrice Dante, through the tangled weave of life and art is as virtuosic and illuminating as literary biography gets. A good example in this 800-page book is Hammer’s account of Merrill’s appearance at a family funeral at a time when he was otherwise consumed with making a script of Changing Light to showcase his last lover, the actor Peter Hooten. Hammer writes that Merrill, sitting through the service, taking mental notes, knew that “this was not his faith, and it made him wriggle and protest inwardly: ‘The great event was not when Word became flesh but when the reverse happened – when man emerging from animal life began to use the alphabet.’”t

The author’s passion is evident on every page. “I write for the individuals who persevered in the struggle, and those who’ve benefited from it,” Bausum notes. Timely and relevant to our times, this is a pivotal piece of American history made youth-friendly and accessible to every reader. Another notable entry in gay Young Adult books is Kris Dinnison’s You and Me and Him, a generous novel which follows the exploits of plump straight girl Maggie (“not one of those shrinking-violet fat girls”) and her gay best friend Nash, both of whom have yet to enjoy their first real kiss. Maggie’s sassy first-person delivery is perfectly suited to a plucky story, which gains momentum when Nash’s attentions drift away upon the arrival of cute new student Tom. Tom gravitates toward Maggie, who frets that her size

will eventually drive him away. Dinnison’s narrative derives much of its entertainment value from the dialogue shared among Maggie, her nagging parents, Nash, Tom, and a school full of naysayers. For the most part, this is Maggie’s story, but Nash makes for a compelling and funny gay character. Young adult readers will find useful and honest advice in James Dawson’s This Book is Gay. A former teacher turned author, Dawson imparts frank advice and factoids on subjects ranging from coming out, religion, dating, bullying, stereotypes, and gay life inside and outside of community settings. Eye-popping chapter titles like “Why Are Gay Men So Slutty?” will snag book browsers eager to get to the good stuff. These chatty chapters of-

fer unfiltered guidance and quirky illustrations concerning the dirty deeds of sex play, coupled with the risk for sexually transmitted diseases. But the book isn’t without its faults. Dawson addresses transgender issues with quips and one-liners when the subject matter deserves more comprehensive analysis and a more useful tone. One of the bonuses of Dawson’s queer instruction manual is his inclusion of personal testimonials from many young gay men and women, who offer the kind of wit and wisdom that so many young people can relate to. Here’s to the younger generation; carry the torch of freedom and equality into the future with great pride. The path you tread today has been paved with the blood, sweat, and tears of your forebears; don’t ever forget their sacrifices.t

Generation gaps by Jim Piechota

Stonewall by Ann Bausum; Viking Press, $16.99 You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison; HMH Books for Young Readers, $17.99 This Book is Gay by James Dawson; Sourcebooks Fire, $15.99 s 2015 Gay Pride celebrations dot the nation and legions of LGBTQ people march and party, it’s important to pause and reflect on those who came before us. The older generation of gays and lesbians will ponder the significance of a place in Manhattan’s West Village called Stonewall and the dawn of gay rights, but younger people may not have made proper acquaintance with their own movement’s history, the legendary struggle for equality that continues today, or the police riot that changed the face of homosexual freedom forever. Writing in what she calls “the company of ghosts,” veteran social justice historian Ann Bausum spent hours scouring references and visiting the National History Archive of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in NYC to gain insight on an era when homosexuality was a crime, and for many, the closet was the safest haven. In Stonewall, her new book tailored to younger readers, she describes the Stonewall Inn as a music-filled, dual dance-floored gay bar where scores of gay men and women gathered to drink, laugh, network, and get laid, although the book recognizes both street cruising and the off-duty meat trucks parked along the banks of the Hudson River as widely accepted alternatives. Back then, Bausum writes, prohibitive sodomy laws dominated the law books


with the threat of jail time, public humiliation or worse for violators. When a battalion of police officers raided the Stonewall Inn (for the second time that week) on June 27, 1969, a mob reaction turned the bar patrons into angry protesters who came face to face with law enforcement. The people had had enough. Bausum recounts this night with intensity as protesters armed themselves with “any bottle that people could grab, aim, and throw. Some pried a cobblestone out of the ground and lobbed it with a crash onto the trunk of one of the squad cars.” She also includes chapters on the scourge of AIDS and touches on the valiant strides taken by gay pioneers Harvey Milk and Barbara Gittings to advocate for social and governmental policy changes.



June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 79

The deceitful heart: the JT LeRoy scandal by Steve Susoyev


ay readers led the world in embracing the teenaged author of a slender novel titled Sarah in 2000. JT LeRoy was a street-dwelling, heroinaddicted, HIV-infected, gender-bent prostitute, abused and abandoned in San Francisco at age 15 by his mother. Encouraged by a youth-center psychologist to write his life story as a healing process, JT had dredged this autobiographical novel from the ravaged depths of his soul. He brought us into a world of truck-stop whores called “lot lizards” who wore amulets fashioned from raccoon-penis bones, and he shared his hard-earned wisdom: “You have to learn to read a man and know when he’s just lookin’ for fun and when what he really needs is for you to hold him so he can cry his eyes out like a babe.” The first voice we hear in the new documentary The Cult of JT LeRoy, directed by Marjorie Sturm, is that of Terry Gross as she interviews the famously reclusive boy by telephone in 2001, the year he turned 21. “Jerome Terminator” haltingly answers Terry’s questions in a soft West Virginia drawl. This appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air introduced millions of people to the terrified kid who wrote about “his experiences as a cross-dressing 12-year-old hustler.” He did not merely impress us with his raw, lyrical prose; he inspired us to love him in order that he might survive. JT said the book was fiction closely based on his life. Readers agonized for the child: How much of his trauma had he left out? JT’s subsequent book of short stories partially answered that question, and fed a hungry audience. The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things was translated into 20 languages and nominated for a 2001 Lambda Literary Foundation Award. JT LeRoy found a home with a San Francisco couple who became his constant companions. He enjoyed five years of heady success, including months-long book tours in Europe and Asia, and had a movie deal in the works, with Gus Van Sant signed on to direct. When he could be persuaded to appear in public, JT wore big hats, sunglasses, wigs and even masks. He remained too disturbed by his violent childhood to speak in groups – like “a frightened, feral animal,” in the words of his literary agent. In the documentary, we see celebrities at crowded booksigning events lined up to donate their time reading passages from JT’s work. Abruptly, in October 2005, New York magazine ran a thoroughly researched exposé revealing that JT LeRoy did not exist. His books had been written by Laura Albert, a 40-year-old phone-sex operator. She and her boyfriend were the couple who purportedly had given JT a home. The shadowy, bewigged figure who portrayed JT at public events was the younger sister of Albert’s boyfriend. Many of us who loved JT’s books clearly remember the moment we first heard about the hoax, in the way we remember where we were when news broke that Princess Diana had died in a violent car crash. In the same way, our reaction was No! A follow-up story in The New York Times documented the details of the ruse, but still many fans waited for the young JT to step from the shadows and explain. Eventually, spurred by a court judgment in a lawsuit brought by a film company, we had to acknowledge that JT LeRoy had, in fact, been an invention. The film’s title is apt. In cults, intelligent people suspend rationality in order to believe something that does not make sense. But not every-

one had been taken in. Brian Pera, a writer and former sex worker, had noticed that the stories he was hearing concerning JT LeRoy were full of contradictions; he passed along his observations to Stephen Beachy, who began the research that led to his writing the New York expose. The writer Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore lampooned the JT legend long before the big story broke. The film includes archival footage of Sycamore on stage with other genderbending sex-worker performance

artists, in blonde JT-style wigs. They sing gleefully that none of them has ever met the legendary JT, who for years has claimed to be cruising the same San Francisco streets they cruise, using the same drugs, evading the same cops. During JT’s years of success, Albert received comped international travel for herself and JT’s entourage, signed more book contracts, deposited a handsome film-option check, and – well, she deposited many checks, all payable to “Under-

dogs Inc.,” the Nevada corporation she had formed for the purpose of receiving JT LeRoy’s bountiful revenues. Laura Albert’s supporters celebrate her genius as a performance artist, and consider this film a smear piece. They have attempted – unsuccessfully, thus far – to keep it out of festivals. They seem not to recognize that the film is a testament to Albert’s inventiveness and diligence. I’ve known generally about the hoax since it was first exposed, but only

when I saw the film did I realize how elaborately, ingeniously and tirelessly she labored. Before anyone had heard of JT LeRoy, beginning when “he” claimed he was 15, she spent thousands of late-night hours on the phone with several carefully selected people, many of them middle-aged gay men in the publishing industry, posing as the damaged, gender-confused JT, threatening suicide. See page 80 >>

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80 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015


<< DVD

t It’s not happening

Spice Pot — Chef’s interpretation of traditional Indian street food with vegetables, tamarind chutney, and chickpea crackers.

Journey along India’s Spice Route by way of California at five-time Michelin star winner Campton Place. Chef Srijith’s cuisine masterfully blends the finest local produce with the richness of the region’s seasonal bounty. Enjoy a six-course Spice Route menu or indulge in our nine-course Degustation menu. For those with lighter appetites we offer a three-course Theatre Menu and Vegetarian Tasting menu. by Ernie Alderete

T Located in the Elegant Taj Campton Place Hotel in the Heart of Union Square for reservations | 415.781.5555 | 340 Stockton St. San Francisco Open Every Night for Dinner | Lunch Wednesday – Sunday

he scenario of What Happens Next is that a good, wealthy, middle-aged and apparently straight confirmed bachelor CEO retires and discovers his inner self, his budding gay inner self. This film would have been a camp riot if it starred Doris Day and the late Rock Hudson, but Jon Lindstorm in the lead just can’t pull it off. He seemed too reserved from start to finish. I never felt his character became alive. He never blossomed, never really relished his new out gay identity, which was the main thrust of the movie. Without that, there is no substance to What Happens Next. You don’t care what happens next. The cinematography appears seriously flawed. Lindstorm

looked jaundiced throughout the picture, as if he had terminal hepatitis. Chris Murrah as Lindstorm’s love interest was superb, his performance was right on target, tender, enjoyable, believable. Had Murrah been paired with a stronger, more healthy-looking onscreen partner, the result may have been more effective. I’ve read other reviews, and they extoll the awards that female lead Wendie Malick has earned, but that doesn’t burnish her wholly peripheral performance here, nor does it sharpen the flat script. A movie can only stand on its own merits, and What Happens Next unfortunately fails on all accounts. Don’t waste an hour-and-a-half of your life waiting for a payoff that never arrives.t

Courtesy Marjorie Sturm

Scene from The Cult of JT LeRoy.


JT LeRoy

From page 79

Actress Susan Dey recalls “how much I wanted to be able to heal this young person through nurturing.” Others did try to rescue him. “I was his entire world,” says novelist Dennis Cooper, whom JT contacted while supposedly living in an alley. Cooper’s street-dwelling young characters have much in common with the JT whom Cooper thought he knew well. “I was his mother, his father. He was in love with me.” Bruce Benderson, whose fiction also features hard-bitten, cynical but vulnerable characters, explains that he felt “responsibility to look after him,” and describes spending sleepless nights after JT announced he was going out to seek violent sex. Benderson acknowledges that his need to protect and nurture JT “was so strong that it put me in denial, so

I was able to swallow the most blatant kinds of fraud.” JT LeRoy exchanged his love for a lot of editing guidance and access to the literary establishment. With this support, the homeless teenager secured the services of literary agent Henry Dunow and a book contract with Bloomsbury. Benderson wrote the lead blurb for JT’s first book, calling JT “unforgettably touching and poetic.” We praised and purchased the books when we thought that they had been written by a damaged youth whose redemption required that we believe in him. Like Oprah, who felt “betrayed” when James Frey admitted that he had fabricated sections of his cartoonish memoir A Million Little Pieces, people had promoted JT LeRoy thinking that they were rescuing a human soul, See page 81 >>



June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 81

Bitter Jill

I am the future of the LGBT community. I’m gay. I’m 20 years old. I’m out to my parents. I love parties, the beach, and believe it or not, sports. I have a boyfriend, and we like to laugh at dumb online videos. But I also read the news. I care about the planet. I’m studying Engineering at college. I voted in the last election and and I campaign for marriage equality. Someday I might want to have kids. I am the future of the LGBT community. And I read about that future every day on my smart phone. Because that’s where I want it to be.

by Ernie Alderete


liked the premise of Heterosexual Jill. Jill is now straight and wants to convince her ex lesbian lover, and perhaps herself, of her sexualorientation conversion. The idea is fraught with comedic possibilities, like the black-and-white Hollywood screwball comedies of the 1930s. But the script as executed is lame beyond belief. I think the major pitfall is to rely so heavily on sarcasm. So many gay people pride themselves on their sarcasm, as if it should be an admirable trait. But sarcasm taken to an extreme is nothing less than bitchiness. There are a couple of interesting lead characters, both male and female, in Heterosexual Jill, but much of the supporting cast is second-rate and completely ineffective. If they had a stronger script, they may have delivered better performances. I saw Heterosexual Jill on Netflix.


JT LeRoy

From page 80

not endorsing an ambitious literary pretender. When readers accepted that JT was a fiction, they split into two camps: Those who loved the books regardless of who had written them, and those who felt betrayed or at least embarrassed, and decided that the work was not so brilliant if a suffering teenager had not created it. If The Cult of JT LeRoy were simply a meditation on celebrity, it would be worth seeing. But the film is more complex and interesting than that. We know we’re in a unique documentary when scenes from The Exorcist play onscreen while one of the imposter’s harshest critics discusses her particular brand of “evil.” Director Marjorie Sturm began in 2002, shooting much of the video we see. She traveled on her own dime, donating time and resources in order to promote JT’s books and career. She, too, was duped, and the Exorcist clips seem to speak of her personal sense of betrayal. Mattilda Sycamore points out that Albert merely hacked the celebrity-making apparatus more expertly than most wannabes. “Laura Albert was playing by the rules. She mastered those rules. And she got where they take you.” Rather than call Albert a monster, says Syca-

That is probably why it was available. I don’t think you’ll see this title on cable or in a theatre. It didn’t cross the professional threshold, didn’t make the big time cut in my opinion. Netflix is the place to look for alternative movies and independent releases you might not find anywhere else. Your local movie rental outlet can’t afford to stock films with a limited customer appeal, but Netflix can. This is very good news for gay filmmakers. They can count on at least a certain income on their productions that they never had before. After I watched Heterosexual Jill, I read that it was the second part in a trilogy, a sequel to the previous Butch Jamie, which I haven’t seen. Maybe Jill might make more sense to someone who saw Jamie, but any movie should really stand on its own without making any demands on the viewer, other than to sit back and enjoy it.t more, let’s examine what it is about the entertainment industry that allows such a massive scam to be possible. “Most people live on the fringes, die on the fringes, if they’re lucky – if they even get to do their art at all,” she says. For her, the real harm of Laura Albert’s “tragic and overwhelming manipulation” is the lie embedded in her misleading message to struggling youth, “I was homeless and on the streets and addicted to heroin, and now I’m in Vanity Fair!” We eager consumers of the industry’s products know that we facilitated the fraud. Before I even finished reading Sarah in 2002, I bought six copies for friends. Rufus Wainwright and Carrie Fisher unwittingly perpetuated and legitimated the hoax. Lou Reed, Jeremy Renner, Sandra Bernhard, Matthew Modine, poet Sharon Olds, and many other public figures performed without payment at readings of JT LeRoy’s work. On screen, Nancy Sinatra professes love for JT before reading from The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. Considering these endorsements, any reader could be forgiven for failing to thoroughly scrutinize the JT LeRoy myth. Instead, JT’s supporters were moved to scrutinize themselves: “He’s one of those people that you want to See page 85 >>

The person depicted here is a model. Their image is being used for illustrative purposes only.

<< Out&About

82 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Sun 28

Big Freedia bounces the SF Pride main stage

Rainbowl B

ig and beat-filled massively magnificent and a bit overwhelming, Pride weekend can sap the gay nerve out of some with its abundance. But take it all in one tint at a time, one dance, one party, and soon you’ll be proud that life is just a rainbowl.

Barbary Coast Revue @ Balancoire




11:02 AM

The third season of the popular cabaret show returns, with Danny Kennedy as Mark Twain, a cast of diverse performers, and new guest performer Connie Champagne. Thursdays weekly thru June. $14-$64. 8pm. 2565 Mission St. at 22nd.

Black Virgins are Not for Hipsters @ The Marsh Echo Brown’s comic solo show follows a young women’s impending sexual encounter, and its political implications. $20-$35. Thu 8pm. Sat 8:30pm. Extended thru July 25. 1062 Valencia St. at 22nd. 282-3055.

The Book of Mormon @ Orpheum Theatre The mega-hit musical comedy (nine Tony Awards and a Grammy) by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez returns. $60-$225. Tue-Sat 8pm. Sat 2pm. Sun 1pm & 6:30pm. Thru June 27. 1192 Market St. (888) 746-1799.

Heart of Pride @ SafeHouse Arts Celebrate mid-Market queer arts at two nights of performances – Ian Mackinnon’s Gay Music Revolution (June 25, 8pm), Evan Johnson’s Pansy (June 26, 8pm) and a Go Bang! T-dance with DJs Rabbit Sonic, Mezame, Steve Fabus, Sergio Fedasz, Prince Wolf and Bus Station John (June 27, 12pm-9pm). 1 Grove St.

Jarrod Spector @ Feinstein’s at the Nikko The very talented vocalist, who starred as Frankie Valli in the hit musical Jersey Boys, performs his new cabaret show, A Little Help From My Friends, which includes songs by Valli, The Beatles, Queen, Billy Joel and others. $35-$50 ($20 food/drink min). Also June 26. 8pm. hotel Nikko, 222 Mason st. (866) 663-1063.








FOGG Theatre’s hit musical comedy about wild news headlines from San Francisco’s past, including sex-crazed gal, returns. $30-$35. Wed-Sat 8pm. Sat & Sun 2pm. Thru June 28. 215 Jackson St.

Club Inferno @ Hypnodrome Thrillpeddlers’ hilarious rockin’ production of Kelly Kittell and Peter Fogel’s glam rock musical spin on Dante’s The Divine Comedy, where the road to fame can be hell, literally! $30-$35. Thu-Sat 8pm. Thru Aug. 8. 575 10th St. at Bryant. 377-4202.

DivaFest @ Exit Theatre Staged readings of new plays by three women playwrights: Tracy Held Potter, Claire Ann Rice, and Rachel Bublitz. $10. 8pm. Thru June 27. 156 Eddy St.

Double Duchess @ Oasis The hip hop/bounce duo - Krylon Superstar and davO - perform their very live versions of their new CD, All Eyes on Me, with back-up dancers and beguiling visuals. $10. 10pm-2am. 298 11th St. at Folsom. 795-3180.

Frameline 39 @ Various Cinemas San Francisco’s International LGBTQ Film Festival continues, with closing nights at the Castro Theatre, screenings also at The Roxie, The Victoria, and The Rialto (Berkeley) and Piedmont (Oakland). Thru June 28. $12-$160 full pass

Touring version of Rachelle Lee Smith’s Connecticut LGBT youth photo exhibit (vandalized by homophobes in its first showing) and photo book comes to the Bay Area. Laurel Books, June 24, 7pm, 1423 Broadway, Oakland ( HRC Store, June 25, 7pm, 575 Castro St. Other California venues (check website) speakingOUT/

Revival @ St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church Page Hodel spins classic grooves at this Shanti-sponsored HIV survivor gathering. 6pm light dinner. 7pm10pm dancing. 1661 15th St. at Julian.

Shannon Wolfe & Patrick Leveque @ Hotel Rex The two vocalists perform a Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore tribute. $35-$50 (cocktails and small plates available). 8pm. 562 Sutter St. 8571896.

Tom Bianchi @ Scott Nichols Gallery Fire Island Pines: Polaroids 19751983, a sexy and historic exhibit of the famed gay photographer’s early Polaroids and prints (reception with Bianchi June 25, 5pm). Tue-Sat 11am5:30pm. Thru July 15. 49 Geary St. 4th floor. 788-4641.

Photo exhibit of the prints by Mariette Pathy Allen of Cuba’s transgender residents. Also, in the side gallery, Jamil Hellu’s Darrin, a series of homoerotic photos of his partner. Reception for both, 6pm-8pm. Thru July 31. 428 3rd St. 495-3773.

Pride-themed author panel, with Raziel Reid, I.W. Gregorio, Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton. 7pm. 2275 Market St.


Artists Vero Majano, DJ Brown Amy (Amy Martinez), and Kari Orvik reinterpret the album covers of East Side Story, Volumes 1-12 through a re-staging and re-imagining of queer inclusion within the traditionally heterosexual public image of lowrider culture. Closing reception July 2, 7pm10pm. Also, see the mural by Maricon Collective that was defaced by graffiti vandals. Thru July 5. 2857 24th St. 826-8009.

TransCuba, Jamil Hellu @ Rayko Photo Center

Book Club @ Books Inc.

The Cable Car Nymphomaniac @ Eureka Theatre

The Q-Sides @ Galeria de la Raza

Queer Youth in Focus @ Laurel Books, HRC Store

by Jim Provenzano

Thu 25


Thu 25

Club Inferno David Allen

Literary Speakeasy @ Martuni’s Sip a cocktail and enjoy the poetry of writers Dean Kostos, Blythe Baldwin, Baruch Porras-Hernandez, and Joe Wadlington, with host James J. Siegel. No cover or drink minimum. 7pm8:30pm. 4 Valencia St.

Love and Information @ Strand Theater The inaugural performances at American Conservatory Theatre’s new satellite theatre; Carol Churchill’s kaleidoscopic play captures the dizzying array of electronic communication that helps and hinders true human connection. $40-$100. Tue-Sat 7:30pm [note earlier curtain time]. Wed & Sat 2pm. Sun 2pm & 7pm. Thru Aug. 9. 1127 Market St. 749-2228.

Orquesta Victoria @ Various Venues Several performances by the amazing Buenos Aires 12-piece tango orchestra – with tango dancers – in a CD release party and Bay Area concert tour. June 25: $20-$25, 8pm, Mission Cultural Center. June 26: $26-$32, 8pm, Marines Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter. June 27 in San Anselmo, June 28 in Palo Alto. 734-6478.

Fri 26 Absolutely Fabulous @ Exit Theatre Drag performances of scripts of the Jennifer Saunders comedy show this time include episodes “Poor” and “Birth.” $12-$25. 8pm. June 26 & 27. 156 Eddy St.

Each and Every Thing @ The Marsh Solo performer Dan Hoyle returns with his acclaimed show about about the slow-tech movement and how personal interactions outweigh technology. $20-$100. Fri 8pm, Sat 8:30pm, Sun 5pm. Thru July 18. Mainstage Theater, 1062 Valencia St. at 21st. 282-3055.

Ethnic Dance Festival @ Various Venues 37th annual four-weekend dance festival of contemporary and traditional works by local and international companies. $15-$48. Thru June 27.

Poetry Panel @ Books Inc. Discussion and readings of poetry with LGBT themes; Dean Kostos from New York, and Bay Area poets Erika Atkinson, Gr Keer, Colleen McKee, and Roberto F. Santiago. 7pm. 2275 Market St.



San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus @ Nourse Theater

Heather Paton Watson @ Hotel Rex

The Chorus’ annual Pride concert is a sing-along of Elton John classic songs, with special guest Breanna Sinclaire. $20-$60. 8pm. June 27, 3pm & 8pm. 275 Hayes St. 392-4400.

Cabaret show with Tania Johnson that explores songs about “happily ever after.” $25-$50 (cocktails and small plates available). 8pm. 562 Sutter St. 857-1896.

Shannon Wolfe & Patrick Leveque @ Hotel Rex The two vocalists perform a Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore tribute. $35-$50 (cocktails and small plates available). 8pm. 562 Sutter St. 8571896.

Sat 27 Anything Goes @ Lesher Theatre, Walnut Creek Center Repertory Company’s production of the classic Cole Porter musical comedy about seafaring sailors and saucy showgirls. $37-$63. Thu-Sat 8pm. Tue-Wed 7:30pm. Sun 2:30pm. Thru June 27. 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. (925) 943-7469.

Arts Festival @ Yerba Buena Gardens The months-long outdoor performing arts festival, with music, dance and readings. Free. Different dates and times thru Oct. 31. 543-1718.

Beach Blanket Babylon @ Club Fugazi The musical comedy revue celebrates its 40th year with an ever-changing lineup of political and pop culture icons, all in gigantic wigs. Reg: $25$160. Beer/wine served; cash only; 21+, except where noted. 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd (Green St.). 4214222.

The Birthday Party @ Phoenix Theatre Harold Pinter’s darkly comic play about two strangers who invade a private party is produced by the award-winning Off Broadway West Theatre Company. $25-$40. Thu-Sat 8pm. Sun 3pm. Thru June 27. 414 Mason St. #601. (800) 838-3006.

Don’t Dream It…Be It! @ Harvey Milk Photo Center Group photo exhibit of drag, theatre, music and gay life by multiple artists, including Daniel Nicoletta, Marques Daniels, Molly DeCoudreaux, Nicole Fraser-Herron, Sara Gobets, Jose A. Guzman Colon, Michael Johnstone, and others. July 18. 50 Scott St.

Embodiments @ de Young Museum Embodiments: Masterworks of African Figurative Sculpture, thru July 5; photographer Janet Delaney: South of Market, thru July 19. Other exhibits of modern art as well. Free/$25. Thru May 31. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive.

Fallen Angels @ Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts Noël Coward’s then-scandalous 1920s comedy about two women set on wooing a visiting Frenchman is performed by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. $19-$74. Tue & Wed 7:30pm. Thu-Sat 8pm. Wed & Sun 2pm. Sun 7pm. Thru June 28. 500 Castro St., Mountain View. (650) 463-1960.

Melancholy, a Comedy @ The Marsh Sara Felder’s solo show about a lesbian college student’s romantic entanglements while researching Abraham Lincoln’s depression. $15$100. Sat 5pm. Sun 7pm. Thru June 28. 1062 Valencia St. 282-3055.

Pink Party @ Castro District The revamped pre-Pride street party starts and ends earlier (3pm-8pm), includes DJed music, drag and live acts on four stages, food trucks and a VIP area. Gate donations benefit local nonprofits.

Planet Booty, La Gente @ The Chapel Enjoy live funk, hip-hop, salsa and dance music with two local fun bands, also, Babii Cris and Rasa Vitalia. $15. 9pm. 777 Valencia St.

SF Hiking Club @ Las Trampas Join GLBT hikers for a 9-mile hike through the oak-studded Corduroy Hills, around Eugene O’Neill’s old backyard, and up to Las Trampas Ridge to Las Trampas Peak. Bring water, lunch, sunscreen, hat, layers, sturdy shoes. Carpool meets 8:30 at Safeway sign, Market & Dolores. (510) 599-4056.

SF LGBT Pride @ Civic Center The first of two festival days near City Hall (march on Sunday), with live music, DJed areas, drinks, food and community booths. Donations at gate. 12pm-6pm.

Simply Barbra @ Feinstein’s at the Nikko Steven Brinberg returns with his Barbra Streisand concert, and his impeccable impersonation of the singing diva. $25-$40 ($20 food/ drink min; 18% gratuity). 7pm. Also 28, 7pm. Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St.

The Sound of Music @ Contra Costa Civic Theatre

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 83

Wed 1 Follies @ Oasis Holotta Tymes hosts the new weekly variety show with female impersonation acts, and barbeque in the front Fez Room. $20. 7pm. 298 11th St. at Folsom.

Thu 25 Superhero @ Modern Eden Gallery 4th annual portrait call selections; a group exhibit of artists’ interpretations of superheroes of all kinds. Thru July 6. 801 Greenwich St.

Trouble Cometh @ SF Playhouse Richard Dresser’s dark comedy about two executives stuck in an existential crisis as a deadline looms. $20-$45. Tue-Thu 7pm. Fri & Sat 8pm. Sat 3pm. Sun 2pm. Thru June 27. 450 Post St. 677-9596.

Sun 28 Abrazo, Queer Tango @ Finnish Brotherhood Hall, Berkeley Enjoy weekly same-sex tango dancing and a potluck, with lessons early in the day. $7-$15. 3:30-6:30pm. 1970 Chestnut St., Berkeley. (510) 8455352.

OutLook Video @ Channel 29 The weekly LGBT TV show, with updates on current events. 9:30pm.

Pacific Worlds @ Oakland Museum New exhibit focuses on the contemporary lives of and historic cultures of Pacific Islanders and California; thru Jan. 3. Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact thru Sept 20. Free/$15. Reg. hours Wed-Sat 11am-5pm (Fri til 9pm). 1000 Oak St., Oakland. (510) 318-8400.

Menage @ Beatbox Multiple DJs spin at this post-Pride dance party, with live sets by singers Brielle and the Freaky Boyz. $12. 7pm1am. 314 11th St.

The Printer’s Eye @ Asian Art Museum

Contra Costa Civic Theatre performs the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical about an ex-nun turned nanny, who charms the children of an Austrian gentleman. $15-$35. Fri & Sat 8pm. Sun 2pm. Thru July 19. 951 Pomona Ave. (510) 524-9132.

The Printer’s Eye: Ukiyo-e, from the Grabhorn Collection. Other fascinating exhibits as well. Free (members, kids 12 and under)-$15. Tue-Sun 10am5pm. 200 Larkin St.

Stranded! @ Conservatory of Flowers

The second of two festival days near City Hall, with live music (Steve Grand, Shiny Toy Guns, Big Freedia, Sexitude, Alicia Garza, the Glamz, Krystle Warren and many others), several DJed areas, drinks, food and community booths. Donations at gate. 11am-6pm. March goes from Beale Street downtown to 8th Street at Civic Center. After-party in City Hall rotunda, with Jason Brock, Fauxnique, Go Bang, Extra Action Marching Band and more. 11am-5pm.

Tropical Island Survival, a new interactive exhibit of tropical plants, with castaway kitch, island survival displays and more. Thru Oct. 18. Also, permanent floral displays. Tue-Sun 10am-4pm. $2-$8. 100 JFK Drive, Golden Gate Park, 831-2090.

Sundance Saloon @ Hotel Whitcomb The country-western line-dancing and twostepping annual huge gathering will attract hundreds of dance fans. $10. 7:30pm. 1231 Market St.

SF LGBT Pride @ Civic Center

Spring Wild Flowers @ SF Botanical Gardens See blooming Spring floral displays, including new Magnolia blossoms (51 species and 33 cultivars), plus trees and exhibits. Ongoing: Fotanicals: the Secret Language of Flowers, an exhibition of photographs by artist joSon. Daily walking tours and more, at outdoor exhibits of hundreds of species of native wildflowers in a century-old grove of towering Coast Redwoods. Free-$15. Daily. Golden Gate Park. 661-1316.

Sundance Saloon @ Whitcomb Hotel

Fri 26 San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus

The official post-Pride two-stepping line-dancing country-western (and other genres played) dance event. $10. 6pm (lessons) , dancing 7pm-10:30pm. 1231 Market St.

Maricon Collective’s mural at The Q-Sides

Mon 29 30 Years of Collecting Art That Tells Our Stories @ GLBT History Museum New exhibit of collected drawings, paintings and sculptures from three decades of queer donations, guestcurated by Elisabeth Cornu. Free (members)-$5. 4127 18th St.

Margaret Keane @ Keane Eyes Gallery Paintings, prints and other items by the creator of the famous kitschy “big eyes” paintings of children and animals; featured in the recent Tim Burton film. By appointment. 3040 Larkin St. 922-9309.

Long-Term Survivor Project @ SF Camera Work Exhibit of AIDS-themed works by Hunter Reynolds, Frank Yamrus and Grahame Perry; Programs about HIV survivorship. Thru July 18. 1011 Market St. 487-1011.

Portraits and Other Likenesses @ Museum of the African Diaspora Exhibit of contemporary works and historic exhibits of African cultures, with a shared group of works from SF MOMA. Thru Oct. 11. Free/$10. 685 Mission St.

Science Exhibits @ The Exploratorium Visit the fascinating science museum in its new Embarcadero location. Free$25. Pier 15 at Embarcadero. Tue-Sun 10am-5pm (Thu night 6pm-10pm, 18+). 528-4893.

Color of Life @ California Academy of Sciences Exhibits and planetarium shows with various live, interactive and installed exhibits about animals, plants and the earth; new exhibit focuses on vibrantly colored species of octopus, snake fish and other live creatures. Special events each week, with adult nightlife parties most Thursday nights. $20-$35. MonSat 9:30am-5pm. Sun 11am-5pm. 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. 379-8000.

Tue 30 Mark Abramson @ Magnet The local gay author reads from his latest memoir, Sex, Drugs & Disco, about San Francisco’s 1970s and ‘80s at the monthly gay book club. 8pm. 4122 18th St.

John Bankston @ Rena Bransten Projects Exhibit of colorful cartoon-like paintings by the local gay artist. Thru July 3. 1639 Market St. 982-3292.

OUTspoken @ City Hall Outspoken: Portraits of LGBTQ Luminaries, an exhibit of photographs by Roger Erickson. Ground floor, North Light Court. Thru Sept. 11. 1 Carlton B. Goodlet Place.

Radical Presence @ YBCA Subtitled Black Performance in Contemporary Art, this new exhibit explores identity in a variety of media. $5. 12pm-10pm. Thru Oct. 11. Also, New Filipino Cinema June 11-June 28. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St.

Thu 25 Jamil Hellu @ Rayko Photo Center

Thu 2 10 Percent @ Comcast David Perry’s online interviews, broadcast through the week. Check for times on Facebook: www.

Night Begins the Day @ Contemporary Jewish Museum Subtitled Rethinking Space, Time, and Beauty, the new exhibit focuses on 25 contemporary thinkers, scientists and designers; curated by Renny Pritikin; thru Sept. 20. Also, Tzedakah Box, Bound to be Held: A Book Show, Lamp of the Covenant ; lectures and gallery talks as well. Free (members)-$12. Fri-Tue 11am-5pm, Thu 11am-8pm (closed Wed). 736 Mission St. 6557800.

<< DVD

84 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Brazilian plot creaks along by Brian Bromberger


ast year at Frameline, one of the showcase movies, The Way He Looks directed by Sao Paulo’s Daniel Riberio, became one of the tremendous hits of the festival. When it was shown in movie theaters here at the end of last year, the San Francisco Chronicle rightly proclaimed it “exquisite, an instant classic.” A coming-of-age tale, it concerns a blind teenager who meets and befriends a new kid in school, awakening his gay sexuality. It might well be the best LGBT film from Brazil. I point out this peak of Brazilian moviemaking to contrast it with the justreleased DVD from TLA Releasing Boys in Brazil, which might be the nadir of gay Brazilian films. Also called The Pink Pact, the picture weaves the tale of three closeted gay men who, coming home from attending the Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade, one of the largest in the world, witness and stop a gay bashing. Shaken, they resolve in a pact (hence the alternative title) to come out by next year’s parade. Mauro (Luis Vaz) is a giggly, campy 18-year-old still living with his

evangelical Christian parents and aspiring to be a drag queen. Rodrigo (Mauricio Evanns) is his shy classmate who, with the bull-in-achina-shop intervention of Mauro, begins dating fellow student Lucas (Rafael Lozano) and wanting to come out to his parents. Finally, Vicente (Marcello Airoldi), the gay uncle of Mauro, has to invent a wife (his straight BGF) for his job as a successful businessman when he gets a promotion and needs to come out to (as it is revealed later) his gay boss. Meanwhile, he starts dating Roger (Andre Bankoff), the assault victim, who is married to his pregnant wife Rosa (whose bitchy cartoonlike mother is played by a real-life drag queen), and must decide whether to tell her he is gay and in love with Roger. The feeble plot creakily reaches its conclusion, which not surprisingly is both inevitable and anticlimactic. All the characters seem like buffoonish caricatures. Boys in Brazil manages to use every cliche and stereotype in the exhausted comingout genre. The film, advertising itself as an (unfunny) comedy, could have been a satiric examination of

social and class obstacles that hinder coming out despite occurring in a body-conscious culture (the home of Carnival). But such a feat would require a sophisticated script, while the one here is so insipid I’m not sure it would pass an introductory screenplay college course. The one saving grace are the scenes of the Parade, reminding me of SF Gay Pride Parades 20 years ago before they became corporatized and bland, and of raucous nightlife in the dance clubs. The guys are gorgeous, far more attractive than the main cast, with the exception of the hottie Andre. You know a film is dismal when some unwarranted sex would have enlivened it, but there is none here, except a fleeting glimpse of Andre’s picturesque ass in a momentary shower scene, which if you yawn (a strong possibility), you would miss. The segment where Mauro’s parents, when discovering pictures of him dressed as a woman, drag

him to a priest to be exorcized, is absurd, but one wishes the priest could have cast out the demons of lousiness from Boys in Brazil. There is a trifling, almost superfluous subplot concerning a lesbian blogger and her girlfriend who wants to post a video outing Mau-


ro and Roger publicly against their wills, which accomplishes nothing more than prolonging the agony of reaching the uninspiring end. The Way He Looks (now on DVD from Strand Releasing) has raised the bar so high that, fair or not, it highlights what a disappointment Boys in Brazil is. What made Ribeiro’s film so stunning was that although it focuses on the blind teenage boy discovering his sexuality, it did not center on sexual orientation, but on experiencing his first love, thus rendering it a universal love story. Alas, Boys in Brazil obsesses on the gay angle, complicated by banal representations of gay and lesbian roles, such that one feels not pride in being gay, but almost embarrassment. Sao Paulo is far more enlightened when it comes to LGBTQ liberation issues than this film would have you believe. One of the characters, after coming out, is met with the casual response, “You could’ve just said it,” which summarizes the pointlessness of the whole film.t

Back to Woodstock by David Lamble


f Taking Woodstock, out on DVD, resembles any of Ang Lee’s earlier films, it’s his 1993 anxious comedy The Wedding Banquet, where a Chinese mama’s boy tries to keep his Taiwanese parents in the dark about his physical therapist boyfriend. Demetri Martin is a real mensch as the morbidly conflicted Elliot. Imelda Staunton (Mike Leigh’s grandmotherly abortionist in Vera

Drake) gives a bizarre grounding and a large shot of adrenaline to what could have been the cliche of the overbearing, guilt-tripping Jewish mom. Jonathan Groff, as concert frontman Mike Lang, perfectly channels the enchanting mix of charisma and cherubic bliss of a New Age businessman always figuring the angles. Eugene Levy is subtler than his American Pie dad norm as Elliot’s only local friend, farmer Max Yasgur. Liev Schreiber

in drag is admittedly not a sight that every queen will dig, but one that feels right for a time and place before drag queens aspired to rockstar status; and Paul Dano and Kelli Garner are wickedly right as the acid-tripping VW couple keeping Elliot from reaching the concert stage. Having read James Schamus’ published script (adapted from Elliot Tiber and Tom Monte’s memoir), I missed some great gay mo-



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ments like Elliot’s hush-hush affair with a local businessman. But overall, Lee keeps his story’s queer beats more prominently in evidence than they were at the time. Lee and Schamus stay true to their subject while only hinting at the story’s darker themes – the mother’s almost rabid greed and other overtones from a Cold War generation; the jaw-dropping bigotry of many of the Tibers’ non-Jewish neighbors – but you’ll come away from Taking Woodstock with a good grasp of what brought so many different sorts of people to an illusion of oneness. David Lamble: I was sad that the scene where Elliot is having an affair with a male neighbor was cut, because it illustrates the ambiguity of sexual orientation. Ang Lee: Actually, there are two scenes, I shot one at the beginning and one at the end. And we did follow that storyline. But somehow those scenes had a very different tone than the whole movie. We felt obliged to put something like that

in, because it’s gay, but then people didn’t know how to react to the movie. We shot in the Eagle Bar, the leather-jacket bar, like in the book. I love Kelli Garner and Paul Dano rubbing Demetri’s leg. The polymorphously perverse side of sexuality comes out there. Actually, that part used to be longer. I was under pressure that the sequence was way too long, but I love that three-way thing. How did Liev Schreiber become the wonderful guy in the dress, with the revolver strapped to his leg? That character combines two characters in the book: Vilma, the big, burly ex-Marine/bodyguard/ cross-dresser; and Georgette, the German lesbian healer. I thought that would work, since the movie is a conflict between two generations. Bonus: Feature-length commentary with Ang Lee and writer James Schamus; deleted scenes; short feature on Peace, Love and Cinema.t




JT LeRoy

From page 81

live more truthfully after spending time with,” says actor Ben Foster in the film, with great emotion, as he begins a reading from one of JT’s books. The line earned a melancholy laugh from the screening audience each time I saw the film. Unlike the talking-head interviews that fill many documentaries, some of the interviews in The Cult of JT LeRoy were videorecorded by court reporters during deposition testimony in a lawsuit. This adds the gravitas of under-oath verisimilitude to the proceedings. Even interviewees who stop short of calling Laura Albert “evil” opine that she suffers from one or more serious mental disorders. San Francisco psychologist Terrence Owens, who has never spoken to the press about the matter, testifies that for two years he conducted daily telephone therapy sessions with the person he thought was JT, and later treated Laura Albert. He states that to call Albert “manipulative” greatly oversimplifies the depth of her psychological sickness. The accusations of evil and diagnoses of mental illness are easy to dismiss as reflections of the critics’ own narcissism, celebrity-frenzy


Edmund White

From page 77

young French lover Hubert in 1994 of AIDS, he accepted a position as professor of English at Princeton University in 1997, where he still teaches creative writing today. During this period White finished his autobiography My Lives in 2005, as well as two other memoirs, City Boy: My Life in New York during the 1960s and 1970s (2009) and Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris (2014). He composed a historical fiction, Hotel de Dream (2007), about the last years of poet/author Stephen Crane. His latest novel, Jack Holmes and His Friend, about a gay man and his straight best friend covering two decades up to the AIDS catastrophe, appeared in 2012. His work has been so prolific, including most literary genres, especially essays and criticism, these are only highlights. What makes White indispensable is that his literature encompasses the period when gay people were criminalized, stigmatized, marginalized, and closeted, up to their living openly and proudly as they try to fit into conventional middle-class existence despite their sexual differences. No gay author has covered this evolution as completely as White. Through his writings he has helped create a mod-

June 25-July 1, 2015 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 85

and envy – as well as embarrassment at having been fooled by a scam artist who claimed to be faxing manuscripts from a public restroom where addicts were shooting heroin. But many vulnerable, troubled young people had drawn great inspiration from their belief that JT LeRoy was real. For agent Ira Silverberg, who recently served as literary director at the National Endowment for the Arts, the betrayal of the gay community is acute: We had lost friends and loved ones, many of them artists, to AIDS. “By the time she came along, saying ‘I’m a 15-year-old with HIV,’ she got to a lot of people who had a lot of empathy, who really thought the voice of the young person suffering would be important to hear and get out into the world. She hit a lot of us below the belt.” Even more haunting is the reaction of 28 at-risk teenagers at an LGBTQ youth center in San Francisco: They ask for an apology. One of the kids reads an open letter on camera, explaining that, as young people who deal daily with homelessness, drug addiction, HIV and prostitution, “we are appalled by the exploitation of our real-world struggles by JT LeRoy and company for the purpose of personal profit and celebrity.”t ern gay identity, as well as explore what it means, the different ways it could be lived, and how it has shifted through the decades. Praised for his elegant prose, he has been criticized for focusing almost entirely on white, middle-class, urban-privileged male experiences, though it is fair to note that throughout his work, White has shown there are many ways to be gay in America. As he says in a recent interview with The Guardian, “I was never an assimilationist. I always thought gays had some special mission, often having better ideas about how to live than straight people do.” One need only read his new afterword in the just-republished States of Desire, his hilarious and satirical take on Internet sex and dating adventures at 75, to see how White is as radical in sexual matters now as he was 40 years ago. White has been forthright in revealing his own arduous journey from self-hatred to learning to love himself. As an astute commentator on gay life, White has always been willing to confront society’s homophobia and unease about same-sex sexuality. For him, writing has always been about truthtelling. The accepting social world LGBT people live in today is due in no small measure to the work of Edmund White.t

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<< Books

86 • BAY AREA REPORTER • June 25-July 1, 2015

Mysteries for summer reading by Tavo Amador

where anything goes. Ed Ifkovoc’s Final Curtain (Poison Pen Press, $14.95) takes place in New York a decade later, on the eve of America’s entry into WWII. Novelist and playwright Edna Ferber decides to perform and takes the lead in a revival of the 1927 comedy she wrote with George S. Kaufman, The Royal Family, a satire about the Barrymores. During rehearsals in New Jersey, a handsome young actor, an understudy, is murdered. The suspects include the stage manager, an ingenue, an American Nazi with an obnoxious girlfriend, a stagehand named Dakota, his preacher

mother and her very rich husband. Kaufman quips while Ferber thinks and investigates. Literate and amusing. Show biz is also the setting for Beatrice Hitchman’s Petite Mort (Serpent’s Press, $14.95), about a 1913 silent movie believed to have been destroyed in a fire at Paris’ Pathe Studios, before its director had seen the final print. Was it deliberate? The seemingly humble seamstress who worked on the costumes may have an answer. She doesn’t plan on sewing for her living forever, not when she dreams of a dressing room of her own, and gorgeous finery to wear as well. Very evocative of the City of Light during the fading Belle Epoque on the eve of WWI. Vienna in 1902 evokes images of a golden age. The capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was actually fraught with tension. The widower Emperor Franz Joseph’s adored wife, Empress Elisabeth, had been assassinated in Venice just four years earlier. Their son, Crown Prince Rudolph, had committed suicide with his mistress at Mayerling in 1889. The new heir to the throne, the Emperor’s nephew Francis Ferdinand, would be killed at Sarajevo by Serbian nationalists in 1914, triggering WWI. Adding to the social anxieties were the ideas of Sigmund Freud. In Frank Tallis’ fascinating A Death in Vienna, set in 1902, Detective Oskar Rheinhardt and Dr. Max Libermann, an admirer of Freud, are determined to solve the brutal murder of a medium who some believe had connected with the unseen world, thereby frightening more than one person. The detective and the doctor may be an odd couple, but they work well together. Engrossing.t

Glass (, Deniké’s solo disc, is a wonderful surprise on which the singer gets the chance to show off her amazing vocal abilities. Exercising her diva muscles and incorporating an array of musical influences, Deniké shines on “Anchors Away,” “Musée Mécanique,” “Boxing Glove,” and the a cappella “You’re So Quiet.” Martin Gore of Depeche Mode goes by MG for his new Mute Records album of experimental elec-

tronic music. Don’t approach this expecting Avicii, Guetta or Skrillex. This is ambient electronic where the opportunities for dancing are few and far between. But when the beats do fall into place, as on “Brink” and “Crowly,” you might not be able to sit still. Chris Stamey has spent more time as a solo artist than as the member of a band. But when he was in a band, what a band it was. The db’s were pioneers in the college-rock realm, releasing essential jangle-pop albums (Stands for Decibels, Repercussions) and classic singles such as “Amplifier.” As a record producer, straight man Stamey has worked with queer acts such as Le Tigre, Kaia, Tami Hart, the Butchies and Michael Stipe. Stamey’s new album Euphoria (Yep Roc) draws on all of his strengths and includes appealing songs “Invisible,” “Where Does the Time Go?,” the East Indian-influenced “Awake in the World,” and the bonus-track cover of Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Draggin’ the Line.” While everyone else in this column has stepped out solo, Graham Parker, a solo act throughout most of the 1980s to the present day, has reunited with his core band the Rumour on Mystery Glue (Cadet Concept/UMe). Parker may no longer be the angry young pub/punk rocker that he was almost 40 years ago, but that doesn’t mean that he’s lost his edge. He’s still venting on songs “Swing State,” “Slow News Day” and “My Life in Movieland.” What’s notable here is the way Parker incorporates all the musical styles he’s dabbled in over the course of his lengthy career, including R&B (“Wall of Grace,” “I’ve Done Bad Things”), country (“Going There,” “Transit of Venus”) and new wave (“Swing State”).t


ummer traveling, even if for a highly anticipated vacation, can be challenging, especially if flying is involved. So having an engrossing mystery novel to read can make for less stress. The following titles are all good choices. Donna Leon’s Venice-set mysteries, featuring the humane and experienced Commissario Guido Brunetti, are consistently riveting. Her latest, Falling in Love (Atlantic Monthly Press, $26), is no exception. Brunetti and his wife, Paola, daughter of a count and a socialist professor of English literature with a passion for Henry James, attend a performance of Tosca at La Fenice. The title role is sung by acclaimed soprano Flavia Pirelli, a lesbian who appeared in Leon’s superb debut, Murder at La Fenice. Although Flavia is used to admirers, recently one seems to be showing her excessive, perhaps obsessive adulation. Is she being stalked? Is she in danger? A worried Brunetti enlists Paola’s help. Her aristocratic connections may be critical in keeping Flavia from harm. No one captures the fascinating, frustrating, often corrupt, yet glorious Venetian ambiance like Leon does. Venice in the 21st century may be dangerous, but it pales in comparison with late-19th-century London, an era Anne Perry has long made her own. Her newest, The Angel Court Affair (Ballantine, $27), shows the danger of challenging orthodoxies. When Spanish Sofia Delacruz begins preaching a gospel of forgiveness and love, she disturbs many people, including prominent society figures. Then she mysteriously

disappears. Soon, two of her female assistants are found dead. Over the years, readers have watched the orphaned, lower-class, well-educated Thomas Pitt rise from Police Inspector to Commander, aided every step of the way by his upper-middleclass wife Charlotte, who once again gains entree into homes otherwise closed to law enforcement. Elegant, aristocratic Great Aunt Vespasia is back, using her caustic wit, keen intelligence, and impressive connections to help Pitt bring the criminals to justice. Manhattan in 1930 was, for many residents, a wild island. The

previous decade’s legacy of liberated women and smoky, unfettered, alcohol-fueled nightlife, hadn’t yet been driven underground by 1933’s Volstead Act (“Prohibition”). In Ariel Lawton’s witty The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress (Anchor Press, $15.95), Judge Joseph Carter gets into a cab and disappears. Soon, his complicated life is exposed: his chic, proper wife Stella learns about his showgirl mistress Ritzi, who’s determined to kick her way out of the chorus. His loyal, indebted maid Maria may know what happened to him and why. Set amidst jazz clubs and backstage dressing rooms,


Sounds of solo singers by Gregg Shapiro


he Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy, featuring an Oscar-worthy performance by Paul Dano as the younger Wilson, is now playing in theaters. That’s what makes the release of No Pier Pressure (Capitol), Wilson’s first new studio album of original material since 2008’s The Lucky Old Sun, so interesting. As with almost every one of Wilson’s solo discs, for the most part No Pier Pressure sounds great if somewhat dated/out-of touch. Wilson remains a studio master, which makes the weakness of the lyrics so frustrating. Opening track “This Beautiful Day” comes in like a gentle wave, but “Runaway Dancer” (featuring Sebu) sounds like an outtake from Paul McCartney’s disco experiments. Guest collaborations, such as She & Him on “On the Island,” Mark Isham on the instrumental “Half Moon Bay,” and “Saturday Night” featuring fun.’s Nate Ruess, are definite sunny spots. It’s a sad fact, but Ringo Starr will probably never duplicate the perfection of 1973’s Ringo. That doesn’t mean he should stop making music because his latest, Postcards from Paradise (UMe), isn’t rapturous, but it’s also not a total loss. Like Paul McCartney did on his most recent album, Starr makes references to the past in the title track (which consists of lines from Beatles songs), “You Bring the Party Down” and “Rory and the Hurricanes.” In the midst of the predictability, there are some nice surprises, including “Not Looking Back” and the rocking “Touch and Go.” A mere slip of a thing, Songs from The Falling (Strange Feeling), an eight-song EP soundtrack to Carol Morley’s film The Falling, echoes some of the moodier mate-

rial from Thorne’s 2010 masterwork Love and Its Opposite without being repetitious. This is particularly true of “It Was Always Me” and “Follow Me Down.” Thorne’s music for this film, set in the late 1960s, manages to sound timeless and modern at the same time. The stripped-down, gorgeous “Are You There?,” “All The Seasons” and “Let Me In” (the longest song on the disc) are highlights. On his latest solo effort Carry the Fire (Vagrant), Dustin Kensrue, of

the screamo outfit Thrice, continues to put some distance between himself and his post-hardcore roots. In fact, he doesn’t come close to rocking out until “Death or Glory.” “What Beautiful Things” is suitably named, and “Of Crows and Crowns” is similarly stunning, while “Juggernaut” is an ambitious pop tune. Fans of ska-punk act Dance Hall Crashers will recognize the name and voice of Karina Deniké. Under





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On the Tab



Hello, Gorgeous


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Steve Grand

Vol. 45 • No. 26 • June 25-July 1, 2015 V

Steve Grand crowd-surfs in his music video for “Stay.”


Musical mancrush headlines SF Pride

by Jim Provenzano


ince his single and video “All-American Boy” broke through to become a viral hit, Steve Grand has become one of the newest and hottest independent out gay musicians. While his sexy modeling may have helped increase his popularity, the sincerity of his music’s themes, and his affable performing style, have helped him continue to gain See page 94 >> fans who know he’s more than a handsome hunk.

Fond Memories of Uranus

Rick Gerharter

DJ Lewis and Michael Blue’s legendary club

by Michael Flanagan


n the late 1980s and early ‘90s, a series of clubs in San Francisco were unlike any others that I had ever seen. Run by DJs Michael Blue and Lewis Walden, they were anarchic, fun, crazy mixed gender clubs that caused controversy during their existence See page 107 >> and mixed high and low culture.


Chaos on stage at Club Uranus in April 1994.

<< On the Tab

90 • Bay Area Reporter • June 25-July 1, 2015

Tabf eOnnt2h5 e - July 2 Ju

Thu 25

Barbary Coast Revue @ Balancoire The third season of the popular cabaret show returns, with Danny Kennedy as Mark Twain, a cast of diverse performers, and new guest performer Connie Champagne. Thursdays weekly thru June. $14-$64. 8pm. 2565 Mission St. at 22nd.

Bulge @ Powerhouse Grace Towers hosts the weekly gogotastic night of sexy dudes shakin’ their bulges and getting wet in their undies for $100 prize (contest at midnight), and dance beats spun by DJ DAMnation. 10pm-2am. 1347 Folsom St.

Steven Underhill

Double Duchess @ Oasis

Sat 27

Borae modis natinathe disciti Pink Party Castro


Day 00

he big rainbow elephant, Sunday June 28’s Pride Parade, and Civic Center celebrations on Saturday and Sunday, are surrounded by an enture circus of LGBTQIetc events, so gird your loins and step right up.

The hip hop/bounce duo - Krylon Superstar and davO- perform live, very live versions of their new CD, All Eyes on Me, with back-up dancers and beguiling visuals. $10. 10pm-2am. 298 11th St. at Folsom. 795-3180.

Fuego @ The Watergarden, San Jose Weekly event, with Latin music, halfoff locker fees and Latin men, at the South Bay private men’s bath house. $8-$39. Reg hours 24/7. 18+. 1010 The Alameda. (408) 275-1215.


Funny Fun @ Club 21, Oakland

Jarrod Spector @ Feinstein’s at the Nikko

LGBT comedy night hosted by Dan Mires. $10. 8pm. 2111 Franklin St. Oakland. (510) 268-9425.

The very talented vocalist, who starred as Frankie Valli in the hit musical Jersey Boys, performs his new cabaret show, A Little Help From My Friends, which includes songs by Valli, The Beatles, Queen, Billy Joel and others. $35-$50 ($20 food/drink min). Also June 26. 8pm. hotel Nikko, 222 Mason st. (866) 663-1063.

La Garconne Gala @ SOMArts

Natalie Coblentz and Stroker Production’s upscale butch dyke, drag king ball, where formal attire is de rigeur (not actually). Live music by Lindsay Katt, Raven Marcus, Lex; drinks, dancing, photo booth, a fashion show of works by several designers, and more. $30-$80. 6pm-3am. Baruch Porras-Hernandez at 934 Brannan St. Literary Speakeasy @ Martuni’s

Thu 25

Gym Class @ Hi Tops Enjoy cheap/free whiskey shots from jock-strapped hotties and sexy sports videos at the popular sports bar. 10pm-2am. 2247 Market St. 551-2500.

Homo Thursdays @ Qbar Franko DJs the weekly mash-up/pop music night. No cover. 2 for 1 well drinks, 9pm-2am. 456 Castro St.

Karaoke Night @ Club BnB, Oakland Sing your heart out at the free lively night. 8pm-2am. 2120 Broadway. (510) 759-7340.

Karaoke Night @ The Stud “Sing Til It Hurts” the new weekly night with hostess Sister Flora (Floozy) Goodthyme. 8pm; happy hour drinks til 10pm. 10pm-2am. 399 9th St.

Literary Speakeasy @ Martuni’s Sip a cocktail and enjoy the poetry of writers Dean Kostos, Blythe Baldwin, Baruch Porras-Hernandez, and Joe Wadlington, with host James J. Siegel. No cover or drink minimum. 7pm8:30pm. 4 Valencia St.

Mary Go Round @ Lookout Suppositori Spelling, Mercedez Munro and Holotta Tymes host the weekly night with DJ Philip Grasso, gogo guys, drink specials, and drag acts. 10pm-2am. 3600 16th St.

Megaphone @ Temple DJs Chelsea Starr, Justime, Collin Bass, Lady Kraft and others spin grooves at this fundraiser for the castro Street Fair. $8. 9pm-2am. 540 Howard St.

The Monster Show @ The Edge The weekly drag show continues, with gogo guys and hilarious fun. $5. 9pm2am. 4149 18th St. at Collingwood.

My So-Called Night @ Beaux Carnie Asada hosts a new weekly ‘90s-themed video, dancin’, drinkin’ night, with VJs Jorge Terez. Get down with your funky bunch, and enjoy 90cent drinks. ‘90s-themed attire and costume contest. No cover. 9pm-2am. 2344 Market St.

Nap’s Karaoke @ Virgil’s Sea Room Sing out loud at the weekly least judgmental karaoke in town, hosted by the former owner of the bar. No cover. 9pm. 3152 Mission St. 8292233.

Nightlife @ California Academy of Sciences Themed event nights at the fascinating nature museum, with DJed dancing, cocktails, fish, frogs, food and fun. $10-$12. 6pm-10pm, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. 379-8000.

See page 92 >>

<< On the Tab

92 • Bay Area Reporter • June 25-July 1, 2015


Thursday Night Live @ SF Eagle

On the Tab

From page 90

Music with local and touring bands rock the famous leather bar. 398 12th St. at Harrison.

Pride Kickoff @ Virgil’s DJs Jenna Riot, Workalook and Lady Ryan shake up the grooves with former Lexington Club staffers who take over the bar for this Pride party. $5. 9pm-2am. 3152 Mission St.

Tubesteak Connection @ Aunt Charlie’s Lounge

Revival @ St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church Page Hodel spins classic grooves at this Shantisponsored HIV survivor gathering. 6pm light dinner. 7pm-10pm dancing. 1661 15th St. at Julian.

Fri 26 DJ Brian Urmanita at Drag Yourself to Prom @ Rickshaw Stop

Sex & The City Live @ Oasis The popular drag parody performances of episodes from the HBO show about four Manhattan gal pals. $25 and up. Thu-Sat 7pm. Thru June 26. 298 11th St. at Folsom. 795-3180.

Shannon Wolfe & Patrick Leveque @ Hotel Rex The two vocalists perform a Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore tribute. $35-$50 (cocktails and small plates available). 8pm. 562 Sutter St. 8571896.


Thirsty Thursdays @ The Cafe Drink specials, Top 40, gogo studs and no cover. 9pm-2am. 2369 Market St.

Throwback Thursdays @ Qbar Enjoy retro 80s soul, dance and pop classics with DJ Jorge Terez. No cover. 9pm-2am. 456 Castro St.

Disco guru DJ Bus Station John spins grooves at the intimate retro music night at this special pre-Pride celebration. $4. 10pm-2am. 133 Turk St. at Taylor.

VIP @ Club 21, Oakland
 Hip Hop, Top 40, and sexy Latin music; gogo dancers, appetizers, and special guest DJs. No cover before 11pm and just $5 after all night. Dancing 9pm-3am. Happy hour 4pm8:30pm 2111 Franklin St. (510) 268-9425.

Fri 26

Adam Killian @ Nob Hill Theatre The muscled enthusiastic porn stud does solo shows (8pm, bring your lap dance tip money!) and a hot duo sex show (10pm). $25. Also June 27 & 28. 729 Bush St. at Powell. 397-6758.

Fri 26 Bearracuda @ Beatbox

Bayard Rustin Coalition @ Infusion Lounge LGBT people of color group hosts a Pride reception at the Union Square nightclub. $20-$60. 6pm-9pm. 124 Ellis St.

Beach Blanket Babylon @ Club Fugazi The musical comedy revue celebrates its 40th year with an ever-changing lineup of political and pop culture icons, all in gigantic wigs. $25-$160. 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd (Green St.). 421-4222.

Bearracuda @ Beatbox DJs Wayne G and Ryan Jones spin at the 7th annual Pride edition of the beartastic dance night. $15. 9pm-2am. 314 11th St.

Boy Bar @ The Cafe Gus Presents’ weekly dance night, with DJ Kid Sysko, cute gogos and $2 beer (before 10pm). 2369 Market St.

Club Papi @ Oasis The hot Latin night celebrates Pride, with DJs Ben and Polo, 15 hung hot gogo guys, and a 12am show with Sonora Tropicana. Hosts Ms. Loa and Dorys give away concert tickets (Gloria Trevia, Ricky Martin). $10-$20. 298 11th St. at Folsom. 795-3180.

Drag Yourself to Prom @ Rickshaw Stop DJ Brian Urmanita spins at the fun event, this month with a “Dead Celebrity” dress code, plus gogo guys and gals in Dirty Disney gear. Hmm. $10. 9:30pm-2am. 155 Fell St. at Van Ness.

Happy Friday @ Midnight Sun The popular video bar ends each work week with gogo guys (starting at 9pm) and drink specials. 4067 18th St. 861-4186.

Hard Fridays @ Qbar DH Haute Toddy’s weekly electro-pop night with hotty gogos. $3. 9pm-2am (happy hour 4pm-9pm). 456 Castro St.

Hella Nikki @ Slate Darling Nikki and Hella Saucey’s queer, women and LGBT dance party, with DJs JiBBZ, Durt, and Andre playing 80s, 90s, hip hop and more. Partial proceeds benefit the Lexington Club Archival Project. $8. 8pm-2am. 2925 16th St.

Latin Explosion @ Club 21, Oakland The festive gogo-filled dance club, with host Lulu, features Latin pop dance hits with DJs Speedy Douglas Romero and Fabricio; no cover before 10pm. $6-$12. 9pm-4am. 2111 Franklin St., Oakland. (510) 268-9425.

Luxury @ Midway DJ Abel spins at the first of four Gus Presents Pride circuit parties. 900 Marin St. at Michigan.

Manimal @ Beaux Gogo-tastic dance night starts off your weekend. $5. 9pm-2am. 2344 Market St.

Midnight Show @ Divas Weekly drag shows at the last transgender-friendly bar in the Polk; with hosts Victoria Secret, Alexis Miranda and several performers. Also Saturdays. $10. 11pm. 1081 Polk St.

Queer Sphere @ Club BnB, Oakland Meet & greet, happy hour and upstairs dancing with the LGBTQ BDSM folk. No cover. 2120 Broadway, Oakland.

Red Hots Burlesque @ Beatbox The saucy women’s burlesque revue’s weekend show; different musical guests each week. $10-$20. 7:30pm. 314 11th St. Also Wed. nights at Oasis (298 11th St.).

See page 98 >>

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971

94 • Bay Area Reporter • June 25-July 1, 2015

I was very overwhelmed! There is no way to prepare for something like that. I think I handled all the attention I was getting the best I could. I started forming my band in May 2014. We met for the first time in June of that year, practiced for a week, then went on to travel and do shows together. My dear friend Alicia Champion, with her wife Danielle LoPresti, put on the San Diego Indie Fest. After releasing “All-American Boy,” they contacted me to come play their event. They were so warm and soulful… even in their emails, I knew I had to come do it. We’ve been friends since. I was very busy with my Kickstarter and making my record, and Alicia offered to help audition band members and send me audition tapes so I could make the final call, and that’s how it happened! I love my band. They are all wonderful musicians and equally wonderful people. Steve Grand


Steve Grand

From page 89

With his new full album out, the Illinois-born 25-year-old singersongwriter headlines this year’s San Francisco Pride main stage on Sunday June 28. Grand was traveling from Europe, and you can read our intercontinental correspondence interview. Jim Provenzano: Your hit song “All-American Boy” and its accompanying video explores a very common thing for gay men, having a barely contained crush on a straight man, along with a stunning silent moment after an unwelcome kiss. Despite its popularity, did you get any criticism for portraying that angle? Of course. Over four million people have viewed that video, so there are a whole range of feelings that people have about it, though the response in these last two years has been overwhelmingly positive overall. People are coming at it from all different perspectives as they do everything else. I find the claims that argue I am reinforcing negative gay stereotypes (by making a move on a straight guy and by drinking, for example) elementary at best. Drinking is a gay stereotype as much as having two arms is. As for falling for someone that doesn’t feel the same way, all I can say is, ‘Who hasn’t been there?’ Unrequited love is part of the human experience, and yes, sometimes it’s going to be a gay man that wants a man whose sexuality is unknown, and maybe he will even make a move. That is nothing to apologize for, as long as the gay man doesn’t persist to hit on his friend after his advances have been unwelcomed. I stand behind everything in that video.    You’ve since released songs and accompanying videos that are more openly gay and romantic, like “Stay.” Is there an evolution to your song’s themes and styles? I’m hearing classic rock from some of the album’s songs that aren’t as specific. I don’t think it’s a linear evolution. I’m constantly pulling inspiration from all kinds of music and all kinds of experiences. I’ve only ever intended to be my authentic self in my music, and I intend to keep doing it that way. I grew up listening to classic rock with my dad, so certainly that is a sound I draw from. It’s in my blood. I read that you wanted to be like Schroeder, the piano-playing Peanuts character. While to the public, you “appeared” suddenly on

the music scene, can you talk a little about your extensive training as a youth, and your preferences when creating music (piano, guitar, etc.). I started playing piano when I was 6, and yes, Schroeder from the Peanuts cartoon is who sparked my fascination with the piano. Even though I was very interested, I was still a little boy, and I didn’t want to be inside practicing when I could be playing outside, building tree forts with my brother. My mom would set the timer and make us practice. But by 11 or so, I was back into it. I started playing guitar then, too. By 13, I was writing music regularly. It became nearly the sole outlet for me to express how I was feeling. When I realized I was gay, I felt incredibly alone, and didn’t feel that anyone in my life could understand what I was going through. So I turned to music. I was involved in all the music programs the school had to offer. I was in Marching Band and Jazz band, I did the musicals, I took music theory courses and private studies. I began to work as a church musician by the time I was 17 and continued doing that through the release of my first music video for “All-American Boy.” I also played a piano bar called The Joynt in Chicago after I dropped out of school. Because you’re openly gay, and songs deal with personal themes, do you feel pressure or an obligation to continue composing music with a gay subject or theme? Or do you also enjoy writing songs that aren’t so specific? I don’t think any of the themes in my music are exclusive to gay people. The theme of unrequited love in “All-American Boy,” for instance, is really a human experience that I think everyone has at some point. I am a songwriter that draws from my own personal experiences and feelings, and I’m also a gay man. So naturally same-sex pronouns will be used when I’m singing about romance or love or heartbreak. Not all of my music deals with love or heartbreak though. I have been clear from the start that I am going to write the music that I want to write about the things I want to write about. All though I am naturally a peoplepleaser, I try to resist the pressure to do what other people want me to do if it’s not something that is in my heart. Someone somewhere is always going to be disappointed. Learning you cannot please everyone in life is a very important lesson!   Were you overwhelmed by the popularity of your debut song and the tie-in of being openly gay? Tell me a bit about the process of forming a touring band.

You’re one of a few prominent independent musicians who’ve built a fan base and self-produced an album with their support. Last year, your debut album was the #3 top project on Kickstarter. Do you still hope for a major label deal, or is that now irrelevant for you? Do you feel you’ve already proven yourself? I am certainly open to it. I’m not actively seeking something like that right now, especially since the record hasn’t even been out but a few months. I’ve learned, after doing it all myself, that there are probably a lot of good things about being on a label. They are able to do things more quickly and efficiently, although there is also usually a loss of creative control, which would be a hard thing for me to let go of. I don’t think of it in terms of “proving myself.” I’m making all of this up as I go along, and so far, it’s all gone pretty well.

Steve Grand’s album All American Boy

You recently performed in Vienna, Austria, at EuroPride in Riga, Latvia as well as several Pride events in the U.S. this summer, with more to come after your gig in San Francisco. Can you share a little bit about the most fun cities where you’ve performed? We had so many great shows in Europe! I am just flying to NYC from Riga, Lativa now. We had the EuroPride after-party last night and it was pretty epic. I ran out into the audience a lot and even crowd-surfed! One of our shows in Vilnius, Lithuania at this factoryturned-music venue was a blast too. We had over 400 people buy tickets just to see us, and they were such a great audience; a lot more girls than usual. Loved it. Any tour experiences like the “22-hour” affair in your song “Time?” On tour? No. I was too busy for love on this trip. ;)   You’ve described the uplifting song “We Are the Night” as a sort of anthem. Have you done any remixes, or would you like to

work with producers on remixed versions of your songs? I keep meaning to create stems for the songs so that I can give them out to producers and have them work their magic. There aren’t any yet, but there should be soon. Pride concerts are usually big crowd performances. Yet you’ve done some intimate concerts as well, and benefits. Do you have a few small venue favorites? The other night we performed at Fontaine Palace in Liepaja, Latvia. It was a big smoke-filled bar, but the crowd was great. They were dancing from the start. The stage was nice and high and big; super fun to run around on. While “All-American Boy” had a country style, your music is more than that. Your songs chart in the Pop category. Are there other genres that interest you to perform/write in the future? I don’t think about the label so much. I just write and let other people classify it as they must. Like I said earlier, Classic Rock has influenced me a lot, as well as Dance pop. I’ve been getting into the darker, 80s Dance Pop sound lately. You recorded a cover of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets.”  Did you have a time in your life when you were looking for gay clues in music? Were there musicians who influenced your coming out? Gay people weren’t really visible to me growing up. I was very sheltered. It wasn’t really on my radar to try and read between the lines. I just thought the whole world was straight and I was the only “different” one. I’m not sure that any musicians influenced my coming out. Many things influenced me finally accepting myself, but it was a big long journey. Influences weren’t always gay, like Billy Joel, whom you’ve mentioned as an inspiration. How do you balance being more famous while still being a fan of other artists? I don’t think I am all that famous. I know what it feels like to have fans shaking with excitement as they take a picture with you, I know how it feels to have a stranger know all about you, but I still live a quiet life (outside live shows), and I still fly coach when I travel.   Do you have any dream duets with other musicians? I’m really into Hozier right now (“Take Me to Church.”). Amazing artist, amazing songwriter. He writes very different from me and I like that. Several musicians, country singers in particular, have recently come out as gay and lesbian. Do you think country music or perhaps other genres are more difficult for an LGB or T musician? Sure, but they are coming along,


slowly but surely. Country is traditionally more conservative and slow to change, but it’s already changing. Hip hop seems to be another genre where artists feel pressured to stay closeted. But again, I believe progress is being made.    Can you explain a bit about the “smelly marker” drawings you make for your fans? This is from my KickStarter Campaign. For $25, the backer could send in their picture, and I would draw it with smelly markers. I did it as a fun thing to get people excited about the campaign. I should have put a cap on the number of entries though. I had around 180, I think, and they all took a very long time to do. You can see from the ones I’ve posted that they’re very detailed.   You’re obviously comfortable with your body, and you’re known for your modeling as well. But you’ve moved on to being about more than your physique. I created one of the most successful music Kickstarters of all time without ever being on a label. I sold over 10,000 copies of that independent record in the first week making it the third best-selling Independent album. I’ve been interviewed by Larry King. I’ve appeared on national television multiple times, represented my country as a cultural ambassador through the U.S Embassy, and have opened for artists like Melissa Etheridge, Deborah Cox, Macy Gray, and Mary Lambert. I’ve corresponded with thousands of fans who have been affected by my music in some positive way. I’ve done more benefits than I can remember. And I started all of it by self-funding a music video for a song I wrote without the help of a manager, label, or agent while everyone in my life told me it was a bad idea because I would be “pigeon-holing” myself.    And you had fun with objectification of your hunk status in a short video online. I did a handful of test shoots when I was considering trying to become a model. I didn’t make any money from any of that, and it all took place when I was 19 (six years ago). So it’s pretty old news for me, though I can understand that’s not the impression people must get when they Google me (which is something I have no control over). I did that video to make light of the ways I’m often treated when I do interviews. Of course it is exaggerated for comedic effect.  It’s healthy to be able to laugh at yourself and your situation.t Read the expanded interview on Steve Grand performs at the main stage Civic Center celebration Sunday June 28.  

Steve Grand performing in Vienna earlier this month.

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971

96 • Bay Area Reporter • June 25-July 1, 2015

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Steven Brinberg’s ‘Simply Barbra’ at Feinstein’s

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by David-Elijah Nahmod

Steven Underhill


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ho started that false rumor that Barbra hardly ever tours? Simply Streisand, a wonderful funny and respectful send-up of Barbra Streisand in concert is on the road most of the year. New Yorker Steven Brinberg plays his idol. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, he slightly exaggerates Streisand’s iconic mannerisms. But when he sings, Brinberg is the real

deal. Whether he performs one of the greatest star’s iconic songs, or a tune she should have sung, Simply Barbra belts it out. There’s no lipsynching here: Brinberg was blessed with a powerful set of pipes in his own right. When he faces his audience, he actually sounds like Barbra Streisand. On Saturday June 27 and Sunday June 28, Brinberg returns to San Francisco for a two-night stand at Feinstein’s at the Nikko. Both performances commence at 7pm. Brinberg said that the real Ms. Streisand is aware of his performances. “She needs to see it!” he said. “She really needs to see this show! It’s about Funny Lady!” Funny Lady was the 1975 sequel to 1968’s Funny Girl, the film that won Streisand an Oscar for her portrayal of Fannie Brice, a Broadway and Vaudeville star of the 1920s and ‘30s. Brinberg explained why he chose Funny Lady as the theme for his new show. “Because its forty years,” he said. “I like to cover all the Barbra anniversaries in my shows.” Brinberg says that his shows have a broad appeal. Like the diva herself, his audiences are a mix of gays and straights. “It’s classy, as Barbra shows always are,” he said.

Steven Bringberg as himself

Although he has never met Streisand, he has performed extensively with the late Marvin Hamlisch, who served as Streisand’s musical arranger and close friend. “I came really close to meeting her recently,” he said. “Marvin’s wife insisted that I perform at a Hamlisch tribute concert. There was talk of Barbra making a surprise appearance.” Alas, the star didn’t show, but Barbra’s sister Roslyn Kind has seen Simply Barbra, as have other luminaries like Liza Minnelli and Whoopi Goldberg. He has also performed with cabaret stars Lainie Kazan, Jaye P. Morgan and Kaye Ballard. Brinberg says that Streisand is the last of her breed. “Nobody can ever reach those heights again because the business has changed so much,” he opined. “Everything she did was such a huge event.” When you see Steven Brinberg in concert as Simply Barbra, that era almost comes to life again.t Steven Brinberg performs Simply Barbra at Feinstein’s at the Nikko June 27 & 28 at 7pm. $25-$40 ($20 food/drink min; 18% gratuity). Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St.

Tickets are available at and select Walmart locations. To charge by phone (800) 745-3000. Limit 8 tickets per person. All dates, acts and ticket prices are subject to change without notice. All tickets are subject to applicable service charges.

<< On the Tab

98 • Bay Area Reporter • June 25-July 1, 2015

On the Tab

From page 92




Rock Fag @ Hole in the Wall Enjoy hard rock and punk music from DJ Don Baird at the wonderfully divey SoMa bar. 12pm-2am. 1369 Folsom St. 431-4695.

Some Thing @ The Stud Mica Sigourney and pals’ weekly offbeat drag performance night. 10pm2am. 399 9th St.

Wild Arabian Night @ Club OMG Middle Eastern gay men’s night at the intimate mid-Market club. $10-$15. 9pm-4am. 43 6th St.

Sat 27

Afterglow @ Factory Comfort & Joy’s black light party night includes three dance floors (DJs Mark Louque, CT +Wyser. Robot Hustle. Robin Simmons, Paul Goodyear, and Go Bang’s Steve Fabus and Sergio Fedasz, plus Bus Station John, Gehno Aviance, Mark O’Brien and John Major of BAAAHS, David Sylvester and more), drag and performance acts (Tory’s Seduction, Miss Rahni Nothingmore, Tobirus Newby, Trangela Lansbury, Glitterbox) play spaces, refreshments, visual art galore. $30-$50. 10pm-7am. 525 Harrison St.

Sat 27 Afterglow @ Factory

Beer Bust @ Hole in the Wall Saloon Beer only $8 until you bust. 4pm-8pm. 1369 Folsom St. 431-4695.

Beer Bust @ SF Eagle The classic leather bar’s most popular Sunday daytime event now also takes place on Saturdays. 3pm-6pm. 398 12th St. at Harrison.

La Bota Loca @ Club 21, Oakland DJed tunes, gogo hotties, drag shows, drink specials, all at Oakland’s premiere Latin nightclub and weekly cowboy night. $10-$15. Dancing 9pm-4am. 2111 Franklin St. (510) 268-9425.

Club Rimshot @ Club BNB, Oakland Get groovin’ at the weekly hip hop and R&B night at their new location. $8-$15. 9pm to 4am. 2120 Broadway. (510) 759-7340.

Cockblock @ Rickshaw Stop DJs Kidd Sysko and Natalie Nuxx spin at the annual Dyke March after-party. $12-$20. 9:30pm-2am. 155 Fell St. at Van Ness.

Colossus @ 470 Stevenson Second of Gus Presents’ four-party Pride weekend of circuit events, with Nina Flowers and Josh Whitaker. $60. 12am-9am. 470 Stevenson St.

Heather Paton Watson @ Hotel Rex Cabaret show with Tania Johnson that explores songs about “happily ever after.” $25-$50 (cocktails and small plates available). 8pm. 562 Sutter St. 857-1896.

Mother @ Oasis Heklina’s weekly drag show night at the fabulous renovated SoMa nightclub; plus DJ MC2 and guests. June 27, special guest Lady Bunny. $10-$15. 10pm-2am. 298 11th St. at Folsom. 795-3180.

Nightjacket @ Hemlock Tavern Eclectic LA band (folk, rock, a bit of opera with ethereal vocalist Holland Belle) performs; Roman Cities opens. 9pm. 1131 Polk St. 923-0923.

Pink Party @ Castro District The revamped pre-Pride street party starts and ends earlier (3pm-8pm), includes DJed music, drag and live acts on four stages, food trucks and a VIP area. Gate donations benefit local nonprofits.

Pink Saturday @ SF Eagle DJs Folster and Manuelito play at the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s pink beer bust (3pm-6pm). the Pink Ball features DJs Jim Piechota and David Knapp ($10. 8pm-2am). 398 12th St. at Harrison.

See page 99 >>


On the Tab>>

June 25-July 1, 2015 • Bay Area Reporter • 99

Jock @ The Lookout

Que(e)ry @ Make Out Room

A special Pride edition of the weekly jock-ular fun, with DJed dance music by Luke Allen, Byron Bonsall and Aussie DJ Dirty Nelly. 12pm-1am. 3600 16th St.

A party for LGBTQ librarians and those who love them, with DJs Chelsea Starr, Rapid Fire and Marc Records. Proceeds benefit the GLBT History Museum. $10. 8pm-2am. 3225 22nd St.

Liquid Brunch @ Beaux No cover, no food, just drinks (Mimosas, Bloody Marys, etc.) and music. 2pm-9pm. 2344 Market St.

Menage @ Beatbox Multiple DJs spin at this post-Pride dance party, with live sets by singers Brielle and the Freaky Boyz. $12. 7pm1am. 314 11th St.

Morning After BBQ @ Oasis New weekly barbeque brunch on the newly opened rooftop deck, with Mimosas and Bloody Mary cocktails. 11am-3pm. 298 11th St. at Folsom. 795-3180.

Sat 27 Planet Booty @ Chapel


On the Tab

From page 98

Planet Booty, La Gente @ The Chapel Enjoy live funk, hip-hop, salsa and dance music with two local fun bands, also, Babii Cris and Rasa Vitalia. $15. 9pm. 777 Valencia St.

Pound Puppy @ F8 Pride edition of the fun dance night (popular with pups, cubs and other animal-men), with DJs Viennetta Disco, Ambrosia Salad, Taco Tuesdays, and Kevin O’Connor. $10. 9pm-2am. 1192 Folsom St.

Reach @ Oasis Real Bad (Grass Roots Gay Rights Foundation) presents its fifth annual Pride T-dance event/fundraiser, with DJ Amy Alderman. $25-$30. 3pm8pm. 298 11th St.

Saturgay @ Qbar

Pride Party @ Jones Beer Bust @ SF Eagle The classic leather bar’s most popular Sunday daytime event in town draws the menfolk. Beer bust donations benefit local nonprofits. 3pm-6pm. Now also on Saturdays! 398 12th St. at Harrison. JuJuBee and Raven ( RuPaul’s Drag Race ) perform live, along with Au Jus, Carnie Asada, Madison McQueen, and Crafty Dough, plus DJs Guy Ruben and Colby B, at a Special Pride edition of Joshua J.’s homo disco circus night, with guest DJs and performers, hotty gogo guys and drink specials. $5-$10. 9pm-2am. 2344 Market St.

Brunch @ Hi Tops Enjoy crunchy sandwiches and mimosas, among other menu items, at the popular sports bar. 2247 Market St. 551-2500.

Disco Daddy @ SF Eagle Celebrate two years of DJ Bus Station John’s delicious retro grooves at this special Pride edition. $5. 7pm-12am. 398 12th St. at Harrison.

Simply Barbra @ Feinstein’s at the Nikko

Frameline Closing Gala @ Oasis

Sugar @ The Cafe Dance, drink, cruise at the Castro club. 9pm-2am. 2369 Market St.

Sundance Saloon @ Hotel Whitcomb The country-western line-dancing and two-stepping annual huge gathering will attract hundreds of dance fans. $10. 7:30pm. 1231 Market St.

Sun 28

Beer Bust @ Lone Star Saloon The ursine crowd converges for beer and fun. 4pm-8pm. 1354 Harrison St.

Sat 27 Colossus @ 470 Stevenson

Salsa dancing for LGBT folks and friends, with live merengue and cumbia bands; tapas and donations that support local causes. 2nd & 4th Sundays. 3pm-8pm. 3158 Mission St. 282-3325.

Sanctuary @ 1015 Folsom Fourth of four Gus Presents circuit dance events. $30. 10pm-6am. 1015 Folsom St.

SF LGBT Pride @ Civic Center The second of two festival days near City Hall, with live music (Steve Grand, Shiny Toy Guns, Big Freedia, Sexitude, Alicia Garza, the Glamz, Krystle Warren and many others), several DJed areas, drinks, food and community booths. Donations at gate. 11am-6pm. March goes from Beale Street downtown to 8th Street at Civic Center. After-party in City Hall rotunda, with Jason Brock, Fauxnique, Go Bang, Extra Action Marching Band and more. $50 2pm-5pm.

Cabaret night with company members of Ray of Light Theatre: Samantha Cardenas, Jessica Coker, Paul Hovannes, Nick Quintell and Lewis Rawlinson; with Ben Prince accompanist, Eliza Leoni hosts. $15. 7pm. 4 Valencia St. at Market.

Sundance Saloon @ Whitcomb Hotel The official post-Pride two-stepping line-dancing country-western (and other genres played) dance event. $10. 6pm (lessons) , dancing 7pm10:30pm. 1231 Market St.

Sunday Brunch, Xtravaganza @ Balancoire Weekly live music shows with various acts, along with brunch, mimosas, champagne and more, at the stylish nightclub and restaurant; shows at 12:30pm, 1:30pm and 2:45pm. After that, T-Dance drag shows at 7pm, 10pm and 11pm. 2565 Mission St. at 21st. 920-0577.

See page 100 >>

Big Top @ Beaux

Stanley Frank spins house dance remixes at the intimate Castro dance bar. $3. 9pm-2am (weekly beer bust 2pm-9pm). 456 Castro St.

Steven Brinberg returns with his Barbra Streisand concert, and his impeccable impersonation of the singing diva. $25-$40 ($20 food/drink min; 18% gratuity). 7pm. Also 28, 7pm. Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St.

Juanita More!’s annual popular affair will be packed with prideful peeps; DJs David Harness, Steve Fabus, Jackie House, and Robert Jeffrey. Performances by Double Duchessm, Miss Rahni and others. Proceeds benefit LGBT Youth Empowerment Summit. $35. 12pm-10pm. 620 Jones at Geary.

Salsa Sundays @ El Rio

Sings Like Teen Spirit @ Martuni’s

The film festival’s closing party includes food, cocktails and announcements of Audience Award winners. 10pm. 298 11th St. at Folsom. 795-3180.

GlamaZone @ The Cafe Pollo del Mar’s weekly drag shows takes on different themes with a comic edge. 8:30-11:30pm. 2369 Market St.

Hard French t Los Homos @ Mezzanine Huge block party and indoor dance and music fest for Pride, hosted by Persia, with DJs from Mango, Bearracuda, Lexington Club, Polyglamorous and other local events. $15-$25. 3pm-11pm. 444 Jessie St.

Hero @ Ruby Skye Industry’s Pride weekend big dance party, with DJsa Grind and Joe Gauthreaux., with a live set by Abigail. $25-$35. 6pm-12am. 420 Mason St.

Sat 27 Sundance Saloon at Pride & Whitcomb Hotel

<< On the Tab

100 • Bay Area Reporter • June 25-July 1, 2015


Drag Mondays @ The Cafe Mahlae Balenciaga and DJ Kidd Sysko’s weekly drag and dance night, 2014’s last of the year. 9pm-1am. 2369 Market St.

Epic Karaoke @ White Horse, Oakland Mondays and Tuesdays popular weekly sing-along night. No cover. 8:30pm-1am. 6551 Telegraph Ave, (510) 652-3820.

Gaymer Meetup @ Brewcade The new weekly LGBT video game enthusiast night include big-screen games, and signature beers, with a new remodeled layout, including an outdoor patio. No cover. 7pm-11pm. 2200 Market St.

Irish Dance Night @ Starry Plough, Berkeley

Sun 28


On the Tab

From page 99

Sunday Brunch @ Thee Parkside Enjoy $12 bottomless mimosas from 10am-3pm at the fun punk rock bar. 1600 17th St. 252-1330. www.

Sunday’s a Drag @ Starlight Room Donna Sachet hosts the weekly fabulous brunch and drag show. $45. 11am, show at noon; 1:30pm, show at 2:30pm. 450 Powell St. in Union Square. 395-8595.

Sun 28 JuJeBee at Big Top @ Beaux

Nightjacket @ Hemlock Tavern

Underwear Night @ 440

Funny Tuesdays @ Harvey’s

Strip down to your skivvies at the popular men’s night. 9pm-2am. 440 Castro St. 621-8732.

Ronn Vigh hosts the weekly LGBT and gay-friendly comedy night. One-drink or menu item minimum. 9pm. 500 Castro St. at 18th. 431-HARV.

Weekly dance lessons and live music at the pub-restaurant, hosted by John Slaymaker. $5. 7pm. 3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.

Hard French Block Party @ Mezzanine

Sat 27

Sunday Mass Pride @ Public Works Large dance and art event, featuring DJs Yacht, Tracer, Havoc, Blaus and many more; visual art, projections and a Cuddle Puddle. $15-$30. 8pm-4am. 161 Erie St.

Mon 29

Cock and Bull Mondays @ Hole in the Wall Saloon Specials on drinks made with Cock and Bull ginger ale (Jack and Cock, Russian Mule, and more). 8pmclosing. 1369 Folsom St. 431-4695.

Karaoke @ The Lookout Paul K hosts the amateur singing night. 8pm-2am. 3600 16th St. at Market.

Mahogany Mondays @ Midnight Sun Honey Mahogany’s weekly drag and musical talent show starts around 10pm. 4067 18th St. 861-4186.

Mash Up Mondays @ Club BnB, Oakland Weekly Karaoke and open mic night; RuPaul’s Drag Race screenings, too. 9pm-2am. 2120 Broadway. (510) 7597340.

Monday Musicals @ The Edge Sing along at the popular musical theatre night; also Wednesdays. 7pm2am. 2 for 1 cocktail, 5pm-closing. 4149 18th St. at Collingwood.

Name That Beat @ Toad Hall BeBe Sweetbriar hosts a weekly musical trivia challenge and drag show. 8:30-11:30pm. 4146 18th St. at Castro.

No No Bingo @ Virgil’s Sea Room Mica Sigourney and Tom Temprano cohost the wacky weekly game night at the cool Mission bar. 8pm. 3152 Mission St.

Opulence @ Beaux New weekly dance night, with Jocques, DJs Tori, Twistmix and Andre. 9pm-2am. 2344 Market St.

Piano Bar 101 @ Martuni’s Sing-along night with talented locals, and charming accompanist Joe Wicht (aka Trauma Flintstone). 9pm. 4 Valencia St. at Market.

Recovery @ Lookout Post-Pride event; Pollo Del Mar serves up Jell-O shots, DJs Russ Rich and Dirty Nelly spin. 3pm-9pm. 3600 16th St.

Sun 28 Disco Daddy @ The Eagle

Tue 30 Block Party @ Midnight Sun

Weekly screenings of music videos, concert footage, interviews and more, of popular pop stars. 9pm-2am. 4067 18th St. 861-4186.

Bombshell Betty & Her Burlesqueteers @ Elbo Room The weekly burlesque show of women dancers shaking their bonbons includes live music. $10. 9pm. 647 Valencia St. 552-7788.

Cock Shot @ Beaux Shot specials and adult Bingo games, with DJs Chad Bays and Riley Patrick, at the new weekly night. No cover. 9pm-2am. 2344 Market St.

Gay Skate Night @ Church on 8 Wheels

Brand: Bud Light Ico Item #: PBL20141056 Job/Order #: 263925

LGBT night at the former Sacred Heart Church-turned disco roller skate party space, hosted by John D. Miles, the “Godfather of Skate.” Actually, every night is gay-friendly, including Saturday’s Black Rock night (Burning Man garb encouraged). Also Wed, Thu, 7pm-10pm. Sat afternoon sessions 1pm-2:30pm and 3pm5:30pm. $10. Kids 12 and under $5. Skate rentals $5. 554 Fillmore St at Fell.

Gaymer Night @ Eagle No cover gay gaming fun on the bar’s big screen TVs. Have a nerdgasm and a beer with your pals. 8pm. 398 12th St.

Ink & Metal @ Powerhouse Show off your tattoos and piercings at the weekly cruisy SoMa bar night. 10pm-2am. 1347 Folsom St.

LA’s sassy drag comic talent performs her new live show, #NoFilter. $25$32. 7pm & 9pm. 298 11th St. at Folsom. 795-3180.

Meow Mix @ The Stud The weekly themed variety cabaret showcases new and unusual talents; MC Ferosha Titties. $3-$7. Show at 11pm. 9pm-2am. 399 9th St. at Harrison.

Naked Night @ Nob Hill Theatre Strip down as the strippers do as well. $20. 8pm. 729 Bush St. at Powell. 3976758.

Prince Fox @ DNA Lounge The popular electronic music composerremixer/DJ plays, 219 Boys, Zonii, and NeonBunny and Raid Zero opening sets. $5-$10. 9pm-2am. 372 11th St. 626-1409.

June 25-July 1, 2015 • Bay Area Reporter • 101

Showdown @ Folsom Foundry Weekly game night for board and electronic gamers at the warehouse multi-purpose nightclub. 21+. 6pm12am. 1425 Folsom St.

Switch @ Q Bar Weekly women’s night at the stylish intimate bar. 9pm-2am. 456 Castro St.

Trivia Night @ Hi Tops Play the trivia game at the popular new sports bar. 9pm. 2247 Market St. 551-2500.

Una Noche @ Club BnB, Oakland Vicky Jimenez’ drag show and contest; Latin music all night. 9pm-2am. 2120 Broadway. (510) 759-7340.

Wed 1

Tue 30

Booty Call @ QBar Juanita More! and her weekly intimate –yet packed– dance party. $10-$15. 9pm-2am. 456 Castro St.

Jackie Beat @ Oasis

Bondage a GoGo @ Cat Club The (mostly straight) kinky weekly dance night, where fetish gear is welcome; DJs Damon and Tomas Diablo play electro, goth, industrial, etc. 9:30pm-2:30am. 1190 Folsom St.

Bottoms Up Bingo @ Hi Tops Play board games and win offbeat prizes at the popular sports bar. 9pm. 2247 Market St. 551-2500.

B.P.M. @ Club BnB, Oakland Olga T and Shugga Shay’s weekly queer women and men’s R&B hip hop and soul night, at the club’s new location. No cover. 8pm-2am. 2120 Broadway, Oakland.

Miss Kitty’s Trivia Night @ Wild Side West The weekly fun night at the Bernal Heights bar includes prizes, hosted by Kitty Tapata. No cover. 7pm-10pm. 424 Cortland St. 647-3099.

Follies @ Oasis Holotta Tymes hosts the new weekly variety show with female impersonation acts, and barbeque in the front Fez Room. $20. 7pm. 298 11th St. at Folsom.

Open Mic/Comedy @ SF Eagle Kollin Holts hosts the weekly comedy and open mic talent night. 6pm-8pm. 398 12th St.

Pussy Party @ Beaux Weekly women’s happy hour, with allwomen music and live performances, 2 for 1 drinks, and no cover. 5pm-9am. 2344 Market St.

Rainbow Skate @ Redwood Roller Rink Weekly LGBT and friends skate night, with groovy disco music and themed events. $9. 8pm-10:30pm. 1303 Main Street, Redwood City.

Red Hots Burlesque @ Oasis The weekly women’s sexy strip show, with special guests. $15-$25. 8:30pm11:30pm. 298 11th St. at Folsom.

So You Think You Can Gogo? @ Toad Hall The weekly dancing competition for gogo wannabes. 9pm. cash prizes, $2 well drinks (2 for 1 happy hour til 9pm). Show at 9pm. 4146 18th St.

Enjoy Responsibly

©2014 A-B, Bud Light® Beer, St. Louis, MO

Retro Night @ 440 Castro Publication: Bay Area Reporter

Closing Date: 6/17/14 QC: CS

Trim: 8.75" x 7.75" Bleed: none Live: 8.25" x 7.25"

Jim Hopkins plays classic pop oldies, with vintage music videos. 9pm-2am. 44 Castro St.

Underwear Night @ Club OMG Weekly underwear night with free clothes check, drink specials; different hosts each week. $3. 10pm-2am. Preceded by Open Mic Comedy, 7pm, no cover. 43 6th St.

Sun 28 Juanita More!’s Pride Party @ Jones

Way Back @ Midnight Sun Weekly screenings of vintage music videos and retro drink prices. Check out the new expanded front window lounge. 9pm-2am. 4067 18th St. 8614186.

Wooden Nickel Wednesday @ 440 Buy a drink and get a wooden nickle good for another. 12pm-2am. 440 Castro St. 621-8732.

Wrangler Wednesday @ Rainbow Cattle Company, Guerneville The Russian River bar’s country music night attracts cowboys and those who like to ride ‘em. 8pm-1am. 16220 Main St., Guerneville. (707) 869-0206.

Thu 2

After Dark @ Exploratorium The RGB-themed cocktail party at the interactive science museum explores the multiple examples of the red green blue rainbow. $10-$15. 6pm10pm. Pier 15 at Embarcadero.

Karaoke Night @ Club BnB, Oakland Sing your heart out at the free lively night. 8pm-2am. 2120 Broadway. (510) 759-7340.

Karaoke Night @ Club OMG Dana leads the weekly amateur singing night. 8pm. No cover. 43 6th St. 896-6473.

The Monster Show @ The Edge The dearly missed Cookie Dough’s weekly drag show continues, with themed events and cute gogo guys. $5. 9pm-2am. 4149 18th St. at Collingwood.

Barbary Coast Revue @ Balancoire

Thirsty Thursdays @ The Cafe

The third season of the popular cabaret show returns, with Danny Kennedy as Mark Twain, a cast of diverse performers, and guest performer Connie Champagne. Thursdays weekly thru June. $14-$64. 8pm. 2565 Mission St. at 22nd.

Thump @ White Horse, Oakland

Bulge @ Powerhouse

Drink specials, Top 40, gogo studs and no cover, 2 for 1 cocktails until 10:30pm. 2369 Market St.

Weekly electro music night with DJ Matthew Baker and guests. 9pm-2am. 6551 Telegraph Ave, (510) 652-3820.

Grace Towers hosts the weekly gogotastic night of sexy dudes shakin’ their bulges and getting wet in their undies for $100 prize (with a contest at midnight), and dance beats spun by DJ DAMnation. 10pm-2am. 1347 Folsom St.

Thursday Night Live @ Eagle

Funny Fun @ Club 21, Oakland

Tubesteak Connection @ Aunt Charlie’s Lounge

Weekly LGBT and straight comedy night hosted by Dan Mires. $10. 8pm. 2111 Franklin St. Oakland. (510) 2689425.

Gym Class @ Hi Tops Enjoy cheap whiskey shots from jock-strapped hotties and sexy sports videos at the popular new sports bar. 10pm-2am. 2247 Market St. 551-2500.

Sun 28 Pride Party @ City Hall

Live bands- usually, rock, punk and always good- perform at the famed leather bar. 8:30pm first band. 398 12th St.

Eleventh anniversary of the retro disco night with a fun diverse crowd, and disco master DJ Bus Station John. $4. 10pm-2am. 133 Turk St. at Taylor. Want your nightlife event listed? Email, at least two weeks before your event. Event photos welcome.

Steven Underhill


Jackie Beat @ Oasis

Uel Renteria

onic 68


On the Tab>>

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971

102 • Bay Area Reporter • June 25-July 1, 2015

Viktor Belmont


San Francisco’s (Rent) Boy Next Door

by Cornelius Washington


he transgendered community. What can I say? They’re kicking ass and taking names, and they’re not accepting prisoners. And Viktor Belmont is paving new ground in the escort world. He won Best Newcomer at this year’s Hookies Awards, held in New York City. When I saw his images online, what made me jump to work with him were his torso scars, his toned, inked-out arms, warm eyes and translucent skin. Bottom line, Viktor is the epitome, this Gay Pride, of what people, from all over the world, come to San Francisco to do: talk the talk and walk the walk. As’s first trans man cover model, the provocation and sensuality takes a quantum leap forward. Bravo! To Viktor, and here’s how the story goes. Cornelius Washington: When did you realize that you are transgendered? Viktor Belmont: I would say one of my most defining moments in my understanding of my gender was when I met an amazing person online (on MySpace, ‘cause let’s be real; we all had one) who, herself, was trans. She opened my mind and heart to something I hadn’t known or understood. She taught me to live with an open mind and try and love myself as the man that I am, even if one day at a time. She was an incredible soul, and I wouldn’t be the same person if she hadn’t spent time listening to me and becoming my friend.

What are the best and worst aspects of being transgendered? I think everyone has a different experience and I couldn’t speak for every trans person, but in my own Viktor Belmont personal transition, there are definitely some really awesome parts another, I just kind of want to have and some hard learning experifun and be myself. ences. However, I feel really centered in One of the things I love about nature. I feel like I belong and I’m being trans is the strength and emwhole when I’m next to big pieces of pathy it’s given me. I have the upthe earth. I do feel super butch when most love for everyone, right where I’m setting up a tent, though! Let’s they’re at. I’ve gone through so be real; those rods that put together many changes to have agency over a Coleman, or whatever, have a venmy body to present a certain gender, detta against humanity.   and it’s made me appreciate everyone for their uniqueness. As for worst, I think that it’s the system that’s so steeped in binary. It’s in your face all the time. Everything can become a production. Going to the bathroom, traveling, getting mail, cashing your paycheck, seeking employment, getting healthcare, finding a place to rent, trying to get an ID, approval from family, having friends, seeking partners. All of a sudden, everything has been made about your gender, how you identify, and its overwhelming at times. But at the end of the day, there is no one way to be human. It’s our diversity that makes us all so beautiful.    What makes you feel your most masculine? Oh, Lawd! The most masculine? I don’t really feel Viktor Belmont super-masculine or superfeminine most of the time. I mostly feel goofy and excit  able. I like traditionally “masculine” What did your Hookies win things, but I also feel incredibly in mean/represent to you? touch with my feminine side. I’ll Winning Best Newcomer at the ride my motorcycle after getting Hookies was a huge deal to me. a pedicure, while wearing a pink Partly due to having the win be jockstrap and a new harness. I want decided by online poll, which blew to go see trash talk with my friends my mind. It meant that I put myself in weird drag. I want a beard and to out there and folks took the time to wear eyeliner. I never feel one way or

Cornelius Washington

vote. People I’ve never met told me they voted every day! I got so much support from other escorts and performers as well. After years of being told that no one would want what I had to offer, all of a sudden, I was on stage, holding a giant purple crystal as an award and getting a hug from Alaska Thunderfuck to applause that seemed to be never ending. It meant that I was wanted. It meant that I was respected. It meant that I finally had a home in the hearts of the industry. How does it feel to be RentBoy’s first trans man campaign model? It feels absolutely amazing! Rentboy has been nothing but sweet to me and I feel truly lucky to be featured as one of their campaign models. They have always been inclusive and haven’t skipped a beat to make sure that I feel welcomed and wanted. My work means the world to me. To share that passion and love for what I do with so much support lets me know that these guys have my back. We’re one big family and I couldn’t be happier to share these moments with them. A couple years ago, if you had told me I could be a model for anything, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s the support of my community that has made me strong. It’s the beauty of diversity that makes us all so wonderful. Now I’m all smiles and want to give it back, a hundred fold. See page 104 >>

104 • Bay Area Reporter • June 25-July 1, 2015

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971


Victor Belmont

From page 102

How did you create your porn name? A boy can’t share all his secrets! I’ll give you a hint: Castlevania.   What do you bring to the escort world that’s unique?  Well, for starters, every escort is unique. Everyone has a different style, different specialty, and different spin on their work. I mostly specialize in the BFE (boyfriend experience) and take folks around San Francisco. I make sure someone has the most incredible adventures with me. How about walks up to Coit Tower with champagne and a picnic to watch the sunset? Wandering through China Town to catch Zongzi and happy hour at the Empress of China?  Or even just making our way through the ferry building and playing around in the Musee Mecanique? I love making sure my clients get what they adore. What do you now know about escorting that you wish you’d known beforehand? Having a selfie in your ad, compared to quality professional photos, makes the biggest difference. It’s worth shelling out some change for good photos. I know that iPhone 6 is cute and all, but, if I can only see some mirror selfies, that isn’t very professional. For your clients to know what you actually look like, and for your success in the industry, get some good photos.    In your personal life, what’s your favorite sexual thing to do? Eating pizza and getting head at the same time. Just kidding!! But, that is awesome! My favorite thing is to spend time really learning someone’s body, and also to kiss someone when they cum. To share that moment with someone I adore makes my heart melt. Also, post-sex cuddles and giggles. They’re the best!   Do you have any transgendered role models? If so, who are they, and why? I do! Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are two role models for me. I learned about the Stonewall riots when I was in my late teens, but I wasn’t aware, until my early twenties, that both Marsha and Sylvia were involved in the first riot and how they also founded STAR. As an escort and a trans person, knowing that two incredible activists helped shape where we are today, I am so in awe of how strong those two incredible women were and can only hope to keep the momentum and create a space that’s safe for all people.  


What are your professional and personal goals? My professional goals are to keep working on raising visibility for sex workers and help take the stigma away of being an escort. I’m also in production for a couple fun art/ porn films that will explore sexuality and attraction, regardless of gender. As for personal goals, I would like to craft a space in which I can spend all my time supporting LGBTQ youth. I grew up in a place that was harsh and I had my knuckles bloody far too often. I fought tooth and nail to get where I am today. I don’t want to have our youth worrying about being able to get services, because of their identities or orientations. I don’t want kids living in fear; I want to make a space that anyone can come to at any time and know that they can get fed, have a hug and try and find a safe place to sleep at night. It’s a human right to be loved and I have a real big heart.     What is your favorite body part? On yourself? On men? On women? That’s a hard one. I tend to fall for someone’s mannerisms and quirks. However, I have a huge weakness for hands. I can tell so much about a person from their fingertips, callouses, tender curves. Hands can craft songs that will bring me to my knees. Hands can set fire to my skin and burn trails down my body I’ll never forget. Hands can hold me through the night. Hands can give me behindthe-ear rubs that make my mind go numb. Hands can write volumes and draw masterpieces. Hands can wrap around my body and bring me to a plane of existence I never thought I’d reach. Hands can ground me. They can make me feel safe. They can lift me up. They can open doors to rooms I never thought I’d explore. They’re just damned lovely.   What do you want the hetero and LGBQ worlds to know about trans men? That we’re all humans. We’re the same as you, if you cut us, we bleed. We are all made of flesh and bone. We all deserve to be here. We all deserve to be treated equally and with good nature. Trans people, hell, all people don’t owe anyone an explanation about their genitals, surgeries and life story. Also, it’s okay to be curious or mess up. It’s the intention to be kind and treat us as equals that matters. Put in the effort. It means the world to folks.t Read the expanded interview on Follow Viktor Belmont at Visit Cornelius Washington’s website

Viktor Belmont with an amorous friend.

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971

106 • Bay Area Reporter • June 25-July 1, 2015


Rick Gerharter

DJ and Promoters Lewis and Mike at Club Uranus in October 1990.

Thomas Maffei

Birdie Wyatt (center) and pals at Club Uranus.


From page 89

Club Chaos (at the Crystal Pistol on 842 Valencia Street) , Club Screw (495 14th Street) and most of all Club Uranus at the End-up (6th and Harrison) both raised and lowered the bar for dance spaces that followed. They served as psychic grandparents of a spirit that inspired events like Trannyshack and continues to this day at clubs like Oasis. Club Uranus began on Sunday Dec. 10, 1989 at the End-Up and hit the ground running with an article covered the opening in the following week’s Bay Area Reporter by Dave Ford. Ford warned, “Calvinsbedecked gogo boy Jeff and dayglo-painted, tutu clad gogo girl Tina physically represented thought patterns that usually exist only in your best (fluorescent/underwear) nightmares.” The following week, the first Miss Uranus contest was held, judged by SF Examiner art critic David Bonetti, On Our Backs editor Susie Bright, and an S.F. Arts Commission Gallery Director. That first contest was emceed by Ggreg Taylor and Jerome Caja, and included contestants such as Imina Fog, Miss Amphibia from Titania, and the contest winner DeDe Astor, who told Ford in a postcontest interview, “I’m looking to marry a Republican golfer” and “I’m going to J’Rome’s to try on outfits.” The J’Rome in question was the artist Jerome Caja who was part of a crew of local luminaries who visited Uranus on a weekly basis. Along with Jerome were artists such as Trauma Flintstone (Joe Wicht), Diet Popstitute, Pussy Tourette and Elvis Herselvis (Leigh Crowe). I asked doorman for Club Chaos and Uranus Thomas Maffei about whether this was due to Uranus and Chaos being the “house bar” for activists from Queer Nation and ACTUP. He said, “Yes, but you should keep in mind that people from Electric City (the local LGBT cable show) and Boy and Girl with Arms Akimbo also were regulars.” Jerome talked about his performances at Uranus with Paul Karlstrom of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art []:


“I would dance on the bar. Usually though, I didn’t dance; I was wrestling with someone… I always loved wrestling and I think I did more wrestling than dancing…. When I’m in drag I want to interact…when I was a gogo was always traditional that I would be the last one because I had a tendency to destroy things. They made, like, cages and things and I’d always destroy them.” Maffei confirmed this: “I made a gogo cage from electrical tape every week, because he’d destroy it weekly.” Regarding Jerome, he said, “He was an incorrigible flirt and one of the freest spirits I ever knew.” Some of Jerome’s performances were particularly complex. One Easter weekend, Jerome re-enacted the Passion story, complete with crucifixion and resurrection from a cardboard coffin. Of course some seemed somewhat random as well. I recall on one particular evening ordering a drink while Jerome and Elvis Herselvis simulated sex on the bar in front of me. One of the more interesting aspects of Club Uranus was the gender balance there. Lily Briandrop noted this in an article in the B.A.R. in 1990: “Mike and Lewis divulged that the mixed crowd at their clubs was no accident. Firmly maintaining that mixed gender equals more fun, they take great pains to promote their clubs among both men and women of the gay community.” Maffei confirmed this as well: “I did my best to let in as many women as men.” And for straight guys coming to ogle lesbians, he had a strategy as well. “I’d tell the bros that they could get in if they would kiss their buddy on the lips. If they wouldn’t, they weren’t getting in.” In 1990, the crew at Uranus, Chaos and Screw entered a float into the Pride Parade and did more than raise eyebrows. One San Francisco Sentinel reader complained in a letter, “This is a public parade and although outrageous, erotic or suggestive displays are acceptable, lewdness has no place. The sight of men on a float playing with organs, See page 107 >>

Thomas Maffei

Club Uranus Float in the 1990 Pride Parde.


Read more online at

June 25-July 1, 2015 • Bay Area Reporter • 107

Rick Gerharter

Jerome Caja and Justin Bond do a little wrestling between performances at Club Uranus in April 1994. Josh Cheon

Jerome Caja and a sweaty gogo dancer at Club Uranus.



From page 106

of which they appeared to be overly proud, was offensive and embarrassing to gays and straights alike.” The letters flew up and back for two months and defenders of the Uranus float included the playwright Robert Chesley who said, “Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to those brave people in the Gay Pride Parade who risked total nudity. They gave us the simplest and most elegant demonstration that the body is beautiful and no parts of it are dirty or shameful.” Uranus did indeed contribute to the beauty of the community. The Eros show at the Art Lick Gallery (which was at 4147 19th Street) featured a nude of Michael Blue photographed by Daniel Nicoletta (and he performed at the opening) and

Jerome had a solo show there titled Jerome’s Compact in 1990. But it wasn’t always about beauty and art. At the Miss Uranus contest in March 1992, an incident occurred which would once again put the club in the letters pages of the B.A.R. In a letter entitled “Drag Queen Act: Humiliating, Disgusting,” one C. Majewski wrote: “Betty Pearl walked on stage carrying a gerbil cage and other anal paraphernalia. The crowd roared as she flashed a picture of Richard Gere. She proceeded by inserting assorted objects up her butt. One of these items was a carrot, which was first lubricated. Betty removed the carrot and flung it into the audience. The drag queen in the beehive hairdo in front of us dodged the hurled object and I was pegged square in the right eye by the fecaled (sic) vegetable.” Justin Bond (then writing for the

B.A.R.) had a different perspective. “You think you’ve got it bad, but what about Mr. BoBo, the hapless hamster? Your wounds will heal, but that little varmint is probably emotionally scarred for life.” In September of 1990, the building that housed Club Screw burned. Uranus kept going through 1994. Club Uranus, Chaos and Screw were truly emblematic of their time, a time when we didn’t know who among us would make it to the next year or the next month. Times like this tend to make performance (and the need to have fun) more extreme. And many took inspiration from the club. Heklina first performed under that name at the Miss Uranus pageant. Phatima Rude told the Bay Guardian, “I walked into that place and knew I had found my family; I had finally found my freaks.” For those of us who were there, it is fondly remembered and truly missed.t

“All the bars in town, at least the ones I like, are fronts for heretical sects. The Lizard Club is Manichean. Club Chaos, Arian. Club Uranus is Apollinarian, and Screw—well, it’s rumored to be the last holdout of the Borborites. DJs there play music espousing their club’s theology or they’re exiled to Brisbane, where even the gecko’s love song is frowned upon.” – Steve Abbott, The Lizard Club

Josh Cheon

Gogo guys work up at sweat in an early 1990 Club Uranus.

Josh Cheon

Fab drag at Club Uranus.

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971

108 • Bay Area Reporter • June 25-July 1, 2015

Leather Pride by Race Bannon


he LGBT Pride season is upon us. Parades, celebrations and festivities are taking place all over the world to honor our history, political successes and identities. As this issue of the Bay Area Reporter debuts online and at newsstands, San Francisco’s own Pride


celebration is already underway. Among the revelers will be leatherfolk and kinksters of all persuasions expressing their own version of pride. So what do those of us who march to the beat of a different erotic drummer have to celebrate? My guess is if I were to pose that question to various members of the leather and kink

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communities they would each have somewhat different answers. But we have made great strides in terms of acceptance and options. We deserve to celebrate and take pride in ourselves and our accomplishments. I’d like to offer my list of why we edgier erotic adventurers have reason to celebrate and be proud. Years ago our sexualities were typically kept from the limelight of public scrutiny. With leather and kink topics commonplace in the media these days - and with kinky sex being mainstream fodder for discussion and news - the secrecy of what we do and who we are is becoming more open. We can celebrate that we can now live our lives more out than in the past. While the range of erotic options were fairly specific and limited at the dawn of the modern leather era, today the leather umbrella includes a vast range of sexual interests. Fetishists, BDSM practitioners, pups and their Handlers, sports gear enthusiasts, fisters, and so many other types of kinksters are now part of the larger leather fold. We can celebrate our increased diversity of erotic expression while being proud that we welcome so many variations with open arms. Once upon a time, leathermen and leatherwomen rarely crossed paths and their worlds were essentially separate. Today, while we continue to respect the need for separate spaces, we also come together more regularly to socialize and pursue common objectives. We can be proud that we’ve evolved to accept each other more readily. Transgender men and women used to report feeling excluded from both the men’s and women’s leather community. Today, that is changing with an increasing trans awareness and greater acceptance. We can be proud that as times have changed we’ve changed with them and trans men and women now feel like they can more easily be truly part of the overall leather and kink communities. When HIV/AIDS began to decimate the gay men’s community, the leather networks responded quickly with both fundraising and safer sex messaging. Leatherwomen were among the caregivers as so many men fell ill. Today, as HIV has become medically more manageable and new prevention methods such as PrEP have emerged, we have quickly adapted to the new HIV landscape. We can be proud that our open and frank discussions about HIV and STIs have allowed us to more quickly parse out fact from fiction to give our fellow kinksters the vital information they need to best address their sexual health. While there have been calls lately to channel some of our fundraising efforts back toward our own clubs, organizations and projects, we have historically risen to the occasion when others outside of our scene have needed money and support. We can be proud that many titleholders and events have raised countless sums of money over the years to help so many in need. In San Francisco, the leather and kink communities have always worked alongside the drag community in a synergistic manner to support each other. We’ve also formed bonds with other segments of the LGBT community. We can celebrate the power of alliance and be proud of the great work we’ve done together. Ageism exists in the greater LGBT community, perhaps more so among gay men. But kinksters have generally embraced a wide range of ages mixing, socializing and playing together in ways other sectors of the men’s community have not always. We can be proud that we see


Rich Stadtmiller

Leather title holders in 2014’s Pride parade.

the beauty and worth of every individual regardless of age. Back in the early days, Drummer and On Our Backs magazines pretty much represented the entire leather media, with a few exceptions. Today we have blogs and social media sites devoted entirely to our topics while non-kinky media often addresses topics of direct interest to us. We can celebrate that our source of kink news and information has broadened considerably.

Meeting or hooking up with likeminded kink players was formerly the domain of leather bars and carefully worded and coded classified ads. Connection apps and a multitude of social events have changed all of that. Some bemoan the loss of leather bar space, and I can’t disagree since I miss them also, but the upside of having so many ways to meet othSee page 110 >>

Rich Stadtmiller

Top: Jorge Vieto, Jr. cracks his single-tail whip at 2014’s Pride. Middle: Upscale fetishists in 2013’s Pride march. Bottom Left: Mr. International Leather, our own Andy Cross, hot and ‘under construction’ in 2013’s Pride march. Bottom Right: A spectator at 2013’s Pride shows his leather shorts.


Read more online at

June 25-July 1, 2015 • Bay Area Reporter • 109

Bulging bests

Plitt liked to show his size. Not lowed picture of Bob Page and Spike so much of his body, but of his Adams. I was struggling to come out bulge. His posing shots were usually at the time, and their smiles, their profiles, and he perfected the hip happiness and robust good health thrust that accentuates. Not that he said to me, Gay is Good. And their needed to accentuate. He just liked two puffed-out and solid packages, to. That’s why he posed with some particularly Spike’s, were a mesmerwet gauze stretched across his izing promise that forevboner. As for that headstand ermore hooked me on photo, legs tilting way bulge. back over his head and Now I’m going to thus thrusting a big skip over decades. So package skyward—he I’m sorry not to spend could have worn bastime on Champion ketball shorts, instead Studio, which flouted of a bikini. But hey, 1960s law by emphaGreg Plitt and a bikini sizing huge bulge in are surely well matched. posing straps, especially mind blowFinally, we have a guy who turns ing mesh ones which barely conme on no end, D.W. Chase. The true cealed the erection inside. I found nature of his virilia is such a potent the use of mesh a heart stopping, fantasy for me that I don’t think I’d hypnotizing aesthetic. ever want to actually see them. I’m also not going to mention He’s a scruffy blond, an outAndrew Christian, the underwear doorsy, natural sort of guy who mogul whose profit rises and rises doesn’t believe in shaving his body. as inexorably as yeast in a bowl, He’s 31, a tasty 5’7” tall, and unjust as the exaggerated bulge of his cunningly crafted underwear thrusts baskets up and out in joyous excess. AMG And I won’t dally on either recent Good cheer (and bursting basket) from Bob Page (left) and Spike kings of bulge, like Seth Fornea and, Adams equaled good queer for Karr. OMG, Trevor Adams, or the masterful photographers who best capture amongst the populace, we’re here bulge, like Rick Day and my very faby John Karr to celebrate Bulge. vorite, Mark Henderson. You probt’s traditional for me to anoint the I encountered what is perhaps my ably know them all, and I want to Bay Area Reporter’s Pride week favorite vintage bulge way back in introduce three contemporary guys edition with a tie-in between porn the 1960s; an ever-since-then halyou may not know. and pride. I’m taking a circuFirst up is much photoitous route this year, because graphed menswear model, I want to unload two gripes. the aggressively handsome First, the B.A.R. never runs Bobby Creighton. This ginenough photos of cute boys ger hunk is 29 years old, and and manly men at the pacame to modeling as an esrade to satisfy me. And sexos, cape when his degree in Psyin their RTF (Rush to Fuck) chology led him somehow generally lack the erotic. So, into the doldrums of being a I’ll address both issues, with Life Insurance Consultant. a foray into my favorite bulge He says, “For me, modelshots. Because beholding ing is a chance to show my the image is an act of wortrue character.” And also the ship; blessings are received outline of his true penis, althrough the sight of a divine though he hardly ever again image. let show so enticingly. And, boy, a good bulge is And there’s bodybuilder divine. It’s the Holy Mound and physical trainer, Greg that brings worshippers to Plitt. He was hit and killed by the Church of Convexity. a train last January, but has Within that cathedral, left a legacy of fitness magamy icons are vintage posing zine covers, training videos, strap photos; if it’s veiled, and scads of sexy photos that I venerate. The little patch capitalize on his striking blue of fabric is a sure improveeyes and nearly unbelievable BAR 3.75x5 online appointment ad v3.indd 1 ment over its predecessor, physique. the fig leaf. Although the I think he was expressing fig leaf focused attention in his keen crotch consciousan X Marks the Spot sort of ness and wasn’t necessarily way, it totally precluded the talking about bodybuilding possibility of penile protruat all when he counseled, sion. It was the posing strap “Oh, by the way. Size fucking that provided superfluity matters. In everything. Don’t Falcon Studios of stretch. And right now, believe the hype, size fucking in the interest of spreading Leather lovers, crotch sniffers, and mound mamatters… Size, girth, thickgreater pride and happiness vens! Here are Dean Monroe and Brad Patton. ness, everything!”

like our other two hetero bulgers, describes himself as bi. But I think that’s to appeal to women who might traffic his cam shows. There are more photos of him horsing around rather intimately with another guy. A teaser, he usually seems to be modeling his unseen cock. And he can be a little testy, as in a self-description he posted: “I am not one of those dumb models on [ModelMayhem] just to make friends. I have a college education, a hard working ‘real’ job, plus another full time journalism career. That being said, I have been modeling since 2006, and while it is a hobby and something I really enjoy, I take it very seriously.” My bonus for you is a truly iconic pic; Dean Monroe and Brad Patton from the Falcon movie Bootstrap. There’s Dean, goin’ to church, a church of leather and Levi. And my benediction is this: I hope your Pride is bulging out all over.t


Island Graphics

JR Williams

David Wagner

Left: Aggressively handsome men’s wear model Bobby Creighton. Middle: “Size fucking matters,” said the late Greg Plitt, showcasing just how. Right: DW Chase shows how singular one can look in a singlet.

8/15/14 10:17 AM

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971

110 • Bay Area Reporter • June 25-July 1, 2015







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From page 108

ers now is not lost on me. And for kinksters who are not in the major urban centers, especially the newcomers, the online information and connection world is a godsend that lets them know they are not alone. We can celebrate a wider and more connected social network. BDSM and other kink skills were once upon a time only passed on by word of mouth with some players keeping such information proprietary and closely held. While there may certainly be a downside to as much BDSM education as there is today, the upside is that no one needs to wonder how to do BDSM safely and correctly in order to ensure that everyone has a good time while remaining safe and free from worry. We should be proud that we’ve put in place such educational opportunities. I could list many more things that we have every right to celebrate. We should absolutely feel pride in knowing that our scene is not only alive and well, but thriving and growing. Assuming that you identify as part of this community, take a moment to reflect on your own life and think about what you can celebrate and what makes you individually proud. If you are reading this and not part of the leather and kink community, you can celebrate that you live in a world where anyone whose erotic proclivities and identity live outside the margins has the opportunity to be as happy and fulfilled as anyone else. Celebrate all that we’ve done. Bask in the many successes. Be proud of yourself and the community. Happy Pride!t Race Bannon is a local author, blogger and activist. You can reach him on his website,

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Leather Events, June 25 – July 10, 2015 Thu 25

Sat 27

Xotica - “The Other Side Of The Rainbow” - Pup’s N Play @ 442 Natoma

SF Puppy Pride Mosh @ Mr. S Studio

Play party and demos. 442 Natoma St., 8-10pm is pup play and demo, 10pm-Close is play. Demos by Brent Gannetta. Sponsored by CumUnion.

Fri 26 SF Pride Dungeon Party, a KuF(plus) Event @ SF Citadel KuF is a group for the Bay Area’s gay “Kinky under Forty” crowd. However, this party during SF Pride is a KuF(plus) event, meaning all ages are invited to attend. 181 Eddy St., 8pm. Email for information.

Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members, 4058 18th St., 9:30pm.

Gear Party @ 442 Natoma Gear play party (leather, rubber, harnesses, etc.) for gay men. 442 Natoma St., $15 (requires $5 membership), 10pm.

Hellbound All new raw and notorious SF Pride kickoff party thrown by Treasure Island Media. 10pm. See website for tickets and details.


Come mosh with Pups and Handlers for Pride weekend. Presented by the San Francisco K9 Unit. 385-A 8th Street, 11am, $10.

Mr. S Leather Pride Party @ Mr. S Leather Join Mr. S Leather in the Locker Room as we celebrate Pride 2015! 385 8th St., 11am.

GearUp Men’s Play Party @ Alchemy Friendly erotic space where kinky men can socialize with, learn from and play with other men. 1060 Folsom St., $20, 7:30pm.

Sun 28 Leather Pride Contingent @ SF Pride Parade March with the contingent in the San Francisco Pride Parade. Lineup information at Parade location.

Leather Alley @ Pride San Francisco Leather Alley is an entire block long on Hyde Street between Golden Gate and McAllister at the Pride Festival. 11am.


415-760-0593 Personals

Mon 29/Mon 6

Wed 8

Ride Mondays @ Eros

Golden Shower Buddies @ Blow Buddies

A motorcycle rider and leathermen night at Eros, bring your helmet, AMA card, MC club card or club 9colors and get $3 off entry or massage. 2051 Market St.

Fri 3 Boots Leather Cigars @ SF Eagle Boots Leather Cigars @ SF Eagle. Social gathering for men into boots, leather, uniforms and cigars. 398 12th St., 9pm.

SCCLA Bar Schmooz @ Renegades Bar Informal social where friends, prospective members and anyone else who wants to relax, laugh, talk and hang out with like minded people, 501 W. Taylor St., San Jose, 9pm.

Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members, 4058 18th St., 9:30pm.

Gear Party @ 442 Natoma Gear play party (leather, rubber, harnesses, etc.) for gay men. 442 Natoma St., $15 (requires $5 membership), 10pm.

Tue 7 Underwear Night - Pup Like @ OMG These Pups want to have some fun! Free Clothes check. Drink Specials for those in underwear. 10pm. $3 at the door. Benefiting Wagz Pack’s Service Pups, Inc.

A men’s water sports night, Golden Shower Buddies, $15 with membership, 933 Harrison St., 8pm.

Thu 9 – Sun 12 GearUp Weekend Annual retreat where the next generation of kinky/kink-curious guys and leathermen can socialize with, learn from, and play with other men of all ages in a safe and friendly environment.

Fri 10 Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members, 4058 18th St., 9:30pm.

Gear Party @ 442 Natoma Gear play party (leather, rubber, harnesses, etc.) for gay men. 442 Natoma St., $15 (requires $5 membership), 10pm.

Brüt @ Beatbox The popular BRÜT NYC is now on the west coast. Gear up for this now regular monthly party. 314 11th St., 10pm. Tickets at



Read more online at

Shooting Stars

June 25-July 1, 2015 • Bay Area Reporter • 111

photos by Steven Underhill Frameline Opening Party


inema fans got to enjoy the opening night screenings at the Castro Theatre for Frameline’s 39th annual International LGBTQ Film Festival. The ten-day fest screens films at more than half a dozen theatres and museums in the Bay Area through June 28. The opening night party, held June 18 at Terra Gallery, included delicious wines and food. More event photo albums are on BARtab’s Facebook page, See more of Steven Underhill’s photos at


For headshots, portraits or to arrange your wedding photos

call (415) 370-7152 or visit or email

June 25, 2015 Edition of the Bay Area Reporter  

The undisputed newspaper of record for the San Francisco Bay Area LGBT community and the oldest continuously-published gay newspaper in the...