Monday, September 30, 2013

Why 2013 Was the Best. Folsom. Street. Fair. EVER. 

T'is the day after San Francisco's 30th anniversary edition of the leather and kink Folsom Street Fair, and there are a few reasons why it was the best ever. Let's go over all that was fine yesterday South of Market.

Under the dynamic and responsive leadership of fair director Demetri Moshoyannis, all volunteers at the gates were pleasant and kept throngs moving beyond the entrance gates a good pace.

The musical stages with their booming speakers were on the fringes of the festival grounds, so folks not into that loud music scene such as myself could either quickly walk past or avoid them altogether. This meant that the overwhelming areas of the fair were places where we could hold chats, ask people to strike certain poses for the multitude of cameras, hear butts get spanked and the laughter from folks seeing a rainbow burka.

We were granted an official extra thirty-minutes at the end of the day, to mark the 30th anniversary, and as like in 2012, there were no loud whistles blown by the volunteer clean up crews. Instead, with the crowd naturally thinning out at 6:30 pm and the music turned off, the crews went about their business collecting the plastic cups and bottles. The fun and fabulousness ended on a much-welcomed groovy vibe.

At 7:15 pm, as I strolled back to my bicycle, most of the booths were disassembled and I heard several guys talk about their pleasures of the day.

The combination of professional and community-minded staff, board and volunteer leadership of the Folsom Street Events nonprofit that puts on the Dore and Folsom fairs, quite a bit of public oral sex, the wonderful attendees having a simply super time, that ever-present cloud of marijuana aroma, an accommodating music policy, along with the extra thirty-to-forty extra minutes without loud whistles, all made for the Best. Folsom. Street. Fair. Ever.

Enjoy the photos!

Plenty of chunky and hunk guys showed up, and many with their shirts off.

A number of gingers caught my eye.

(Pay no attention to the dudes on the left of his hand holding the camera.)

Attractive men everywhere, ok, a few women too, had cameras in hand. A camera is more of an accessory these days than any leather or fetish wear.

Assorted sexy dudes in various outfits that caught my queer eye.

A few photos of yours truly in my rainbow burka. All photos are mine, except for the last one here with the bald leather boy with his cup of beer which is from the popular 24 Gay site in France.

A gratuitous photo of a young hunk with well-developed pecs and half-dollar sized nipples, snapped by my friend Bill Wilson. Check out all of his images from the fair at his site.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weekend Woof #54: Rainbow Burka & Folsom Fair Preview

We couldn't ask for better weather today in San Francisco, on the eve of the 30th Folsom Street Fair for leather and fetish kinksters, exhibitionists and thousands of voyeurs. I was out and about in the Castro, saw lots of friends and men and boys of all ages, shapes and sizes enjoying themselves. Tomorrow's fair is gonna be the best yet.

"Where did you get that rainbow burka?" I was asked while previewing my Folsom outfit. "Oh, I saw it on a flagpole and I just had to have it!" One man wanted to know if wearing the rainbow burka was mocking Muslims. Sure, why not. Received a robust number of "Love your outfit!" shout outs. Will it stand out in any way at the fair? 

Lots of furry beefy dudes parading around today, all with attractive facial fuzz and interesting haircuts, many wearing tank tops giving us a peek at their furry chests and shoulders.

For the sake of diversity, I snapped pix of dudes on the smooth side who attracted my queer eye at some point. See you all at Folsom tomorrow!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Moscow, 6 Mayoral Choices v. SF, One Pol for City Attorney & Treasurer

How's this for the state of electoral democracy at the local level in Moscow and San Francisco.

In the recent election for mayor of Moscow which, granted, was mightily controlled and the media coverage of the campaigns relentlessly manipulated by Putin and his Kremlin cronies, a total of six candidates were on the ballot, pictured. Their names appear on the left in Cyrillic. Here are their names in English and percentage of votes received:

  • Sergey Sobyanin – 51.37%
  • Alexei Navalny – 27.24%
  • Ivan Melnikov – 10.69%
  • Sergey Mitrokhin – 3.51%
  • Mikhail Degtyaryov – 2.86%
  • Nikolai Levichev – 2.79%

  • Compare that wealth of choices with the Soviet-style ballot for San Francisco voters in November, with a single candidate for three city-wide offices. While the Democratic Party here is far from equal with the Kremlin and we lack a local Putin, a one-party town is unhealthy for electoral democracy.

    (San Francisco has ranked choice voting, so this November 2013 sample ballot shows that for city attorney your only possible first, second, and third choices are the incumbent Dennis J. Herrera. Click to enlarge. Credit: Department of Elections.)

    From a recent Political Notes column by Matthew Bajlko for the Bay Area Reporter, we get the local facts and names for the election this fall:

    The Alice [B. Toklas Democratic Club like the Harvey Milk Democratic Club] also endorsed [Assessor Carmen] Chu, who is unopposed for the position. Despite not having to worry about an opponent, Chu has been making the rounds to meet with various groups in the city. Last week, she addressed the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro during their monthly meeting [...]

    City Attorney Dennis Herrera and city Treasurer Jose Cisneros, the only LGBT person elected to a citywide position at City Hall, both secured the backing of Milk and Alice this year. The two are running unopposed for truncated terms this fall.

    Moscow's voters had six options for mayor on their ballots in early September and San Francisco's electorate will have only one contender for city attorney, treasurer and assessor in November.
    Why No Charge in SF Fireman's Drunk Ride Injuring a Motorcyclist?

    In San Francisco, under ambitious political animal and District Attorney George Gascon, Lady Justice is not blind.

    You may recall that the sheriff and police departments, and the DA's office, took mere weeks last year to investigate and charge me, leading to my arrest and having a $25,000 bail set, when the District 8 member of the Board of Supervisor complained after I snapped his photo at a sink in a public restroom at City Hall.

    However, three months after a well-documented episode of a member of San Francisco "city family", as Mayor Ed Lee calls municipal employees, was drunk on the job, and seriously harmed a motorcyclist, the employee has not been charged by the DA. Here's the background from Dan Noyes of KGO-TV:

    Firefighter Michael Quinn, 43, had just left station one in a ladder truck on a Saturday night in June, on what turned out to be a false alarm. He drove three blocks until the surveillance video picks up. That's 5th Street heading right to left [in the video above].

    The motorcycle came west on Howard, the road that's top to bottom. Quinn blew through a red light and smashed into the motorcycle, sending the rider into a fire hydrant. Fire department rules state the driver has to have control of an intersection before going through. That did not happen in this case.

    I can now identify the victim as 50-year-old Jack Frazier of Daly City. He suffered several broken ribs, a punctured lung, broken leg, ankle, foot, and neck and back injuries. He was in the hospital for a month and continues rehabilitation to this day.
    It's been widely reported that Quinn drove the fire truck under the influence of alcohol, tried to sober up with the assistance of other city family members of the fire department by chugging water at a local bar near their fire station (caught on a surveillance camera), and an innocent motorcyclist was grievously harmed, faces additional catastrophic medical care unsure if he'll ever recover.

    But Gascon has yet to bring any charge against Quinn. I asked DA spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman why this is the situation and she replied:

    The case is currently under investigation. Therefore, we are unable to comment on it at this time.

    While the DA contemplates charging Quinn, I ponder what message goes out when a few months transpire and a drunken on-duty fireman violates several laws and seriously injures a man, because of what the DA said at the start of my case, as reported by the Bay City News service:

    San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon on Wednesday chided a local blogger who is set to be arraigned on disorderly conduct charges Wednesday for taking a photo [of the Supervisor] . . . Gascon said that he wants "to make sure we send a message that that type of behavior is not accepted ... it completely trespasses the social boundary of decency and good sense."

    Betraying political bias much, Mr. District Attorney? Want to send a message? Get a blog.

    What I believe are factors affecting the swiftness of investigating and charging in my case and that of Quinn are that my victim is a powerful Supervisor with tremendous sway over the DA's budget, and for the fireman because he's part of the city family, much backroom negotiating is taking place before Quinn is potentially charged.

    Having twice been steamrollered by the criminal justice system in San Francisco after pissing off powerful persons, I know how the system's machinery grinds the accused down. My goal in writing this is not to press the pedal of the DA's steamroller or to encourage Gascon to unjustly and without cause go after anyone.

    Instead, I'm expressing my belief that Lady Justice lifts up her blindfold occasionally to see who the accused and victims are and that the scales she holds can be wrongly weighted.

    Thursday, September 26, 2013

    'Cruising's' Friedkin: James Franco Film, Mineshaft Footage & Spielberg

    The good folks at the Pacific Film Archive recently organized a mini-retrospective of films by William Friedkin, director of "The Exorcist", "Cruising" and other movies over a 50-year career.

    On Thursday, September 19, the PFA rented the large auditorium of the California Theatre in downtown Berkeley, CA, for a screening of Friedkin's "Sorcerer" with a fantastically restored print. It was my first time seeing this over-looked excellent film and I'm pleased to have seen it with a large appreciative audience.

    Unlike other filmmakers and stars who speak before a screening, Friedkin waited until the film ended before conducting a very engaging Q&A session expertly facilitated by critic Michael Guillen.

    Since I was down in the third row on the aisle, next to where Friedkin and Guillen stood with their microphones, I asked the first question. After stating that I'd seen the Travis Mathews and James Franco mock-doc "Interior. Leather. Bar.", all about the lost forty-minutes of footage from "Cruising" and found it boring, a word I never expected to associated with the controversial film, I asked Friedkin if he's seen it.

    He has but basically had no opinion on it since he watched "Interior. Leather. Bar." on his iPad. Friedkin went on to say the missing footage is porn and was shot inside the old S/M sex club the Mineshaft, after he received permission from the Mafia owner who was his friend.

    Further discussing the making of "Cruising", Friedkin mentions the late gay activist and Village Voice writer Arthur Bell and his stories about the murders of gay men associated with the leather underground at the time. Friedkin also spoke about the murderer having served his time in prison and is now out of the slammer.

    One bit of movie trivia from Friedkin that I didn't know was that Steven Spielberg had been offered the opportunity to direct "Cruising" but turned it down.

    Glad I caught Friedkin on tape and can now share it. Apologies for the poor sound and shaky camera.

    Many thanks to the Pacific Film Archive folks for bringing Friedkin to Berkeley and also giving Bay Area cineastes a treat in showing the beautiful print of "Sorcerer", which if you haven't seen it is something you should watch and preferably on a big screen.

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    Tatchell: Gay Russian Alexeyev is 'Politically Dead'

    (Anti-Semite Alexeyev today protested in Moscow holding poster reading "Sochi Olympics Boycott - Not Sochi Gay Pride". Credit: Yahoo News.)

    [CORRECTION: The sign reads "Sochi Olympics Boycott - No! Sochi Gay Pride - Yes!" This mistake of mine was pointed out by Andy Humm in the comments. I regret the error.]

    After posting my concerns on Saturday regarding longtime global LGBT activist Peter Tatchell deploring the reckless hate and lies of gay Russian and anti-Semite Nikolai Alexeyev, Peter and I had a further exchange because I thought he needed to explain himself in more detail.

    While I maintain tremendous respect for Peter and will certainly work with him in the future, on this matter of Alexeyev, I feel he doesn't fully understand the depth of anger and concern I and many others have regarding Alexeyev and those who have promoted or defended him. I disagree with Peter's assertion that Alexeyev is "politically dead" and a "corpse" and there is no to further "bash" him.

    Today, Alexeyev staged a protest in Moscow over the Olympic Games in Sochi brandishing a sign promoting boycotting the Olympics, contradicting his weeks of dismissing Western activists' calls to do exactly that. He's not politically dead by any means and holding him to account is far from bashing. Here's my note to Peter:

    There is more, I feel, that you need to explain regarding the very troubling hatred of Nikolai over the years and your closeness to and promotion of him.

    1) Your distancing from Nikolai since 2011 was not known to me and others till recent days. Frankly, it's not enough to post a single tweet that really doesn't hold him to account for his latest outburst of hatred of Jews. Your 18-word tweet doesn't directly criticize him. You make a general statement against anti-Semitism when the problem is one man - Nikolai.

    2) Your passing criticism of him in the gushing Pink News column of October 26, 2011, when he was again acting the diva and promising to leave the stage which he of course didn't deliver on, contained a total of 700 words. Except for a paragraph mildly rebuking Nikolai, the rest of it is total hero-worship. An 18 word tweet just doesn't compare to the hundreds of words of praise. I believe you must address the b.s. and controversies surrounding Nikolai in the past months in more than a handful of words.

    It's not ok that you remained silent as he attacked fellow Russian gays, questioned their pleas for asylum in the United States, dismissed their fear their adopted children could be torn from their arms, heaped adoration on Putin, threatened to kill a gay Russian Jewish critic, falsely labeled myself and other Western critics pedophiles, and generally did all he could to keep his nuttiness a the center of attention.

    3) Posting a short note at Doug Ireland's long over-due condemnation of Nikolai's b.s., was unknown to many until I blogged about it. I feel insulted that your mild spanking of Nikolai with one bland tweet and that short note just doesn't cut it.

     My primary question is why do you think it's enough to issue the skimpiest of notes at this point, after years of Nikolai's idiotic venom and sliming of good people in Russia and outside, and you defending and promoting him? I am requesting that you more fully and explicitly, and at an online media platform sure to gain a wide readership, detail what you are condemning now about Nikolai's harmful words and behavior. You said on Euro Queer: "Sectarian attacks have no place in the LGBT and human rights movement. We should all concentrate on working together for the common good, whatever our differences." 

    Noble words, but when such attacks and a refusal to work together were the modus operandi of one Nikolai Alexeyev, you were not among those public and loudly telling him how wrong and destructive he was acting. For the good of global queer activism and solidarity that holds one and all to acceptable standards of behavior, speak out!

    This is the reply I received from Peter:

    With respect, I think you have misunderstood. You have over-estimated my closeness to Nikolai. I attended several Moscow Prides. That's all.

    My distancing from Nikolai should have been obvious to all. I have not worked with him or endorsed anything he has done or said since 2011. Apart from attending Moscow Pride 2011, I ceased collaborating with him in 2010. I never attended successive Moscow Prides to support Nikolai but to support the Russian LGBT freedom cause.

    At Moscow Prides 2006-2011 there were many Russians involved not just Nikolai. I worked with them all. I have also supported and publicised other Russian LGBT activists and organisations, such as Coming Out, Russian LGBT Network and Side By Side. I have never attacked other Russian campaigners.

    Apart from the October 2011 tribute [in the Pink News], I don't recall repeatedly defending or promoting Nikolai. The tribute was written based on the report that he was bowing out of activism. I acted in good faith, based on what I knew about him at the time. The tribute took an overview of his contribution, seeking to put it all in perspective. It included a critical paragraph - quite critical in my view.

    I do not belong to the school of politics that, on the basis of some wrong deeds, completely dismisses a person's many years of basically good work. I apply this principle to anyone and everyone: a balanced appraisal of their overall contribution. I have never endorsed any of Nikolai's bad behaviour. I criticised it at the time to him and to some Russian activists. I showed my disapproval by not involving myself in some of Nikolai's events and by not being closely associated with him.

    You wrote: "It's not ok that you remained silent as he attacked fellow Russian gays, questioned their pleas for asylum in the United States, dismissed their fear their adopted children could be torn from their arms, heaped adoration on Putin, threatened to kill a gay Russian Jewish critic, falsely labeled myself and other Western critics pedophiles, and generally did all he could to keep his nuttiness a the center of attention."

    I was not aware of any of these allegations that you make. You were obviously monitoring Nikolai. I was not. As I said, I was not that close to Nikolai. I was rarely in contact with him. I have never monitored his posts on facebook or twitter (until I was alerted by others to his anti-Semitic rants at the start of September - and not again since then).

    However, I do know that Nikolai has shown enormous courage walking into mobs of 200+ neo-Nazis in an attempt to hold a Moscow Pride march. He has been under enormous pressure for many years, and lived with menacing threats, from the Russian state and church, homophobes and neo-Nazis.

     He seems to have cracked in recent years. While not excusing his behaviour, my instinct is sorrow and pity. I don't feel inclined to now put in the boot. The man is down and finished. He has discredited himself. There is no need for additional denunciations. Moreover, I have no wish to further inflame the sad, sectarian bonfire of so much LGBT and human rights activism. The motivation of my human rights work is love for other human beings. I do not like in-fighting. I am more interested in fighting the real abusers of human rights. I hope you understand.

    Nikolai is politically dead. Let him fade away. There is no need for anyone to further bash the corpse. It is no threat to anyone.

    Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    Castro Supervisor, Ignoring Judge's Order, Emails Me

    (Click to enlarge and read the Sept 20 date.)

    Ugh, this is the last thing I want landing on my in-tray: an email from the elected official who exercised his political muscle to have the San Francisco sheriff, police and district attorney City agencies put me through the justice system wringer for eight months. I was investigated and prosecution over snapping a photo of the politician with big ambitions, some said, because the victim has a vote over the budgets of those agencies.

    During the legal wrangling in Judge Sam K. Feng court room, my attorney Derek St. Pierre twice requested the judge instruct George Gascon's district attorney office to order the elected official to cease from emailing me his monthly newsletters, containing invitations to events with him.

    Judge Feng did so order an end to the online contact from the victim, but as you can see from the image above, the contact happened again on Friday, September 20.

    As Todd Swindell, my friend and supporter who operated the We Like Mike blog, pointed out before a plea bargain was struck that the elected official had emailed me four times. What victim continues to initiate contact with the person they are alleging committed an offence against them, during legal negotiations and after the judge has ordered the communication to cease?

    I've forwarded the evidence to my attorney and requested his legal counsel, that will bring me relief and once and for all stop the elected official's communication to me.

    ACT UP's TV Ads from the 1990s

    (Trouble getting the entire vid to play? Do a refresh to solve the problem.)

    In late 1991, when President George Herbert Walker Bush's approval rating was through the roof and the punditry class said his reelection would be a snap, I moved to New Hampshire to start a chapter of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power with the blessing and funding of the NYC and Washington, DC, chapters.

    Regardless of polls, pundits and political candidates, our mission was to force everyone at the start of the 1992 primary season to answer one question: What about AIDS? With a lot of blood, sweat and too many tears for the dead and dying and those struggling to stay alive, we succeeded quite brilliantly in forcing AIDS on to the primary and national agenda.

    The first issue-oriented television commercial of the New Hampshire and over all presidential primary was a thirty-second spot I created featuring ACT UP's highly-controversial "Kissing Does't Kill: Greed and Indifference Do" poster. It was supposed to air in January 1992, but after the station accepted my check to run the spot and place it on the schedule, it was pulled and never shown as an ad. However, the decision to not air it made the news on the same station that refused to show it, along with TV outlets in Boston.

    Unfortunately, the only version of the spot I have is on Beta tape cassette suitable for use on a TV station and don't have the actual ad to show today.

    However, a few weeks after raising a ruckus with the ad, my colleagues in ACT UP/Atlanta took the same imagery and created a commercial geared toward the Georgia primary. According to a history of that chapter, the ad managed to run on local TV stations.

    My good pal Kenny Hodnett, who vlogs as GLBT1History on YouTube, transferred three television ads into a single video.

    The first is ACT UP/Atlanta's February 1992 commercial, the second is from a joint ACT UP/DC and Queer Nation/DC committee shown in February 1996 on New Hampshire TV, and the final ad is ACT UP/San Francisco's spot that ran in June 1996.

    I believe the footage of the late and hateful Sen. Jesse Helms used by the San Francisco folks is from his famous floor speech condemning the "damn lesbian" and Clintonista Roberta Achtenberg and the local Pride March and Celebration.

    Here's the note that ran in the Wall Street Journal about the February 1992 controversy over the first use of the "Kissing Doesn't Kill" imagery in an ad:

    ACT-UP is accusing a Manchester, N.H., ABC-affiliate with censorship for not airing a paid public issue ad which the station said contained "sexually explicit visuals." The spot shows photographs of homosexual and heterosexual couples kissing passionately and ends with ACT-UP's slogan "Silence=Death." 

    A voice tells viewers to ask the presidential candidates about AIDS. ACT-UP spokesman Michael Petrelis said WMUR-TV in Manchester accepted the ad and sold him nine spots in which it would air, but changed its position days later. 

    However, WMUR's vice president and general manager, Larry Gilpin, said that, although the station's programming department had accepted the commercial, he overruled their decision. 

    "I decided this portrayal of sexuality isn't the appropriate way to communicate the problem of AIDS to New Hampshire," he said, emphasizing that it was the visuals rather than the copy that spurred his decision.

    Sunday, September 22, 2013

    Pacific Film Archive to Egypt: Free Director Greyson & Doctor Loubani

    The senior curator for the Bay Area cineaste community's much revered and beloved Pacific Film Archive is Susan Oxtoby, pictured, who came to the PFA from Canada where she was director of programming for Toronto's Cinematheque Ontario.

    When I asked her tonight to show solidarity with Canadians out filmmaker John Greyson and Dr. Tarek Loubani, she immediately said yes. Greyson and Loubani have been held in a Cairo, Egypt, prison since August 16, when they sought directions at a police station, without cause or charges brought. Today is their 37th day in captivity and 7th day of a hunger strike.

    More info on the effort to #FreeTarekandJohn is available on Twitter, this Facebook page and also a blog.

    Three supporters, including Sarolta Cump on the far right, posed in front of a University of Berkeley map on the PFA's facade showing routes to the theater. Sarolta had John Greyson as an instructor when she was a student on York University where he is a professor. She happen to be at the screening tonight of the newly struck print of Pasolini's "The Gospel According to St. Matthew", and like me, is ready for more solidarity activism on behalf of Tarek and John.

    With the PFA signage above the front entrance over our heads, a handful of us held up small posters reading #FreeTarekandJohn for a photo-op, in an of solidarity from the Pacific Film Archive's family with Tarek and John.

    We add our voices and bodies to the growing number of people in the film world and from human rights advocates saying to the government of Egypt, free Tarek and John.

    If you're in Montreal this week, please attend the Tuesday, September 24 vigil starting at 1 PM at the Egyptian consulate at 1000 de la Gauchetière O. (Metro Bonaventure, Rues Mansfield & de la Gauchetière)

    Many thanks to all who assisted creating our visibility event tonight.

    Saturday, September 21, 2013

    HRC & Gays on Food Stamps: Let Them Eat Wedding Cake!

    Lloyd Blankfein, member of the top echelon of the 1% and CEO of Goldman Sachs, pictured, has partnered with the Human Rights Campaign a single issue: gay marriage. Neither Blankfein and his firm nor HRC give a damn about the 47,700,000 people in this country who participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program through September 6.

    The GOP members of the House of Representatives voted this week to cut SNAP, familiarly known as food stamps, by $40 billion over the next ten-years. That comes on the heals of this bad news for economically-disadvantaged Americans, including lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders, from the Center on Budget and Police Priorities:

    The 2009 Recovery Act’s temporary boost to SNAP benefits is scheduled to end on November 1, 2013, resulting in a benefit cut for every SNAP household.  For families of three, the cut will be $29 a month — a total of $319 for November 2013 through September 2014, the remaining months of fiscal year 2014. That’s a serious loss, especially in light of the very low amount of basic SNAP benefits.  Without the Recovery Act’s boost, SNAP benefits will average less than $1.40 per person per meal in 2014. 

    Using the 3.8 percent figure from an LGBT demographer for number of LGBT persons in America, and applying it to the figure for total SNAP participants, I estimate around 1,812,000 of the participants are queer and soon will see their food security stream greatly diminished.

    Look who is a heroine to HRC , upon whom they lavish 370 gushing words, and is a scheduled performer at their upcoming national dinner in Washington: Jennifer Lopez.

    Was does HRC have to say about the cuts affecting a lot of low and moderate income queers? Let them eat wedding cakes!


    Search results for Supplemental Nutrition+Assistance+Program

    No Results
    powered by
    Custom Search

    I hear cackles of laughter from folks amused that I'd think HRC would actually have something to say about an economic justice matter impacting the health and wellness of many in our community. The executive leadership and board members at HRC are too damn busy sucking up to Goldman Sachs and Blankfein for gay marriage, and hiring a diva with a career in decline.

    Last I read about Lopez, back in July, she was accused by the Human Rights Foundation of accepting about $10 million in performance fees from various Eastern European and Russian dictators and corrupt businessmen. She is no ally of mine, I don't care how much HRC peddles her as a strident advocate for equality.

    The social safety net for millions of our fellow citizens, straight and LGBT and everything else, continues to be contemptuously shredded and HRC is silent. This silence is what an almost $50 million professional LGBT advocacy organization, paying the top executive well over $200,000 and Chad Griffin over $300,000 purchased for queers who don't attend gala dinners.
    Tatchell Finally Deplores Anti-Semite Gay Russian Alexeyev

    (Tatchell, left, with Alexeyev at a London protest in 2007. Credit: Pink News.)

    From across the pond, my friend longtime global gay rights advocate Peter Tatchell has finally distanced himself from Nikolai Alexeyev over his refusal to apologize for his hatred of Jews in numerous web postings.

    In a short comment left two days ago at the Gay City News page for Dour Ireland's column condemning Alexeyev, Peter found the courage to publicly break with Alexeyev after years of staying mute about his hate-filled ravings against LGBT Russians, gay Westerners and lots of other troubling behavior:

    I agree. Nikolai WAS a courageous, inspiring activist. He challenged the homophobic Kremlin and Moscow mayor. He did much good for the LGBT cause in Russia. But his anti-Semitic rants are inexcusable. I have asked him many times to explain and apologise but he has not done so. A sad and tragic fall. But there can be no truck with those who promote any form of bigotry. Liberation is for all - not just LGBTs. 

    Peter, it is damn good to hear your voice state all this now and better late then never to take the right stand, but I would sure also like to learn why it took you this long to express any opinion echoing what so many others have said for years about Alexeyev.

    While I welcome what Doug and Peter have said in recent days, for years they sadly remained silent about this sad and tragic Russian gay they so robustly promoted. As an old-school activist whose creed is silence equals death, I'm greatly displeased Doug and Peter were silent so long.

    Friday, September 20, 2013

    HRC IRS 990: Near $50M Budget, Solmonese's Final Pay, Griffin's Bonus

    (Image credit: Go Q-Notes.)

    After much urging from myself and other accountability activists, the Human Rights Campaign agreed to post several years of IRS 990 filings on their site and to share the latest tax report within weeks of filing it. As a staunch critic of the organization and it's politics, I wish to laud HRC for this active commitment to transparency.

    If only Evan Wolfson's Freedom to Marry group and Lorri L. Jean's Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center would follow HRC's transparency principles, I'd be the first to praise them for finally making their IRS 990s available on their sites.

    HRC recently posted their 2012 filings on their annual reports page, one for HRC and another for the HRC Foundation. Both were filed with the Treasury Department on August 14.

    Of keen interest to me are the revenue and assets for both arms of the organization, and the salary and bonus data for the top twelve leaders.

    For fiscal year 2012, the combined budget was $49.5 million, a jump from 2011's figure of $42.5 million. In terms of assets, the amount remained the same at $42 million and change.

    Now, for the salary and bonus breakdowns by name of the executive leadership team, starting at the highest level:. FYI, a gross-up payment is a one-time payment for things like relocation expenses. The names and numbers:

    1) Chad Griffin, executive director started on June 11, 2012, base salary of $250,000, including a $20,000 incentive bonus, with an additional $50,000 bonus for an unstated reason, and $40,100 gross-up payment, for a total of $360,100.

    2) Joe Solmonese, executive director through June 29, 2012, base salary of $238,300 plus $39,000 gross-up payment for a total of $277,300.

    3) James Rinefierd, treasurer, base salary of $211,500 plus $64,000 gross-up payment for a total of $275,500.

    4) Cathy Nelson, assistant vice president: $275,000.

    5) Susanne Salkind, vice president, base salary of $212,700 plus $60,000 gross-up payment for a total of $272,700.

    6) David M. Smith, vice president of programs: $250,300.

    7) Fred Sainz, vice president of communications: $228,000.

    8) Robert Falk, secretary, base salary of $166,500 plus $50,000 gross-up payment for a total of $216,500.

    9) Allison Herwitt, legislative director: $197,500.

    10) Ann Crowley, membership director: $175,000.

    11) Martin Rouse, national field director: $173,500.

    12) Christopher Speron, development director: $172,000.

    Total amount paid to these twelve persons comes to $2,873,400 for fiscal year 2012. Are these salaries and bonuses justified? No, not in my opinion and I say that because I believe HRC's leaders are part of the 1%, and addressing the economic disparities and concerns of the 99% of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is not on their agenda.

    HRC does not represent me.

    Thursday, September 19, 2013

    Gay City News Condemns Anti-Semite Alexeyev; His Reaction

    Better late than never. Longtime gay progressive pundit Doug Ireland in the current edition of Gay City News condemns the horrific and blatant hatred of Jews expressed by disgraced gay Russian activist Nikolai Alexeyev, pictured. For too long, Ireland provided a platform for Alexeyev with nary a word said about his many troubling remarks about other LGBT Russians, Western supporters and declarations of hate toward his critics and Jewish people.

    I'm happy to report Ireland, in an editorial signed on behalf of the entire staff of Gay City News, explains his changed views:

    And as part of our coverage, we reported in dozens of articles over the years on the liberation struggles of Russian queers and on Alexeyev’s key role in organizing those combating for the love that dared to speak its name [...]

    Because we so admired the courage and effectiveness of the hardy band of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists led by Alexeyev in raising the visibility of homosexuality in Russia and in asserting their right to love, we were all the more shocked by Alexeyev’s diatribes in recent weeks [...]

    On Facebook and Twitter, Alexeyev poured forth a stream of invective against “the Jewish mafia trying to overtake the world and now LGBT fight in Russia,” claimed that “America is ruled by Jewish mafia,” and proclaimed himself the successor to the late neo-fascist politicians Jörg Haider of Austria and Pim Fortuyn of the Netherlands, two queers whose racism and anti-Semitism motored their electoral successes [...]

    To be even more precise: Nikolai Alexeyev has now consigned himself to the trash bin of history along with all the other legions of racist zealots. We can only hope that our queer Russian brothers and sisters, who are under the most dire attack, will not be further undermined or tarnished by the unspeakable calumnies he is now broadcasting in their name or demoralized by Alexeyev’s defection to the camp of bigotry.

    I heartily welcome Ireland and the staff of Gay City News publicly condemning the rotten thinking and deplorable behavior of Alexeyev. Let's hope other supporters of Alexeyev's wise up, condemn his hatred of Jews and embrace of Vladimir Putin.

    On the Euro-Queer listserv, Alexeyev had this to say in response to Ireland and Gay City News:

    Loved reading this tabloid trash which is just another proof that Americans understand very little on what is going on in the Russian LGBT community in particular and in the long Russian history in general. That is why they will never improve the situation of LGBTs in Russia, even with millions of USD. We are here and we will continue our fight. 

    But don't see the point to use my precious time to reply to this "yellow" crap. I have so many court cases, so many campaigns and so much work, with 30 cases pending at the European Court (which I will win), that to spend time to dispute on notions is not something we can afford now. We have to work, let others write their crap.

    No, what appears this week in Gay City News is not yellow journalism nor is it crap. For a prime example of both, check out Alexeyev's essay in August for the Kremlin's TV and online propaganda outlet Russia Today.

    Tuesday, September 17, 2013

    SF Pride Board Vote Totals Revealed: 9/18 @ 7PM: Gay Center

    (Six members of the reform slate, except for Kevin Bard, received the most votes. They are Joey Cain, John Caldera, Jose Cital, Marsha Levine, Jesse Oliver Sanford and Gary Virginia.)

    The San Francisco Pride blog was last updated July 2 and the full Pride site is completely devoid of any info about their recent membership meeting, forgot about their meeting tomorrow. On the other hand, much to their credit, the SF Pride Members for Democracy, Accountability and Transparency has a Facebook page open-to-all with details about Sunday's meeting and what is happening on Wednesday.

    Failure to utilize that great new invention called social media is a huge reason why the current board members must finally and comprehensively move on and permit the winners of the election to begin the transition process. For me, that process starts at this event.

    The alternative and mainstream press, bloggers and Facebookers, queers with recording devices, ordinary lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folks, one and all, please be at this homo historic event. From Davace Chin, vice president of the board, to board candidates:

    I wanted to provide you the latest update on the election process of the recent SF Pride Board of Directors election. I have confirmed that the Election Officers and Observers are available and will reconvene tomorrow: 

    (Wednesday, September 18, 2013) at 7:00 p.m. at the LGBT Center, 1800 Market Street. 

    At this time, the Officers will recalculate the votes, certify the results and announce the 2013-2014 Board of Directors. I anticipate this process should take no longer than 20 minutes. As with our recent AGM, this process is open to the public. Thank you all for your patience. 

    This was sent to all members and explains a bit of what Pride has been up to, as we've all waiting for the election results to be ratified:

    The San Francisco Pride Board of Directors met and conferred with its Interim General Counsel to review the legal implications of the events of the Annual General Meeting (“AGM”) and requested advice and counsel on possible next step, specifically with respect to the election of the Board of Directors. 

    While respecting the privilege of that attorney-client communication, we can disclose that as a result of a mathematical error in the formula used in the calculation of votes, the Election Officers will be reconvening on September 18, 2013, 7:00 p.m. at the San Francisco LGBT Center to complete the final calculation process, officially certify the election and issue an announcement of the 2013-2014 Board of Directors. 

    Vote Totals Revealed: Meet SF Pride Board's 7 Winners

    (Iranian women protest the Iranian election and results of 2009.)

    At the September 15 annual general meeting of San Francisco Pride, which the Bay Area Reporter notes attracted nearly 150 attendees, one Paul D. Quick served as an election monitor. He has shared the vote totals in the comments of Patrick Connors' report on the meeting for SFist and I thank Quick for revealing this info.

    Pleased to see most of my candidates won! Where is my vote? How many days till SF Pride declares the seven top vote-getters the new board members?

    If you haven't signed the petition to SF Pride, demanding they ratify the vote and begin transitioning the new board members into service at the organization, please do so now and tell your friends to follow suit. Add your name here.

    From Quick:

    It's not rocket science:

    These are the actual vote totals by name in rank order of results, followed by votes for, against, and abstaining. Asterisk indicates members of the challenging slate. Names in CAPITALS are the apparent winners, who were NOT allowed to take office.

    GARY VIRGINIA* 101, 37, 5
    MARSHA LEVINE* 99, 38, 6
    JESSE SANFORD* 93, 41,9
    JOEY CAIN* 91, 44, 8
    JOSE CITAL* 79,48, 16
    JUSTIN TAYLOR 72, 57, 14
    JOHN CALDERA* 72, 62, 9
    Kevin Bard* 65, 59, 19
    Joseph Greenwell 56, 63, 24
    Pam Grey 52, 79, 12
    Shaun Haines 50 72, 21
    Rochelle A Fortier Nwadibia 46-82-15
    Javarre Cordero Wilson 37, 88, 18
    Kirk Linn-Degrassi 34, 99, 10

    These are the rules:

    "E. A nominee shall be elected if s/he shall poll 'For' in respect of 50%+1
    of all votes cast, minus abstentions. All ballots shall be opened and
    counted by the Election Officers in public view.

    "F. Any and all abstention votes should be subtracted from the total votes
    cast for that candidate. An abstention is not a “no” vote and therefore
    should not be counted as one. Candidates may have different 'total' vote
    counts from which the 50% + 1 winning margin will be calculated.

    "1. Example: There are 40 total votes cast; if there are 6 abstentions for
    Candidate 'A', then the new 'total votes cast' would be 34 (40–6 = 34)
    The total votes needed for Candidate 'A' to be elected would now be 18
    and not 21 (34 / 2 = 17+ 1 = 18)

    Monday, September 16, 2013

    SF Pride Silent Over Vote Disaster - Sign the Petition!

    During a 420 medicated episode this afternoon, I made my faerie friend and big ol' queen Joey Cain laugh as we chatted on the phone. Mentioning that I'd checked the San Francisco Pride blog looking for their report back to the community about the annual general meeting, had Cain cackling. Yeah!

    Very naive of me to even think the organization would have found the time to update stakeholders about the proceedings at the W Hotel yesterday, over the course of nine-or-so hours. Miracles do happen, and the one I wish to see is for the current board to step aside and respect the will of the membership expressed democratically via balloting.

    I've launched a second petition. This time, it's directed at the current members of the SF Pride organization and it's needs your signature. The petition grew from the failure of SF Pride to declare the top seven vote-getters the winners of Sunday's election for the 2014 board.

    Check out James Patterson's story for the Bay Area Reporter and get more details about the latest disaster at SF Pride, then read Patrick Connors' take on the events for the SFist site.

    Read the text then cruise over to the petition and add your name:

    Dear SF Pride Officials,

    We request that you honor the votes cast at the organization's Annual General Meeting held on Sunday, September 15 at the W Hotel, and respect the will and the intent of the voting members of SF Pride.The top-seven vote-getters should immediately be ratified as the winners of the election and preparations made to install those seven individuals.

    After months of lurching from crisis-to-controversy on the part of the current SF Pride board of directors - from rescinding the vote granting a grand marshal slot for Chelsea (nee Bradley) Manning to abruptly cancelling meetings as well as sending endorsement emails and retracting them 24 hours later resulting in the termination of the CEO - we believe it's time for a new Board at SF Pride.

    We ask that by the close of business on Friday, September 20, that the seven winners of the election be recognized as such and that you welcome them as active members of the Board without delay.

    [Put your name on the list of signatories here.]

    Sunday, September 15, 2013

    Weekend Woof #53 : On the Streets of San Francisco

    I took a hiatus from updating this fun photographic series, and now I'm back with a new batch of images featuring fine men on the streets of San Francisco. A big thank you to all the dudes for gracing my camera lens and just for being yourselves.

    He's favorite construction dude, just for this week,working over at the big condo site going up at Market and Dolores Streets. Let's hope he makes an appearance at Folsom Street Fair on Sunday, September 29, to please those of us with an appreciation for men in construction work and the clothes they wear.

    These men were seen at the Castro farmers' market on Wednesday afternoon. Not only are the fruits and veggies worth checking out, but so are many of the guys when the weather is warm. Ok, even when the temperature is chilly there's still plenty to please my queer eye.

    There seems to be a proliferation of boys sporting creative homo-hawk cuts this month and we're gonna see lots more as we move into Leather Week time. And how was your week for male eye candy treats on the streets?

    Saturday, September 14, 2013

    Quinn's Loss = Victory for Queers Fed Up with Gay Inc

    (Freedom to Marry executive director Evan Wolfson pimping himself out for a losing campaign.)

    A nail was driven into the coffin of harmful LGBT identity politics this week, when out New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn received a measly 16% of the Democratic primary vote on Tuesday. Many gay Democratic dollars and muscle were expended on Quinn's quest to climb the political ladder, but the voters rejected her and the policies she embodied.

    When Mayor Bloomberg representing Wall Street, the 1% of the 1% ruling class and their privilege, not to mention serious pocket change to throw around, told Quinn to jump on giving him a third term by overturning a vote and the will of the people, she wasted little time putting on her athletic shoes and jumping high.

    She and her LGBT friends of privilege, including longtime A-List lesbian Kate Clinton opining in the Blade, failed to grasp the depth of anger over this. Clinton, who donated $500 to Quinn, wrote "Yeah, yeah, third term. She didn’t make New Yorkers vote for Bloomberg each time." 

    Yeah, yeah, no first term as mayor for Christine.

    So much for Clinton's sympathy with New Yorkers fed up with Bloomberg, a frustration that easily derailed Quinn's City Hall hopes into the ditch. Hello Bill de Blasio, who skillfully used that frustration of the people to come in first among Democratic hopefuls.

    Clinton and her wife Urvashi Vaid, another member of the gay 1% in good standing, and a bunch of their power-hungry friends at the L-PAC threw their money and prestige into Quinn's electoral campaign. Vaid kicked in a total of $5,000 for Quinn's campaign.

    Did I miss these lesbians and other gay funders and backers of Quinn at least acknowledging how she not only played a key role in a third term for Bloomberg, but she also pledged to retain New York Police Department Commission Ray Kelly, the architect of the racial profiling tactic of stop-and-frisk?

    The concerns of people of color, including queers, subject to stop-and-frisk policing were overlooked by Quinn and her LGBT friends. Much of her engagement, pun intended, regarding gay voters and gay issues seemed to start and end with marriage, while economic disparities and racial divisiveness were barely a footnote.

    Quinn very adequately embodies Gay Inc's embrace of law and order policies, whether it's expanding hate crime laws that don't prevent attacks and bashings or stop-and-frisk searches and humiliations they visit upon innocent persons. That embodiment was soundly rejected by a large majority of LGBT voters in New York City.

    Lou Chibbaro of the Washington Blade noted key facts I cite to back up my claim:

    The New York Times reported that an exit poll showed LGBT voters comprised 9 percent of the Democratic primary electorate on Tuesday. According to the Times, the exit poll showed de Blasio beating Quinn among LGBT voters by a margin of 47 percent to 34 percent.

    Chibarro also sheds lights on some of Gay Inc's push for for Quinn:

    The national LGBT groups Human Rights Campaign and Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund contributed thousands of dollars to her campaign and dispatched volunteers and field organizers to help in locations throughout the city.

    And the voters said no thanks to what the groups were peddling. The Great Lesbian Political Hope crashed and burned on her way to Gracie Mansion. A most welcomed political development for grassroots, small d democratic queers fed with being asked to waste votes on Democratic candidates because of their sexual orientation.

    Earlier this year, Quinn was at Victory Fund soiree on her behalf and she said something full of hubris and ego, according to a report by Metro Weekly's Justin Snow:

    Quinn said there is nothing more powerful than elected LGBT people as role models.

    Oh, sister, get over yourself!

    Friday, September 13, 2013

    Who Gets My Vote for SF Pride Board this Sunday?

    (Credit: Ben Sargent, retired Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist for the Austin American Statesman.)

    Invitation only meetings. Rejection of ideas to overhaul the SF Pride Parade contingent line up. Ignoring calls for clarification of a confusing complaint. Unwillingness to call for City Hall hearings. Not interested in an activist town hall meeting. Sucking up to an elected official.

    Those are just a few of problems I've witnessed with some of the self-proclaimed reformers and members of the San Francisco Pride Members for Democracy, Accountability and Transparency (SFPMDAT). Doesn't exactly roll right off the tongue and an indication of how simplicity is not a paramount concern, that could engage more folks with a stake in the annual Pride event but who have no patience for the process queens who've spent years attending endless Harvey Milk Democratic Club meetings.

    This Sunday, September 15, is the Annual General Meeting of the SF Pride board and membership. It starts at 2 pm down at the W Hotel, located at 181 Third Street at Howard. Since I am a member of SF Pride with voting privileges, I'll be attending and as of this writing, I'm not sure which candidates will get my vote.

    While I have had numerous public qualms with the SF Pride board since the queeruption in the spring when Chelsea Manning (nee Bradley), was stripped of being a grand marshal, and have seen up close their dysfunctional methods that harm the LGBT community, I've been quite disappointed with some of the methods of the reformers with SFPMDAT.

    Permit to disclose that several of the reformers are friends and I separate my friendship from the very genuine concerns of mine about for major changes with practically everything to do with SF Pride. Who will get my vote? Depends on answers to these questions, primarily, and what my gut tells me at the meeting this Sunday.

    My questions to all SF Pride board candidates, and I welcome hearing from them via email before Sunday or at the annual meeting, are as follows:

    1) Do you favor grouping Parade contingents by theme and placing elected officials in one contingent, to be at the end of the Parade at least for 2014?

    2) How will you push City Hall officials to develop a pro-active approach to City funding of SF Pride and solving the myriad fiscal and governance problems?

    3) Are you willing to lower the sound level at the weekend Celebration in Civic Center, while also providing a mix of musical styles to be played?

    4) What plans to you have for engaging members of the community who are not Milk Club members, political animals nor interested in lengthy discussions over process?

    5) Exactly how will you make the SF Pride site more user-friendly and full of minutes from board and committee meetings, financial documents and a place for respectful debate about the direction of the organization?

    6) Do you plan to make all contracts with all corporate sponsors transparent and easy to locate on the SF Pride site?

    7) What about severely limiting the number of grand marshals and keeping the number of honorees to less than five, 5, so that being a grand marshal carries some meaning?

    8) Are you backing my proposed theme, Housing for All, for 2014's theme?

    9) Why should I vote for you, if you were one of the individuals who rejected my proposals for City Hall hearings and pushing gay electeds or were less than transparent in SFPMDAT meetings and such?

    10) Do you favor revisiting the SF Police Department security rules for the Parade and creating a safe method for folks on the sidewalks to join contingents as they march by on Pride Sunday?