Category Archives: The Castro


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This Sunday, come Explore San Francisco and create some wonderful Mother’s Day memories to last a long time.

Take Mom out for a food tour and a cruise on the Bay for only $64!
Choose any of these food tours:

  • North Beach at Night
  • Mission Vegetarian
  • Little Saigon
  • Mission District South (24th Street)
  • The Real Chinatown

Paired with a Bay Cruise on San Francisco Bay!

To make reservations or for more information, please call:415.504.3636 x 102 or email: reservations@exploresf.bizLimited number of spots available
Golden Gate Bay CruiseOperated by:

Red and White Fleet

Give her the fun day she deserves
While making memories to last a lifetime

Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.

Prague flower shop

Prague flower shop (Photo credit: jafsegal)

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The Weeknighter: Churchill

The Weeknighter: Churchill


Churchill, Church Street at Market

The Weeknighter: Churchill

Photo from Churchill’s website

Weekends are for amateurs. Weeknights are for pros. That’s why each week Stuart Schuffman will be exploring a different San Francisco bar, giving you the lowdown on how and where to do your weeknight right.  From the most creative cocktails to the best happy hours, Stuart’s taking you along on his weeknight adventures into the heart of the City’s nightlife. So, who wants a drink?

I was thinking of the line in “Steady Rollin’ ”, the Two Gallants song, that goes “You might’ve seen me ‘neath the pool hall lights/Well baby I go back each night.” It was a Monday night atChurchill and it was Andy’s turn to shoot. He was on my team while we played pool against Geri-Ayn, Tiffany, and Maggie; it was boys against girls. I was fucking with Instagram, trying to get a good picture that felt the way the night did, but got this one instead. Later on in the week and especially during weekends, Churchill is packed with people drinking and talking and trying to figure out if they’re going home alone or with someone else. The crowd is full of of gays, straights, and in-betweens, a reflection of one of The City’s best crossroads, where the Lower Haight, The Mission, and the Castro all collide and collude to make a place called Church and Market.

But like I said, it was Monday, and while there were other people in the bar, we had the pool table (and more importantly the jukebox) all to ourselves. Andy popped on Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” while Maggie lined up a shot, and I looked out the window and watched The City’s weird, sad parade of homelessness trudge by. “I need a drink. Who else wants one?” I asked and only Tiffany joined in, so we walked to the bar and she bought me a drink because I opened my wallet and realized I’d run out of money. The other people at the bar were imbibing pretty things with names like Bees Ness, El Diablo, and The Homefront. The cocktails at Churchill are seasonal so the drink list changes fairly often. But I got what I always get, a vodka soda with a lemon. I gotta watch my girlish figure after all.

A couple incarnations ago the joint was called The Transfer. It was a skeezy gay bar with cheap drinks and had dance parties where everyone was young, wasted, and androgynous. It was a lot of fun and a lot of weird. Churchill has come a long way since then. The crowd is decidedly more upmarket and the interior is quite lovely, something that never could’ve been said about The Transfer. Dotting the big open space are fixtures reminiscent of another time. The theme here is WWII era watering hole so there’s a massive American flag with only 48 stars (sorry Alaska and Hawaii), ropes and repurposed wood for a ceiling, vintage lamps, and a portrait of the bar’s namesake, Winston Churchill.

After the pool game and a couple more drinks it was time to go. It was at least 1 am and people had to get up for work the next day and I needed to work on this article. So we all went our separate ways. While walking home I got to thinking about how wonderful my life is. The fact that it’s totally a normal thing to spend Monday night in an awesome bar with brilliant friends is a testament to San Francisco. People my age in the rest of the country had already been in bed for hours dreaming about how much they hate their bosses. I got to be out late and be paid to write about it. It reminded me of another line from the same Two Gallants song, “Out waltzing with the holy ghost/from the Bowery to the Barbary Coast/the land I’m from you know I love the most/steady rollin’ and I keep going.”

Stuart Schuffman has been called “an Underground legend” by the SF Chronicle, “an SF cult hero” by the SF Bay Guardian, and “the chief of cheap” by Time Out New York. He is also the host for the IFC travel show Young, Broke & Beautiful. Follow him @BrokeAssStuart.

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"Explore Pride Tours 2012"


Pride 2012

Gay owned and operated,Explore San Francisco is pleased to announce Pride Tours 2012. Want to see the city above and beyond the parade, festival and the clubs? We offer the GLBT community tours and sightseeing within our community but outside of the box. Food tours, walking tours, running tours, 1970s Folsom District walk, or even porn studio tours. We accomodate groups and we offer sightseeing with transport provided by van service, SUV or town car. You may find the perfect choice from our regular itinerary or let us create something special for you. Please call the Pride Desk at 415.793.1104 or email

Scenic Running

Scenic RunningSan Francisco is the perfect city for running, incomparable scenery, varied terrain and mild temperatures. Take one of our scheduled runs or let us lead you on a custom run.


North Beach & Chinatown

North Beach & Chinatown at NightThis tour is very social, we have fun and friendships are made. Maybe its the wine or exotic teas, good food, the company or the vibrant area, but if youre looking for a great evening, you cant go wrong with this fun event.This is part of our regular line up, 4 or more and well have a GLBT outing.


Neighborhood Tours

Side StreetsSan Francisco, California is one of the most walkable cities in the country. We have walking tours all over the city. Choose from our regular line up of tours, or let us design something for you. 415.793.1104


Folsom- Armory

Folsom DistrictRelive the 1970s Miracle Mile and The Folsom District in all of its glory. See just the Folsom or combine this with a tour of the SF Armory, home of Select tours go to Treasure Island MediaUpon Request


Upon Request

Anniversary or birthday celebration, Pride Party to never forget, personal milestone, marriage proposal, business proposal, romantic evening or just something new and different. Give us your vision and let us expertly and meticulously make your extraordinary event a lifetime memory. 415.793.1104

Shuttle, Van, Towncar

Shuttle, Van or Town CarANapa, The Russian River, Black Sand Beach, or San Gregorio are all popular GLBT destinations within driving distance. We have transportation for any size group. Please call the Pride Desk for these spots or anywhere else you might like to see! 415.793.110

via “Explore Pride Tours 2012”.

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San Francisco — the Good Stuff!!!



San Francisco History, Photo Archives, Map Archives, Walking Tours, Museums, Online Resources, Running Tours and Historical Organizations

History Resources
  • April 18, 1906“Exploring San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and fire through the photographic archive” — A new and interesting project, which pulls out individual period photos and digs in deep.
  • Bay Time Reporter
    A series of smart, funny and insightful columns on a staggering array of Bay Area historical (and contemporary) subjects, written by the inimitable Paul Potocky. Highly recommended… the man can write.
  • California Business History
    Don’t be put off by the awkward design; this site is actually packed with timelines, photographs and histories of California (and San Francisco) businesses.
  • California Historical Society
    The grand-daddy of California history in its physical incarnation, the Society’s website features an online guide to over 300 years of California history. This resource includes over 400 images from their fine arts, library, and photography collections.
  • Library of Congress
    The “American Memory Project” — just type “San Francisco” into the search bar and jump back at the flood of photos and historical artifacts… this is the Library of Congress, after all!
  • Market Street Railway
    All things “streetcar”, packed with historical articles and photos — the home of the brand new “San Francisco Railway Museum”
  • Mister SF
    Long time chronicler of the city’s faces and places. This website features countless short takes on aspects of life in our favourite city — local joints, the vanishing of favourite haunts, literary/cinematic history and more.
  • Online Archive of California
    A part of the “Digital Library of California” — over 1,000 texts available. These include transcripts of oral histories, personal narratives, letters, press releases, newspaper articles, and other types of documents.
  • Russian Hill Neighbors
    Small site — couple of nice walking tours and a guide to neighborhood architectural styles, run by a non-profit neighborhood association.
  • San Francisco Genealogy
    An incredibly rich and comprehensive collection of historical sources — always my first stop on quests for information. Many primary sources, maps, and a forum where host Ron Filion helps answer your San Francisco history questions.
  • San Francisco Memories
    A loving tribute to our fair city from a passionate collector of San Francisco ephemera — photo intensive and quite lovely.
  • San Francisco Virtual Museum
    A long running and deep archive dedicated to historical accuracy, curated by the energetic Gladys Hanson. A terrific source for primary texts & photos, currently featuring major exhibits on the Gold Rush, Golden Gate Bridge, and ’06 Quake.
  • The Western Neighborhoods Project
    “Preserving the history of San Francisco’s West side” — An excellent site featuring photos, memories, and passionately in-depth essays documenting the lesser-known half of San Francisco.

Historical Photo & Map Archives

  • America Hurrah!
    A little treasure trove of California historiana with a San Francisco slant — click on a link and a map, reminiscence, or who knows what may result. Good fun…
  • April 18, 1906
    “Exploring San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and fire through the photographic archive” — A new and interesting project, which pulls out individual period photos and digs in deep.
  • Calisphere – University of California
    A part of the “Digital Library of California” — More than 150,000 digitized items, including photographs, documents, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, advertising, and more…
  • Charles Cushman Photograph Collection
    Charles Cushman, amateur photographer, bequeathed 14,500 Kodachrome color slides to Indiana University. Hundreds are of San Francisco in the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s.
  • Old SF
    Interactive map of the SF Public Library’s Historical Photograph Collection, which contains 40,000 digitized images from San Francisco’s past.
  • Online Archive of California
    A part of the “Digital Library of California” — access to tens of thousands of photographs, paintings, graphical materials and other images, which can be organized by topic.
  • Rails Around the Bay
    Frank Caron is an Amtrak engineer and passionate rail buff. His website focuses on railroads operating in and around the greater San Francisco Bay Area, including the history of operations in the area, maps, drawings and historical diagrams.
  • Rumsey Historic Map Collection
    This stunning collection of cartographic ephemera from the 18th and 19th centuries includes atlases, globes, school geographies, books, maritime charts, and more. Insanely cool.
  • SF Images
    Images of the past and present day, people and places, structures and landscapes. Large collection of historical photographs, from pre-Gold Rush times to today, all digitally mastered at high resolution.

San Francisco Walking  and Running Tours

  • Barbary Coast Trail
    The famous self-guided walking tour — follow the bronze medallions in the sidewalk!
  • Oakland Walking Tours
    Free walking tours of historic downtown Oakland — explore the Railroad Era, Chinatown, Art Deco Uptown, the Jack London Waterfront, Preservation Park and so much more. Sponsored by the City of Oakland.
  • San Francisco Tour Guide Guild
    “A professional, non-profit corporation of experienced tour guides and members of the travel industry.” They maintain the prefessionalism of the industry through tour guide certification, but also offer their own tours.
  • Walking in San Francisco for Health and History
    “Meet other locals interested in walking for fitness and in learning about the history of San Francisco. Most Saturdays we go on long walks that have great variety in distance, stair climbing, and amount of history information. Walks are free.”
  • Explore SF
    Explore SF offers unique tours that from a local perspective that for the most part avoid anything touristy. Each tour offers something above and beyond a normal tour, be it  lunch and a spa visit in Japantown,  Wine Country in the City,  1970’s Folsom District Tour, Sin Francisco to the SF Armory or a WIld Parrot Safari, “These tours are not to be missed.”

  • SF Scenic Running ToursThe newest trend in staying in shape and meeting new people. Running
    tours led by professional trainers and experienced guides, all of whom are
    locals, and they take you on the most beautiful runs through the most
    breathtaking city in the world. We challenge you to find a more positive way to see San Francisco. If you can find one, we’ll pay your way…

San Francisco Museums and Archives

  • Bancroft Library
    California’s memory bank on the UC Berkeley campus, one of the largest special collections in the U.S. Includes the Mark Twain Papers, Regional Oral History Office, UC Archives, History of Science & Technology Program, & Pictorial Collection.
  • San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum
    Documenting and preserving the Bay Area’s rich performing arts heritage from the Gold Rush to today – and making it available to us! Programs, events, exhibitions, and the fabulous library. Based on dancer Russell Hartley’s private collection, ca 1947.
  • Treasure Island Museum
    Once upon a time there was a museum on Treasure Island. Someday it may return, but ’til then, enjoy the museum’s website, featuring a “Memory Book” message board, info about the collections in storage, and “Treasures”, an illustrated history of the Fair.
  • Wells Fargo History MuseumThis colorful museum features a beautiful stagecoach, piles of real gold, and many other exhibits focusing on San Francisco’s Gold Rush history. Even cooler, it’s located on the very spot in which Wells Fargo opened for business in 1852!

Contemporary Online San Francisco

  • FunCheap SF
    “Finding fun and cheap stuff to do San Francisco and around the Bay Area.” Yahoo group dedicated to having fun in the Bay Area on the cheap. Good stuff!
  • San Francisco Virtual Tour
    “An interactive photo documentary Walking Virtual Tour” — and that’s just what we have here, a staggering amount of work. Kudos!
  • SF Journey (German language)
    A German-language travel guide to San Francisco and the West Coast: “Ihrem Reiseführer nach San Francisco an der Westküste der USA”
  • Wells Fargo History Museum
    This colorful museum features a beautiful stagecoach, piles of real gold, and many other exhibits focusing on San Francisco’s Gold Rush history. Even cooler, it’s located on the very spot in which Wells Fargo opened for business in 1852!

San Francisco History Organizations

  • San Francisco History Association
    A group “Dedicated to Remembering San Francisco’s Past” — they sponsor regular talks, slide shows, and guest speakers on a fantastically diverse array of subjects.
  • San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Historical Society
    Often referred to as San Francisco’s “queer Smithsonian,” the GLBT Historical Society houses one of the world’s largest collections of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender historical materials. The society’s GLBT History Museum is the first full-scale, stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States.
  • San Francisco History Museum and Historical Society
    The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society is dedicated to preserving, interpreting and presenting the historical heritage of San Francisco.

  • Treasure Island Museum
    Once upon a time there was a museum on Treasure Island. Someday it may return, but ’til then, enjoy the museum’s website, featuring a “Memory Book” message board, info about the collections in storage, and “Treasures”, an illustrated history of the Fair.
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Harvey Milk Day Recognizes Fallen San Francisco Hero (PHOTOS)

Harvey Milk

First Posted: 05/21/2012 8:52 pm Updated: 05/22/2012 8:51 pm

Harvey Milk Day

English: Harvey Milk plaque on Castro Street

People all over the country will celebrate the third annual Harvey Milk Day on May 22, a holiday honoring the pioneering San Francisco supervisor who served as the first openly gay elected official in the United States. Harvey Milk was murdered, along with much loved Mayor George Moscone by former politician an mad man Dan White.

A bill authored by California State Asseblyman Mark Leno and signed into law by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger created Harvey Milk Day in 2009.

While California is the only state to officially honor the legislator, whose tragic assassination at the hands of fellow Supervisor Dan White was depicted in the Academy Award-winning 2008 film “Milk,” people all over the country also participate. In 2010, groups in 28 other cities followed the Golden State’s lead and held events honoring the legislator.

“He knew you had to make change,” Mobile, Ala. gay rights activist Robin Galbraith told USA Today. “Our community has to understand you have a voice, and if you don’t use it, nothing will change.”

In the New York native’s adopted hometown of San Francisco, there are a bevvy of Harvey Milk Day events planned for Tuesday, including a fashion show, a march through Milk’s Castro neighborhood and a benefit for Harvey Milk Elementary School featuring “Milk” screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

But some are none too pleased by the festivities. A group of conservative California parents are threatening to withdraw their children from school in protest of local districts’ plans to spend a portion of the day teaching students about the gay rights movement.

The anti-gay group Save California has been running a series of ads in the Sacramento radio market urging parents to follow their lead. “Parents who hear about ‘Harvey Milk Day’ are outraged that this teen predator and sexual anarchist would be given the time of day, let alone be indoctrinating children behind the backs of parents,” said Save California President Randy Thomasson in astatement.

Thomasson argues that schools should be required to gain written parental consent before students learn anything about gay rights.

We here at HuffPost SF, however, will happily go on record as saying we very much support the holiday!

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Dolores Park Playground Parents Now Want A Fence To Keep Out Gays Dogs: SFist

Dolores Park Playground Parents Now Want A Fence To Keep Out Gays & Dogs


We’ve discussed before our trepidation about the infringing upon gay space that happened when that new Dolores Park playground got renovated and drastically enlarged. Though most of the gay beach remains intact, there have been complaints that motorcycle cops have been making the scantily clad sunbathers feel uncomfortable lately — if there are too many reports like this, we don’t want to see how mad and in-your-face Anna Conda will get. Cops have also handcuffed and cited the cold-beer-cold-water dude, which is just sad, even if he is mean. And now Mission Local and Uptown Almanac report on some complaints from parents that with their ridiculously outsized new toddler terrarium they now think they need a fence to keep out the big scary dogs running around. COME ON. There has always been a playground, and there have always been dogs in the park. Basically you give San Francisco’s three dozen parents an inch and they want to take a mile!

Supervisor Scott Wiener says he’s gotten “several dozen” calls from concerned parents who want the playground fenced off, but he supports the original design which uses plants to form a natural barrier to discourage dogs from running in. Then again, Rec and Parks manager Eric Andersen is allegedly keeping the option open of adding a low fence at some point.

And yes, commenters, we know there are more than three dozen parents in this city, but not a lot more! As mentioned before, this is a city with an ever-dwindling number of children and families with children, and building a playground isn’t going to keep them here — improved schools and cheaper rents, however, might be a start. We prefer our parks full of adults, and unruly animals, and people selling booze and pot edibles.

[Mission Local]

[Uptown Almanac]

PREVIOUSLY: Dolores Park To Be Half-Closed, Generally Unpleasant, For A Really Long Time

Contact the author of this article or email with further questions, comments or tips.

via Dolores Park Playground Parents Now Want A Fence To Keep Out Gays Dogs: SFist.

San Francisco Nightlife – A Sampling of The City's Gay bars

San FranciscoGay Bars and Clubs, a Sampling

The Mix

4086 18th St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.431.8616

The Mix offers a sense of warm familiarity as the Castro’s “neighborhood bar.” In addition to a selection of beers, cocktails, pool tables and friendly bartenders, patrons will also enjoy the Mix’s jukebox and open-air back patio. It’s a great spot for bonding over a pitcher with old friends or branching out and making new ones.

The Edge

1270 Valencia St., San Francisco CA 94110; Tel. 415.285.1200

The Edge is a divey corner neighborhood stop in the Castro with friendly bartenders and a happy hour that starts at noon and lasts until 7pm. Affordable drinks aren’t the only incentive to head to the Edge—its tagline promises “Strong Drinks, Low Lights, Men.”

Blackbird Bar

2124 Market St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.503.0630

The Blackbird offers visitors a classy night out with local wines, artisanal beers, craft cocktails and an unpretentious attitude. Sip on drinks such as the Farmer’s Daughter or Old Boy while enjoying feature artists.

Twin Peaks Tavern

401 Castro Street (at Market), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.864.9470

Older men, younger men. Guess who’s buying? A Moroccan-pillowed triangular space with plate glass windows and a bar stocked with casual elegance and casual encounters. Located conveniently on Market and Castro, at the foot of the San Francisco gay bar scene.


The Cafe

2367 Market St (at Castro), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.861.3846

No cover. Strong drinks. Super-gay top 40 dance mixes that bring scraggly-haired lesbians and boys who buy their youth at the tanning salon. It doesn’t get much more Castro than this.

440 Castro

440 Castro St (at 18th St.), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.621.8732

Yes, that leather-clad San Francisco silver fox with an obscenely prominent package is, as you might have suspected, tugging at his chaps for you.


Sixth St. & Harrison, San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.357.0827

There ain’t no party / like a West Coast party / ’cause a West Coast party / don’t stop. For over 25 years, the Endup has kept the San Francisco nightlife torch alive with its all day all night weekend dance-a-thons. The Sunday afternoon gay dance is legendary.


1351 Polk (at Pine), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.885.4535

Tourists looking for more family-friendly San Francisco drag shows should stick to Beach Blanket Babylon. Kimo’s ladies are hard-core, hard-livin’ and workin’ hard for their money. Still, expect a fair share of Celine, Cher and Stevie Nicks.

The Lexington Club

3464 19th St., San Francisco CA 94110; Tel. 415.863.2052

While the menfolk have their run of nearly 30 San Francisco gay bars, lesbians are often limited to also-ran club nights. Luckily, San Francisco has the Lexington Club — the only lesbian bar in San Francisco to boast and attract a wombyn-on-wombyn clientele 7 nights a week. It’s got a pool table, some pretty ladies and a rough hewn style that befits the rag-tag city that begat it.


4 Valencia St. (at Market), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.241.0205

Don’t let this San Francisco gay bar’s funereal front, with its large and lilied flower arrangement, get you down. Have a double martini (that’s the only size they come in here) and settle into the back room where a piano man and his singing muse will gather the crowd for a bittersweet rendition of “The Man Who Got Away.” Ain’t it the truth, ain’t it the truth.

Mint Karaoke Lounge

1942 Market (at Duboce), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.626.4726

Don’t mess with the Mint. While Friday nights are generally packed with post-work parties and birthdays, most nights the performances can bring down the house. Think American Idol, but sponsored by the vodka industry.


1437 Haight (at Ashbury), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.864.4213The Haight
isn’t so far from the Castro as one would think from their disparate cultures.
Trax is a good honest gay bar with a little mish mash of hipster, troll, nice guy and heavy-handed bartender. Party nights attract a fitter, faster crowd, but most nights you can count on a Bud Light, free popcorn and some mighty fine tv-watching.

The Phone Booth

1398 South Van Ness (at 25th St), San Francisco CA; Tel 415.648.4683

Intellectual ennui and surges of testosterone mix wildly at this refurbished Mission hang out. The jukebox is full of Nirvana, Weezer and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the patrons are full of cold San Francisco Anchor Steam. Cute boys, cute girls, fluid sexuality.

The Pilsner Inn

225 Church St (at Market), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.621.7058

This San Francisco gay bar is the default starting and ending point of any good tour of the Castro. Ring-necked collars belly (or perhaps, ab up), to this no nonsense bar with a cruisey back patio.

The Stud

399 Ninth St. (at Harrison), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.252.7883Fawn at singing

trannys, sweat to swirling beats and chug that rum and Coke. The Stud changes
parties nightly but is always on target. Crowds of devilishly cute boys, kick ass ladies and

nip-and-tuck gendernauts drink ’til blackout in this South of Market home.


1437 Haight (at Ashbury), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.864.4213The Haight
isn’t so far from the Castro as one would think from their disparate cultures.
Trax is a good honest gay bar with a little mish mash of hipster, troll, nice guy and heavy-handed bartender. Party nights attract a fitter, faster crowd, but most nights you can count on a Bud Light, free popcorn and some mighty fine tv-watching.

Join other local businesses. Get listed on this page.+ ADD YOUR BUSINESS

via San Francisco Nightlife – Gay bars.


via San Francisco Nightlife – Gay bars.


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What's happening today: Saturday, April 21, 2012 Sf Gate, Bay Guardian, Gay Cities Events

What’s happening today: Saturday, April 21, 2012

There is a lot happening today.

Deep Green Festival


Not your average stoner gathering, the Deep Green Fest focuses on the utility of hemp as an economic andenvironmental resource. Political activists take note: a full day’s worth of lectures on cannabis policy is on tap, as well as 215 smoking areas and tons of smoke- friendly live jams on the numerous stages. noon-midnight, $12–$25 festival-only; $60–$75 conference admission.  Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour, Richmond. (510) 735-1133,

Cesar Chavez Festival– For too many of us, Cesar Chavez Day passes by in a blur of I’m-not-at-work (or dammit-I’m-at-work) chaos. We don’t really stop to celebrate the man, and that’s a shame because as you can tell from the way Rainbow Grocery shuts its door to celebrate him, he was a seminal figure in California history, Chicano history, and labor movement history. Luckily, we all get a hall pass this and every year if we didn’t observe the man on his state-sanctioned holiday. Today, the Mission will be marked by a parade in his honor, leading to a street fair on 24th Street with live music by Carlos Santana’s son Salvador, local hip-hop phenom Bang Data, and the Cuicacalli Youth Ballet Folklorico, among many other acts. 11am parade; noon-6pm fair, free Street fair: 24th St. between Bryant and Treat, SF (415) 621-2665,

San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival Today, 220,000 Attendees expected.

Today, Saturday, Apr 21 10:00a to 7:00p
at San Francisco Cherry Blossom FestivalSan FranciscoCA
Price: FREE to attend
Phone: (415) 563-2313
Age Suitability: All Ages

This year’s Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday April 14-15 and April 21-22, 2012. All are welcome to join in the festivities as we celebrate Japanese and Japanese American culture in San Francisco’s Japantown! The festival will be held on Post Street between Laguna and Fillmore Streets. There will be food booths, cultural performances, martial arts, live bands, the annual Queen Program, and more. The Grand Parade will be held on April 22, beginning at City Hall and concluding in Japantown. The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is said to be the second largest festival outside of Washington, D.C. to celebrate the blooming of cherry blossoms; and held at one of three remaining Japantowns in the United States.

Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon

Today, Saturday, Apr 21 6:30p
at Club Fugazi, San Francisco, CA
The always-changing Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon is the world’s longest running musical revue. Packed with hilarious spoofs of pop culture & political characters, outrageously gigantic hats and one show-stopping number after another, the show continues to dazzle audiences at Club Fugazi in San Francisco’s North Beach district. read more
Categories: ComedyMusicals

Berkeley Dance Project 20122

Today, Saturday, Apr 21 8:00p
Three new choreographic works explore the theme of transformation. Amara Tabor-Smith will use the Sabar dance form as a metaphor for personal growth and cultural shifts; Stephanie Sherman will explore assimilation using costumes to challenge traditional ideas of identity; and Lisa Wymore will experiment with ritual and heightened physical states. read more
Categories: DancePerforming Arts

via San Francisco Bay Guardian | News, Politics, Music, Arts, Culture.



The Naked and Famous

Today, Saturday, Apr 21 9:00p
at The Warfield, San Francisco, CA
The Naked and Famous New Zealand indie electronic ensemble the Naked and Famous make driving, melodic pop with an ’80s post-punk influence. Centered around the talents of vocalist Alisa Xayalith and instrumentalist/vocalist Thom Powers, the band formed in 2008 and released two EPs before adding members to play live….
Monty Pythons Spamalot Monty Pythons Spamalot 
The funniest show on earth is back to taunt San Francisco for a second time! Winner …
4/21/2012 Saturday 2:00p Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco CA
Featuring:  Monty Python’s Spamalot

Bill Bellamy  Bill Bellamy

4/21/2012 Saturday 9:30p Cobb’s Comedy Club, San Francisco CA
Featuring: Bill Bellamy

4th Annual Goat Festival  4th Annual Goat Festival

A Celebration of All Things Goat! – co-hosted by (the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) …

4/21/2012 Saturday 10:00a to 1:00p Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market, San Francisco CA

Thats What She Said! That’s What She Said!

That’s What She Said is a variety show full of awesome women. This show features … 4/21/2012 Saturday 7:30p The Garage, San Francisco CA
Featuring: Caitlin Gill

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the CatwalkThe Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

Dubbed fashion’s enfant terrible, Jean Paul Gaultier launched his first prêt-à-porter …

4/21/2012 Saturday 9:30a to 5:15p
de Young Museum, San Francisco CA
  The Caretaker The Caretaker
The Caretaker – first performed in 1960 – was Harold Pinter’s first big hit. Fifty …

4/21/2012 Saturday 2:00p
Curran Theatre, San Francisco CA
Featuring: Jonathan Pryce
NPRs Says You! NPR’s Says You!
Host Richard Sher and hilarious panelists Barry Nolan, Francine Achbar, Tony Kahn …

4/21/2012 Saturday 2:00p
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, San Francisco CA

Gay San Francisco Happenings Today Saturday 21, 2012


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Folsom District Armory Tour

This historic tour of the former Folsom District honors and celebrates a neighborhood and lifestyle that was almost eclipsed during the AIDS crisis and a subsequent land grab during the 1980s. We will walk down streets that housed pioneering establishments that once proudly showcased the whims of the San Francisco leather community. bars, bathouses, sex clubs, dance clubs, hotels, barracks and dungeons, if it could be imagined, it was created.

This was also a neighborhood of everyday people, many retirees, immigrants and artists. There were mom and pop grocery stores, diners, small businesses, apartments and residence halls. Not the most glamorous neighborhood in the city but it was home to thousands of people. Both populations fought against redevelopment tooth and nail but as Hermann Justin said, “this land is too expensive to have poor people parked on it.” Mayor George Moscone fought to preserve San Francisco’s neighborhoods but when he was murdered with Harvey Milk by Dan White, Dianne Feinstein, wife of mega-developer Howard Blumm, became Mayor. The race was on to steal the land underneath people’s feet, many of those people were in the midst of battling the AIDS crisis with almost no support from the government. The land grab was on.

The waterfront redevelopment of the Embarcadero in the 1950s had previously pushed the gay population into this area in the 1960s, the incipient gay community, and the leather community in particular. From 1962 until 1982, the gay community grew and thrived throughout South of Market, most visibly along Folsom Street. This community had been active in resisting the City’s ambitious redevelopment program for the area throughout the 1970s. But as the AIDS epidemic unfolded in the 1980s, the ability of this community to stand up to downtown and City Hall was dramatically weakened. The crisis became an opportunity for the City (in the name of public health) to close bathhouses and regulate bars—businesses that had been the cornerstone of the community’s efforts to maintain a gay space in the South of Market neighborhood. We will honor these communities on this tour.

But as mentioned, this neighborhood and it’s values were almost wiped from the map but not quite. Many businesses survived and as a result of this struggle the Folsom Street Fair was born. In the the spirit of being free to express our innate sexuality we will visit the survivors of the SOMA turf wars and take you on a journey to the delights of the alternative and kink communities. We will tour the neighborhood, see the landmarks and visit not one but two adult stores. We will eat at historic Wicked Grounds and our grand finale will be at the fortress on the hill, if you a will, a tour of the studios at The Armory. This foreboding and unconquerable castle houses one of the largest adult entertainment studios in the world, specializing in entertainment for the kink community, both straight and gay. You will be a special guest of the Armory and her hospitable staff on a guided tour of the facilities, where you will be priveledged to a tour of the studios and production facilities, after hours, of course.

This is a completely unique tour and is for adults only. This is a wildy popular tour and spaces are limited so book early.

WIth each ticket sold you will receive admission to the GLBT Museum in the Castro. The volunteers there and the staff at the GLBT Archive were and are supportive of this tour and helped us in our research for this important project.

Details, Recap:

-Walking tour covering a distance of about a mile, no hills.

-Tour the historic Folsom District neighborhood.

-Two shopping opportunities

-Snacks and beverages at Wicked Grounds, included

-Tour of The Armory

-Admission to the GLBT Museum at 18th and Castro


Reservations Line: 800.595.4849 (24hrs)

Reservations Online:

More Information: 415.793.1104



The Folsom District to The Armory|Mission Dolores to The Armory


via Folsom District Armory Tour.

Whatever Happened to the Folsom District?

Whatever Happened to the Folsom District?

I googled Folsom District/ images and got nothing but images of shiny new condos for 15 pages, finally on page 16, I found a guy in chaps.

Over the next few weeks, Explore San Francisco will be putting together a historical tour of the area formerly known as the Folsom District. We will be celebrating the existence of the neighborhood as well as mourning it’s passing and intend to shed some light on the corruption of Mayor Feinstein’s City Hall that led to the almost complete destruction of the neighborhood.  For what was once a thriving area of nightclubs, bars, restaurants,

Folsom Street Fair banner (simplified vertical...

Folsom Street Fair banner (simplified vertical version of Leather pride flag). Photograph taken by Dlloyd using a digital camera in San Francisco, California during Leather Pride Week. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

apartments, flats, homes, grocers and bathhouses has for the most part been stolen by developers,  shut down for health concerns (bathhouses), zoned into oblivion (as recently as this year- The Citadel) , condemned,  torn down, repaved, uprooted (thousands of residents) and in it’s place are shiny new high rise condominiums for the wealthy. To make a tragic situation like this even more repugnant, you need to hear how this happened. How did the developers get into this supposed thriving community and steal the real estate and people’s live’s when surely we live in a society governed by laws?

After trying for years without success, The Mayor’s Office took advantage of the AIDS crisis and shut the bathhouses down. There were several huge multi-story bathhouses, some that took up entire city blocks, they were frequented by hundreds of people a night and employed hundreds of workers. San Francisco was the only city and remains the only city in the world to have shut down it’s bathhouses to protect the population from AIDS. It didn’t protect the population from AIDS, in fact, it had nothing to do with AIDS, it was plain and simple a land grab. After the bathhouses, they went after the sex clubs and the racier bars with over regulation, threats, intimidation and constant pressure. All of this was happening, during the beginning of the AIDS crisis. The gay community already besieged by the effects of this new mysterious and fatal disease was unable to withstand a blindsided assault from City Hall, legions of attorneys, corrupt politicians and the deep pockets of the well connected and entitled developers

The Folsom Street Fair was the community’s hail-mary to save what was left of their community. The developers, too busy salivating over their plans for the area acted as if the leather community had already gone. The Folsom Street Fair in response, smacked that smug little grin right in the kisser and now stands proudly as one of the world’s largest events of it’s kind. It’s not going anywhere either. However, the Citadel was forced to close just a few weeks ago and recently the community lost The Eagle, so the battle goes on. Now we have The Armory (although it’s technically in the Mission), Mr. S continues, Wicked Grounds, Powerhouse, KOK Bar, Lonestar and The End Up is still there after all it’s glorious years. There are new straight and bisexual clubs that are of a similar vein and there are new sex clubs and of course new porn studios.

Stay tuned here for a new developments in our effort to put together a dignified tour honoring this unique truly San Francisco neighborhood. Below is some history from Wikipedia:

History of the leather community in San Francisco

The first proto-leather bar in San Francisco was the Sailor Boy Tavern, which opened in 1938 near the Embarcadero YMCA and catered to Navy boys looking for some male-to-male action.[5]

Bondage at Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco

Bondage at Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Folsom Street has been the center of San Francisco’s men’s leather community since the mid 1960s. Before centering in the South of Market neighborhood, leather friendly bars were located in the Embarcadero (Jack’s On The Waterfront at 111 Embarcadero 1952-1963, On The Levee ?-1972), and the Tenderloin (The Spur Club at 126 Turk- raided and closed in 1959, The Why Not at 518 Ellis- opened and closed in 1960, The Hideaway at 438 Eddy – raided and closed in 1961). The first leather bar in SOMA was The Tool Box, which opened in 1961 at 339 4th St and closed in 1971.[6] It was made famous by the June 1964 Paul Welch Life Magazine article entitledHomosexuality In America, the first time a national publication reported on gay issues. Life’s photographer was referred to The Tool Box by Hal Call, leader of the San Francisco chapter of the Mattachine Society, who had long worked to dispel the myth that all homosexual men were effeminate. The article opened with a two page spread of the mural of life size leathermen in the bar, painted by Chuck Arnett, a patron and employee.[7] The article described San Francisco as “The Gay Capital of America” and inspired many leathermen to move there.[6]

The first leather bar on Folsom Street was Febe’s, on the southwest corner of 11th and Folsom, which opened July 25, 1966. The Stud bar, which opened in 1966 at 1535 Folsom St., was originally a Hells Angels hangout; by 1969 it had become a dance bar for hippies on the margins of the leather scene and had a psychedelic black light mural by Chuck Arnett (in 1987, it moved to 399 9th St. at Harrison). In 1967 A Taste of Leather, one of the first in-bar leather stores, was established at Febe’s by Nick O’Demus. As of late 2009, A Taste of Leather announced it will be going out of business after 43 years.

In 1971, the modern bandana code came into use among leather people.

Many leather people went to the Embarcadero YMCA (at this YMCA doing weight training while wearing nothing but gym shoes and a jockstrap as well as nude swimming were both allowed until 1975, when women were enabled to become members of the YMCA). Leather people who worked out at the Embarcadero YMCA took advantage of the opportunity to get together withsailors when they came into town and rented rooms at the adjacent Embarcadero YMCA Hotel.

By the late 1970s Folsom’s Miracle Mile had featured nearly 30 different leather bars, clubs, and merchants, most within walking distance of each other. These establishments included, in the order they were established: 1968 – Off the Levee (by the same owner of On The Levee), The Ramrod. 1971 – The In Between (later renamed The No Name), The Bootcamp. 1972 – The Barracks at 72 Hallam St., off Folsom between 7th and 8th Streets (a gay bathhouse for people into hardcore BDSM—each room was set up like a stage set to cater to a different sex fetishsex fantasy). 1973 – The Red Star Saloon (connected to the Barracks) (which featured new artwork by Chuck Arnett), the End Up (not a leather bar but a dance bar; however, many leather people who liked to dance went there), Folsom Prison, The Ambush, Big Town—a gay leather shopping mall on the south side of Folsom between 6th and 7th Streets 1975 – Hombre, The Catacombs (for those into hard core fisting), The Emporium. 1976 – The Trading Post, The Slot (for those into hardcore flagellation), The Hotel (later renamed The Handball Express—a place for those into hardcore fisting). 1977 – The Brig, The Balcony. 1978 – The Arena, The Roundup (later renamed The Watering Hole—a place for those into urolagnia), The Quarters, Black & Blue, Folsom Street Baths at 1015 Folsom (a BDSM gay bathhouse)(later renamed The Sutro Baths in 1980—the slogan of the Sutro Baths was “a rainbow of sexual preferences“, which was inscribed on a banner above the orgy room, located where the main dance floor of 1015 Folsom now is. The Sutro Baths also admitted women and transsexuals.) . 1979 – The Stables at 1123 Folsom (for those who liked to dress as cowboys), The Trench (for those into hardcore urolagnia), The Hothouse on the northwest corner of 5th and Harrison (another BDSM gay bathhouse), Tailor of San Francisco, Mister S Leathers. 1980 – The Plunge—a gay BDSM bathhouse with a swimming pool on the northwest corner of 11th and Folsom (in 1983 the swimming pool was covered over and became the surface of the dance floor of the popular bisexual dance club the Oasis). 1981 – The Eagle at 398 12th St., as of 2010, was San Francisco’s oldest leather bar, as well as its largest with its extensive outdoor patio, and it hosted many popular barbecues and beer busts to benefit charitable organization; however, it closed in June 2011 due to a dispute over its real estate.

SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 01:  A woman touches ...

SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 01: A woman touches engraved names of AIDS victims on the Circle of Friends memorial during a service at the National AIDS Memorial Grove December 1, 2009 in San Francisco, California. World AIDS Day was observed around the globe today. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

The predecessor of the Folsom Street Fair was the CMC Carnival (California Motorcycle Club Carnival), a gay leather BDSM dance (with DJ‘s and a rock band) and fair, with vendors and a back room for casual sex, held on the second Sunday of November every year from 1966 to the last one in 1986 at various indoor venues including most often at the Seafarer’s International Union Hall (referred to as Seaman’s Hall for short) in the Embarcadero area of SOMA. In the early 1970s, the CMC Carnival was attended by a few hundred people and by the time of the last large CMC Carnival in 1982 at what was then the Yellow Cab Building at Jones and Turk in the Tenderloin, it was attended by over 4,000 people.[8][9]

The “CMC Carnival” was organized by one of the leather motorcycle clubs, the California Motorcycle Club, with the help of other gay motorcycle clubs. The members of these gay motorcycle clubs rode mostly Harley Davidson motorcycles and on periodic weekends rode their motorcycles to outings at picnic grounds in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The first gay motorcycle club in the United States was the Satyrs, founded in Los Angeles in 1954. The first gay motorcycle club in San Francisco was the Warlocks, which was founded in 1960, followed by the California Motorcycle Club, also founded in 1960 later in the year. By the mid-1960s, San Francisco’s South of Market district had become the center of the gay motorcycle club scene and was home to motorcycle clubs such as the Barbary Coasters (founded in 1966) and the Constantines and the Cheaters (both founded in 1967).[10] These gay motorcycle clubs also organized many benefits for charity at various leather bars. During the 1970s and early 1980s one could see many dozens of motorcycles belonging to people who were members of these clubs parked up and down the length of Folsom Street on the Miracle Mile. Unfortunately the membership of these motorcycle clubs was decimated by the AIDS crisis beginning in 1982.[11]

In 1979 the newly formed San Francisco lesbian motorcycle club, Dykes on Bikes, led what was then called the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade for the first time[12] and has done so ever since (since 1994, the event has been called the San Francisco Pride Parade). By the mid-1980s, lesbian motorcycle enthusiasts in other cities began to form motorcycle clubs.[10] In the 1980s and early 1990s, lesbian leatherwomen were often involved in helping to care for gay leathermen who had been stricken with AIDS.

Some leather people of the 1960s and 1970s felt that one wasn’t really a leather person but just a poseur unless one owned an actual motorcycle, preferably a Harley Davidson.[13]

[edit]Beginnings of the Folsom Street Fair

The community had been active in resisting the city’s ambitious redevelopment program for the South of Market area throughout the 1970s. City officials had wanted to “revitalize” the historically blue collar, warehouse, industrial district by continuing successful high rise development already underway on Rincon Hill.

But as the AIDS epidemic unfolded in the 1980s, the community’s relative autonomy from City Hall was dramatically weakened. The crisis became an opportunity for the city (in the name ofpublic health) to close bathhouses and regulate bars, which they did beginning in 1984.[14]

Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco

Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


As these establishments for the leather community were rapidly closing, a coalition of housing activists and community organizers decided to start a street fair. The fair would enhance the visibility of the community, provide a means for much-needed fundraising, and create opportunities for members of the leather community to connect to services and vital information (e.g., regarding safer sex) that bathhouses and bars might otherwise have been situated to distribute.[14]

Thanks to the success of the first Folsom Street Fair, the organizers created the Up Your Alley Fair on Ringold Street in 1985. This fair moved to Dore Street (“Dore Alley”) between Harrison and Folsom in 1987.


Bondage demonstration with Van Darkholme at the 2003 Folsom Street Fair

As one of the few occasions when sadomasochistic activities are encouraged and performed in public, it attracts a considerable number of sightseers and those who enjoy the attention of onlookers as well as hundreds of photographers and videographers. Although the costumes and activities are frequently transgressive, many attendees find the event “eye-opening” and positive.[15] On the other hand, the event has at times drawn public and internal criticism for its bawdy atmosphere and broad tolerance of lewd behavior,[16][17] and it is a regular target for unsympathetic organizations such as Americans for Truth about Homosexuality.[18]

Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco

Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The organizers have reportedly earned a great amount of trust from city officials as they have demonstrated not only an exceptional level of community and volunteer support but also have risen to be a role-model for other street fairs in San Francisco which have faced opposition from various neighborhood groups. With the assistance of the high-profile Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence the gate donations totaled more than $300,000 in 2006 and the methodology emulated at other street fairs like the Sisters’ Pink Saturday, the Castro Street Fair and San Francisco Lovefest.

The fair annually draws 400,000 visitors[19][20] including kinky leather fans from around the world, and is the third largest street event in California, after the Tournament of Roses Parade and San Francisco Pride parade.[21][22] Each year all proceeds from the Folsom Street Fair, including gate donations and beverage sales, are given to qualified local charities. These include AIDS charities and theSisters of Perpetual Indulgence who lead the organizing effort at the gates themselves. The event generates over $250,000 annually for charity.[23]

Fair organizers present two live stages for alternative bands and artists. Previous headlining live acts have included Ladytron (DJ Team), DragonetteImperial TeenBerlin (band)The PresetsThe English BeatShiny Toy GunsNatalie Portman’s Shaved HeadNitzer EbbMEN (band) (featuring JD Samson of Le Tigre), and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, among others. There is also a dance area with DJs and cage dancers. In 2006, Folsom Street Fair introduced a women’s area, first dubbed “Bettie Paige’s Secret” then changing its name in subsequent years to “Venus’ Playground.” In 2007, an erotic artists’ area was established as well.

[edit]Folsom Street East

Partial suspension bondage demonstration at Folsom Street Fair 2005.

Since 1997, a smaller event called Folsom Street East has been organized in New York City by GMSMA. There is no affiliation between Folsom Street East (NYC) and Folsom Street Events (SF).[21][24]

[edit]Folsom Europe

Folsom Europe was established in Berlin, Germany in 2003 in order to bring the non-profit leather festival concept pioneered by the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco to Europe. [25]

[edit]Folsom Fair North (FFN)

The Toronto version of Folsom Street Fair was dubbed Folsom Fair North, FFN or FFNTO and was held every July since 2003. The FFN was canceled permanently in 2008.

[edit]2007 poster controversy

This article or section may be slanted towards recent events. Please try to keep recent events in historical perspective. (May 2011)

For the 24th annual event held September 30, 2007 the official poster artwork was a photo featuring well-known LGBT and BDSMcommunity members in festive and fetish attire including Sister Roma “as players in an innovative version of the culturally iconographic”The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci complete with table draped with the Leather Pride flag and “cluttered with sex toyswhips, and various (BDSM) restraints“.[26] The artwork by FredAlert[27] was used on the official event guide as well as produced as collector’s posters that were also posted throughout the city for advertising. Some conservative religious groups criticized this as anti-Christian and blasphemous although media outlets noted that parodies and homages of the Last Supper painting like Renée Cox‘s Yo Mama’s Last Supper are numerous including ones by The SimpsonsThe SopranosPhishThat ’70s ShowRobert Altman (in the film MASH) and theBoston Red Sox.[28][29] Senior Pastor at San Francisco’s Metropolitan Community Church agreed that “they are just having fun” with both the painting and the current notion of ‘San Francisco values’ stating he thought it was “tastefully and cleverly done.”[27]

From a press release about the poster, Andy Copper, Board President of Folsom Street Events, a non-profit organization, states “There is no intention to be particularly pro-religion or anti-religion with this poster; the image is intended only to be reminiscent of the ‘Last Supper’ painting. It is a distinctive representation of diversity with women and men, people of all colors and sexual orientations.”[30] and “We hope that people will enjoy the artistry for what it is – nothing more or less. Many people choose to speculate on deeper meanings. The irony is that da Vinciwas widely considered to be homosexual. In truth, we are going to produce a series of inspired poster images over the next few years. Next year’s poster ad may take inspiration from ‘American Gothic‘ by Grant Wood or Edvard Munch‘s ‘The Scream‘ or even ‘The Sound of Music! I guess it wouldn’t be the Folsom Street Fair without offending some extreme members of the global community, though.”

Masked fellow at the fair

The Catholic LeagueConcerned Women for America and the Family Research Council targeted the largest mainstream sponsor of the event, Miller Brewing Company, threatening to boycott their products for the company supporting the event and allowing its logo to appear in the ad.[31][32] Miller asked for their logo to be removed from the poster with a statement on their website “while Miller has supported the Folsom Street Fair for several years, we take exception to the poster the organizing committee developed this year. We understand some individuals may find the imagery offensive and we have asked the organizers to remove our logo from the poster effective immediately.”[33] The Catholic League dropped the boycott within a month[34] with no evidence of Miller’s sales being affected.

Folsom Street Fair

Folsom Street Fair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nancy PelosiSpeaker of the United States House of Representatives who represents San Francisco and is also Roman Catholic, fielded a question on this as part of her Friday morning press conference.[27] She responded “It’s a Constitutional question. It’s areligious question. It’s about as global a question as you could ask…I’m a big believer in the First Amendment. I do not believeChristianity has been harmed by the Folsom Street Fair.”[35]



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