When you live in the gayest city in the country, it's easy to become complacent about this thing that happens every June called "Pride." And when the vague notion of "Pride" is appropriated by big corporations as a way to sell booze, cars, and gym memberships to that oh-so-lucrative target market of DINKs -- double-income, no kids, otherwise known as "the gays" -- then it becomes really easy to become not just complacent, but ambivalent about gay pride. (Yes, even if you've been voted to be a grand marshal in the parade, simply for throwing a freaky drag revue every week at the Stud. It's called "Trannyshack," just in case you've been living under a rock for the past eight years.)
Then again, this isn't exactly your standard, status quo year for gay culture, now, is it? So why should it be a typical Pride celebration? For the first time in a long while, we actually have a lot to be proud of. And I'm not just talking about the success of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, either. There have been a lot of victories for the gay community in the past year, including last November's Supreme Court ruling that struck down Texas' anti-sodomy law.
Oh, but that was so last season, especially compared to the latest big news: Legal gay marriage truly seems to be looming on the horizon. From Vermont to New York to Oregon to right here in San Francisco, the right for gays to legally marry seems more like an eventuality than simple wishful thinking, making this year's Pride theme, "Out For Justice," sound more like a legitimate rallying cry than a bad Steven Seagal film.
We have every right to feel proud of the strides gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders (or as we say around these parts, "queers") have made in the past year. While you were out lifting weights at the gym, shopping at Pottery Barn, and dancing to pounding house music, many of your queer brethren were out there busting their asses, pushing bills through the red tape of government, mounting demonstrations, and infiltrating the media from within. (How else can you explain all those gay TV shows? Who needs a gay channel when you've got Bravo and Showtime?)
Just remember all that while you're out celebrating Pride this week. We've had to fight for our right to party. So ... party!
Wednesday, June 23
A Passion to Preserve: Gay Men as Keepers of Culture
Reception for author Jim Fellows
675 Mission (at Third Street), Suite 300
5:30-7:30 p.m.; free.
As much as I'm sometimes turned off by the stereotype of the fag designer/florist/interior decorator/etc., I know that this is one stereotype that exists for a reason. Gay men do have that special something when it comes to giving things makeovers, whether it be a hapless straight man's wardrobe or, as illustrated in Mr. Fellows' new book, neighborhoods. A Passion to Preserve provides a rich and detailed examination of how gay men's efforts to "fix up" have played a crucial role in the preservation and revitalization of many of America's greatest neighborhoods.
Thursday, June 24
Naughty Nurses and Dirty Docs
375 11th St. (at Harrison)
8 p.m.-2 a.m.; $25 general admission, $50 VIP show.
The St. James Infirmary, the only occupational safety and health clinic in the world created for sex workers operated bysex workers, celebrates its fifth anniversary with a party at the DNA Lounge. This will be a rare opportunity for porn fans and perverts alike to mingle with the beautiful people from the infirmary, those self-proclaimed naughty nurses and dirty docs.
398 12th St. (at Harrison)
Midnight show; $6.
The Eagle Tavern's weekly Thursday night rock-outs have become legendary, and this one should be a glittering balls-to-the-wall spectacle. Tranny rock band Pepperspray (featuring Precious Moments, Princess Kennedy, Jordan L'Moore, Peggy L'eggs, and Tinkle) headlines, with opening sets by Japanese anime acts DMBQ and Sub-Arachnoid Space.
Trannyshack Does the Castro
500 Castro (at 18th Street)
Doors 9 p.m., show at 10; $6.
Shameless plug alert! This will be the final monthly show in our trilogy of Castro fundraisers (which will take the Trannyshack girls to Reykjavik, Iceland, for a Pride celebration in August). The theme this night is "Ladies of the '80s," so expect Pat Benatar and Annie Lennox lip-syncs galore! After the show, we'll be heading over to Glamarama's club Unisexy at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St. (at Mission). Unisexy DJs Johnny Kat and Chicken have generously invited us to perform for their Gay Pride edition, with proceeds going to our cause. The cover is $5; midnight-ish show ....
Friday, June 25
Rattlesnake in a Moving Car: Life With HIV
743 Harrison (between Third and Fourth streets)
5-7 p.m.; free.
Come meet artist Ron Anderson and see his work, which celebrates the lives of 20 HIV positive men and women who have lived more than 20 years with this deadly disease.
170 Market (at Sanchez)
9 p.m.; $15.
L.A.-based drag superstar Jackie Beat (recent recipient of the WeHo award for Entertainer of the Year) will have you in stitches with her live vocal parodies of Britney, Madonna, and Christina, to name a few. Also featuring DJs Big Red, Monkeyboy, and Swingkid.