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LGBT senior hearing today



SF Opera season announced

Mission Station's new captain


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

New ED joins Project Open Hand by Seth Hemmelgarn


he executive director of a San Francisco nonprofit that prepares and delivers meals to critically ill homebound clients, seniors, and those living with HIV/ AIDS has officially started work. Kevin Winge, 53, has taken the helm at Project Open Hand, several months after his selection for the Jane Philomen Cleland job was announced. Winge, who most Kevin Winge recently headed Open Arms of Minnesota, a similar agency, has known outgoing Project Open Hand Executive Director Tom Nolan for 14 years. In a Tuesday, January 24 interview in the Bay Area Reporter’s offices, Winge said his new post is “a good opportunity for me” with “an organization I’ve known for a long time.”

Vol. 42 • No. 04 • January 26-February 1, 2012

Castro plaza rules inch closer to passage by Matthew S. Bajko


ules governing two outdoor plazas in the Castro inched closer to passage this week after a Board of Supervisors’ committee endorsed the proposed regulations. Under the new guidelines for both Jane Warner and Harvey Milk plazas at the corner of Market and Castro streets, camping and sleeping would be banned at all hours in the public parklets. Cigarette smoking would also be prohibited in the two areas, while signage would make clear that removable chairs and tables would be stored between the hours of 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. each day. The plazas would remain open 24 hours and people would be allowed to sit either on the ground or on benches in the plazas, insists District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener. The openly gay lawmaker, who lives near the area, introduced the measure at the behest of the Castro Community Benefit District. “This legislation is not draconian. It does not restrict anyone from the plazas,” said Wiener, later adding, “This is basic, common sense legislation.” The board’s land use committee voted 2-1 to support the rules, which now go before the full

See page 16 >>

See page 17 >>

Rick Gerharter

People hurried through a wet Harvey Milk Plaza last Friday; the Board of Supervisors is expected to vote Tuesday on rules for the plaza, as well as Jane Warner Plaza across Castro Street.

Mayors unite for marriage by Michael K. Lavers

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who during the press early two-dozen California conference highlighted how the lack of mayors are among those who marriage equality impacts members of have joined Freedom to Marry’s his own family, co-chairs the campaign. new campaign to advance marriage for New York City Mayor Michael same-sex couples across the country. Bloomberg; out Houston Mayor Annise The campaign was launched at last Parker; Tacoma, Washington, Mayor Friday’s U.S. Conference of Mayors Marilyn Strickland; Philadelphia Mayor gathering in Washington, D.C. with 80 Michael Nutter; and Boston Mayor mayors and, by Sunday, that list had Thomas Menino also spoke. grown to more than 100. Sanders, a Republican, acknowledged Regional California mayors include that his position on the issue has evolved. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Oakland “Several years ago I believed civil Mayor Jean Quan, San Leandro Mayor unions were fair; the irony is I held this Stephen Cassidy, Petaluma Mayor mistaken view even though my oldest David Glass, Alameda Mayor Marie daughter, Lisa, is a lesbian. But I was Gilmore, Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane, wrong,” he said. “Fairness means giving and openly gay West Sacramento Mayor people the same rights and freedoms as Christopher Cabaldon. everybody else. There’s no such thing as San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, fair enough. It’s either fair, or it’s not.” Jamie McGonnigal/ who famously came out in support Another Republican mayor, openly gay of marriage equality during the San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders speaks at the Mayors for Mike Gin of Redondo Beach, California, is Proposition 8 campaign in 2008 when he the Freedom to Marry press conference at the U.S. Conwas also listed as a supporter. revealed his daughter is gay, also joined ference of Mayors in Washington, D.C., on January 20. Local mayors missing from the list are the group. Chuck Reed of San Jose, the only big city “Each of these mayors has committed mayor from the Bay Area not to oppose himself or herself to the cause and to Prop 8 four years ago, and Osby Davis of protections that their families need that only working with Freedom to Marry to ensure Vallejo, who in 2009 told a reporter that gays are come along with marriage,” said Freedom that loving and committed same-sex couples “committing sin and that sin will keep them out to Marry national campaign director Marc throughout America can marry the person of heaven.” (Davis later apologized.) Solomon at a press conference in Washington they love and avail themselves of the crucial See page 16 >> January 20.

N Paul Margolies/Courtesy Names Project Foundation

A square from the AIDS Memorial Quilt

Castro to get AIDS quilt display by Matthew S. Bajko


n emotionally wrenching show timed to Valentine’s Day is headed to the city’s Castro district as community leaders plan to display the largest collection of AIDS quilt panels San Francisco has seen in decades. Castro merchants and AIDS advocates are See page 16 >>


<< Community News

2 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012

Prop 8 repeal group works to raise profile with SF party by David Duran


nternet sensation Zach Wahls made a special trip to San Francisco in support of Love Honor Cherish’s efforts to repeal Proposition 8 and NOH8’s new viral public education campaign. Wahls is the 20-year-old son of a same-sex couple who proudly testified at a public hearing regarding a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Iowa last year. He became a social media sensation just hours after his speech was posted on YouTube. To date, the video now has close to 20 million views and became YouTube’s number one political video in 2011. “I’m excited to come to San Francisco and speak about my family and the inequality of denying marriage in California, where gays and lesbians still wait since the passing of Proposition 8 in 2008,” said Wahls. The Los Angeles-based Love Honor Cherish and NOH8 have teamed up to launch a new viral public education program to encourage activists and others to tell their stories about why California should have marriage equality and the impact that waiting has had on the lives on LGBT families. There was a brief period in 2008 when same-sex couples could legally wed in the Golden State, but that stopped after voters passed Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage ban. A federal lawsuit was filed to overturn Prop 8, and that case is in a federal appeals court, where a decision is expected soon. Meanwhile, Love Honor Cherish has decided to go ahead with its second effort to repeal Prop 8 at the ballot box. Its first effort two years ago failed to collect the necessary number of signatures to place an initiative on the ballot. The January 22 benefit at VesselSan Francisco also included NOH8 co-founders Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley, who are well known for the highly stylized photos Bouska has taken of celebrities and others with duct tape across their mouths and NOH8 stenciled on their cheek in red and black.

David Duran

Zach Wahls spoke of the importance of marriage equality at Love Honor Cherish’s benefit party in San Francisco last weekend.

The party, attended by about 100 people, was part of Confession, a new monthly party by Reason to Party and Vessel SF. Reason to Party is a charity that uses social media to bring together young professionals for spectacular parties that support various causes. One hundred percent of proceeds from last Sunday’s event will benefit Love Honor Cherish. Confession takes place every third Sunday at Vessel.

Prop 8 repeal Love Honor Cherish is stepping up to attempt to repeal Prop 8 in spite of major LGBT groups deciding against such a move. Equality California decided last year not to return to the ballot in 2012. EQCA’s decision came despite its members’ favoring working to repeal Prop 8, and despite the town halls that EQCA held where people supported repealing Prop 8 if the federal court case does not go well. Shortly after EQCA’s decision was announced last fall, Roland Palencia, who had started as executive director only a few months before, abruptly resigned. Love Honor Cherish has received the okay from the secretary of state’s

office to begin circulating petitions and must collect 807,615 valid signatures by May 14 to place the initiative on the November ballot. But money is a key part of success, and so far, it appears that Love Honor Cherish is not raising the millions of dollars that will be needed to wage a statewide initiative campaign, although officials remain hopeful. “Our online giving continues to grow and we’re planning a celebrity event in Los Angeles next month,” interim Executive Director Eric Harrison told the Bay Area Reporter. When asked more about fundraising, Harrison said, “we have seen so much energy and enthusiasm and we need to channel that sooner rather than later.” He declined to provide a specific dollar amount. The organization is planning on expanding its office space, which officials hope will enable them to mobilize volunteer phone banking and canvass teams. Earlier this month, organization leaders stated they would need to raise $1 million by February. When asked about this, Harrison hinted that, “conversations with major donors are moving forward steadily.” But he also made it clear that a ruling was expected soon in the federal Prop 8 case, and their future strategy would depend on what the ruling is. Most legal observers believe that no matter what the appeals court decides, the case will eventually go to the U.S. Supreme Court. “We are optimistic, we are playing offense in the event that it should not go in our favor. We need to be prepared and stop being reactive,” Harrison said. Love Honor Cherish will hold an event on January 27 at the Lookout bar, 3600 16th Street, with its local volunteer team, as well as a signature gathering event on February 6 with a screening at the Castro Theatre of The Right to Love an American Family.▼ For more information about Love Honor Cherish, visit

SB 48 foe drops repeal efforts compiled by Cynthia Laird


nti-gay activist Richard Rios has dropped his attempts to repeal Senate Bill 48, also known as the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act. The state law, which took effect January 1, requires that students learn about the historical contributions of LGBT Americans. In a phone interview this week, Rios said that the efforts are ending because Karen England, executive director of the Capitol Resource Institute and its affiliated Capitol Resource Family Impact, and others have also launched an anti-SB 48 initiative effort. Rios said he’d stick with another proposal he submitted that would allow parents to opt their children out of school instruction in social science and family life that conflicts with their moral convictions. Parents can already opt their children out of health lessons. Rios had submitted two proposals to the state attorney general’s office directly targeting SB 48. One would have struck LGBTs from the groups

whose historical contributions have to be taught to students. Another would have removed people with disabilities from that part of the law, along with LGBTs. For one thing, Rios said, having England’s proposal in the mix made for confusion. He also said he and his supporters wanted to focus their efforts on the opt-out initiative. He said they started putting out petitions last weekend and will launch a more aggressive effort today (Thursday, January 26). Whether it involves LGBTs or not, if something contradicts a parent or guardian’s belief system, they should have “the right to choose whether or not that’s a part of their children’s education,” Rios said. State officials issued the initiative summary January 13. The anti-gay activists need 504,760 valid signatures to get their proposal on the ballot. Rios said they’re just starting to raise money. He said the funding sources they’ve had “were primarily for SB 48” and they’re “in the process of trying to find out which funders are still interested.”

He estimated they’d need about $2 million if they do paid signature gathering as well as volunteers. The Committee for Parental Rights and Education has only two formal members, Rios, the chair, and Regina Risolio. Both also are members of the Christian Coalition of California. In an email, Risolio indicated that to her, the initiative is very much about LGBT issues. “Why do parents not have a say about what their children are being taught when it comes to anything sexual?” she said. “To make everyone happy there needs to be the availability for those that have specific beliefs to make the choice to opt their children out. That is what is called freedom.” The secretary of state’s office estimates that the England-backed proposal would be approved for circulation around mid-February. Another anti-SB 48 initiative, submitted by Lou Sheldon, chair of the Traditional Values Coalition, could be approved by Thursday.

Tax seminars for LGBTs Tax season is near and that could mean more work for same-sex couples. In 2010 the See page 17 >>

Community News >>

January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 3

LGBT seniors seek housing, greater visibility mean and what will we need,” said Hayes Valley resident Ray Rudolph, 62, who is HIV-positive. “Is San Francisco prepared for that? I don’t know. As a long time survivor living with HIV, I worry about cutting back on ADAP and services and things like that. I am always keeping a watchful eye on that.” Single and living alone, Rudolph said he is contemplating a move back east to New York City should his housing situation change. “If it wasn’t for my rent controlled unit, or anything changed with my housing, I would have to move,”

Jane Philomen Cleland

Larry Pritts, left, joined Brian Sulley and Douglas Haijsman for a game at the LGBT Community Center last weekend, part of a day of activities for LGBT seniors organized by Openhouse.

by Matthew S. Bajko


welve months ago Nicky Frausto left San Francisco. It was not by choice. “I was forced out. I am low income and I was just not able to find a place,” said Frausto, 68. “I see a lot of my friends moving out of the city in order to survive.” In his case, Frausto moved in with his boyfriend, Jack Pyne, 77, in Pittsburg in eastern Contra Costa County. The two met through Primetimers, a social club for older gay men. As he settles into his new home, Frausto continues to commute into San Francisco. He volunteers at Openhouse, a nonprofit provider of services for LGBT seniors, and stops by the Castro Senior Center to visit with friends. He worries, though, that his cohort is fast becoming the forgotten generation. “We get the feeling when we talk amongst ourselves we are antiques. And antiques you throw out,” said Frausto. “We are invisible.” It is a concern shared by Pamela Quiton, 55, a lesbian who lives in a studio in the Mission on 18th Street. She has seen friends forced to relocate to the East Bay due to a lack of affordable housing options in San Francisco and worries some day she, too, will have to move. “Everyday I pray what is going to happen to me after this,” said Quiton. “My friend lost her house because the owner had to sell it. She looked everywhere to live here, but now, she is far away in the East Bay. We lost our friend.” Quiton can’t afford to move into an assisted living facility for seniors and is fearful of ending up in one of the city’s single-room-occupancy hotels. She has heard horror stories of women being harassed for sex or raped in such housing. “If I do have to move, it is very hard to find a place to live in San Francisco. I might end up in a hotel,” said Quiton. “I am really scared. I am getting older and have arthritis, it is

hard for me to get around.” As she tries to plan for the future, Quiton sees few options for her in the city. She is hopeful the doors will open at Openhouse’s 55 Laguna project, which would see 109 units of affordable senior housing for older LGBT people be built a block away from the LGBT Community Center. The project sponsors are in the midst of securing financing in order to start construction. “It would be really great to live in 55 Laguna,” said Quiton, though she knows she will be one of likely thousands of LGBT seniors applying for the apartments. Even more such LGBT-friendly housing projects need to be built in San Francisco, she said. “They take good care of the city’s historic buildings, how about taking care of its historic people,” said Quiton. “There also needs to be community places where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors can go to be together.” Such concerns will be the focus of a hearing today (Thursday, January 26) at City Hall that the Board of Supervisors’ LGBT caucus has called for to examine the needs of a ballooning gay senior population. There are an estimated 25,000 LGBT people over the age of 60 living in San Francisco. And that number is expected to double to 50,000 by 2030. The numbers may be an undercount, worries Gustavo Serina, 66, a gay man who is vice president of the city’s Aging and Adult Services Commission. While the city has a fairly good picture of the number of seniors at the low and high ends of the socioeconomic spectrum, it may be missing those in the middle, contends Serina. “Older seniors may not have been reached or are reluctant to identify themselves as LGBT,” said Serina, who has lived in the Castro since 1978. “I know most people my age who own homes are financially secure, travel, and are in good health. I am not sure that is reflected in the numbers. For reasons I am not all together clear on, we haven’t reached a broad spectrum.”

Rick Gerharter

Aging and Adult Services Commissioner Gustavo Serina

It is important to reach as many seniors as possible, said Serina, as they are not a monolithic group. The issues and struggles they face vary by age, income, and life experiences he said. “I think LGBT seniors who are 75 or 80 have one set of issues. Those of us who are avant-garde baby boomers have different issues,” he said. “We are less inclined to be worried about being closeted.” Another area of concern is how to provide for the needs of a rapidly aging HIV and AIDS population. Two years ago the city saw the majority of its AIDS cases be among people 50 and older. The number is projected to continue to climb, presenting unique healthcare challenges within this population. “We are the guinea pig generation. Nobody knows what long term survival on med regimes is going to

said Rudolph. “Affordable housing in this city is critical.” The hearing on the needs of LGBT seniors will take place at 1 p.m. today in Room 263 at City Hall. The San Francisco Commonwealth Club is also hosting a panel discussion tonight about the needs of LGBT seniors. A networking reception begins at 5:30 p.m. and the program starts at 6 p.m. at the club’s offices, 595 Market Street. Tickets cost $20 for nonmembers, $8 members, and $7 for students with valid ID.▼

4 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971

Read more online at

January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 5

<< Commentary

6 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012

Of bathrooms and mud holes by Gwendolyn Ann Smith


ennessee state Representative Richard Floyd has a problem with the bathroom. Specifically, with who gets to use it. As a result he’s decided to file a bill, making it a crime for anyone to use a bathroom – or dressing room – of the sex opposite the one defined at birth. The bill, HB 2279, reads as follows: (b) Except as provided in § 68-15-303, where a restroom or dressing room in a public building is designated for use by members of one particular sex, only members of that particular sex shall be permitted to use that restroom or dressing room. (c) A violation of subsection (b) is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of fifty dollars ($50).

Yes, yet again transgender people end up having to play “pee politics.” It should come as no surprise that the Family Council of Tennessee, in supporting a bill that would have targeted all LGBT non-discrimination statements in state municipalities, had pushed the old bathroom meme, rehashing an ad used in Florida and elsewhere to claim that allowing transgender people into gender appropriate facilities would give sexual predators carte blanche to attack your wives and daughters in restrooms and other gender segregated facilities. I suspect that it may well have been there that Floyd, a Chattanooga Republican, got it into his head that this was some legitimate concern, and one that was so pervasive that

it required a law on the books to prevent it. He took it a step further, however. In an interview on Tennessee’s NewsChannel 5, Floyd made it clear that he’d be more than happy to violate the law if there was a transgender person in the changing room with his female family members. Said Floyd, “I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there – I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there – I’d just try to stomp a mud hole in him and then stomp him dry.” As an aside, Floyd feels that the intent of the law would not cause a parent of an opposite-gender child to run afoul of it if they entered the same restroom together, though this does nothing to prevent issues with, say, janitorial staff, plumbers, and any others who may have a legitimate reason for being in an oppositegender facility. I would also hope that they would not find themselves stomped in “mud holes” and being stomped dry. Likewise, Floyd seems to assume that transgender people are only male to female, judging from his comments relating to this bill. I wonder how he might feel if one of his daughters came out as FTM, and desired to use the men’s room? I should also note that Tennessee does not currently allow transgender people to change the sex on their birth certificates, so even those who have completed any surgical procedures and/or are living in an opposite gender from their birth gender – no matter how long they have done so or anything else they may have done in their lives to be a part of their preferred gender – would be subject to a fine for using a restroom that would fit their appearance, identity, and/or gender expression. It would be fair to note, however, that Floyd

Christine Smith

is considering an exception in his bill for those who have had gender reassignment surgery, although such language is not yet in the legislation. I also, again, hope that the change might prevent the aforementioned mud hole stomping. All that aside, this is an example of the power of the bathroom meme. Frankly, I cannot fault Floyd for wanting to make sure that his wife and his daughters are safe from predators. I can’t think of anyone – save a predator – who would want to make it any easier for a rapist or child molester to fulfill their own sick desires. This bill, however, is the result of the politicians’ syllogism, “Something must be done. This is something. Therefore, this must be done.” Worse than this, it is unclear that something

must be done in this case. Rape, attempted rape, child molestation, sexual assault, and plenty of other things are already crimes in Tennessee and elsewhere. Those who perform any of these will face a lot more than a $50 fine for doing so. Therefore, logically, someone who is both ill enough and bold enough to attempt these crimes is not going to be further dissuaded by a $50 hit to their pocketbook. Seriously, how does this prevent the acts of predators? By the same token, if someone is going to commit such a crime, would the gender presented on a restroom door stop them? If it did, why wouldn’t they simply lurk around outside the restroom or changing stall, instead of going in? Certainly having genderspecific facilities now does not stop See page 9 >>

Tackling the gender binary in school sports by Roger Brigham


egislative consideration of a bill that would ensure transgender students access to gender-associated school programs, including sports teams, consistent with their gender identities has been put on hold for a year. When out Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) introduced AB 266 last February, the bill called for creation of a state sports authority “for the purposes of eliminating intrastate conflicts in the procurement of sports teams, coordinating efforts to procure and retain professional sports teams within the state, and helping to finance sports arenas within the state.” In other words, someone who could help ease the insanity of Santa Clara and San Francisco squabbling over the 49ers; get the Oakland/ Los Angeles/Oakland/ Probably-LA-AgainSoon-Enough Raiders to pick a city and stick with it; and help the Sacramento Kings hold on for dear life. But when Ammiano amended the legislation this month, it was a drastically altered bill that was referred to the Assembly’s education committee for a hearing.

Courtesy NCLR

NCLR legal director Shannon Minter

The bill as it now is written would amend Section 221.5 of the education code, which mandates equal opportunities in public school programs regardless of gender, to specify that a “pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs, activities, and facilities, including athletic teams and competitions, consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s

records.” Representatives of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Transgender Law Center said their organizations had worked several months with Ammiano’s office to formulate the bill, but asked him to pull it before its scheduled January 11 hearing. Opposition groups such as California Family Council and Capitol Resource Institute cited their constituents’ outcry as having killed the bill, but NCLR and TLC said they were putting the bill on hold to work on building legislative support and educating those who would be in charge of implementing the policy. “It’s not enough just to pass a law,” Shannon Minter, legal director of NLCR, told the Bay Area Reporter. “If you do that without changing the minds of school officials, it doesn’t really change the problem. It’s not just about passing laws: it’s about changing people’s attitudes and positions about issues. In particular, when it’s about young children, it requires a lot of conversations.” The alarmist messages from opposition groups speculated on the possibilities of boys claiming to be girls so they could join girls field hockey teams or use girls restrooms just to get their jollies off. The reality is that policies in line with Ammiano’s bill are already in place in many schools and the results have not been the stuff on a National See page 10 >>

Community News >>

January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 7

Mission Station gets new police captain by Seth Hemmelgarn


he San Francisco Police Department’s Mission Station, which oversees the Castro and surrounding neighborhoods, has a new leader. Captain Robert Moser, 42, replaces Captain Greg Corrales, who’s been transferred to the police department’s unit at San Francisco International. Moser’s first day was January 17. In his new post, he’ll be dealing with crimes like anti-gay violence and assaults and issues like homelessness, which also take place in most other parts of the city. Besides the Castro, the Mission police district includes three other neighborhoods: Central Mission, Noe Valley, and Lower 24th Street. Moser, who was promoted to captain earlier this month, has been with the SFPD since 1995. He most recently worked as a lieutenant in the Bayview neighborhood. He’s also served in the stations overseeing the Tenderloin, South of Market, and other neighborhoods, and was once in charge of the SFPD’s internal affairs division. His salary is about $190,000. He oversees 153 sworn officers, lieutenants, and other personnel, along with seven civilians. Moser’s never been stationed in the Mission before, but his parents and grandparents lived in the district, and he grew up in Noe Valley. “I definitely have fond memories

Jane Philomen Cleland

Police Captain Robert Moser

as a child of the district,” Moser, who’s straight, said. He now lives near Twin Peaks. “What I really want to do is get out into the community,” he said, and talk to people through forums, including residents’ neighborhood meetings and the monthly captain’s gatherings at Mission Station, 630 Valencia Street. He said he looks forward to “getting to know the issues going on out there and addressing them in a collaborative way.” Moser said he wants to have a sergeant assigned to each community organization in the district so that groups have a specific person they can go to when they have issues. Community policing is “one of the

things I really hold dear to my heart,” Moser said. He said enforcement is just one part of effective policing. Other aspects include “having the community as our eyes and ears” and educating people on “how to keep from being victims of crime.” Moser has previously worked Castro area events such as Halloween and the Castro Street Fair. Another large party he’ll be faced with soon is Pink Saturday, the annual street festival that takes place in June every year and draws several thousand people to the neighborhood. He said he hasn’t had an opportunity “to really get into the nuts and bolts” of the operation, but he said Sergeant Chuck Limbert, See page 17 >>

Nightlife fans, residents reveal concerns at SOMA meeting by David Duran


ooking to concerns about protecting nightlife in the South of Market district while allowing for more residential construction, area residents and entertainment officials met last week and heard a number of views on the issue. The rezoning proposal, known as the Western SOMA plan, recommends that: (1) entertainment be left as a legal, non-conforming use in the mixed neighborhoods north of Harrison Street, (2) zoning south of Harrison Street be changed to make all forms of entertainment a fully permitted use, (3) the nonconforming status that every existing venue holds remain with the property for a reasonable length of time following demolition of a building so that it could be built into new construction, and (4) accessory entertainment be allowed in the Folsom Street Neighborhood Commercial District. The plan is expected to go up for a vote later this year or in 2013. At the January 18 meeting of the SOMA Leadership Council, Dennis Juarez from Slim’s and longtime local resident Gayle Rubin facilitated the discussion. There were many different voices represented at the meeting. The most outspoken group were those from the Entertainment Commission and the nightlife community. “Culture of nightlife and entertainment was not taken into consideration, they are afraid to advocate on their behalf in fear of losing to neighbors and being singled out by the ABC,” said drag performer Anna Conda, who sits on the Entertainment Commission and whose real name is Glendon Hyde. He was referring to the state

David Duran

Jakkee Bryson, left, and Anna Conda (real name Glendon Hyde), right, were among those who participated in the SOMA Leadership Council meeting last week.

Alcoholic Beverage Control. Conda went on to make a case for queer history and the importance of the implementation of a Queer Historical District. SOMA residents also voiced their concerns, although once they had their opportunity to speak they got up and left, leaving the room baffled as to why they didn’t want to hear what everyone else had to say. One resident stood up and said, “they can’t extend the area to make more money for themselves and if they do it, and lower my property value, this fight will be a big one.” Another resident, Teresa, who declined to give her last name, had a more emotional plea. “What do I tell my kids when we see people having sex in front of my house?” she asked. “We have tried to make this a family-friendly zone.” The fact that entertainment and the numerous clubs in the area bring revenue to the community was discussed, but residents were more concerned with the impact on the community than revenue. The city would like to see 4,000 more housing units be built in western SOMA over the next 20 years.

The Valencia and 21st Street neighborhood was brought up by Rubin as an example of what a Folsom Street business corridor could aspire to be. “As a woman, I could walk down Folsom and feel safe due to the mass amounts of gay men in the streets, now, I don’t feel safe here,” she said, referring to how Folsom used to be. One SOMA resident did make an impact among the back and forth side conversations that were taking place. Jakkee Bryson jumped in, trying to keep the peace. “I wanted to bring down the testosterone level,” she told the Bay Area Reporter. Bryson believes there could easily be compromise between neighbors and entertainment venues. “I love entertainment that doesn’t infringe on someone’s home and privacy,” she added. When asked about the turnout at the meeting, she said, “I hope these people all come back and speak up.” The SOMA Leadership Council meets the third Wednesday of each month and residents as well as other interested parties are encouraged to attend. More information can be found at▼

<< Open Forum

8 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012

Volume 42, Number 04 January 26-February 1, 2011

Prop 8 repeal effort DOA M

Thomas E. Horn Bob Ross (Founder, 1971 – 2003) NEWS EDITOR Cynthia Laird ARTS EDITOR Roberto Friedman ASSISTANT EDITORS Matthew S. Bajko Seth Hemmelgarn Jim Provenzano CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dan Aiello • Tavo Amador • Erin Blackwell Roger Brigham • Scott Brogan Victoria A. Brownworth • Philip Campbell Heather Cassell • Chuck Colbert Richard Dodds • David Duran Raymond Flournoy • David Guarino Liz Highleyman • Brandon Judell John F. Karr • Lisa Keen • Matthew Kennedy David Lamble • Michael K. Lavers Michael McDonagh • Paul Parish Lois Pearlman • Tim Pfaff • Jim Piechota Bob Roehr • Donna Sachet • Adam Sandel Jason Serinus • Gregg Shapiro Gwendolyn Smith • Ed Walsh • Sura Wood

ART DIRECTION Kurt Thomas PRODUCTION MANAGER T. Scott King PHOTOGRAPHERS Jane Philomen Cleland Marc Geller Rick Gerharter Lydia Gonzales Rudy K. Lawidjaja Steven Underhill Bill Wilson ILLUSTRATORS & CARTOONISTS Paul Berge Christine Smith


LEGAL COUNSEL Paul H. Melbostad

Best Bay Area Community Newspaper 2006 San Francisco Bay Area Publicity Club

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arriage equality activists in California would do well to study the legislative effort now under way up north in Washington, where the state is on the cusp of achieving equal civil marriage for same-sex couples. Advocates there took their time, using the last couple years to build crucial support and it paid off. This month the governor announced her support, and Washington United for Marriage has formed an impressive coalition of backers, including businesses and political leaders. According to press reports, four Republican lawmakers also signaled their support for the legislation, something that was unheard of here in California several years ago when state Senator Mark Leno’s (D-San Francisco) civil marriage law was passed by the Legislature and subsequently vetoed (twice) by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. And while there is the threat of a referendum by opponents like the National Organization for Marriage if the bill passes, it’s clear that a shift is occurring among politicians – especially Democrats – who once ran away from marriage equality. Meanwhile, the small Love Honor Cherish group is trying to put an initiative on the California ballot this year that would repeal Proposition 8, the state’s same-sex marriage ban. But it’s clear that organizers don’t have the funds to be successful. Love Honor Cherish has until mid-May to collect signatures from about 1 million registered voters and set a selfimposed goal of raising $1 million by February. Judging from the comments its interim executive director made at a fundraiser last weekend in San Francisco, Love Honor Cherish is nowhere close to meeting either goal. People are hesitant to join the effort for many reasons, particularly large donors who are essential to helping bankroll a statewide

campaign. For one, Love Honor Cherish tried a similar repeal initiative in 2010 but was unsuccessful in collecting the needed signatures. Now it wants to try again, but there is barely more infrastructure in place than there was two years ago. Many LGBTs and allies are leery of another statewide campaign. It would probably cost as much, if not more, than the Prop 8 fight (both sides raised and spent around $40 million, making it the most expensive initiative campaign ever in California and the most expensive in the 2008 election except for the presidential race). Raising that kind of money requires buy-in from donors large and small, and so far, that community support isn’t evident. While about 100 people showed up at Love Honor Cherish’s San Francisco event last weekend, thousands of people would need to turn out at events every week to garner the support and financial backing required for a

statewide campaign. But the biggest obstacle is one that neither Love Honor Cherish nor anyone else can control: the federal Prop 8 lawsuit that now sits before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A threejudge panel is expected to issue its decision soon on upholding a trial judge’s ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. But that court’s decision likely won’t be the end of the issue, as most legal observers believe the Prop 8 case is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. And as long as that case is active before the courts, most marriage equality advocates are unwilling to pony up resources for another nasty ballot fight. Love Honor Cherish would be wise to consider the fact that until the federal court case is concluded, the issue is really in limbo. Instead of trying to raise money that isn’t there, it should be utilizing its supporters to focus on public education and building bridges with lawmakers and other leaders in the event that Prop 8 is upheld. Because if that happens, we anticipate the community would be willing to wage a campaign to repeal Prop 8.▼

Gay Christians offended by Gingrich by Ed Ness


e are not “secular bigots.” Bigot is a strong word to hurl at someone. It especially hurts when you have personally been the target of bigotry. On top of that, to be called a secular or non-God loving bigot is too much. As a gay man who is a Christian, these words cut straight to the core. The phrase “secular bigot” was voiced by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich during the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire earlier this month. Debate moderator Diane Sawyer asked, “Given that you oppose gay marriage, what do you want gay people to do who want to form loving, committed, long-term relationships? What is your solution?” Gingrich accused the supporters of marriage equality and same-sex couples adopting children as being “secular bigots.” He asked, “Should the Catholic Church be forced to close its adoption services in Massachusetts because it won’t accept gay couples, which is exactly what the state has done. Should the Catholic Church be driven out of providing charitable services in the District of Columbia because it won’t give in to secular bigotry?” As a Christian who happens to be gay, I find it difficult to understand how being a supporter of marriage equality and child adoption by my partnered friends makes me a secular bigot. My friend Todd Ferrell is president of a faith-based organization headquartered in San Francisco called the Evangelical Network (www.T-E-N. org/). TEN is an association of LGBT affirming evangelical Christian ministries that advocates for gay Christians. This association knows that it is okay to be Christian and gay. “We are Christians!” exclaimed Ferrell in a press release sent out January 9 in response to the debate. “What Speaker Gingrich and the other candidates don’t understand is how out of step they are with society and the church. While they seek to capture the attention of conservative evangelical voters, they fail to see that recent polls show Catholics, mainline Protestants, and evangelical voters are ever increasing in their desire for equality for the gay community.” Ferrell continued, “We don’t want the Catholic Church or any church to close their adoption programs. How does this make us secular bigots? Secular is apart from God. Bigots are people

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich

who try to hold others back. We do not want to hold anyone back. Calling people names is not a Christian value and must stop.” The Evangelical Network includes local affiliates, Freedom in Christ Church in San Francisco and Celebration of Faith Church in San Jose as well as 16 other churches and ministries in the U.S. and Canada. A consistent theology among the affiliates is the understanding that there are no anti-gay biblical references and no biblical reference that prohibits marriage between samesex partners. The Bible’s mention of homosexual activity in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah refers to gang rape. Other times the Bible describes ancient same-sex rituals used in the worship of pagan fertility deities, which it condemns. Rick Perry, the governor of Texas who has since dropped out of the Republican primary and endorsed Gingrich as the nominee, responded to Gingrich’s comments on Catholic Charities during the January 7 debate. “I am for a constitutional amendment that says that marriage is between a man and a woman at the federal level,” Perry said. “But this

administration’s war on religion is what bothers me greatly. When we see an administration that will not defend the Defense of Marriage Act, that gives their Justice Department clear instructions to go take the ministerial exception away from our churches.” Among the millions of young people who watched the debate were those who were questioning their own sexual orientation and gender identities. How do they feel about themselves when presidential candidates are calling them bigots if quietly inside they support marriage equality or same-sex adoption? How should children adopted by loving same-sex couples feel? Is winning at all costs, regardless of whom you hurt along the way, how we want to be in this country? This is the real war on religion, especially when those attitudes come from people who claim to be Christian. What happened to love your neighbor as yourself, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you? The Barna Research Group ( claimed in a survey conducted in 2007-2008 that 60 percent of gay adults felt their faith was very important to them, and 70 percent of gay adults identified as Christian. Approximately 40 percent of gay respondents said that they were absolutely committed to their Christian faith. The Public Religion Research Institute ( conducted its own study in July 2011. It found 52 percent of Catholics, 51 percent of white mainline Protestants, 34 percent of African American Protestants, and 19 percent of white evangelicals support samesex marriage. It also found that 47 percent of the general public supports same-sex marriage. These are significant numbers. Mr. Gingrich (and Mr. Perry), you might want to do some research before you make statements to today’s voters. To the LGBT community, I am sorry, on behalf of people who say they share my Christian faith yet choose not to be compassionate. Please understand some of us are fighting the good fight, the fight for love, patience, kindness, goodness, and grace. That is what Jesus taught and it is what being a Christian means to me.▼ Ed Ness resides in Oakland, California.

Politics >>

January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 9

Gay SF transit chair talks rail projects by Matthew S. Bajko


uffering from a detached retina last year and unable to read, Tom Nolan took time off from work. He recuperated at home while watching television, and one advertisement repeatedly caught his eye. The television commercial assailed the Central Subway project as a boondoggle and waste of taxpayer money. The 1.7 mile light-rail extension will connect the city’s Chinatown, Union Square and South of Market neighborhoods with a new underground route. City Attorney Dennis Herrera, at the time running to be mayor, paid for the ad. “I saw Dennis’s ad over and over again in which he complained about the cost of the project. What was bothersome to me was his ad said it cost over $1 billion because of millions of dollars in sweetheart deals,” recalled Nolan, a gay man who chairs the board of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. The claim was so galling, said Nolan, because Herrera is the agency’s legal adviser, meaning his office should have alerted the SFMTA board to any wrongdoing. “I told him either your people didn’t tell us and should have, or you should have prosecuted us,” said Nolan. He feared the political attacks could hamper federal financing for the project, which is already under construction. As it happened, the issue failed to catch on with voters and Herrera lost his bid for Room 200 at City Hall. Had Herrera won, the project “certainly, if not dead, would have been on life support,” said Nolan, adding that despite the dispute the two remain friends. As the leader of the SFMTA board, Nolan serves as one of the biggest boosters for the much-maligned Central Subway project. He traveled to Washington, D.C. shortly after the November election with Ed Reiskin, head of the city transit agency, to meet with federal officials about the new subway line. “They all knew about the election in terms of the project. I was very happy to say that the biggest critic in the race came in third,” said Nolan. “The top two finishers were very supportive.” Not only did Mayor Ed Lee, a major backer of the new subway line, win the race, but District 11 Supervisor John Avalos, who placed second, also supported the project. It will eventually connect his constituents in Visitacion Valley to Chinatown via a faster route, say transit planners. “It takes 70,000 people a day off the streets of Chinatown,” noted Nolan. “People think there are alternatives to this. I question if they’ve ever been to Chinatown. The streets are so narrow; people talk about bus rapid transit like we plan to do on Van Ness. I don’t know how to do that in Chinatown.” The project recently cleared a major hurdle for federal financing and is close to being granted a full funding agreement by the Federal Transit Administration. Nolan won’t


Transmissions From page 6

these crimes from happening in the first place, so again, how does this bill prevent them from continuing in the future? No, all this bill really serves to do is criminalize a transgender person

Jane Philomen Cleland

Guests greeted outgoing Project Open Hand Executive Director Tom Nolan, right, at a farewell party the agency had for him last fall.

celebrate until the project clears Congress. “I tend to be cautious,” said Nolan, adding that his reticence is due to the fact that “I don’t trust people in Congress will do anything for San Francisco or (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco).” He will have plenty of time over the coming months to continue to lobby for the new Muni line, as well as other important public transit projects. After 18 years as executive director of Project Open Hand, which serves meals to seniors, people living with HIV and AIDS and other lifethreatening illnesses in San Francisco and Alameda counties, Nolan is stepping down. His last day will be Tuesday, January 31. “I am not looking forward to my last day and walking out of here. I love this place,” said Nolan, who turns 67 next month. On the eve of his retirement, Nolan sat down with the Bay Area Reporter to discuss his future plans. First he and his longtime partner, Larry Friesen, will head to Puerto Vallarta next month, though Nolan hopes his retirement will be short lived. He has already approached both Lee and Governor Jerry Brown about the possibility of joining either man’s administration. “I just decided I wanted to do one more thing,” Nolan said, adding that his next job likely won’t be at the helm of another nonprofit. “I would prefer not raising money anymore.” Former Mayor Gavin Newsom first appointed Nolan to the SFMTA board in 2006, and in 2009, he became chair. This is his fourth consecutive year as chair, and Nolan would like to serve another four-year term on the board. “I could conceivably be here when the Central Subway opens,” said Nolan, who lives in the city’s Cathedral Hill neighborhood. His interest in regional transit issues dates back to his time as a San Mateo County supervisor in the late 1980s. Nolan also served as a board representative on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Sam Trans Board and was the founding chairman of the Caltrain Joint Powers Board. A love for rail was instilled in him as a boy growing up in Waverly, New York. His father, James Nolan, was a

mechanic who worked on trains for the Lehigh Valley Railroad that ran between Buffalo and New York City. “At night I would see the trains come through and see the people on them. I would think to myself, ‘I want to go. I don’t care where they are going, I just want to go,’” recalled Nolan. He supports another controversial train project, the plan to build highspeed rail in California. Not only does he advocate for having the line end at the new Transit Center being built in downtown San Francisco, Nolan also contends the project would boost Caltrain as it would electrify its system and speed up its Peninsula route. He also backs extending Muni’s street trolley cars from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Marina by using an old tunnel that cuts through Fort Mason. Both projects have their detractors, but Nolan contends they don’t see the bigger picture. “We should not look at these things by cost but what the benefits will be when they are done,” he said. “I feel like that with high-speed rail. Think what Caltrain can be when it is electrified and goes to downtown San Francisco.” One proposal he has not fully endorsed is gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos’s push to have Muni be free for youth. Set to become chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority next week, Campos continues to champion the idea. If Campos can find a way to pay for it, estimated to cost as much as $8 million, without cannibalizing the Muni budget, Nolan said the policy likely would be approved. “It has to come from somewhere,” Nolan said of the funding. In order to save $67 million a year from Muni’s budget Nolan would like to boost the average bus speed from 8 to 9 miles an hour. To do it, he said, would mean eliminating some bus stops. A plan to consolidate routes on several major bus lines should be released in February. When it comes before the SFMTA board, Nolan is prepared for another bruising battle. “My job is looking out for the whole city and at the same time looking out for neighborhoods and communities. At the end of the day it is very tricky,” said Nolan. “At some point the greater good has got to prevail over individual concerns.”▼

who is attempting to use a restroom that is appropriate to their physical appearance, their gender identity, and their gender expression. If this is truly about keeping people safe in the restroom, then something quite the opposite of this bill is in order. We need to consider protecting all women and men, regardless

of the gender assigned to them at birth, and finally do away with the transphobic, inaccurate bathroom meme.▼ Gwen Smith feels a chill when politicians talk of assaulting people like her. You can find her online at

<< Travel

10 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012

New bars, flights a draw to Puerto Vallarta by Ed Walsh


f you haven’t been to Puerto Vallarta lately, you haven’t been there. Four new gay bars and nightclubs opened over the past six months, and just after New Year’s, what used to be the most popular gay club in the city, Club Manana, closed. The newest gay hotel in the city, Amaca, has completed most of its renovation and is drawing good reviews. The city’s famous beachfront walkway known as the Malecon has been expanded to include roadway that runs alongside it. Now, the Malecon is a spacious pedestrian mall complete with pedestrian access to the beach. But for Bay Area travelers, the big news is that gay-friendly and budget-friendly Virgin America now flies nonstop from San Francisco International Airport. That service began in early December. About a three and a half hour flight from SFO, Puerto Vallarta is Mexico’s most popular gay destination. The city has a couple of dozen gay bars and nightclubs and about a dozen gay hotels and bed and breakfasts. For the uninitiated, almost all the gay stuff in Puerto Vallarta is in an area known as Zona Romantica (Romantic Zone). It is sometimes called the South Side or the Old Town, the latter being a misnomer since downtown is much older. Zona Romantica begins south of the Cuale River, just south of downtown. You can easily walk downtown and to the sights of the city from Zona Romantica. Unless you plan on doing a lot of driving outside of the city, a rental car is more trouble that it’s worth. The large public beach in Zona Romantica is called Los Muertos Beach. The unofficial gay section of that beach is called Blue Chairs Beach. It is directly in front of the Blue Chairs Hotel. But you don’t have to sit right in front of the hotel to be surrounded by gay folk. The beach with green chairs just south of the Blue Chairs, as well as the beach in front of the Lido Beach Club to the north, are just as gay. There are a number of tours and excursions focused on LGBTs. A transplanted Los Angeles couple run, which is an allpurpose concierge service that organizes popular Friday gay zip lining and hiking excursions through the jungle outside of Puerto Vallarta. The service also can arrange everything from airport pickups to gay-friendly hotel and condo bookings and they are not afraid to give you their honest opinion about hotels and attractions in the city. First timers should not pass up the Puerto Vallarta gay bar-hopping tour. It is run by a couple of locals


Jock Talk From page 6

Lampoon movie. “San Francisco and Los Angeles unified school districts already have pretty good policies on this issue” Minter said. “And there are some individual schools across the state that have been very supportive. But there have been some parents who have had real difficulty getting schools to understand this issue and being supportive of transgender students.” Minter said NCLR and TLC had been talking with Ammiano’s office “for about a year or more about including transgender students in sports. We were very excited. But I think it was an evolving process and we started to realize that we really needed to bring in more people.”

Ed Walsh

Guest Hunter Windham visits with Diana DeCoste, the out owner of Diana’s Tours.

who can give you the lay of the land as you bar hop. A restaurant stop is included at the start of the tour. It’s a good way to get your bearings in Puerto Vallarta and at the same time meet some fellow travelers who you will likely run into again and again during your stay. Diana’s Tours is a must for any gay visitor. The all-day cruise runs every Thursday and sometimes on Friday if the Thursday boat fills up. The catamaran journey first stops for snorkeling at Los Arcos, the iconic giant hollowed out rocks south of the city, then stops at a private beach and finally a lunch stop at a remote beachfront restaurant. The lunch, drinks, and snacks onboard are included. The cruise is mostly gay male but is popular with lesbians and is straight-friendly. Service is impeccable. Your glass will never be empty. The other popular cruises in town are the Wet and Wild and Sunset tours, which run on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The excursions are similar to Diana’s but are sexually charged and very seldom have women. Very friendly go-go boy types are on the cruise and work for tips. The Boana Hot Springs tour is a great way to get away from the city and meet other gay tourists in a relaxed setting. It runs every Tuesday night.

A bus picks up tour-goers from Zona Romantica and heads out for about a 45-minute drive into the jungle. It includes an all-you-can-eat chicken dinner served alongside three wading pools of different temperatures. Unlimited booze and soft drinks are also included. The excursion is for men only and is clothing-optional. The service is impeccable. Like the Wet and Wild cruise, a few local go-go boy types go along and work for tips.

Kristina Wertz, legal director of TLC, said transgender youth are vulnerable to excessive amounts of harassment and deserve access to the programs that will help them build their self-esteem. “The discrimination and harassment that transgender youths can face can be life threatening,” Wertz said. “For transgender youth, we see incredibly high rates of harassment and bullying and a lack of appropriate programs. Sports is an incredibly important part of their experience and education. They have the right to access everything that is a part of the school experience. That means equal access to sports and other programs.” Wertz said TLC will reach out over the course of the next year to “allies in Sacramento, folks in school systems,

LGBT and youth organizations” and hopes the bill will be re-introduced next year. “We really wanted to give ourselves a little more time to get some more school districts and key officials and the scholastic federation on board to make sure they were genuinely part of this process,” Minter said. “What we’ve seen with this issue is initially people just do not understand it, but when they’ve had a chance to meet some of the kids and families and a little bit of a chance to process it, people are very supportive. Our goal is to change the culture in schools across the state. “The good news is that if we do take the time, the majority of people are very supportive. But we need to have those conversations,” he added.▼

LGBT center Puerto Vallarta has had an LGBT center for a little over two years. It is in Zona Romantica. SETAC is an allpurpose community center providing services to the gay and non-gay community alike. If you want to learn some Spanish while you are in town, the center offers Spanish classes for about $5 a session. Proceeds help support the center. A free movie is shown every Friday night. The movie is either in English with Spanish subtitles or vice versa. Free rapid HIV tests are available and the center distributes free condoms. SETAC also hosts English-speaking AA meetings.

Nightlife Puerto Vallarta’s nightlife scene is ever changing but be sure to check out the excellent resource, www. See page 11 >>

Travel >>

January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 11

Visitors enjoy the view from the rooftop bar at the Amaca Hotel in Puerto Vallarta.

a great gourmet meal in a wonderful setting for very reasonable prices. Hotel Mercurio is perfectly situated just a half-block from Olas Altas in easy walking distance to the gay beach and all the gay nightlife. A hot buffet breakfast is included. Hotel Mercurio has budget prices with much better than budget accommodations. The friendly staff can direct you to all things gay in Puerto Vallarta. Whether you are staying there or not, be sure to stop by for a drink during the hotel’s late afternoon poolside happy hour.

Getting there The addition of Virgin America’s flights from SFO is a big boost to the city’s tourism. Virgin has been offering some great fare deals but you can expect prices to rise as more people know they are out there. Before Virgin, only Alaska and United flew to Puerto Vallarta. Alaska charges to check a bag to Puerto Vallarta but Virgin and United do not, so keep that in mind if you are checking a bag and comparing prices. If you haven’t flown Virgin, it is worth checking out.


Ed Walsh

Puerto Vallarta From page 10, before you go or pick up a free copy when you get in town. It is published by former East Bay resident Mark Page and is constantly updated. His company also publishes a daily guide that will show you what’s going on when you get in town. A new free smartphone app is also available through the site. Ground zero for gay bars is the intersection of Lazaro Cardenas and Ignacio Lopez Vallarta. You could throw a rock from there and hit a handful of gay nightclubs and shops that cater to LGBTs. At that intersection, the rising star on the Puerto Vallarta nightlife scene is CC Slaughters. It just opened last month a half-block from Paco’s Ranch, which currently is the most popular late-night gay nightclub. Paco’s could face some serious competition from the new kid on the block. CC Slaughters is two nightclubs in one. One side is a lounge bar and the larger other side is a spacious disco with an openair courtyard. The club is modern, clean, and chic. If you’ve been to Portland, you may know the CC Slaughters there. The same owners run the Puerto Vallarta club. Another new gay bar that sprang up in the last few months is Freedom. It is across the street from CC Slaughters in the space where Picante used to be. Freedom has been struggling to build up a clientele and is usually open only on weekends. But it is a great space and in a perfect location and has a lot of potential. Hot Fridas is on Olas Altas, which is Zona Romantica’s main street, just over the longtime gay bar, Apaches. This bar and restaurant has a cheery modern feel and is creating a good buzz in the hood. Hot Fridas is not to be confused with Fridas, one of the mainstay gay bars and restaurants that is known for the friendly downto-earth crowd of locals and visitors alike. You can eat very well at the old Fridas for less than $10. Hot Fridas is more upscale and more expensive. You may have heard talk about the newest gay bar to open in Puerto Vallarta. It was called Crema, but it closed after just a few days. The gay couple who owned it were arrested for

embezzling money from Vanderbilt University. Crema had occupied the space where Los Balcones used to be. Crema was among only three gay bars in downtown Puerto Vallarta. Now there are just two. No Borders, a bear/leather/cowboy bar is just across the street from the Crema/Balcones space. The other is a stripper bar called Anthropology, just north of the Cuale River, making it technically part of downtown, not Zona Romantica. For the restless, you can easily barhop on foot to all the Zona Romantica and downtown gay bars. The city is safe, but if you are returning from a bar late at night or are by yourself, it’s a good idea to take a cab. Another bar that opened recently is just across the street from Wet, Puerto Vallarta’s other stripper bar. Los Equipales Grill, at 315A Basillo Badillo, is owned by a Mexican lesbian couple. It may be the city’s most Mexican gay bar. They play only Mexican music and serve Mexican food. Although their clientele is mostly gay male, it is very women welcoming. The owners estimate that about 80 percent of their customers are gay men, and the rest are lesbian, transgender, or straight. There are no lesbian bars in Puerto Vallarta, but Apaches is lesbian-owned and is very women and straight-friendly. The space once occupied by Club Manana is scheduled to reopen on Saturday, February 11, as Kokohome. The club’s owner, Israel Ortiz, told the Bay Area Reporter this week that the club will feature DJs from all over the world and a new and improved lighting system. But Ortiz said that the club will only be open on Saturdays and only during high season, which in Puerto Vallarta, includes the busy winter season, early spring, and late fall.

Accommodations The aforementioned Amaca is the newest gay hotel in Puerto Vallarta. It used to be the Descanso del Sol and was famous for its rooftop bar long before the Blue Chairs Hotel stole the limelight. The new owner is a Texan who has obviously poured a lot of money into renovating the hotel’s 22 rooms. The rooftop bar and pool are open to non- guests. It has some of the best views of Puerto Vallarta you will find anywhere

and is a quieter alternative to Blue Chairs’ sunset bar scene. Villa David is the only gay accommodation option in downtown Puerto Vallarta. It has nine rooms surrounding a courtyard pool and includes a hot cooked breakfast. It is about a mile walk to the Blue Chairs beach and about half that to most of the Zona Romantica gay clubs. It is for men only and clothing optional. The gay couple who own the property are hands-on and the B&B is very well maintained. The upscale gay boutique hotel, Casa Cupula, is owned by San Franciscan Don Pickens and routinely ranks near the top of all hotels, gay or straight, in Puerto Vallarta on The property sits on a hill with ocean views, just a 10-minute walk to Olas Altas, Zona Romantica’s main street. It has a pool, two hot tubs, and one of the best gyms that you will find in any hotel. A continental breakfast is included in the hotel’s fabulous Taste restaurant. By the way, be sure to stop by Taste for

The airline’s state-of-the-art planes feature an entertainment system with every seat in coach. On the music selection, there is even a channel for music from LGBT artists. It costs $25 to take a taxi from Puerto Vallarta’s airport to Zona Romantica, but you can get a cab for about half the price by walking over the footbridge to the yellow taxis waiting on the other side. Usually, they will take you for about 150 pesos, or about $12. They may ask more if they are busy or if there are a lot of passengers or luggage, but don’t give them more than $20. It’s not customary to tip cab drivers in Mexico, but if you are given extra service, a couple of bucks more is appreciated. Diana’s tours also offers a VIP service. For only $20, you will be greeted at the airport with someone holding a sign with your name on it. You will be escorted to a waiting air-conditioned car. Her drivers know where all the gay hotels are, so you won’t have any problems with the driver trying to find your hotel. Diana’s Tours is a good way to go for first-timers.▼

12 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971

Read more online at

January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 13

14 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971

Read more online at

January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 15

<< Community News

16 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012


Marriage From page 1

A Gallup poll in May found that 53 percent of Americans now support marriage for gays and lesbians, but marriage equality bills in New Jersey and Washington state underscore the added sense of urgency behind the new campaign. This week, advocates in Washington state announced that there are enough votes in the


AIDS quilt From page 1

in talks with the family that owns the Market and Noe Center near the heart of the LGBT neighborhood to put on public view 40 sections of the hand-stitched memorial to loved ones lost to the AIDS epidemic. Roughly 320 individual panels from the AIDS quilt that are stored locally would be showcased at the vacant shopping center. Organizers said it would be the largest collection


Project Open Hand From page 1

Project Open Hand delivers 2,600 meals a day. It also distributes groceries weekly to about 1,500 people, mostly in San Francisco, but also about 300 in Alameda County. The organization has 115 staff, and there are more than 100 volunteers every day. Nolan, who served as executive director at Project Open Hand for about 17 years, revealed his plans to leave the agency almost a year ago. Winge’s selection as the new director was announced in October. His first day in the top job was January 16. His salary is $200,000. Like many other nonprofits, Project Open Hand is facing some financial challenges, but Winge said that Nolan and the board “have been very open about everything” and “there are no surprises.” It should help that Open Arms of Minnesota has followed a path similar to Project Open Hand’s. Winge said Open Arms started after the late Ruth Brinker founded Project Open Hand in 1985, and he was the Minnesota group’s first employee. Much of Open Arms’ work has been modeled on Project Open Hand, Winge said. Like Project Open Hand, Open Arms began by providing meals to people with HIV and AIDS. Also like the San Francisco agency, Open Arms

Legislature to pass the bill, which has the strong backing of Governor Chris Gregoire. Maryland legislators are expected to debate a marriage equality bill in the coming months, while Maine voters in November will decide whether to overturn a ban on nuptials for same-sex couples that they approved in 2009. North Carolina voters in May will consider a constitutional amendment that would prohibit marriage for gays

and lesbians. Minnesotans face a similar ballot initiative in November. New Hampshire lawmakers had been scheduled to vote on a measure this month that would overturn their state’s marriage equality law that took effect in January 2010, but leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature have postponed it until at least February. In North Carolina, site of the Democratic National Convention in September, supporters are hopeful

they can defeat the amendment. “We have extraordinary momentum in North Carolina to be the first state in the country to actually turn back one of these hateful and discriminatory amendments,” Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt told Bay Area Reporter after the press conference. A Public Policy Polling survey in December found that 58 percent of North Carolina voters support the proposed amendment, while 56

percent back either marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples. “It’s events like this that demonstrate this broad level of support across the country for marriage equality will actually enhance that momentum,” said Kleinschmidt. Solomon said that Freedom to Marry would ask the mayors to help secure marriage equality in their home states and to advocate for repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.▼

of quilts to be shown in the city since the Names Project Foundation, the nonprofit that cares for the panels, closed its Castro workshop on Market Street in 1999 and relocated the next year to Atlanta. Several factors came together in recent months to make the displaying of the quilt possible, said Mike Smith, a cofounder of the Names Project Foundation who stepped down from the board of directors last November after a sixyear term.

“It was a combination of people wanted to do it, the space is available, and Valentine’s week is a nice time to think about loved ones,” said Smith, executive director of the AIDS Emergency Fund. Smith has been working with Petyr Kane, the owner of Castro clothing stores Citizen and Body, and officials with Under One Roof, the Castro store that donates profits to local HIV/AIDS groups, on the display. Details are still being finalized, but plans call for showing

the quilt panels for up to eight days beginning Sunday, February 12. The show would be free and open to the public, though donations for local AIDS organizations would be suggested. “This isn’t being set up as a fundraiser,” said Smith. The Names Project Foundation dates its history back to 1985 when Cleve Jones had participants in that year’s annual candlelight march honoring the deaths of gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk

and Mayor George Moscone write down the names of people lost to AIDS onto placards that were then attached to the federal building near City Hall. Two years later Jones, Smith, and several other people opened the Castro storefront and the AIDS quilt was officially born. According to the foundation’s website, the AIDS Memorial Quilt now weighs in at 54 tons and includes more than 47,000 panels dedicated to more than 90,000 individuals.▼

eventually started serving people with other illnesses, as well as seniors. In an interview late last month, Nolan called Winge “very creative,” and said, “I think people are really going to like him a lot.”

In an interview in late December, Nolan said there had been an overreliance on budgeting a line item for expected bequests before they actually came in. He said that last year’s budget included $500,000 in that area, but the agency only received $176,000. The shortfall in bequests is “almost entirely” responsible for an anticipated budget gap this year, Winge said. He said expenses have risen, but revenue for almost every line other than bequests is meeting projections. Winge said this week that within the next couple years, he wants Project Open Hand to stop including bequests in its operating budget and instead put them in reserve or save them for capital expenses for things like replacing equipment. “We’re going to have to use some of our reserve this year to balance the budget,” he said. He didn’t know exactly how much of a gap there’d be. The agency’s fiscal year ends June 30. Nolan said that he’d urged the board to look at its reserve policy. He said they currently have three months of reserves – slightly more than $2 million – and they could stand to take out as much as a third of that. He said the agency is facing the “rainy day” with which the reserve is meant to help, “and we need to use some of that now.”

Winge agreed, saying, “It’s a rainy day right now.” But he also indicated he’s not going to rely just on the agency’s reserves to patch up the expected budget shortfall. “My job as executive director is to help raise as much money as we can and run as lean an organization as possible,” Winge said. He planned to start meeting with current donors soon and would start looking for sources of assistance, and he also expressed eagerness to work on Project Open Hand’s three-to-five-year vision. Winge said he wouldn’t make any quick calls on staffing, and he emphasized that he wouldn’t be making decisions on his own. He also pledged to continue Nolan’s practice of being open about Project Open Hand’s finances. “Project Open Hand is owned by the community,” Winge said. “That requires transparency.” He said he’d also continue the monthly lunch meetings with clients and others at the agency for which Nolan was known. At least one Project Open Hand client appeared to be looking forward to meeting Winge. Don Benorden, 39, who’s also a volunteer with the agency, said in an interview last month that he hadn’t met Winge, but “I believe he’s going to bring in some new blood” and “some new excitement.”

began international work, people were concerned it would take resources away from local issues, but he said the global spread of AIDS “became an ethical dilemma for me,” and he felt it wouldn’t be right to turn away from the needs of people in other countries. Project Open Hand’s new executive director also discussed another project that’s been important to him and the agency: peanut butter. The San Francisco agency makes its own peanut butter and sells it in several retail outlets. Winge said that he ate some on his birthday this week, and he’s already gone through two containers. “I was eating peanut butter and jam on my birthday,” he laughed. Proceeds from each peanut butter purchase benefit Project Open Hand’s meal and nutrition services and raise awareness about the organization. The agency’s doing a cost-benefit analysis on the product, Winge said. He didn’t know whether it costs more to make the product than what it’s bringing in, but he said there are intangible factors to consider such as whether it’s increasing awareness of the agency. Project Open Hand is located in the Sierra Club’s old building on Polk Street. It rents space to Shanti and the Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center. Winge and his partner, Kevin Shores, 52, have rented an apartment in a nearby high-rise for their home.

Dealing with finances Winge said he didn’t yet know what he’d do about the biggest challenges facing Project Open Hand, which is facing a budget gap this year. “I’m not coming in with any agenda,” Winge said, although he does have “some ideas.” Winge’s originally from Minnesota but moved to New York City in 1983. He became involved in AIDS-related work in the 1990s after losing some of his closest friends to the disease. Winge himself is HIVnegative. Before his career switch, he worked in fundraising, frequently consulting with nonprofits. That experience should be helpful in his new job, he said. At just under $10 million, Project Open Hand’s annual budget is about three times the size of that of Open Arms, which has a budget of a little less than $3 million. Winge said he doesn’t like to dwell on the “bad economy,” but funding is the agency’s first challenge, and his “top priority.” “Without the money, we can’t provide the services,” he said.

International work

Obituaries >> James Michael Donahoe Jr. July 28, 1964 – December 22, 2011

Artist, dreamer, lover of nature and animals. A tenderhearted, quick-witted, beloved friend who will always live in our hearts. Die young, stay pretty. A celebration of James’s life will be held on Saturday, January 28 at 1 p.m. in the Circle of Friends at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. Form more information contact: Donations in his memory can be made to Ward 86, San Francisco General Hospital Foundation c/o CoE Coordinator, 995 Potrero Avenue, Ward 82, Box 0872 SF, CA 94110.

Greg Garcia August 10, 1956 – February 5, 2011

The birth of cool happened on August 10, 1956 in Corona, California. Greg Garcia: lover, friend, artist, teach-

er, biker, actor, muse. There isn’t anyone that spent time with Greg whose life wasn’t bettered because of it. Greg loved adventure and nature, and his artistic talents were inspired by road trips and friends. He cared deeply for his family: both chosen and given; and went to great lengths keep them safe. He possessed talent, abilities, and a heart all seemingly too big to be contained in one human. Greg inspired excellence in all. Ever generous with his time and resources, Greg taught children how to draw cartoon animation, helped people make core decisions in their lives, and brought skills out of people they didn’t know they had. Truly a superhero in our eyes, that hero lives on in his artistic work in print and television; from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The PJs, Bump in the Night, to Biker Mice From Mars and Happy Tree Friends. His death leaves a large hole in our lives. Greg is survived by his steadfast partner of many years, Mark Connely; his family and a large crowd of howling bikers across the U.S. and around the world.

Sylvia Moreno January 6, 1946 – January 14, 2012

Sylvia Moreno, MSW, passed away peacefully in her sleep on January

14. She is best remembered in San Francisco for her tireless dedication to the medically underserved HIV community at Mission Neighborhood Health Center. Sylvia was the first social worker for Clinica Esperanza. She was a remarkable woman, with a generous, loving, and spicy spirit. She was loved by many and she touched many lives. Friends will get together at the Rose Garden in Golden Gate Park on Saturday, January 28 at 10:30 a.m. She loved roses. Bring a rose if you wish.

Obituary policy Obituaries should be e-mailed toobituaries@ebar. com. They must be no longer than 200 words. Please follow normal rules of capitalization – and no poetry. We reserve the right to edit for style, clarity, grammar, and taste. Please provide the name and contact information for the funeral home, crematory, or organ donation agency that handled final disposition of the body. This is for verification. Please submit a photo of the deceased. E-mail a recent color jpg. Deadline for obituaries is Monday at 9 a.m., with the exception of special display ad obituaries, which must be submitted by Friday at 3 p.m. For information on paid obituaries, call (415) 861-5019. Obituaries can be mailed to Bay Area Reporter, 395 9th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. Write the deceased’s name on the back of the photo. If you include a SASE for the photo’s return, write the person’s name on the inside of the envelope flap. All obituaries must include a contact name and daytime phone number. They must be submitted within a year of the death. For archived obituaries, go to obituaries.

One area that Project Open Hand and Open Arms of Minnesota don’t have in common is the international work with which the smaller agency is involved. While he was there, Winge led the nonprofit to create partnerships to provide nutrition services to people affected by HIV in Ethiopia, Namibia, and South Africa. Asked if Project Open Hand would become engaged in similar efforts, Winge said, “Right now I think our plates are full, so I don’t know.” However, he doesn’t want to just walk away from the efforts, and said he plans to keep working with international partners as “a free agent” for a year. Winge said when Open Arms

Nolan’s bonus As Project Open Hand’s executive director, Nolan’s most recent salary has been $198,000. He’s also received a four-year incentive agreement worth $120,000. Additionally, Nolan had the possibility of getting a $20,000 bonus for staying through the end of January and helping Winge get acclimated. However, he said this week that he asked the board to rescind that offer, and it agreed. He was concerned the sum might look “exorbitant,” he said. He may do consulting work on future agency efforts and receive compensation, but he said, “the total would not be more than $20,000.”▼

On the web Online content this week includes articles on the president’s State of the Union address, an update on the Bradley Manning case, Occupy Redwood City, and the Out in the World column. Additionally, the Bay Area Reporter’s two online columns, Political Notes and Wedding Bell Blues, returned this week.

▼ <<

Community News >>

Castro plaza

From page 1

board for passage Tuesday, January 31. District 4 Supervisor Carmen Chu voted with Wiener in favor of the regulations. “I appreciate the passion. But I don’t believe it comes from a place of hate or discrimination,” said Chu after hearing more than two hours of testimony during the Monday, January 23 hearing. District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar, the committee’s chair, voted to oppose the measure although he does believe smoking should be banned in the plazas. Having toured the parklets with those opposed to the rules, Mar said he is concerned the regulations would hinder people’s civil rights. “My hope is you can really work with everyone to address the human and civil rights issues,” said Mar. The proposal has sparked months of controversy with critics


Mission Station From page 7

Mission Station’s LGBT liaison to the community, is working on the event. Moser said officials would work to make it “a safe and enjoyable event for everyone that attends.” Stephen Powell, 19, was shot to death around the time the 2010 Pink Saturday ended. Police have indicated they suspect people from outside the neighborhood were


News Briefs From page 2

Internal Revenue Service changed its approach to how it treats community property of California state-registered domestic partners, which also affects same-sex married couples. There are two workshops coming up to review the changes from 2010 as well as an update on how both tax preparation and estate planning has evolved over the past year in light of these changes. The workshops take place Wednesday, February 1 in San Francisco at the LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street and Tuesday, February 7 in Oakland at Bananas, 5232 Claremont Avenue. Both run from 6 to 8 p.m. They will be facilitated by attorney Alma Soongi Beck of the Beck Law Group and CPA Chris Kollaja of AL Nella and Company. Our Family Coalition and the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance are co-sponsors. Due to the high demand and limited space, pre-registration is required and can be done for the SF workshop by visiting and for Oakland by visiting There is a nominal $5 donation requested, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Additionally, Lambda Legal Education and Defense Fund is sponsoring a tax seminar in San Francisco today (Thursday, January 26) at 6 p.m. at the offices of Covington and Burling, 1 Front Street, 35th floor, in San Francisco. Panelists will include attorney and author Frederick Hertz, attorney Deb Kinney of DLK Law Group,

January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 17

complaining the rules were crafted without community input and needlessly target the homeless and queer youth. The issue has pitted anti-smoking activists and Castro residents against homeless advocates and a neighborhood nonprofit that offers services to LGBT youth. “San Francisco doesn’t need more cynical laws. There is a need to protect open spaces for all people,” said Laura Slattery, the executive director of the Gubbio Project, a daytime program for homeless people at Saint Boniface Church in the Tenderloin. Also speaking out against the proposed rules was Jodi Schwartz, executive director of the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center, better known as LYRIC. The program for LGBT youth is located on Collingwood Street in the Castro. “We are opposed to this and are troubled by the privatization of public space,” said Schwartz. “It really says that people with money

set the rules.” Residents who live nearby the plazas and local merchants, however, say the rules are needed to address unsafe behaviors, such as public urination and drug use, that particularly occur at Harvey Milk Plaza above the Castro Muni station. Kathy Amendola, a Castro resident who leads historic walking tours of the neighborhood, said she routinely encounters people smoking crack or injecting drugs at the benches below the flagpole in Milk plaza. “It is a safety issue and a public health issue,” she said. Those working to reduce tobacco use among LGBT people hailed the rule banning smoking at the plazas. A number of people spoke about the dangers of smoking, including second-hand smoke, and how they are unable to use the plazas unless they are smoke free. “Cigarette smoke makes it hard

for me to breath,” said Brian Davis, the project director for Freedom from Tobacco, a program of the LGBT Community Center. But medical marijuana advocates argued their needs to be a clear distinction that the use of doctorprescribed cannabis is allowed in the outdoor areas. “There are precious few places where medical cannabis users can medicate,” said David Goldman, a gay man who owns a home nearby the plazas and is a longtime patient advocate who served on the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Task Force. “Pot smoke is not like cigarette smoke.” One anti-smoking advocate said he had no objections to people using medical cannabis there. “Personally, I support an exemption for medical cannabis,” said Naphtali Offen, who cofounded the Coalition of Lavender Americans on Smoking and Health. Wiener said he did look into

whether other city ordinances governing public spaces had carved out exemptions for medical cannabis use but found no such examples. “It is consistent with what this legislation says,” said Wiener, noting the ordinance as written speaks only to cigarette smoke and says nothing about the use of vaporizers, a device some people use to inhale medical marijuana in a smokeless form. Wiener needs six votes from his fellow supervisors next week to approve the regulations. Those opposed to the rules are targeting Board President David Chiu as the swing vote on the 11-member board and have been urging him to vote against the proposal. Speaking to the Bay Area Reporter following the land use hearing, Wiener expressed optimism of seeing the measure be adopted. “I don’t want to speculate, but I think we have a good chance of getting this passed,” he said.▼

involved in the shooting. Limbert said he’s met with Pink Saturday organizers the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and he alluded to the concerns about people from outside the Castro area causing problems at the event in recent years. “This year is going to be a community-directed philosophy,” he said. “We encourage people from our LGBT community to come and participate.”

Limbert spoke highly of Moser. “I really like this captain,” he said, adding that Moser “comes with a very strong background in administration and also in the street.” He said Moser appears to be “really strongly committed to the community policing model,” which includes officers “actually getting out of the car and meeting people.” Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose District 8 includes the Castro,

previously got to know Moser when he was at the police department’s internal affairs unit and Wiener was working in the city attorney’s office. He said Moser is “terrific” and will be “a very strong captain for the neighborhood.” Wiener, who’s proposed legislation for rules on use of Jane Warner and Harvey Milk plazas, said his concerns in the neighborhood include homelessness, assaults, and hate crimes.

Asked about the switch in leadership at Mission Station, Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, noted station captains are often changed every two years or so. Corrales, who’s been with the department for more than 40 years, previously oversaw Mission Station from 2002 to 2004, and most recently led the station since November 2009. He didn’t respond to an emailed interview request.▼

and enrolled agent Karen Stogdill. RSVP is required and can be made by visiting www.lambdalegal. org/take-action/tax-season/protectyourself.

Hayward LGBT center Vegas night

its supporters as well as bring together people from all walks of the community to help raise muchneeded funds. Doors open at 6. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Price of the ticket includes $100 in

gaming tokens. For more information, call (510) 881-8167 or email or▼

Sober space seeks board members The Castro Country Club, a sober space in San Francisco’s gay neighborhood, is seeking interested people to join its advisory board. The club is currently in the midst of several changes related to the sale of its building and its efforts to keep it. Voting on advisory board candidates will take place at a community meeting that will be held Sunday, February 5 at 1 p.m. at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 100 Diamond Street. Those who are interested in joining the advisory board should send a statement explaining why they would like to serve. All statements received by January 31 will be posted at the club and on its Facebook page. Candidates should also possess the following criteria: be a member of the Castro Country Club community; have fundraising experience (either community, corporate, or foundation) or advocacy experience or nonprofit experience or board experience of some kind; make a two-year commitment to serve and have a desire to do so. Current advisory board members are: Crispin Hollings, chair; Christopher Altman, Mike Marshall, Rebecca Prozan, and Mike Shriver. Statements and the information can be submitted via email to Mike S, the advisory board secretary at or dropped off at the club, located at 4058 18th Street.

The Lighthouse Community Center will hold its annual fundraiser, Viva Las Vegas, on Saturday, February 4 from 6 to 10:30 p.m. at the Hayward City Hall rotunda, 777 B Street, in downtown Hayward. The Vegas-style evening will feature gaming, entertainment, food, and beverages. Special entertainment includes a performance by the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus ensemble, Cher impersonator Sasha, and a dance performance by the Golden Follies. Board President Robert Whitehead and Vice President Kari McAllister said that the event has become a great way for the center to thank

Seth Hemmelgarn contributed to this report.

Jane Philomen Cleland

Cheering that donation C

heer San Francisco on Tuesday, January 24 presented a check for $20,000 to the AIDS Emergency Fund. The money, from the group’s philanthropic Cheer for Life Foundation, will assist AEF in continuing its work of issuing emergency financial assistance to its clients. Cheer SF also

presented its Community Partner Award to the Until There’s A Cure Foundation. It has partnered with Cheer and the San Francisco Giants for the annual Until There’s A Cure Day at the ballpark, which has generated approximately $75,000 in charitable donations from baseball fans over the last 10 years.

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971

18 • Bay Area Reporter • January 26-February 1, 2012



Legal Notices>>


Legal Notices>> notice of application for change in OWNERSHIP OF alcoholic beverage License Dated 01/18/12 To Whom It May Concern: The name(s) of the applicant(s) is/are : GUO M ZHANG. The applicants listed above are applying to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control at 1515 Clay Street, Suite 2208, Oakland, CA 94612 to sell alcoholic beverages at 1559 Franklin St., San Francisco, CA 94109-4564. Type of license applied

41- On-sale BEER AND WINEeating place jan 26,2012 notice of application for change in OWNERSHIP OF alcoholic beverage License Dated 01/18/12 To Whom It May Concern: The name(s) of the applicant(s) is/are : CUONG THE DO. The applicants listed above are applying to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control at 1515 Clay Street, Suite 2208, Oakland, CA 94612 to sell alcoholic beverages at 2333-35 Irving St., San Francisco, CA 94122-1620. Type of license applied

41- On-sale BEER AND WINEeating place jan 26,2012 statement file A-034019000 The following person(s) is/are doing business as ROGUE,272 Sutter St., SF,CA 94108.This business is conducted by a corporation, signed Stanley L. Pas.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 12/22/11

jan 5,12,19,26,2012 statement file A-034020800 The following person(s) is/are doing business as AHA YOGA,1892 Union St., SF,CA 94123. This business is conducted by a limited liability company, signed Brigitta Herst.The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 12/13/11. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 12/23/11

jan 5,12,19,26,2012 statement file A-034029300 The following person(s) is/are doing business as BANGKOK BEST,301 Kearny St.,SF,CA 94108.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Mark Wannaviroj.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 01/03/12

jan 5,12,19,26,2012 statement file A-034029200 The following person(s) is/are doing business as CIRCUIT WEST,576 Sacramento St.,6th Floor, SF,CA 94111.This business is conducted by a coporation, signed David Carrasco.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 01/03/12

jan 5,12,19,26,2012 statement file A-034024000 The following person(s) is/are doing business as GREEN PETAL DESIGNS,101 Cortland Ave.,SF,CA 94110.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Janelle Jacky.The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 12/28/11. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 12/28/11

jan 5,12,19,26,2012 statement file A-034022900 The following person(s) is/are doing business as VAN MAREN CONCEPTS,406 B Washington Blvd.,SF,CA 94129.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Nicholas Christianson.The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 12/27/11. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 12/27/11

jan 5,12,19,26,2012 statement file A-034021600 The following person(s) is/are doing business as FLYING PIG BISTRO,433 South Van Ness Ave.,SF,CA 94103.This business is conducted by a general partnership, signed Benjamin Sapone. 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 12/23/11.

jan 5,12,19,26,2012 statement file A-034030000

statement file A-034067700 The following person(s) is/are doing business as AUTOWORLD COLLISION,5550 Mission St., SF,CA 94112.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Roger Wong. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/01/12. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/20/12.

jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012 statement file A-034045200 statement file A-034027800 The following person(s) is/are doing business as BAY AREA CARE GIVERS,907 Greenwich St., SF,CA 94133.This business is conducted by a general partnership, signed Mindy Tsoi.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 12/30/11.

jan 12,19,26,feb 2,2012 statement file A-034020700 The following person(s) is/are doing business as DIRECPARK LLC,1101 Sutter St., SF,CA 94109. This business is conducted by a limited liability company, signed Shuli Yao.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 12/23/11.

jan 12,19,26,feb 2,2012 statement file A-034031800 The following person(s) is/are doing business as EXCELSIOR QUALITY AUTO,4380 Mission St., SF,CA 94112.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Pedro F. Fiori Jr..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 01/04/12.

jan 12,19,26,feb 2,2012 statement file A-034030200 The following person(s) is/are doing business as THE 2 BANDITS,230 Oak St.,#44, SF,CA 94102. This business is conducted by an individual, signed Tamar Wider. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/03/12. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/03/12.

jan 12,19,26,feb 2,2012 statement file A-034042900 The following person(s) is/are doing business as 1.TEV LEE 2.TEV LEE PHOTOGRAPHY,135 South Park St.,SF,CA 94107.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Steven Lee. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/01/12. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/09/12.

jan 12,19,26,feb 2,2012 statement file A-034035000 The following person(s) is/are doing business as STOCKCARS TO ZEBRAS – SPORTS,NOVELTY, JEWELRY,760 Market St.,#731,SF,CA 94102.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Thore Aatlo. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/05/12. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/05/12.

jan 12,19,26,feb 2,2012 statement file A-034043700 The following person(s) is/are doing business as BE QUAKE READY NOW,180 Beaver St.,#3,SF,CA 94114.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Richard W. Mytton. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/01/12. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/10/12.

jan 12,19,26,feb 2,2012 state of california in and for the county of san francisco file# cnc-12-548356 In the matter of the application of KATE SOLODKY for change of name. The application of KATE SOLODKY for change of name having been filed in Court, and it appearing from said application that KATE SOLODKY filed an application proposing that his/her name be changed to KATE SOLODKY ROZENVASSER. Now therefore, it is hereby ordered, that all persons interested in said matter do appear before this Court in Room 514 on the 22nd of March, 2012 at 9:00 am of said day to show cause why the application for change of name should not be granted

jan 19,26,feb 2,9,2012 statement file A-034051700 The following person(s) is/are doing business as FIVE DOLLAR TRANSPORTS,473 Lynbrook Drive, Pacifica, CA 94044.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Franz Vargas. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/12/12. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/12/12.

jan 19,26,feb 2,9,2012 statement file A-034051300

The following person(s) is/are doing business as S&T SERVICING CO.,457 Jessie St.,3/F, SF,CA 94103.This business is conducted by a corporation, signed Roger Shum.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 01/03/12.

The following person(s) is/are doing business as CS DESIGN MANAGEMENT,499 Alabama St.,#117, CA 94110.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Carol Satriani. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/12/12. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/12/12.

jan 5,12,19,26,2012

jan 19,26,feb 2,9,2012

statement file A-034051600 The following person(s) is/are doing business as LAST STOP SOUVENIERS,498 Beach St., SF,CA 94133.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Ulises C.Napuri. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 06/01/11. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/12/12.

jan 19,26,feb 2,9,2012 statement file A-034032600 The following person(s) is/are doing business as SUN MAY GIFT CO., 1151 Grant Ave.,SF,CA 94133.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Reagan Huang.The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/4/12. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/4/12.

jan 19,26,feb 2,9,2012 state of california in and for the county of san francisco file# cnc-12-548367 In the matter of the application of CHARLES ULYSSES TATE II for change of name. The application of CHARLES ULYSSES TATE II for change of name having been filed in Court, and it appearing from said application that CHARLES ULYSSES TATE II filed an application proposing that his/her name be changed to CHARLOTTE URSULA TATE. Now therefore, it is hereby ordered, that all persons interested in said matter do appear before this Court in Room 514 on the 8th of March, 2012 at 9:00 am of said day to show cause why the application for change of name should not be granted

jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012 statement file A-034059000 The following person(s) is/are doing business as JAMBER,858 Folsom St., SF,CA 94107. This business is conducted by a limited liability company, signed Jessica Voss.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 01/18/12.

jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012 statement file A-034059100 The following person(s) is/are doing business as COCODRILO RECORDS,1438 Hudson Ave., SF,CA 94124.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Miguel A. Ramirez. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/18/12. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/18/12.

The following person(s) is/are doing business as CASSAVA BAKERY & CAFÉ,3519 Balboa St., SF,CA 94121.This business is conducted by a limited liability company, signed Yuka Ioroi.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 01/10/12.

jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012 statement file A-034064000 The following person(s) is/are doing business as 1.TUMMY MORSELS,2.TUMMY MORSEL,3. TUMMYMORSELS.COM.,1012 Kirkham Ave., Apt.4,SF,CA 94122.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Brian Lasofsky. 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 01/20/12.

jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012 statement file A-034061000 The following person(s) is/are doing business as 1.CORONA HEIGHTS CONSULTING GROUP, 2.SLOMAN CONSULTING 1222 Clayton St., #11,SF,CA 94114.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Mark Sloman. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 11/30/11. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/18/12.

jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012

jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012 Statement of abandonment of use of fictitious business name: #A-0319547-00 The following persons have abandoned the use of the fictitious business name known as SLOMAN CONSULTING,1222 Clayton St.,#11, SF,CA 94114.This business was conducted by a general partnership, signed Mark Sloman. The fictitious name was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 04/28/09.

jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012 Statement of abandonment of use of fictitious business name: #A-0335185-00 The following persons have abandoned the use of the fictitious business name known as STAR 16, 2074 Mission St.,SF,CA 94110.This business was conducted by an individual, signed Michael Wannaviroj. The fictitious name was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 04/26/11.

jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012 Statement of abandonment of use of fictitious business name: #A-0332973-00 The following persons have abandoned the use of the fictitious business name known as A BOOK IN THE HAND, 1454 Cortland Ave.,SF,CA 94110.This business was conducted by a general partnership, signed Cathleen O’Brien. The fictitious name was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/26/11.

jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012


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The following person(s) is/are doing business as SILUETA 845 East 12th St., Pittsburg, CA 94565. This business is conducted by an individual, signed Haydee F. Nunez. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/12/12. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/12/12.

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jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012 statement file A-034060800 The following person(s) is/are doing business as MISSION PIZZA, 2074 Mission St., SF,CA 94110. This business is conducted by an individual, signed Hatem Chouaieb. 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 01/18/12.


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jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012 statement file A-034060100 The following person(s) is/are doing business as SIGSBEE’S,371 Waller St.,#10, SF,CA 94117. This business is conducted by a limited liability company, signed Jennifer Jett. 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 01/18/12.

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jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012 statement file A-034051200 The following person(s) is/are doing business as L. STONE & CO., 1446 41st Ave, SF,CA 94122.This business is conducted by an individual, signed Laurel Moore. The registrant(s) commenced to transact business under the above listed fictitious business name or names on 01/12/12. The statement was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 01/12/12.

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The following persons have abandoned the use of the fictitious business name known as CORONA HEIGHTS CONSULTING GROUP,1222 Clayton St.,#11, SF,CA 94114.This business was conducted by a general partnership, signed Mark Sloman. The fictitious name was filed with the City and County of San Francisco, CA on 11/30/11.

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jan 26,feb 2,9,16,2012 statement file A-034051400

Dated 01/12/12 To Whom It May Concern: The name(s) of the applicant(s) is/are : 20 SPOT MISSION, LLC. The applicants listed above are applying to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control at 71 Stevenson Street, Suite 1500, San Francisco, CA 94105 to sell alcoholic beverages at 3565 20th St., San Francisco, CA 94110-2420. Type of license applied

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Vol. 42 • No. 04 • January 26-February 1, 2012

Sailing into an

operatic season

Composer Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick, coming to San Francisco Opera. Karen Almond, courtesy Dallas Opera


espite a time in which some major opera companies teeter on the precipice and others have folded entirely, San Francisco Opera’s 2012-13 season speaks far more of strength and daring than compromise. Even its two so-called warhorses, Rigoletto (Sept. 7-30) and Tosca (Nov. 15-Dec. 1), offer a mouth-watering helping of casting acumen. Add in two world premieres (with a third coming in fall 2013), a number of exciting role and company premieres by major

San Francisco Opera announces its 2012-13 offerings by Jason Victor Serinus artists, and you have a season that will send some opera queens shopping for new tiaras and boas. Not that everything is hunky dory in budget land. Twelve deep-pocketed donors are still responsible for half the company’s $34 million

San Francisco Ballet gala takes flight

worth of essential donations, and they are not getting any younger. General Director David Gockley, who spends a third of his time raising funds and hunting for new donors, may have succeeded in closing a large gap in the company’s budget, but he’s still dealing with a

$2.4 million projected deficit on a 2013 fiscal budget of $70 million. While this has resulted in some reshuffling and reprioritizing, the season speaks of anything but retreat. “When this economy began to tank,” Gockley explained during a frank in-person chat in his office at the War Memorial Opera House, “I promised that we would not compromise on musical, vocal, and casting standards, but that people would notice that See page 32 >>

San Francisco Ballet in Yuri Possokhov’s Classical Symphony.

by Paul Parish


f there’s a recession on, you’d never have known it from the gay face of the crowd for San Francisco Ballet’s opening night gala last Thursday. Whether these were Versace gowns – I wore Perry Ellis – or very good knock-offs, whether these patrons were truly wealthy or had merely saved up for a month in order to do the town, the town got seriously done (amidst a slight drizzle) by thousands of happy revelers, high on civic pride.

My favorite dress sheathed a lady in beadwork that looked like millions of purple gummi bears knit into a chain-mail gown. But there was fancy afloat everywhere, with dinners beforehand and a ball afterwards that lasted, as it should, till the wee hours of the morning. The two-hours-traffic of the performance itself paraded all but four of the principal dancers of this now-world-famous company, plus See page 33 >> Erik Tomasson


<< Out There

22 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012

In merry olde England by Roberto Friedman


ing of the Badgers by Philip Hensher (Faber and Faber) is the latest proof that the oldfashioned English-language novel is alive and well in the hands of its modern practitioners. Hensher is a British novelist and journalist whose sixth novel, The Northern Clemency, was short-listed for the 2008 Man Booker Prize. Badgers is a sort of communal history of the contemporary fictional English village Hanmouth, including several gay residents both closeted (the husband of a college professor) and proudly out (the owner of the town’s artisanal cheese shop and his aristocrat partner). Gay hubbies Sam and Harry (also known among town gossips as Lord What-a-Waste) are two heroes of the book, but we begin our consideration with another of them, the precocious child Hettie, and a list of her dolls/imaginary

playmates. “There was Sad Child, Harriet, Lucinda, Weeping Real Tears, My Little Pony One and Two, Wedding Dress My Little Pony, Kafka, Horseradish, Little Hattie, the Lady Mayoress of Reckham, Cappuccino, Bloodstained Victim, Dead in Childbirth, Mother, Big Hattie, Death, Widow, Child Pornography, Slightly Jewish, Shitface, Pretty Girl, One Eye Doesn’t Work, Dressed as a Man, Rebecca Holden, Lipstick and Hole. Rebecca Holden in real life was a girl in her class with lovely hair, straight down, and thin, who had never spoken to Hettie, though Hettie always got better marks than her.” Hensher’s novel is full of delightful passages like that, and it hearkens back to 19th-century English novels like those of George Eliot that involve the whole community, as in: it really does take a village. His themes are privacy and the lack of

same in our 24/7 surveillance society. A self-appointed town guardian in Hanmouth makes it his personal crusade to install closed-circuit TV cameras in all public spaces, and one narrative interlude is told entirely from the point of view of the allseeing CCTV eye. The story is darker than a quick survey of its colorful characters, neighborhood eccentrics all, would seem to indicate, but with one child abduction and two untimely deaths, not to mention the shoving of an old woman to the ground, the ride is not a mild one. Hensher’s rather gelid eye does not spare the gays. Besides Sam and Harry’s domestic bliss and the extramarital affair of Hettie’s father Kenyon and Ahmed Khalil, there is the long, sad tale of the relationship – “romance” somehow isn’t the word – between Catherine and Alec’s son David, from St. Albans, and the Italian hustler type Mauro, who met David in a London disco and thinks of him secretly as “Mr. Poppers.” It’s amusing to think of unsuspecting straight readers diving into the chapter devoted to the details of one of Harry and Sam’s monthly orgies with the Bears, fully stocked with condoms and lube, but it’s always refreshing to read about unconventional arrangements. Hensher does a good job of portraying how non-monogamous gay couples negotiate sex partners and sex parties. He also writes poignantly of how overweight or homely gay men are so badly treated in the gay world. It’s interesting that a work of fiction ostensibly concerned with small-town life in provincial England should have so much to say to gay urban denizens. It’s the power of the closely observed novel done well.

Ewan McGregor plays a lover facing chaos in Perfect Sense, an apocalyptic romance coming to the Mostly British Film Festival.

atmospheric London Boulevard with Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley; and an evening of British Noir headlined by classic film star Albert Finney in Gumshoe. Presented by the San Francisco

Poster boys P

Brits on screen While we’re closing our eyes and thinking of England, the Mostly British Film Festival returns in style next month with an ambitious program of 28 new and classic films from the UK, Ireland, Australia and South Africa. Highlights include the U.S. premiere of the Australian film 33 Postcards, starring Guy Pearce; the San Francisco premiere of the

restored 1924 silent film about Captain Scott’s ill-fated attempt to lead the first team to reach the South Pole; and Knuckle, the saga of an Irish family’s long-standing feud that is played out in bare-knuckle g fighting. Actress Felicity Jones, w has won acclaim for Like who C Crazy, will be seen in a double fe feature of British films, C Chalet Girl and Albatross. F screenings at the Vogue, For v visit a for the Rafael, visit www. and c cafi

Neighborhood Theater Foundation and the California Film Institute, the 4th annual MBFF will be held Feb. 2-9 at the Vogue Theater in SF, with selected screenings Feb. 6-9 at the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael. The program opens with Perfect Sense, an apocalyptic romance that was awarded “Best New British Film’’ at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Ewan McGregor and Eva Green appear as lovers who cling to each other in the face of chaos. Route Irish, the latest from master filmmaker Ken Loach, closes the festival on Feb. 9. A taut political thriller, it makes a pertinent anti-war statement through the politics of a professional mercenary. Documentar y offerings include the entire Up series of documentaries from director Michael Apted, in which the same group of Brits are interviewed at seven-year intervals from the time they are seven until they’re 49. Also, The Great White Silence, a recently

Curator Lincoln Cushing filled us in on an exhibit of p political posters coming t the Oakland Museum to o CA, All of Us or None: of S Social Justice Posters of the S San Francisco Bay Area ( (March 31-Aug. 19) that h he’s currently readying. T The show includes many e examples of LGBT graphics s such as the one reproduced h here, “Gay Students’ Union presents: St. Valentine’s Revolutionary Emacipation [Emancipation],” a poster work on paper (1971), offset l lithograph. “Poster has an image of green hills with a red heart that has yellow sun rays,” describes its catalog entry. “Over the sun is a rainbow with blue sky. Puffy clouds are around the rainbow with text.” The poster reads, “Gay Students’ Union presents/ St. Valentine’s See page 24 >>

Courtesy OMCA

Poster that will be on show in All of Us or None: Social Justice Posters of the San Francisco Bay Area at the Oakland Museum of CA.

Theatre >>

January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 23

Corpus curriculum by Richard Dodds


y interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there,” said American inventor Charles F. Kettenring. That can also be said of Aurora Theatre’s Global Age Project, which for the past seven years has challenged playwrights to create forward-looking theater. It is GAP season again at the Aurora, which is giving a full production to Annie Baker’s sexually tangled Body Awareness, and also staged readings to four finalists chosen from 250 entries. Not by design, but apparently in a sign of the times, “forward-looking” means gay and lesbian connections to four of the five offerings. Body Awareness, the GAP anchor production opening this week, takes place in the home of a lesbian couple in a small Vermont town centered around a college where one of the women teaches a course on female body issues. There is a man in the house, their 21-year-old son who may have Asperger’s syndrome, but the bigger stress comes in the form of a noted photographer who is staying at the couple’s home while participating in the college’s “Body Awareness Week.” Snits hit the fan when his photographic work is discovered to focus on female nudes and tender gender issues must be navigated. Veteran Bay Area actress and director Joy Carlin is staging Baker’s play, presented off-Broadway in 2008, and her cast includes Amy Resnick and Jeri Lynn Cohen as the lesbian couple, Patrick Russell as their son, and Howard Swain as the visiting photographer. The staged-readings component of the GAP festival takes place on four consecutive Mondays beginning Feb. 6. These finalists each receive $1,000 in addition to a staged reading of their plays, with the possibility of a full production in a future Aurora season. Gay San Francisco playwright

David Allen

Howard Swain plays a photographer famous for his nude portraits in playwright Annie Baker’s Body Awareness at Aurora Theatre, and this causes upheaval in the home of a lesbian couple (Amy Resnick and Jeri Lynn Cohen) where he is staying.

Garret Jon Groenveld’s The Hummingbirds is the Feb. 6 production, called a “comedy of menace” set in the near future when jobs are arbitrarily assigned, domestic terrorism has increased, and the environment continues its decay. Feb. 13 brings In a Word by Lauren Lee, a San Francisco native who divides her time between SF and San Diego. It’s the lyrically absurdist journey of Fiona, two years after her young son has vanished, as she replays a deteriorating memory tape in her head about the events preceding the disappearance. Gay Chicago playwright Joel Drake Johnson makes his third GAP appearance on Feb. 20 with Rasheeda Speaking. A doctor uncomfortable with his black receptionist is too paralyzed by racial discomfort to fire her, and a game of unspoken agendas and passive aggression begins. The 2012 GAP festival concludes on Feb. 27 with New York playwright Kevin Christopher Snipes’ Ashes, Ashes, which delves into homosexual panic among

Chris Bennion

Lorenzo Pisoni recreates a pose from his childhood days with the Pickle Family Circus, an experience poignantly described in his oneman show Humor Abuse Currently playing at ACT.

Circus in his blood by Richard Dodds


orenzo Pisoni has a couple of confessions to make at the start of Humor Abuse. “I sweat a lot,” says the performer, who soon confirms that statement. He also says, “I’m not funny.” But that claim should be taken with a drop of salty sweat. Pisoni certainly knows how to be funny, which he proves over and over again at ACT, but he’s not funny in the way that mirth flows instinctively from his pores whenever there is an audience at

hand. His father had that jolly gene, putting it to use as a founder of the Pickle Family Circus, but it did not get passed on to Lorenzo. It’s almost as if Larry Pisoni created a son who had been genetically engineered to be his straight man. That’s an odd situation for a 6-year-old to find himself in, a kid who began to realize that the joyous sound of children’s laughter didn’t often include his own. He was too busy learning how to fall See page 32 >>

ostensibly straight men. When one man tells his wife that her best friend’s husband made a pass at him, accusations, suspicions, and anger engulf the foursome. Tickets to the Jan. 27-March 3 run of Body Awareness are available at (510) 843-4822 or auroratheatre. org. Admission to the GAP staged readings is free.

Falsettos in a key change A brand-new Asian-American theater company has chosen perhaps a surprising choice to introduce itself, but that is part of its mission. Falsettoland, the third part of William Finn and James Lapine’s Falsettos trilogy, is the debut offering of StirFry Theatre. The all-sung oneact musical begins its run Jan. 27 at the Alcove Theatre, located at 414 Mason St., the same building that houses the Phoenix Theatre. Falsettoland was first staged offBroadway in 1990 as it expanded on a story begun in In Trousers

Daniel Nicoletta

Russell Blackwood (center) and the cast of Thrillpeddlers’ Vice Palace prepare to revive the 1972 Cockettes Halloween musical for a second time at the Hypnodrome theater.

and March of the Falsettos. In Falsettoland, AIDS becomes a defining issue as a divorced couple prepare for the bar mitzvah of their son. The father, realizing he is gay, has moved in with a younger man who becomes ill. The wife is now living with her ex-husband’s psychiatrist, while a neighboring lesbian couple tries to provide support despite their own troubles. StirFry Theatre’s mission is to stage theatrical works not typically cast with Asian actors that will showcase local Asian-American talent. The cast of its debut production includes Alex Hsu, Jennifer Oku, Romar DeClaro, Nicole Tung, Jeanne Harriet, Lawrence-Michael C. Arias and Andrew Apy. Falsettoland will run through Feb. 11. More info at

‘Vice’ squad returns You can’t keep the Cockettes down. After revivals of Pearls Over Shanghai, Hot Greeks, and Vice

Palace spent more than two years at the Hypnodrome, it seemed Thrillpeddlers had closed that very successful chapter. Not so. Both Vice Palace and Hot Greeks are headed back to the theater best known for its Grand Guignol productions. Vice Palace, which was adapted from a 1972 Cockettes Halloween show, will have an encore run Jan. 27-March 3. Scrumbly Koldewyn, a member of the Cockettes and co-author of the 1972 show, is back as musical director, with head Thrillpeddler Russell Blackwood again directing the loose interpretation of Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death. When Hot Greeks returns on March 22, it will be in an expanded version with two songs restored from the original production and a new song written by Koldewyn. The show is a mash-up of Hollywood college musicals and Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. More info at 377-4202 or▼

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971

24 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012

Music >>

Confident Beethoven by Tim Pfaff


or some of us, Riccardo Chailly will forever be the unknown 26-year-old who stepped into the War Memorial Opera House pit to conduct the 1977 production of Puccini’s Turandot that marked the onstage role debuts of the three principals – Luciano Pavarotti as Calaf, Montserrat Caballe as Turandot, and Leona Mitchell as Liu. A lot of opera “news” was made that night, but the brilliant young Italian conductor did not get lost in the shuffle. In a subsequent career devoid of major missteps, Chailly has shown that he is far more than a conductor of Italian opera, and has, like Abbado before him, staked a greater claim on the central German repertoire and contemporary music of import. Decca’s new release of his Beethoven: The Symphonies finds him stepping into the core of that repertoire with confidence, insight, and almost frightening energy. Leading the Orchestra of the Leipzig Gewandhaus, of which he is music director, he made these recordings of The Nine

(separated by eight overtures played in chronological order) in the Gewandhaus over three years before playing the cycle live and taking it on a recent, highly acclaimed European tour. What’s clear is that for all the insightful musicianship involved, these performances were not calculated to make musicological points (though they don’t dodge the knotty questions, either) but to excite another generation of listeners with music that changed the world. The question for many people, going in, will be what kind of Beethoven is it? Classic or Romantic? Historical or modernist? The answer, coming out, for most listeners is likely to be that it’s none of the above exclusively, and that the interpretations are, collectively, deeply informed, stylistically of a piece, agile of mind, nimble of execution – and very, very smart. The book on Beethoven symphonies, and true enough, is that they burst the bounds of the form Beethoven inherited, from the disorienting, impertinent, overripe – plucked! – extrusions of the opening measures of the First to the long-phrased, longer in the coming, ecstatic outbursts of the Ninth’s choral finale. Chailly’s is hardly the first set to make that point, but it’s the first in a long time in which that’s

what it feels like the music is doing. On a personal note, when the set was announced, my curiosity was piqued, and I thought it would be good to take a sequential run through the symphonies again, which I hadn’t in more than a decade. In prospect I knew it would be good for me. I just didn’t know whether, should anyone ask, I’d be affirmative on the question, “Was that good for you?” To my continued amazement, these deeply familiar works hit me, time and again, with the freshness, zeal, and regularly, shock that they did the first time I ever heard them. Chailly takes the symphonies at or near Beethoven’s own metronome markings for the tempos – this is a hugely fraught issue in Beethoven scholarship – which basically means that the music mostly hurtles along, in the genuinely thrilling Allegro vivace of the Eight’s final movement pretty much at the outer limits of what musicians can do. Yet the results never sound breathless, exaggerated, or otherwise overwrought, and what there is instead is a sense of a

complex musical organism operating at full power and always up on the balls of its feet. As or more important, Chailly observes Beethoven’s myriad expression markings, often giving his readings the sense of having literally new accents. It’s not that other conductors haven’t done similar things, with both periodand modern-instrument bands, but the confidence and relative lack of self-consciousness with which Chailly does it really does set this (safe to say) over-interpreted music free. In interviews Chailly has said that he came to understand the Beethoven symphonies most deeply from considering them in the line,

o following the other. one T That’s the sound Chailly’s r readings have: integral. That begs the question o of Decca’s wisdom i putting one of the in c composer’s overtures b between each of the s symphonies. Listeners h have the option of p programming them out, b but considering that th they’re dispatched with th same level of verve the an insight lavished on and th symphonies, it’s hard the to imagine the listener who would. And the “Leonore 3” is, like much else in this five-disc set, simply revelatory. The playing is consistently so polished, balanced, and brave that there’s an exuberant sense that the music is getting better, which in one sense it is, as it goes along. None of the symphonies, including the evennumbers, gets a lesser-child treatment, but the game-changing pieces such as the Eroica do seem to step right out of the speakers and announce their newminted brilliance. The Eighth is a dazzling tour de force throughout, and the Ninth found me checking my ears – and wiping my eyes. It felt like the first time.▼

later as the parents, Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart), find themselves stuck in neutral. Grief turns Becca into a prickly pear keeping Howie at a distance, upset that he clings to tokens of Danny’s existence: videos of the kid playing with his dog, his bedroom an intact museum. Becca is also curt with her wild-girl sister, annoyed that Sis is newly pregnant, by a musician no less. Finally, Becca’s pissed at her garrulous Mom’s habit of comparing Danny’s “innocent” demise to the heroin death of her adult son. Lindsay-Abaire has expanded on his Pulitzer award-winning play. A major upgrade involves Becca tailing Jason’s school bus. Becca and Jason’s scenes are crucial to buying the film’s nuanced take on the intractably open-ended

n nature of grief. If you’re p put off by the feeling that B Becca is “stalking” Jason, m maybe that’s a deal-breaker. If If, however, your favorite m movies involve characters w who wildly trespass across ssocial boundaries, then this aalmost flirtatious “courtship” aacross the generations sshould pique your interest. IIt adds emotional credibility tto the science-fiction-like m metaphor in Jason’s comic b book Rabbit Hole, as a child p pursues his dead scientist dad into a strange vortex of parallel universes. “Somewhere out there, t there’s a version of me, what? Making pancakes?” “If space is infinite, then there are tons of you’s out there, and tons of me’s.” “And this is just the sad version of us. There are other versions where everything goes our way.” “Right.” “That’s a nice thought. That somewhere out there I’m having a good time.” Rabbit Hole pivots on a troubling, conflicted relationship: two people reaching out across an abyss, neither friends nor enemies, neither mother/son nor lovers. This most untypical couple perches on a park bench, constructing a new myth that allows them to pursue their separate fates. Blu-ray features: commentary by John Cameron Mitchell and David Lindsay-Abaire; deleted scenes; theatrical trailer.▼

DVD >>

Fickle fate by David Lamble


uring my first viewing of Rabbit Hole, John Cameron Mitchell’s delicately threaded, darkly funny tale of how grief over the accidental death of a four-year-old boy continues to haunt the family he leaves behind (written by David Lindsay-Abaire, based on his play), I

remembered a terrible secret I hid from my mother: that at 10 I was nearly run over after I dashed into Mamaroneck’s Mt. Pleasant Ave. after a red rubber ball. At the time I was an only child, like Danny, who chases his dog and is run over by a high school student, Jason (Miles Teller). My premature death would have absolutely changed everything within my strange little family unit; Danny’s death shakes his parents and extended family to the core, provoking some unusual and richly entertaining reactions that the writer, cast and director Mitchell, in his first nonqueer film subject, poignantly explore. Rabbit Hole opens eight months


Out There From page 22

Revolutionary Emacipation [sic]/ War Dance & Massacre/ lights by Holy See Martin Becker/ Wicked Polly/ Friday Feb. 12/ 9-1/ Pauley Ballroom/ U.C. Berkeley/ $1.50.” This is said to be the first poster ever created for a public gay dance at UC Berkeley. The first public gay dance had been held the year

before, and had drawn extensive news coverage; Governor Reagan’s comment to a reporter about the event was, “I haven’t been invited yet.” Finally, from the Department of No Comment: We found a listing in the spring arts events calendar at the JCC-SF for an evening entitled The Man That Got Away, featuring movie writer Rex Reed, coming up on April 13-14. Go with what you know.▼

Film >>

January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 25

Erotic submission writ large

pills to queers and heteros alike. Here, his Man 2 takes Sleeping Beauty’s chilly parable right over the cliff in a long take that’s possibly too hard to handle for delicate sensibilities, but which certainly rams home the author’s message. It’s perhaps in the delivery system for her message that Leigh may lose some potential followers. Lucy’s world is populated by a pretty mangy crop of male critters, including a pathos-soaked addict boyfriend, the Birdmann (Ewen Leslie). Sleeping Beauty can be fairly

compared to an equally diabolical Aussie queer classic, 1988’s The Everlasting Secret Family. That film’s director Frank Moorhouse and writer Michael Thornhill gave us a ravishingly gorgeous hero eager for attention and equal to our Lucy, performed to the nines by Gallipoli star Mark Lee. Lee becomes the ballsy human lab rat for a cunning queer clan’s desire to rule by outliving the bastards. Fans of the film will relish memories of the scene where Lee demands to “try on” the silk underwear demanded by his Aussie senator patron. Sleeping Beauty and Everlasting Secret Family share the DNA of hungry-bottom protagonists who fight for the joystick/steering wheel in a brutal S/M universe where they could easily become roadkill. In her audition chat, Clara stresses the extreme if unspecified penalties for breaking the house rules. Family has suffered almost complete neglect as a queer fable ahead of its time. Neither of its main guys appears ever to have made another film. Leigh is due a longer turn in the saddle. While Mark Lee’s “Lover” seems somewhat gender-privileged in having an inside track to eternal youth and perpetual power, Leigh’s path for Lucy is decidedly riskier and hauntingly open-ended, a true Pandora’s Box. No more spoilers, but Sleeping Beauty is a great example of the quirky film you may have to catch twice before deciding if once was too much. With a whiff of the Orwellian video style of early Atom Egoyan, this is the best example I’ve seen since Neal Jordan’s Mona Lisa of a rent-girl film that pushes the limits of vulnerability to a level well beyond anything you’re used to in a date-night flick.▼

woman he loves. She, Sydney Greenstreet flawless as Kaspar Gutman, and Peter Lorre superb as the effete Joel Cairo, are searching for the fabled jeweled bird. With Gladys George as Miles Archer’s widow Iva, looking for consolation, a smart, tough Lee Patrick as Effie, Ward Bond as a cop, and Elisha Cook,

Jr. as Wilmer. There are hints that Wilmer is more than Gutman’s gofer. John Huston’s celebrated directorial debut. He also wrote the screenplay. Three Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Greenstreet) and Best Adapted Screenplay. (Sun., 1/29, beginning at Noon)▼

by David Lamble


irector and novelist Julia Leigh’s extremely chilly, Australian-set erotic fable Sleeping Beauty prompts the question, should I hazard parking around the SF Film Society’s new high-tech screening room (1746 Post St., SF) before this unusual treat’s one-week stand runs out? Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty (not to be confused with Disney’s or any revisionist fairy tale) is a carefully crafted, brazen account of one young woman’s “walkabout” to sexual and emotional maturity with pit stops as curious and creatures as quietly outlandish as any Alice discovered in Wonderland. As Lucy, actress Emily Browning deserves an erotic purple heart as much as an Oscar for what amounts to simulated sex combat. Lucy is a human guinea pig, submitting herself to a medical experiment at the hands of a seeming sweetheart of a student doctor (the comely Jamie Timony). In three minutes photographed against a harsh white backdrop, this Doogie Howser sticks a clear plastic tube down Lucy’s throat, as if to test her gag reflex, or as if the good doc could somehow intuit what other extracurricular activities this sassy temp would soon be engaging in. “Thanks for this. I’m pushing the air in now, just a little so the pressure on your chest will change. You’re doing a great job.” (Phone rings.) “Sorry, it’s a really important call, I have to take it, I’ll be back, Dr. Frankenstein.” “Okay, bad monster.”

Wendy McDougall, courtesy of San Francisco Film Society

Emily Browning stars in Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty, opening Jan. 27 at SF Film Society Cinema.

From this droll moment (Lucy will never encounter another catch as good as Dr. Jamie) our heroine’s life proceeds down a path of satire, kinkiness and creepiness comparable to Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, or A Clockwork Orange. Lucy becomes a scantily clad dinner waitress for tuxedoed dirty-minded old men. Passing her audition, our petite lass graduates to the title role, that of a naked sex toy drugged into deep sleep. Clara (Rachel Blake), Lucy’s oddly conscience-stricken supervisor, lays out the deal for one of the dirtiest

minded of the randy geezers, Man 2 (Chris Haywood). “We have only one rule: no penetration.” “Yeah, well the only way I can get a hard-on these days is if I swallow a truckload of Viagra, and some beautiful thing jams fingers up my ass. I’m the one that needs the penetration!” Aussie film fans will spot Chris Haywood as the land Down Under’s Gerard Depardieu; veterans of SF’s LGBT Festival may recall 1982’s The Clinic, where his VD doc dispensed

Watch your back again ‘Noir City X’ film festival concludes at the Castro Theatre by Tavo Amador


ddie Muller’s terrific Noir City X finishes this week at the Castro Theatre with a mix of rarities and welcome favorites. Although a vengeful Gene Barry (before becoming a major TV star) offers a Naked Alibi (1951) when a cop who manhandled him is murdered, the flatfoot’s partner, Sterling Hayden, is determined to prove his guilt. The great Gloria Grahame, at her kinky sexiest, is the femme fatale they meet at a Mexican border town. Directed by Jerry Hopper. Hugo Haas wrote, directed and starred in Pickup (51). He’s a sleazy older man enthralled by the thrilling, dangerous, and cheap Beverly Michaels, who’ll do anything for his money. Neither film is on DVD. (Thurs., 1/26, eve.) WWII vet Nick Garcia (Richard Conte) drives along the Thieves’ Highway (1949) to San Francisco, ostensibly to H really ll sell a carload of apples. He wants to brutalize thug Lee J. Cobb, who crippled his father years earlier. With Valentina Cortese. Sensational location scenes. The magnetic and powerful John Garfield reaches The Breaking Point (50), adapted from Ernest Hemingway’s To Have And Have Not. A very blonde, smokyvoiced Patricia Neal comforts him. Screenplay by Ranald MacDougall, directed by Michael Curtiz, the pair who collaborated on Mildred Pierce. An unjustly neglected gem. (Fri., 1/27, eve.) Perfectly cast, poker-faced and pretty, Alan Ladd is The Great Gatsby (1949), a rarely seen version

of F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s masterpiece. With Betty Field as Daisy Buchanan, Ruth Hussey as Jordan Baker, and Shelley Winters memorable as the tragic Myrtle Wilson. With noir veterans Ed Begley, Elisha Cook, Jr., Barry Sullivan, Howard da Silva, and MacDonald Carey. Smoothly directed by Elliott Nugent. Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Geraldine Fitzgerald, all compelling

performers, are Three Strangers (46) who swear before a mysterious Chinese idol to share a winning lottery ticket. Be careful what you wish for. Written by John Huston and Howard Koch; directed by Jean Negulesco. Neither film is on DVD. (Sat., 1/28, matinees & eve.) The festival concludes with an all-day tribute to Dashiell Hammett. Hammett’s original Red Harvest was too violent for the screen, so it was loosely adapted as Roadhouse Nights (1930) and became an action/ comedy showcase for legendary singer/actress Helen Morgan (Show Boat), Jimmy Durante, his vaudeville

partners Lou Clayton and Eddie Jackson, and veteran comic Charlie Ruggles. Adapted by Ben Hecht. Directed by Hobart Henley. Not on DVD. Roy Del Ruth helmed the first version of The Maltese Falcon (31), with Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade and Bebe Daniels as treacherous Ruth Wonderly. Steamer than the more famous remake. With Thelma Todd as the not-so-grief-stricken widow Iva, and Una Merkel as Effie. Gorgeous carny sharpshooter Gary Cooper t takes a crooked turn along The City Streets (1931) to f free girlfriend Silvia Sidney f from prison. With Paul Lukas a and the hard-boiled Wynne G Gibson. Based on the only s story Hammett wrote directly f the screen. Directed by the for b brilliant Rouben Mamoulian, m masterfully photographed b Lee Garmes. Hammett by o originally planned Mr. D Dynamite (35) as a second S Sam Spade novel. Instead, it’s th story of a sleazy private the e eye (real-life gay leading m Edmund Lowe) hired to man so solve a casino murder. Alan l Crosland directed. Neither movie is on DVD. The Glass Key (1942) was the second pairing of noir blonde beauties Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. This tense look at sleazy big-city politics also stars dapper Brian Donlevy and dangerous lout William Bendix, who’s nothing like the lovable dimwit of TV’s Life of Riley. Rapid direction by Stuart Heisler. The most famous version of The Maltese Falcon (41) ends the program. Humphrey Bogart, in his star-making role, is the homophobic, quixotic Sam Spade. Mary Astor, utterly sincere no matter what lie she is telling, is superb as the treacherous

<< Fine Art

26 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012

Rough-hewn sculpture by Sura Wood


o paraphrase Shakespeare: each birthday is a little death. The idea of the inescapable nature of mortality stalking us, and proscribing a finite future as we rage against the dying of the light, informs the work of the late sculptor Stephen De Staebler, which is currently on view in a potent new show at the de Young Museum. Matter + Spirit: The Sculpture of Stephen De Staebler, a retrospective of the 50-year career of the noted Berkeley artist who died last May, may only fill two galleries, but the work has such a forceful, enthralling presence it might as well occupy an entire floor. The exhibition includes 55 figurative ceramics and bronzes that reflect De Staebler’s preoccupations: the mutability of nature; our bond with the earth and the desire to free ourselves from the mortal coil and aspire to something greater; the elusiveness of time; the history of art and religion; irretrievable loss; fragmented classical statuary and ancient Egyptian monuments. A humanist with an existential cast of mind, he translated Giacometti’s frailty, Michelangelo’s humanity, Rodin’s physicality, Mesoamerican artifacts that summon brutal occult rituals, and added a dash of the earth goddess. His roughhewn, moss brown “Moon Throne” (1977), with its rounded edges and cool, loamy surface, is fit for a pagan ruler. Seated in it, one could preside over the gallery or a civilization. As a child, De Staebler spent his summers on his grandparents’ farm in the Midwest, but that rural idyll was interrupted and he was permanently scarred by the traumatic loss of his mother. Inspired by the airborne adventures of Amelia Earhart and Beryl Markham, she took to the skies as an amateur pilot and died in a horrific plane crash when he was still in high school. The ache of separation and the futility of life in the face of inevitable death would infuse his art. Look through the windows to the left when entering the first gallery and you’ll spy a supine, segmented figure resting on the ground under the trees, its head detached and meticulously aligned above the top of its spine. He was consumed with the fragility of the body, which he called a “prison” that gives both life and death. In an array of dramatic stele, segmented stones arranged on top of one another like spinal vertebrae form hypnotic slabs; outlines of bodies emerge in relief as they do with burial shrouds or Egyptian sarcophagi where the image of the deceased takes shape on the lid. Lined up on one wall are haunting totemic masks with vacant stares, which carry marks of nameless tribes and belong to none. Distorted and odd, they express the tragic comedy of existence. Across the room, as if waiting to make a connection, hang a row of detached torsos, strangely moving and yearning to be whole. De Staebler once said that clay was a metaphor for flesh and primordial earth, and his vulnerable figures with their tensile strength and missing limbs seem to be searching for parts they left behind. During an odyssey to Europe while attending Princeton, he was deeply moved by fragments of iconic classical and ancient art that descended through the ages broken and severed. Slender, taut, long-legged and resembling striding Watusi warriors, a trio of spectacular standing, headless bronzes eloquently testify to those early encounters, especially “Winged Woman Walking 1” (1987), whose transcendent grace recalls the Greek masterpiece “Winged Victory.” At

Philip Ringler

“Blue Face with White Stripe” (1971), pigmented stoneware and porcelain, by Stephen De Staebler.

Scott McCue, courtesy of Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Francisco

“Thorax Figure” (2008), pigmented stoneware, porcelain and earthenware, with surface oxides, fire brick, and stone, by Stephen De Staebler.

nearly 10 feet high with no arms and a wing atop its shoulder, it bears the weight of some unspoken grief. Wedge-shaped at the base and attenuated at the top, “Standing Woman” and “Standing Man” (1975) are tall, slanted male and female god-like figures that look like statuary ripped from the entrance to a colossal Egyptian temple. Although he didn’t glaze his ceramics, De Staebler mixed metallic oxides into the wet clay that lend his pieces a rustic quality, iridescence and unusual hues like the swatches of teal, cobalt and greenish yellow that characterize this extraordinary

duo. Each embodying aspects of masculine and feminine, they complete each other. If art historians and archaeologists were to discover these sculptures aging in some ancient royal tomb in a distant land, they would speculate for years about the culture and artisans who produced them. But fortunately, one needs to look no further than the 20th century and De Staebler to piece together a stirring, beautiful mystery.▼ Matter + Spirit: The Sculpture of Stephen De Staebler, at the de Young Museum through April 22.

Film >>

January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 27

An ideal manservant by David Lamble


he handsomely mounted period drama Albert Nobbs can be thoroughly enjoyed without messing around in its titular character’s inner life, but what fun would that be? On the surface a Downton Abbey-style soap for an upscale PBS audience, the film, based on a short story by the Irish writer George Moore, blasts off dramatically when two working chaps are pushed into a comical undressing while sharing a lumpy bed on the orders of a pennypinching hotel owner. Director Rodrigo Garcia (Nine Lives) and screenwriter/lead actor Glenn Close have abducted us back to a time when modern ideas surrounding drag, gender, queer, gay, lesbian, and bi were ruthlessly submerged in favor of Queen, country and class in a provincial backwater of the British Empire. Glenn Close has astonished us for decades with no-holds-barred takes on women who can be tough, ruthless, even deranged (The Big Chill, Fatal Attraction). Here she dials down her wattage to disappear inside a talented ensemble dedicated to the plight of 19th-century women who lived their lives as men, not for the thrill of it but for sheer economic survival. Close’s Albert Nobbs has been laboring meekly for decades as a butler in a posh Dublin hotel (circa 1898) catering to Ireland’s British-empowered gentry. Her disguise threatened by the sudden appearance of a handsome, “virile” housepainter, Mr. Page (a thoroughly convincing Janet McTeer), Nobbs discovers a new friend who has created an unimaginable life for herself, married to another woman. Emboldened to reach for a life she never dared imagine, Nobbs embarks on a bold courtship with a hotel maid, Helen (Mia Wasikowska), risking the boozefueled wrath of her handsome bastard boyfriend, Joe (Nowhere Boy’s Aaron Johnson). Glenn Close and Rodrigo Garcia separately discussed their painstaking collaboration in a San Francisco hotel far finer than the one that ultimately swallows up poor Mr. Nobbs. David Lamble: It’s remarkable to reprise a character for film that you help create over halfa-lifetime ago on the New York stage. Glenn Close: I think it helped, although the meaning of that earlier performance was probably more subliminal than actual. The time it took to get the movie made and the life I had lived, the craft that I had learned all came into play. The movie was much more challenging, because there are no close-ups in a play. Why was it so hard to do the financing? A story like this is just so outside the formula of Hollywood that it scares people. It’s hard to imagine,

Steven Underhill

Glenn Close at the Mill Valley Film Festival last October.

a lot of the humor is in the performance, how would people know what I would look like if I go into their offices looking like I do? There was a time when people wouldn’t have touched this kind of content with a 10-foot pole, and I think it ended up that the film was made in exactly the right time.

and eventually continuing to erase herself and not just to survive. Having been a girl cost her: she was sexually assaulted, so she tried to bury that girl, and I keep saying girl and not woman because the last time she was a woman she was 15, so the woman inside Nobbs was a girl.”

Nobbs has neither a feminist nor a lesbian identity? No, she doesn’t understand sexuality; she’s never been touched by love, never been in an intimate relationship.

Her whole emotional life was stunted. Rodrigo Garcia: One would think that a woman in that situation would save enough money, then move elsewhere and go back to being a woman, whereas Nobbs wanted to save money, retire and still be Nobbs. She didn’t have that woman to fall back upon. Plus years of working as a servant, as a waiter, that’s a job that encourages you to erase yourself, even if you’re a man.

Janet McTeer’s character is a lesbian, basically? She has become one. She sees herself as a real man, like Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry. She’s comfortable in her skin. That’s the second time I’ve ever seen someone pull that off. Were you fooled by Janet? (Close laughs heartily, clapping her hands in glee.) I love it when people are fooled! Born in Colombia, the son of famed novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia grew up rubbing shoulders with Latin American literary idols like Carlos Fuentes and Pablo Neruda. His literary background has served him well in fashioning a US-based film/TV career, with the critically acclaimed feature Nine Lives, and prestigious work on HBO series The Sopranos and Six Feet Under. It also helps his appreciation of the unique character and class identity of Albert Nobbs. “What appealed to me about Nobbs was that she had to go to a great extreme to survive in her environment, including first passing as a boy and working as a waiter,

Isn’t becoming a man for her becoming a real person? Isn’t saving money under the floorboards a way to realize the kind of dream that might be embraced by a male civil servant? It’s a completely male dream: save your money to have a little tobacco business that caters to men. Especially after discovering Hubert and Cathleen, Nobbs thinks there could be a team here, where you pool your resources, and that’s where her lack of sophistication gets her into trouble. Does she have any lesbian identity? She doesn’t have a sexual identity. She may not even know the concept of homosexuality. There are closets of different sizes, and she had built a terrific one for herself. It was interesting to me that identity was suppressed yet she was not gay. There are gay characters in the movie, very healthy characters: they know who they are, what they want and what they’re hiding. Aaron Johnson gives off a powerful sexual charisma. In the balance of the movie there are straight characters who are married and there are gay characters, and then there’s Nobbs, who is Nobbs and can only be described as Nobbs. But this young, attractive, hot physical couple Aaron and Mia is part of the balance of the movie: they have a lot of raw hetero heat. He also supplies a great deal of homo-appealing heat. I’m glad you said that and I didn’t.▼

Glenn Close plays the title character in the drama Albert Nobbs.

<< Out&About

28 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012

Thu 26>> The Best of Times @ Alcazar Theatre Faith Prince and Jason Graae star in 42nd Street Moon’s production of The Jerry Herman Salon, a musical tribute to the gay Tony-winning Broadway composer/ lyricist. $70. 7pm. 650 Geary St. 255-8207.

Best British TV Commercials @ YBCA Annual mini-film festival of the past year’s best, funniest and most intriguing TV commercials from the U.K. $6-$8. 8pm. Thru Jan 29 (all 8pm). Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St. 978-2787.

David Richo @ Books Inc. DJ Rich King at Go Bang!

Author of Coming Home to Who You Are: Discovering Your Natural Capacity for Love, Integrity and Compassion discusses his book. 7:30pm. 2275 Market St. 864-6777.

Queer Ancestors @ LGBT Center

Sounds; gay By Jim Provenzano


Opening reception for a group exhibit of local artists’ (Erika Vivianna Céspedes, Jeffrey Cheung, Ángel Espinoza, A. Lolade Gbadebo, Alan Guttirez, Haruka Kelley, Justin Time, Brandon Middleton, Brianne Moore, Eva Ovalle, and Anna Robinson) portraits and interpretive art about famous LGBT leaders. 7pm-9pm. thru Feb 16. 1800 Market St.

SF Sketchfest @ Various Venues

hat sounds gay” may be a derisive comment to some, but I consider 11th annual comedy festival includes films, it a compliment. If an event sounds gay, that means it’s refined, arstand-up panels, and celebrity-filled hilarity. tistic, festive, fun or just silly, and probably created (or played, spun, and Thru Feb 4. sung) by artistic GLBT peeps. Pansy Division, the gay pop-rock band and local fave, performs at an all-ages show with The Phenomenauts, EmArcadia ily’s Army, The Started-Its, and @ Live Oak Theatre, Berkeley Younger Lovers at Gilman’s in Actors Ensemble of Berkeley perform Tom Berkeley. $10. Friday, Jan. 27. Stoppard’s intriguing mystery/history play 8pm. Gilman’s, 924 Gilman St. about love, desire, Lord Byron and landPansy Division at 8th. scape architecture. $12-$15. Fri & Sat 8pm. Sun 2pm. Thru Feb 18. 1301 Shattuck Ave. (510) 649-5999. An operetta about AIDS? Yes. Falsettoland gets a local revival at The Alcove Theatre. Stir Fry Theatre, a new Asian-American perBody Awareness forming ensemble, performs the acclaimed William Finn operetta @ Aurora Theatre, Berkeley about a New York gay couple and their friends facing the impendAurora Theatre company performs Annie ing AIDS epidemic. $15-$25. Opens Jan 27. Fri & Sat 8pm. Feb Baker’s comic play about a les5 & 12 at 2pm. Thru Feb 12. 414 Mason St., 5th floor. (408) bian couple whose lives become STAGE.SF unraveled by their new male As a former professional dancer, I can say that you’d be housemate. Previews. Opening night Feb 2. $30-$55. Tue 7pm. surprised by how many male dancers aren’t gay. That aside, Wed-Sat 8pm. Sun 2pm & 7pm. a night watching a romance set to music by a gay comThru March 4. 2081 Addison poser, with a cocktail reception afterward, is festively gay. St. (510) 843-4822. The San Francisco Ballet performs Onegin at the War Memorial Opera House. The passionate story of a Cabaret @ Fort Mason Russian aristocrat’s love affair, based on a Pushkin verse New local production of the Tonynovel, set to the music of Tchaikovsky (gay, doncha know) winning Cander/Ebb musical based is choreographed by John Cranko. $66-$89 Special LGBT on gay writer Christopher Isherwood’s Nite Out Friday, January 27 is co-sponsored by the Bay Area stories about pre-Nazi Berlin; with an Reporter; with a 7pm pre-show discussion, 8pm concert, and up-close cabaret-style setting, like the 10:30pm reception. Onegin is also performed recent Broadway revival. $25-$45. Jan. 28, 2pm & 8pm, Jan 29, DJ Brian Maier Thu-Sat 8pm. Sun 7pm. Thru Feb 19. 2pm. Jan 31, 8pm, Feb 1, 7:20pm. spins at Rocket 381-1638. Young Performers Theater, Bldg C, 3rd floor. 381-1638. Feb 2 & 3, 8pm. 301 Van Ness Ave. 865-2000. /niteout It’s back! Vice Palace, the darkly Europa Galante @ First comic Cockettes musical, expandCongregational Church ed and revised by the talented World-renowned Baroque ensemble Scrumbly Koldwyn, returns by performs works by Brioschi, Haydn, Scaccia, Vivaldi, Bach and Handel. $52. 8pm. 2345 popular demand after a successChanning Wayt, Berkeley. (510) 642-9988. ful brief tour to New York City. See the musical update on The Masque of the Red Death, with loFuture Motive Power cal queerer than queer talents (and @ The Mint San Francisco I mean that as the highest compliMugwumpin’s new immersive theatre proBallet’s Nite Out ment) Leigh Crowe, Flynn DeMarco, duction, staged in the vault of the fascinatL. Ron Hubby, Russell Blackwood, Birdie Bob Wyatt, Joshua Devore, ing Old Mint, about eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla. $15-$30. Fri-Sun 8pm. Thru Jan 29. 88 and more. $30-$35. Fri & Sat 8pm. Thru March 3. Hypnodrome 5th St. at Mission. Theatre, 575 10th St. at Bryant/Division. 377-4202. The House by the Cemetery Saturday, January 28, you’ll have to choose between two nightclub op@ YBCA tions that included a bevy of DJILFs (Disc Jockeys I’d Like to … friend on Lucio Fulci’s gory “old dark house” horror Facebook, of course!). film, strangely dubbed in English with Go Bang, the popular disco dance night, includes resident DJs Steve Danish subtitles. $6-$8.10pm. Also Jan. Fabus, Sergio and guests Cole Medina (L.A.), Tal M Klein and Rich King 28, 10pm. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts screening room. 701 Mission St. at 3rd. (Snaxx, NYC; photo; hello, Daddy!). $5. Free before 10pm. 9pm-3am. 978-2787. 510 Larkin St. at Turk. Rocket Collective (hunky bear cub DJs Brian Humor Abuse @ A.C.T. Maier, Trevor Sigler, David Sternesky and American Conservatory Theatre presents Mat dos Santos) launch a monthly night Pickle Family Circus veteran Lorenzo of tech, deep house, acid house and other Pisoni’s autobiographical solo show about growing up in a circus family. genres at the Rickshaw Stop, with guerilla(Special free pre-show screening of style surprise performances and a Burning the documentary Stage Left: A Story Man ambiance, but without the Playa dust. of Theater in San Francisco ; Jan 29, Proceeds go to the Burning Man group Camp 6:30pm) $10-$85. 8pm. Tue-Sat 8pm. Astropups. $7. 10pm-2am. 155 Fell St. Wed, Sat & Sun 2pm. Thru Feb. 5. 415 Geary St. 749-2228.

Fri 27>>

Vice Palace

David Wilson

Jesus in India @ Magic Theatre Lloyd Suh’s contemporary reimagining of the lost years of Jesus of Nazareth as a teen stoner’s vacation to the East. $30-$60. Previews thru Feb 1 (opening night). Tue 7pm. Wed-Sat 8pm. Sun 2:30pm. Thru Feb 19. Building D, Fort Mason center, Marina Blvd at Buchanan. 441-8822.

Kitka & Svetlana Spajic @ CounterPulse Serbian singer/performance artist Svetlana Spajic joins vocal ensemble Kitka in a new vocal-theater work. $17-$22. Fri-Sun 8pm. 1310 Mission St. 626-2060.

Marga Gomez @ The Marsh Everyone’s favorite lesbian Latina comic returns with her new hit solo show Not Getting Any Younger. $15-$35. Fri 8pm. Sat 5pm & 8:30pm. Thru Feb 25. Studio Theater, 1062 Valencia St. at 22nd. 282-3055.

New Fire @ Brava Theatre Cherrie Moraga’s play follows the sacred geography of indigenous American ancestors to tell a past-modern story of rupture and return. $10-$30. Thu-Sat 8pm. Sun 3pm. 2781 24th St. 647-2822. Thru Jan 29.

Noir City X @ Castro Theatre It’s dicks and dames in classic and B-movies full of crime and betrayal, gals and guns at the 10th anniversary film festival. Thru Jan 29.

Oakland East Bay Symphony @ Paramount Theatre Young opera stars Carrie Hennessey, Zachary Gordin and Brian Thorsett perform solos in the symphony’s one night-only concert –with the Oakland Symphony Chorus– of Carmina Burana, the 1936 Carl Orff contemporary classic; works by Rossini and Glazanov as well. $20-$70. Pre-concert discussion 7pm. show 8pm. 2025 Broadway, Oakland. (800) 745-3000.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra @ Herbst Theatre The orchestra performs works by Handel, Locke, Purcell, Arne and Lawes. $25-$85. 8pm. 401 Van Ness Ave. Also Jan 28 (8pm) & 29 (7:30pm) at First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley. 252-1288.

The Story of My Life @ New Conservatory Theatre Neil Bartram and Brian Hill’s new melodic musical comedy about best friends and the personal cost of success; one man recounts his friend’s life while writing his obituary. $22-$36. Wed-Sat 8pm. Sun 2pm. Thru Feb. 26. 25 Van Ness Ave. at Market, lower level.

True West @ Boxcar Theatre Gritty drama of battling brothers; the first of four Sam Shepard plays the company will perform in repertory thru April 26. True West thru April 7. $15 (preview), $25-$35, or $85-$120 full pass. 505 Natoma St. 967-2227.

Sat 28>> Acknowledged @ SF Public Library Joe Ramos’ exhibit of 50 photo portraits of local Project Homeless Connect clients. Opening program panel: A Community’s Response to Homelessness, Jan. 28, 2pm. in Koret Auditorium. Exhibit thru March 25. Jewett Gallery, 100 Larkin St.

Arms and the Man @ Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek Center Repertory Company’s production of George Bernard Shaw’s witty social comedy about romantic versus worldly heroism. $38-$43. Tue & Wed 7:30pm. Thu-Sat 8pm. Sun 2:30pm. Thru Feb. 25. 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. (925) 943-7469.

Beach Blanket Babylon @ Club Fugazi Musical comedy revue, now in its 35th year, with an ever-changing lineup of political and pop culture icons, all in gigantic wigs. Reg: $25-$130. Wed, Thu, Fri at 8pm. Sat 6:30, 9:30pm. Sun 2pm, 5pm. (Beer/wine served; cash only). 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd (Green St.). 421-4222.

Company C Ballet @ Center for the Arts, Castro Valley Bay Area contemporary ballet company performs works by Alexandre Proia, David

Grenke, Charles Anderson and Peter Anastos. $15-$27. 7:30pm. Also Jan 29, 2pm. 19501 Redwood Road, Castro Valley. (510) 889-8961.

Dawn Upshaw @ Herbst Theatre Grammy Award-winning soprano performs works by Purcell, Dowland, Haydn, Mozart, Bartók, Debussy, Schubert, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Richard Rogers, Vernon Duke, Bolcom, Goljov and many more; with piano accompanist Stephen Prutsman. $38$68. 8pm. 401 Van Ness Ave. 392-2545.

Food Stories @ Z Space John Fisher directs Word for Word theatre company in performances of two short stories; satirist T.C. Boyle’s “Sorry Fugu” and Alice McDermott’s “Enough.” $20-$40. Wed & Thu 7pm. Fri & Sat 8pm. Sun 2pm. Thru Feb. 5. 450 Florida St. (800) 838-3006.

Ghost Light @ Berkeley Repertory World premiere of Jonathan Moscone and Tony Taccone’s haunting fictional drama based on the assassination of San Francisco mayor George Moscone. $15-$73. Tue-Sat 8pm. Wed & Sun 7pm. Sat & Sun 2pm. Thru Feb 19. Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison St. (510) 647-2949.

God’s Plot @ Ashby Stage, Berkeley Shotgun Players’ commissioned play with music written and directed by Mark Jackson; an update on the 1665 satire on the King of England, enjoyed by early American Puritans, whose pious outward behavior comes under scrutiny as another form of theatre. $18-$27. Thu 7pm. Fri & Sat 8pm. Sun 5pm. Extended thru Jan. 29. 1901 Ashby Ave. Berkeley. (510) 841-6500.

Grand Opening @ Good Vibrations, Oakland Party celebrating the erotic product boutique’s sixth store opening, with Kandi Buress ( Real Housewife of Atlanta). 6pm-9pm. 3219 Lakeshore Ave.

The Laybelline Show @ Castro Country Club The little drag queen with a big talent performs New Year Resentment, a sobrietythemed act. $3-$6. 10:30pm. 4058 18th St.

Maharaja @ Asian Art Museum The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts, an expansive exhibit showcasing textiles, jewels and items from the heyday of the early Indian empires. Also, Sanjay Patel’s Deities, Demons and Dudes with ‘Staches: Indian Avatars; Tateuchi Thematic Gallery, 2nd floor. $7-$17. Tue-Sun 10am-5pm. Thu til 9pm. Thru April 8, 2012. 200 Larkin St. 581-3500.

Matter + Spirit @ de Young Museum The Sculpture of Stephen De Staebler, whose figurative clay work draws inspiration from primitive cultures and artifacts. Thru April 22. Also, Masters of Venice: Renaissance Painters of Passion and Power from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Dolls and Masks thru Feb. 26. Plus other exhibits. Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive. 750-3600.

Open House @ Alonzo King Lines Dance Center All you can dance open class day, with lessons in ballet, modern, jazz, belly dance, flamenco and other styles. $5. 1pm-5pm. 26 7th St. at Mission, 5th floor. 863-3040.

Perverts Put Out @ Center for Sex & Culture Raunchy readings of ‘rotica by Sherilyn Connelly, Jen Cross, Daphne Gottleib, Philip Huang, Juba Kalamka, Kirk Read, Thomas Roche, and horehound stillpoint. $10-$15. 7:30pm. 1349 Mission St.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra @ Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley Charles Dutoit conducts; pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet performs, with the orchestra, works by Kodaly, Liszt and Brahms. $30$125. 8pm. Bancrift Way at Telegraph Ave, UC Berkeley campus. (510) 642-9988.

SF Hiking Club @ Joaquin Miller Park Join LGBT hikers on an 8-mike trek through Oakland’s urban green space, a scenic 500acre park; dogs welcome. Carpool meets 9am at the Safeway sign, Market St. at Dolores. (510) 910-8734.

Out&About >>

January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 29

Mon 30>>

Why Paint a Landscape? @ ArtZone Group exhibit of contemporary landscapes; also, in the side room, Jane Fisher’s contemporary portraits. Thru Feb 26. Wed-Sun 12pm-6pm. 461 Valencia St. at 15th. 441-8680.

Collected @ Museum of the African Diaspora Subtitled Stories of Acquisition and Reclamation, this new exhibit displays more than 100 objects that help narrate the struggles and contributions of African Americans in California. Free-$12. Thru March 4. 685 Mission St. at 3rd. 358-7200.

Wine Tasting @ D&H Jewelers Fundraiser for the sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at the Castro district’s stylish sustainable jewelry store and wine bar. $25. 5pm-8pm. 2323 Market St. 500-2550.

Sun 29>> Alfredo Rodriguez @ Wheeler Auditorium Acclaimed pianist performs original and contemporary jazz music. $32. 7pm. Bancroft Way at Telegraph Avenue, UC Berkeley campus, Berkeley. (510) 6429988.

Brian Stow Fund Benefit @ Mary’s House Party and raffle to benefit the education expenses of the children of the Bay Area man who was brutally attacked at a Los Angeles baseball game. $10 raffle ticket entry; dozens of raffle prizes. 1pm-6pm. 103 22nd Ave. at Lake. 668-4551.

California Dreaming @ Contemp. Jewish Museum Jewish Life in the Bay Area from the Gold Rush to the Present, an exhibit about the lives of historic Western American Jewish people, from Levi’s jeans and Ginsberg’s Howl to Gump’s and LGBT synagogues. Also, Houdini: Art and Magic. $5-$12. ThuTue 11am-5pm. 736 Mission St. at 3rd. 6557800. Thru Oct. 16, 2012.

G. Scott Lacy @ The Rrazz Room

Jan 31

Justin Torres

Book Club @ Magnet Justin Torres, author of the acclaimed debut novel We the Animals, is the featured writer at the first monthly event hosted by Oscar Raymundo. 7:30pm. 4122 18th St. 581-1600.

Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction @ SF Public Library Screening of a new documentary film that investigates the growing threat to Earth’s life support systems from this unprecedented loss of biodiversity. Co-sponsored by the C.G. Jung Institute. Free. 1pm-4pm. Koret Auditorium, lower level, 100 Larkin St.

Joshua Roman @ SF Conservatory of Music SF Performances presents the Bay Area recital debut of the accomplished cellist, who performs works by Debussy, Piazzolla, Visconti and Brahms, with piano accompanist Andrius Zlabys. $37. 2pm. 50 Oak St. 392-2545.

Musical director and performer shares his autobiographical song-filled show. $20. 8pm. 2-drink min. Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St. 394-1189.

RuPaul’s Drag Race @ Deco Lounge First weekly viewing party of the fab drag queen ‘reality’ show’s new season, with (live and local) Ruby Holiday, and Ginger Snap at the bar. 510 Larkin St. at Turk. 3462025.

Student Recitals @ SF Conservatory of Music Vocal excerpts from Handel’s Agrippina ; 7:30pm. Vocal finalists, Jan 31, 7:30pm. Cellists perform repertory works, Jan 31, 8pm. All free. 50 Oak St. at Franklin.

Tue 31>> Bailey Sisters @ The Rrazz Room Lynette and Bridgette Bailey perform a gospel and soul music night. $25. 7pm. 2-drink min. Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St. 394-1189.

Brixton Key @ Li Po Cocktail Lounge Veteran music industry writer reads from and discusses his new semi-autobiographical novel Charlie Six, about a London youth in the 1960s. 6:30pm. 916 Grant Ave. at Washington. 982-0072.

Queer Comic Artists @ Cartoon Art Museum Exhibit of work by several notable LGBT comic artists. Free-$7. Thru March 4. Reg hours Tue-Sun 11am-5pm. 655 Mission St.

Wed 1>> Plastic Camera Show @ Rayko Photo Group exhibit of surprisingly good photos taken with surprisingly cheap cameras. Thru March 6. Tue-Thu-10am-10pm. Fri-Sun 10am-8pm. 428 Third St. 495-3773.


Dog daze

an’s best friend gets a few tributes at nightclub benefits and oddball film screenings. At The Dog and Pony Show, curator Kat Shuchter presents an evening of campy vintage 16mm films about canine and equine animals, including a 1955 short about a Colorado dude ranch, and Edward Everett Horton as a dandy in the 1928 silent slapstick Horse Shy. $10. 8pm. Also Thursday, January 26, Liquid Lunch, short films about beer, booze and hangovers. Saturday, January 28, 8pm, Strangest Strange Cinema’s four-year anniversary extravanganza, including several strange favorites: Lenny Bruce’s Thank You Mask Man; an animated X-rated short about a babysitter; The Cat Who Drank and Used Too Much, a torpid anti-drug flick; and Sinderella, the 1962 Brothers Grimm tales performed by San Francisco drag queens! Sounds gay to me. $10. Limited seating. RSVP: Oddball Films, 275 Capp St. 558-8117. Here’s some four-legged nightlife for ya. At Doggy Dance at The Stud, Sunday January 29, DJs David Sternesky and Taco Tuesday spin tunes at a benefit for Wonder Dog Rescue, with dog-friendly decibel levels 9pm-11pm, and human dancing til 2am. Donations at the door. 966 9th St. at Harrison. Dog = lycanthrope? It’s a loose connection, but “dog” is a derogatory term for werewolves, at least via vampires (Hey, I watched a few episodes of Being Human last week. Cut me some slack, dawg.). Anyway, Tim Rayborn, singer and multi-instrumental musician, performs “Lycanthropos: The Werewolf in Story and Song,” a concert of traditional, medieval, Celtic and Renaissance music and stories about werewolves. $25-$30. Sunday, Janury 29, 7pm at St. Alban’s Church, 1501 Washington St. Albany. (510) 528-1685.

Our Vast Queer Past @ GLBT History Museum See the fascinating exhibit from the GLBT Historical Society, with a wide array of rare historic items on display. New miniexhibit focuses on the legacy of activist and performer Jose Sarria. Free for members-$5. Wed-Sat 11am-7pm. Sun 12pm-5pm. 4127 18th St.

Trio di Clarone @ Herbst Theatre Bay Area debut of the music ensemble, who performs works by Mozart, Poulenc, Stravinsky, J.S. Bach and C.P.E. Bach. $38. 8pm. 401 Van Ness Ave. 392-2545.

Thu 2 >> Comedy Bodega @ Esta Nocha The new LGBT and indie comic stand-up night’s hosted by “Mr. Gomez” (retired Telemundo extra and associate of comic Marga Gomez). 8pm-9:30pm. 3079 16th St. at Mission.

Winter Salon @ Robert Tat Gallery Exhibit of vintage and contemporary photographic prints. Thru Jan. 28. Tue-Sat 11am-5:30pm. 49 Geary St. #410. 781-1122.

To submit event listings, email Deadline is each Thursday, a week before publication.

– J.P.

<< Leather +

30 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012

Denis Largeron

The new generation of leather men tear it up at MAL: Derek, Alex, Miguel, Woody and Jeremy.

Contests galore by Scott Brogan


he first big leather weekend event of the year, MAL (Mid-Atlantic Leather) took place January 13-16 in Washington, DC. Once again I wasn’t able to attend, but thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, smoke signals, Morse code (yadda, yadda, yadda), I was able to keep up on the shenanigans as though I were there in person. It’s an unwritten tradition that most of the current titleholders who are on their way to International Mister Leather in Chicago the following May attend to meet each other and get to know the public and the judges. This year was no different. What was different, at least from my vantage point, was the welcome presence of “the next generation” of leather men. These guys are coming into their own, bringing a fresh vibe, energy and perspective that’s most welcome. We need not fear that our community is dying. I can see it in their lustful eyes. One of the reasons for the presence of the new titleholders on their way to IML is the tradition of the announcement of the judges for IML. They are Eric Guttierez (IML 2011),

Brian Conway (co-owner/producer, Thunder in the Mountains), Jaak Evert (Club President, LMC Estonia), David Hughes (Founding President, NY boys of leather, and Mr. East Coast Rubber 2005), Richard Hunter (owner, Mr. S Leather), Steve Ranger (President, Centaur Motorcycle Club, and MAL 2005), Ira Smith (renowned erotic artist and founding member of the Leather Masked Ball), Dave Watt (creator of Mr. Friendly HIV Awareness Campaign, and Mr. Michigan Leather 2009) and Andrea Zanin (erotic author and blogger aka “Sex Geek”). The centerpiece of the weekend was, as always, the Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather contest. Congratulations to Matthew Bronson, who is our 2012 Mr. MAL. He’ll go on to Chicago to compete at IML. First Runner-Up: Marc Sherkness-Carcione. Second Runner-up: Matt Kenney. Next year, MAL will be a week early (Jan. 11-13) due to the Presidential Inauguration. Any guesses who I’m voting for? For the first time in three years, the Northern California Leather Sir/boy and Community Bootblack contest is returning to SF. It’ll take place at BeatBox (314 11th St.) on Feb. 11

at 6 p.m. The contest is produced by Deborah Hoffman Wade. The judges are: Rod Wood, Luna, Sir Alan Penrod, Bryson “Pup Nitro” Hankinson, Darren Bondy, Tom Pupp, Richard Sprott, and boy jean. Alternate judge is Ms. V. Our own Mr. SF Leather 2010 and IML 2010 First Runner-up Lance Holman is the emcee. Lance is so damned sexy with that dazzling smile and personality of his that he might snatch the title away from the contestants. This is always a fun event with a varied mix of people from all aspects of our community in attendance. The BeatBox is the perfect space for it, too. You can’t go wrong. Plus it’s early enough to give everyone time for celebrating afterwards. This year’s beneficiary is CARAS (Community Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities). Go to: www. for details about the groundbreaking and progressive work they’re doing. Tickets for the contest are $10 at or $15 at the door. Marlena’s Bar (488 Hayes) was packed to the gills last Sunday afternoon for the Mr. Hayes Valley Leather 2012 contest. Now in its 11th year, the Mr. Hayes Valley Leather title has become one of the most respected See page 31 >>

Coming up in leather and kink

Thu., Jan. 26: Daddy Thursdays at Kok Bar (1225 Folsom). Shot & drink specials. 10 p.m.-close. Go to:

close. Go to:

Thu., Jan. 26: Nasty at The Powerhouse (1347 Folsom). $5 cover to benefit Project Inform. 10 p.m.close. Go to:

Sun., Jan. 29: Truck Bust Sundays at Truck. $1 beer bust. Warm bar, hot men, cold beer. 4-8 p.m. Go to:

Thu., Jan. 26: Authentic Interrogation presented by Danarama at the SF Citadel (1277 Mission). $20. 8 p.m. Go to:

Sun., Jan. 29: PoHo Sundays at The Powerhouse. DJ Keith, Dollar Drafts all day. Go to:

Thu., Jan. 26: Monthly Steam Party at The Powerhouse hosted by Alexis Blair Penney. Features PowerShower, towel dancers, $1/minute massage. $8 suggested donation benefits the LGBT Center. Go to:

Mon., Jan. 30: Dirty Dicks at The Powerhouse. $3 well drinks. 4-10 p.m. Go to:

Fri., Jan. 27: Truck Wash at Truck (1900 Folsom). 10 p.m.-close. Live shower boys, drink specials, loads of fun! Go to:

Tue., Jan. 31: Safeword: 12-Step Kink Recovery Group at the SF Citadel. 6:30 p.m. Go to:

Fri., Jan. 27: Strip at Kok Bar. Cheap Ass Contest, enter to win $100, starts at 1 a.m. Wear your undies, jockstraps, boxers. $2 cover. Free clothes check. Go to:

Tue., Jan. 31: Convertible Pervertables – When Mean is Just Not Mean Enough, presented by UltraViolet. $20. 8-10 p.m. Go to:

Sat., Jan. 28: Jockstrap Beer Bust at Kok Bar. $8 beer bust. 3-7 p.m. Go to:

Tue., Jan. 31: Busted at Truck. $5 beer bust. 9-11 p.m. Go to:

Sat., Jan. 28: Open Play Party at the SF Citadel. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Go to:

Wed., Feb. 1: Wolf! for Furry Men on the Prowl at The Watergarden (1010 The Alameda, San Jose). 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Go to:

Sat., Jan. 28: 15 Association Men’s Dungeon Party at the SF Citadel. 8 p.m.-2 a.m., men’s only event. Go to:

Wed., Feb. 1: Nipple Play at The Powerhouse. Drink specials for the shirtless. 10 p.m.-close. Go to: www.

Sat., Jan. 28: All Beef Saturday Nights at The Lone Star (1354 Harrison). 100% SoMa Beef! 9 p.m.-close. Go to:

Wed., Feb. 1: Underwear Buddies at Blow Buddies (933 Harrison), a male-only club. Doors open 8 p.m.12 a.m. Play till late. Go to:

Sat., Jan. 28: 2012 Mr. Powerhouse contest at The Powerhouse. See who’ll take the title and go on to the Mr. SF Leather contest. Victory party follows. 9 p.m.-

Wed., Feb. 1: Dominant’s Discussion Group at the SF Citadel. A $5-$15 donation to the SF Citadel is requested. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Go to:

Karrnal >>

January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 31

Ranch raunch by John F. Karr


ere’s the second and last of my articles about Raging Stallion’s Cowboys. The first elicited comment variously valuable and random. An e-mail from the film’s co-director Chris Ward (working with Tony Dimarco) has helped me more greatly appreciate the art of making porn. I had whimsically questioned the cawcaphony of the birds, and Ward wrote to say this wasn’t an added sound effect. What sounds like background can record as foreground – part of the challenge of filming porn on location. As for the horse in the stable which seems to be voicing an excitement that rises in tandem with the performers’ passion, well, who knew horses were so empathic? Meanwhile, at performer Colby Keller’s blog, someone named Karl Marxx thinks he’s responding to the predictions I made, but invents from my rather direct statement a new subject altogether. I’m glad I stimulated his thought, but disappointed he doesn’t expand on mine. Keller’s regularly stimulating blog is at www. Cowboys is a two-parter, with two further companion volumes: Alone on the Range, which offers JO solos from all 11 of the cast members; and Ranch Hands, which offers a showcase for Billy Berlin in three scenes of farmyard fisting. Berlin’s topped in two scenes, by Cowboys cast member Jesse Santana, then Erik Rhodes. The third scene’s surprise has smaller Berlin fisting decidedly bigger Rhodes. Despite my not really being a fan of fisting, I’ve always watched sexy, uniquely beautiful Billy. After a long and intense career as a fetish/fisting bottom, this star turn is a deep-fisting career-capper. But back to Cowboys. Its eight scenes fill nearly four hours with first-rank cast members who are well-paired. Its mood is consistent, its pacing good. The image is crisp, and the editing fine. It’s entirely well-crafted. Which doesn’t mean it’s always exciting. If you’re a fan, you’ll no doubt like a performer’s scene in Cowboys. But while several stand-out scenes rewarded my expectations, I felt I could have skipped others without any sense of loss; they left me unruffled. The exotic Aybars has not only recently ended his RS Exclusivity to go freelance, but also shorn his hair. Long hair turns me on, but Aybars’ was usually tangled and greasy. Grooming was in order, not shearing. Yet his cropped hair gives him a more crisp and perhaps even more handsome look. And he fucks eagerly, even if his later scene with Leo Forte as well as his opening scene in which he shares bottom Parker Perry with Tom Wolfe are more reportage than rousement. Mr. Wolfe always seems a little


Leather + From page 30

titles in all of California. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: This is one amazing brotherhood of men who stay active, support each other, and all with an element of naughty fun. Lenny Broberg emceed in his own inimitable way (Lenny’s emceed every contest from the beginning). Robert Soares and Michael Zane competed for the title. Each man did a great job, and both gave excellent speeches. In the end, Michael Zane was given the title. Congratulations! Next up: The Mr. Powerhouse contests this Saturday at the Powerhouse (1225 Folsom) hosted by Yours Truly. You know what that means: No one is safe!▼

Raging Stallion

Aybars, shorn but not de-sexed in Raging Stallion’s Cowboys.

grim to me. Impassive. His involvement doesn’t read, while his personality reads as lack thereof. And he’s in need of lips. Yet I understand the appeal of his robust and finely furred body, with its hefty, slightly upturned, clean-lined cock. Mostly a top, Wolfe’s ass-plugging is generally more workmanlike than impassioned, as in this movie’s opening three-way. In a subsequent scene, I’d credit Jesse Santana with inspiring him, and I was disarmed by Wolfe’s involvement and vigor. This is a good scene, building well to the climax of Part 1, the scene where even the horse gets excited. In this star-turn finale, Parker London and Colby Keller play forcefully, Raging Stallion with particularly gung-ho cocksucking. Colby is overly Milky skin, ginger hair: Billy Berlin in excited to bury his face and Raging Stallion’s Ranch Hands. tongue in London’s smooth rippling with muscle as he bounces ass, and he fucks London on the fine cock of Lawson Kane, so explosively that both guys shoot his cock banging against his belly in powerful and plenty. a triple speed of BPMs (that’s Bams I need hardly recommend Per Minute). Kane hasn’t neglected Paul Wagner to you; he building a taut body, which has has a fine scene with new the warm, light mocha coloring of RS Exclusive Adam Matthew Rush’s, if not that star’s huge Champ (the uncut, size and general air of “Duh.” hair-covered, swollen Finally, I’d like to praise the movie’s pec-ed former Colt sex talk. Or I should say, the admirable Exclusive). Champ is absence thereof. Like Cowboys’ nifty also good flip-flopping lack of plot, there’s hardly a whiff of with Wilfried Knight (the furry, uncut pornspeak to break the prevailing former Lucas Exclusive). mood of men and sexy music. I Who else? Chris Porter bottoms appreciate that a lot. And check out for Tommy Defendi and Colby Keller; the nifty 3D effect (and plentiful pics) my notes say “three raunchy fellows.” at▼ And Mr. Santana is smashing, torso

Michael Zane is Mr. Hayes Valley Leather 2012.

Scott Brogan

Serving the LGBT communities since 1971

32 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 26-February 1, 2012


Artistic licenses by Jim Piechota Sacred Monsters by Edmund White; Magnus Books, $24.95


ell-known and much celebrated biographer, novelist, and social commentator Edmund White, 72, collects some of his best writing in Sacred Monsters, a new compilation highlighting his acumen as a supreme artistic specialist. There are 21 pieces in all, most reprinted from past publications, with just a few never-before-published entries that stand just as strong next to the older, nuanced essays. Many compositions demonstrate White as the consummate observer of gay life and literature, a role that he’s spent his life sharpening. His astute, wildly witty remarks are on full display here. White has read the


Humor Abuse From page 23

down a flight of stairs. “Don’t try to protect yourself,” his father would admonish after a timid attempt at tumbling the treads. “Let gravity do its job.” And it eventually does, as Pisoni later performs a sketch that requires repeated examples of thump-thump-thump downward locomotion. Pisoni narrates his story of growing up in the circus, as well as relating his father’s circuitous route into circusing, with samples of his father’s act along with some new routines developed with director


diaries of English author Christopher Isherwood with a careful eye, and once considered him “the closest thing we had to a secular saint.” But in further considerations, he criticizes the author for succumbing to literary pitfalls as severe as “casual anti-Semitism.” White’s musings on author James Merrill offer insights not only to the writer, but to White’s own persona as he admits to being scorned by an infuriated Merrill (in the study of his Key West home during an interview) for disparaging remarks White wrote about Merrill’s questionable taste in clothing. It’s always nice to see an author of White’s stature still able to recognize the value of atonement. Elsewhere, White bows to the influential heft of several readings of Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky; he reveals a youthful affinity for the

sculpture of Auguste Rodin “the way a lover would”; applauds (and meticulously dissects) Hermione Lee’s biography of Edith Wharton; and examines the paradoxical nature of the “despair and loneliness and boredom” of John Cheever’s life juxtaposed against the “vitality and fantasy” of his writings. The length of these pieces varies greatly, but bears no weight on their entertainment potential or intellectual merit. White’s short, insightful, three-page essay on Marcel Proust lends just as much sharp opinion and cogitation as longer selections on the artistic brilliance of Robert Mapplethorpe, David Hockney, Truman Capote, and Henry James. In the closing essay, White deliberates on Lolita author Vladimir Nabokov, calling him “the high priest of sensuality and desire.”

Fans of White’s opinions and meditations have a real treat in store for them with this fine retrospective of his best essays. Others more interested in the author’s fiction offerings don’t have to wait long. His new novel, a 400-page sexcharged doorstopper about a complicated relationship between two bed-hopping men in 1960s-thru80s Manhattan called Jack Holmes and His Friend, gets a muchanticipated release to bookstores this month.▼

Erica Schmidt. Lorenzo was both straight man and stooge for his father’s clowning, and he had to share trunk space with a puppet replica of himself that his father would carry onto the stage on his back. The shifting light flowing through the air holes drilled into the trunk was little Lorenzo’s GPS system for where he was on stage. As Pisoni describes the odd and outlandish world of his childhood, he punctuates his comments with assurances that these events really happened. Photos projected on the curtains continually verify his version of the events. For Larry Pisoni, clowning was

very serious business, and the fatherson relationship was as professional as it was personal. But Papa Pisoni could also be a prankster targeting his own son, though the plastic banana he packed in Lorenzo’s lunchbox everyday grew tired for Pisoni the younger. To get dessert, father made son play a game of can you top this double-take expression, and as Pisoni plays both parts, his face turns into an accelerating shuttle of ever-widening eyes. It’s hilarious, again belying Pisoni’s claim that he isn’t funny. As a trained actor, he plays the truth in the absurdity, and this is how he can generate his own laughs.

His showmanship is in top form in a clown sketch in which his character, complete with flippers and diving mask, tries to climb a high-dive ladder for a jump into a small bucket of water. His increasingly dispirited preparations are a comic delight, even if Pisoni says he isn’t funny. Pisoni actually lasted longer with the Pickle Family Circus than did his father, but finally the teen opted for a sedentary life with mother Peggy Snider, and enrollment in a regular SF high school. There were more circus detours as he worked his way through Vassar, but most of his post-Pickle acting has been of the traditional sort.

SF Opera 2012-13 From page 21

there’d probably be compromises on the physical productions. We’re doing more co-productions, such as a revival of Tosca rather than a new one. But we try to make a revival interesting by having Angela Gheorghiu and Patricia Racette alternate in the lead on successive nights.” Yes, two of the world’s leading Toscas, one as known for her onstage temperament as for her offstage tantrums, will sing the title role. They’ll alternate along with others throughout the run. “One has only to see it to believe it,” said Gockley with the matter-offact affect of a director who knows his audience. “The dueling divas will provoke a lot of comparison, comment, and cheering for one side vs. the other.” That is, if they both show up. While Gheorghiu has by all accounts acquitted herself professionally here in her recent turns in La Rondine and La Bohème, her past history of cancellations and lovecouple escapes (her off, now on again marriage to tenor Roberto Alagna, complete with recent public denunciations) does not always allow General Directors to sleep peacefully. But Tosca is only one of eight productions this season. Another is a rare outing of Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues, Sept. 29-Oct. 19). The new co-production with Munich Bavarian State Opera stars, in their respective role debuts, phenomenal mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and promising soprano Nicole Cabell. Joining Cabell in making both company and role debuts is Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu. “Both San Francisco and Munich took a flyer on this French team headed by director Vincent Boussard [in his U.S. debut] that includes the fashion designer

Courtesy SF Opera

San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley.

Christian Lacroix and set designer Vincent Lemaire,” says Gockley. “It is a very, very interesting, evocative, physical production, new to San Francisco, that I think our public will enjoy.” Fingers are crossed when it comes to coloratura soprano Natalie Dessay tackling, for the first time, all four women in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann, June 5-July 6). Multiple surgeries for vocal polyps, combined with a grueling schedule of heavy roles, have reportedly taken their toll on the supreme singing actress’ light voice. “She is quite the gutsy little girl,” Gockley declared. “I’m crazy about her, and I hope she does well.” Another role debut comes in Wagner’s Lohengrin (Oct. 20-Nov. 9), when hunky tenor Brandon Jovanovich sings the title role for the first time opposite major soprano Camilla Nylund (Elsa). Soprano and production are new to San Francisco. Luisotti conducts, which should be very special. San Francisco’s own Jake Heggie, one of the world’s most produced opera composers, follows up the success of Dead Man Walking with the long-awaited SFO premiere

Scott Suchman

Patricia Racette in the role of Tosca at Washington National Opera (this is not the production San Francisco Opera will do).

of Moby-Dick (Oct. 10-Nov. 2). This much-praised opera, with libretto by Gene Scheer, stars many of the original cast members: Ben Heppner, Morgan Smith, Stephen Costello, Jonathan Lemalu, and Talise Trevigne. Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers, who led the world premiere in Dallas, presides. Especially exciting is the chance to hear Jay Hunter Morris, who takes over for Heppner as Captain Ahab in the final two performances. At season’s end comes The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (June 19-July 7) by another gay composer, Mark Adamo (Little Women). It’s billed as an “exploration of the narrative of Jesus and the complicated woman he loved” that “re-imagines the story of the New Testament through the eyes of its lone substantial female character.” When asked if he was

prepared for pickets from the Catholic Church, Gockley signaled yes. “If you look under the surface of Mary Magdalene, it is a very progay piece,” he stated with assurance. “It’s about expressing your sexuality, whatever it is, and that sexuality and spirituality are indivisible. It is very much an advocate piece for Mark. I think people will see what he’s getting at.” Gockley and Adamo began workshopping the piece 18 months before the premiere. They made sure to consult with Jane Shaw, the lesbian Dean of Grace Cathedral. “I asked her to look at it from the theological and feminist side,” Gockley reports. “The feminine side of Christianity was systematically banished over four centuries as the boys took over. We wanted to make sure the libretto was as theologically sound as it possibly could be.”

Pisoni concludes the show by brilliantly recreating one of his father’s balloon bits, and the audience happily tags along until an ill-fated denouement. It provides a bittersweet conclusion that had been set up earlier in the show, and the title Humor Abuse takes on even more levels of meaning. Don’t worry, this is an engagingly humorous show, and the only abuse is a father who wants to pass the circus baton on much too quickly – like by a decade or so.▼ Humor Abuse will run at ACT through Feb. 5. Tickets are $10-$85. Call 749-2228 or go to

A collaboration with Cal Performances will bring the world premiere of Nolan Gasser and librettist Carey Harrison’s “familyfriendly” The Secret Garden (March 1-10, 2013). If it’s as successful as the companies’ last family coproduction The Little Prince, everyone will be smiling. Rigoletto stars baritone Zeliko Lucic, who turned heads a few seasons back in the same La Forza del Destino that brought us our first taste of Music Director Nicola Luisotti’s astounding talent. “Lucic has become the dramatic spinto baritone of choice,” reports Gockley, “now that Carlos Alvarez, who also had vocal surgery, has dropped by the wayside.” For those wondering why the dashingly handsome, dark-voiced Dmitri Hvorostovsky is not returning for another openingnight Verdi role, look no farther than his previous divo antics here, which included a reluctance to rehearse and last-minute notification that he would not sing his final two performances. For compensation, turn to the exciting company debut of Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, who sings opposite tenor Francesco Demuro. The alternating cast’s always-intense Marco Vratogna, soprano Albina Shagimuratova (whom we’ll first hear this summer as the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte) and tenor David Lomelí will have many of us attending two performances. You can’t have a season without Mozart, or, so it seems, sopranos Ellie Dehn and Heidi Stober. The women return for their third consecutive season, this time as Fiordiligi and Despina in Così fan tutte (June 9-July 1). Important role assumptions by current Adler Fellow tenor Brian Jagde, former Merola standout Philippe Sly, and former Adler Fellow Susannah Biller, plus Luisotti’s third go-round conducting a Mozart/Da Ponte masterpiece in San Francisco, are more reasons to attend.▼

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January 26-February 1, 2012 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 33


True to herself by Tavo Amador


oan Fontaine (b. 1917) became a star in and earned an Oscar nomination for Rebecca (1940). She won the Best Actress Academy Award for Suspicion (41). Both films were directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and in them she played timid, insecure women. In reality, she was independent, daring, and intelligent. Those qualities were revealed in the 1943 movie version of Margaret Kennedy’s 1924 novel The Constant Nymph, which after decades of being unavailable has just been released on DVD. Aspiring classical composer Lewis Dodd (Charles Boyer), frustrated by lack of success, visits old friend and fellow musician Albert Sanger (Montague Love) at his farm in Switzerland. Sanger lives with his current wife and three teenage daughters from an earlier marriage: Toni (Brenda Marshall), Tessa (Fontaine), and Paula (Joyce Reynolds). Although Tessa, 14, has a heart condition, she is high-spirited – she races through the woods and around the farm. The girls adore Lewis, especially Tessa. He delights in their company. Impoverished and worried about his health, Albert asks Lewis to contact the girls’ maternal uncle, Sir Charles Creighton (Charles Coburn), should anything happen to him. He dies, and Sir Charles, a widower, and his beautiful daughter Florence (Alexis Smith) bring the girls home to London. Lewis and


Florence fall in love and marry. Florence uses her family’s influence to promote Lewis’ career as a pianist and composer, which he resents. He loathes her wealthy, high-society friends and prefers to spend time alone in his studio. The well-meaning Florence is hurt and confused. Only Tessa understands him and his work. Florence, sensing competition from her young cousin, sends her and Paula away to school. But on the day of a big dinner party at which Lewis will perform, they’re told the girls have run away. Over Florence’s objections, Lewis leaves for the school to look for them. He returns only to learn that Tessa and Paula have been hiding at the London townhouse. Tensions between Lewis and Florence increase. He is thoughtless and rude, she is frustrated that her ambitions for him aren’t being realized. He turns to Tessa – innocently – for consolation, which she offers with exceptional understanding. Despite her poor health, her enthusiasm for his music remains high. Recognizing a threat, Florence angrily confronts Lewis, blaming Tessa for ruining their marriage. He denies her accusations. Tessa, slowly maturing, tells Lewis that she would never betray her cousin, to whom she is grateful for the life she has given her. When Tessa faints, Florence revives her with smelling salts and accuses her of trying to steal Lewis. Hurt, bewildered, Tessa denies the charges and says she will leave to join Toni in

Paris, never to see Lewis again. That night, Lewis is scheduled to hear his “symphonic poem” played at a concert hall. Tessa, who has bought a new dress and planned to go, is too weak to attend. She stays home, listening to it on the radio. The ending is unexpected and touching. Fontaine is completely convincing

as a 14-year-old. Wearing little obvious make-up, she looks like a pretty girl rather than the soignee beauty she often portrayed. Her Tessa is innocent but not naive. Without a trace of sanctimony, Fontaine makes the audience care deeply for her, rising to the challenge of making a genuinely good

SF Ballet gala From page 21

most of the soloists and the cream of the corps de ballet. It was a nuanced mixed bill, including of course flashy bravura pieces, but also moody solos, a deeply contemplative trio, a heavenly group dance for men soaring like birds, and more. This gala gave an unusually thoughtful portrait of SFB and the community it serves, and what our values are. The curtain rose on a heavenly vision – or at least, heavenly to a gay man – the sight of young men flying, soaring, cavorting with each other like kids on skateboards, getting air-time, showing style, flourishing their talents, while dancing the strictest and most difficult steps in the ballet canon, in the “Gavotte” from Yuri Possokhov’s Classical Symphony. SFB is a man’s company – every guy in the troupe could dance Apollo, as Jacques d’Amboise said years ago when he came to set Balanchine’s great ballet. Most of these guys are not gay, but they have that feeling for style, fantasy, wit that our crowd lays claim to. So far as I’m concerned they’re honorary queers. First among equals in this lot was Jaime Garcia Castillo, but they all deserve honorable mention: Diego Cruz, Isaac Hernandez, Steven Morse, and the identical twins Benjamin and Matthew Stewart. There followed a mesmerizing performance by Sarah van Patten in the adagio from David Bintley’s AIDS ballet The Dance House (“inspired by Nick, and in memory of him,” 1994). She was selflessly partnered by Tiit Hellimets, with Pascal Molat. This heroic piece is set to the nervous and haunting Concerto for Trumpet and Piano by Shostakovich (Michael McGraw, pianist). Afterimages from this ballet have a half-life of many years. Damian Smith seemed more actor than dancer in Val Caniparoli’s masked dance Aria – which is fine, since it’s a spooky solo and holds the stage through its connection with the uncanny – even as the gorgeous soprano voice of Nicole

Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon’s Number Nine.

Folland floats up from the pit, singing Handel’s “Air de Almirena” from Rinaldo. Smith is one of SFB’s great partners, the cause of dancing in others; it’s wonderful to see him alone, dancing in his own right. A highlight of the evening for me was the mysteriously weighted duet of Sofiane Sylve and Vito Mazzeo in Christopher Wheeldon’s Continuum, which unfolded in modernist austerity a la Balanchine to the Andante misurato e tranquillo of Gyorgi Ligeti, again played with deep feeling by Michael McGraw. It’s all angles, bleak modern intimacy, but it rings true; I believe them. My favorite thing the whole evening was the incredibly silly and delightful Voices of Spring, in which nearly the first thing that happens is that the boy (heroic Joan Boada) lifts the girl (Maria Kochetkova) overhead, like the Olympic torch, and runs across the stage with her, as she lets streams of rose petals slip from her hands and float out behind her. While we’re recovering from that, he puts her down and twirls her, then picks her back up again

(like the Statue of Liberty lifting the torch) and runs back across the stage again, turning as he goes, so we see her rotated from every angle, and more rose petals cascade preposterously behind her. It made me deliriously happy. First of all, this is real dance music, designed to put the boogie in the butt and get people out of their chairs, the “It’s Raining Men” of its day, outrageously danceable music. And the moves are all preposterous. The next thing they do is that she dances on air, with him lifting her, so she’s doing grand jetes just barely touching her toe to the ground before flying off into the next one. It truly has the spirit of a gala occasion – Ashton made it as “special material” for a New Year’s Eve gala version of Die Fledermaus in 1977. I’d never have known if I had not seen Kochetkova at the afterparty and she said, “It is so hard! You have no idea!” since it is typical Ashton confectionery and lighter than air. Also on the program and very well-danced were the following: Hans van Manen’s “Solo” (Hansuke

Yamamoto, Gennadi Nedvigin and Garen Scribner); the pas de deux from Vassily Vainonen’s “The Flames of Paris” (Frances Chung and Taras Domitro); the pas de deux from John Neumeyer’s Lady of the Camellias (Yuan Yuan Tan, Alexander Riabko, the latter on loan from the Hamburg Ballet); and George Balanchine’s “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux” (Vanessa Zahorian and Davit Karapetyan). The evening concluded with the entirety of Wheeldon’s Number Nine, to

character compelling. Four years older than Smith, she looks and acts a decade younger. It’s an amazing performance that remains as fresh today as when the movie opened. She earned her third Oscar nomination for it, losing to Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette, a choice that doesn’t stand the test of time. Boyer, a fine actor, is superb as a man who slowly believes what he sees, after having seen only what he believed. His conflicted feelings, his shock at realizing he loves Tessa, whom he acknowledges will soon be a woman, and his respecting her insistence that nothing can come of it, are haunting. The striking Smith also engenders some sympathy and, except in a few scenes when she overacts, is good. Coburn is typically lively and funny. With Peter Lorre as Toni’s husband and the alwayswelcome Dame May Whitty as a sharp-tongued dowager. Edmund Goulding’s direction, based on a script by Kathryn Scola, is first-rate. He beautifully juggles comedy and tragedy, easily avoiding bathos. It’s an impressive achievement. The splendid music is by Erich Wolfang Korngold. In her 1978 memoirs No Bed of Roses, Fontaine wrote that making The Constant Nymph was the best experience of her lengthy Hollywood career. She praised Goulding and Boyer, her favorite leading man. Now, nearly seven decades later, her judgment and recollections have been confirmed.▼

Michael Torke’s exhausting music. Martin West led the superb Ballet Orchestra throughout the evening. As the year begins, it’s good to see how sane this institution looks, as other ballet companies in Oakland and San Jose go through rocky times. Indeed, we must thank the memory of Richard LeBlond, Jr., who died of AIDS 20 years ago, but who came from the Ford Foundation 30 years ago to save SFB from bankruptcy and came up with the constitution that allowed SFB to stay in the black even as it grew under Helgi Tomasson’s artistic direction into international stature. As Miami and San Jose Ballets are crumbling, facing outrageous interference in artistic matters by members of the board, we can look at the firewall LeBlond created between the financial and artistic sides of SFB and thank God. There isn’t room here to lay out in detail our good fortune that Tomasson had as his board chair a former ballet dancer married to a wizard financier, but we’re all in the debt of Chris and Warren Hellman (to whom the performance was dedicated). Tomorrow night, the real season begins with a performance of John Cranko’s Onegin, a dramatic ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s music which has had huge success since it was created in the 1960s but is new to SFB and to me. It runs for a week only. Don’t miss it; Friday night’s performance is an LGBT NiteOut.▼

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34 • Bay Area Reporter • January 26-February 1, 2012


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January 26, 2012 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...

January 26, 2012 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...