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.
Guilty (Featuring Avenue D)
399 Harrison (at Ninth Street)
10 p.m.-3 a.m.; $8.
Direct from New York City, raunchy female electro-rap duo Avenue D will be performing an exclusive set at club Guilty. Their dirty ditties -- "Do I Look Like a Slut?," "The Sex That I Need," "Orgasmatron" -- have earned them booty-bustin' props in dance clubs around the world. DJs Adrian, the Mysterious D, Mr. Anthony, and Suppositori Spelling will be spinning an ass-shaking mix of bastard pop, electro, hip hop, and rock for a fun, young, mixed crowd.
Saturday, June 26
25th Annual Pride Run
Let's get this straight: You want me to (gasp) get up and be in Golden Gate Park at 9 a.m., and then (groan) you want me to run? I loathe running, but the San Francisco Frontrunners are mad for it. Oh well, takes all kinds. The, er, fun begins and ends at the South Polo Fields. There's also a pre-run Pasta Party at the LGBT center the night before for only $10.
The Ninth Annual Fencesitters Ball, a Bisexual Dance Party
155 Fell (between Van Ness and Franklin) 9 p.m.-2 a.m.; $10.
Gentle readers, I feel I must make a confession here and now. I, Heklina, am bisexual. Yes, that's right: I like men and boys! Wheeeeeeeeee, I've been waiting to use that joke forever! What's that, you didn't find it amusing? I'll just stick to the press release then. Join DJs Laird and Kitty for surprises, giveaways, and hot bi-folk from around the Bay and beyond.
Club Papi: The Fifth Annual Brown Party
550 Barneveld (at Dorman)
10 p.m.-4 a.m.
Check www.clubpapi.com for cover prices.
If, like myself, you have a taste for those delicious Latino boys, then this is the dream event for you. Close to 2,000 hot, sweaty Latinos in attendance, with three "caliente" dance floors, the West Coast's top Latin dancers, prize giveaways, and European pop duo La Bouche.
Sunday, June 27
Out For Justice
San Francisco Gay Pride 2004
The parade starts at Market and Beale at 10:30 a.m. (I was elected to be one of your community grand marshals this year; wave to me as I drive by!) and comes to an end at Civic Center. The Civic Center celebration will start at noon and continue until 7 p.m. If you plan on catching all of the main stage talent (which includes Chaka Khan, Graham Norton, and tranny rock band Lipstick Conspiracy) drink plenty of water, don't get too fucked up, and be prepared, should you get hungry, to shell out $5 to $6 for a hot dog. Also check out the Fag Fridays dance stage, the Radical Faerie camp, and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Gathering Space.
Dykes on Bikes After Party
464 19th St. (at Lexington)
2 p.m.-2 a.m.; free.
Officially known as the S.F. Women's Bicycle Contingent, the Dykes on Bikes start off the parade year after year. After working up a powerful thirst inhaling those diesel fumes down Market Street, the Lexington is where those tough gals will be going to quench it.
272 McAllister (at Larkin)
3-10 p.m.; $7 before 5 p.m., $10 after.
Presenting what she claims will be the gayest Gay Pride party around, promoter Juanita More! teams up with the creators of Opium for the only dance club within the Pride gates. The party features DJ Derek and tour-de-force performances by Fauxnique, Putanesca, and Suppositori Spelling.
Official S.F. Pride T-Dance
420 Mason (at Geary)
6 p.m.-midnight; $15 before 7 p.m., $20 after.
All right, all you gym bunnies who love to take off your shirts, show off those six-pack abs, and shake your cute buns to the kathump-shish-boom of that pounding house that drives me to drink -- this is where you need to be. Mixing turn-of-the-century architecture with world-class DJs, lights, and sound, this is the circuit event of the day.