Video: Harvey’s Halo Lights Up the Castro Sky

Pictures and video from Wednesday’s lighting ceremony that gives San Francisco a dazzling new rainbow commemoration of Harvey Milk.

Image: Illuminate SF

The 40th anniversary of Harvey Milk’s Nov. 8, 1977 election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors was in a colorful spotlight Wednesday night, with the unveiling of a new nighttime art installation honoring Milk’s legacy. The first openly gay person elected to public office in the United States, Milk has a beaming new memorial called Harvey’s Halo. SF Weekly was onhand to get pictures and video, as a crowd of nearly 1,500 turned out to Harvey Milk Plaza to see the lights’ debut.

The unveiling and and initial lighting of Harvey’s Halo is seen in the video below, and was choroeographed to Queen’s “We are the Champions” (released in 1977, they year of Milk’s election).

The display was created by Illuminate SF, the arts nonprofit also responsible for the Bay Bridge’s Bay Lights, and founder Ben Davis pointed out parallels between Harvey Milk and Freddie Mercury.

“The struggles they had to live through and the systemic injustices they faced when it comes to equality, they were the champions of the world,” Davis told the crowd.

Joe Kukura, SF Weekly

But it was no bed of roses and no pleasure cruise for the LGBT community in the 1970s, and former S.F. supervisor and California assembly member Tom Ammiano reminded the crowd that in Milk’s era, dancing was banned in the Castro and gay-bashing was a disturbingly common occurrence. Ammiano being Ammiano, he still had to get in a dirty joke.

“Trump recently announced he had colonoscopy,” he said. “They found his tax returns.”

Joe Kukura, SF Weekly
 
The lights themselves are gorgeous, but no photo can do justice to the tricks the light beams play with the fog. And while Wednesday was a stereotypically foggy November night in San Francisco, the predicted rain showers never showed up.
 
“Over and over for three weeks we cried about the goddamned rain,”  HIV activist and organizer Gregg Cassin told the crowd. “But the weather was gorgeous.”

Joe Kukura, SF Weekly

The installation remains lit Thursday through Saturday evenings until Nov. 18, and is accompanied by an upcoming redesign of the Harvey Milk Plaza. The Castro Street and Market Street corner is seeing plenty revitalization and redesign, but we’re not exactly thrilled with all of it.

 

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