Thursday, June 30, 2016

Facial Fill Surgery Today for Poz Face Creases

I wonder what Liza Minnelli does before she has plastic surgery and how she takes cares of herself afterward, as I prepare for my own procedure.

Today I'm getting facial fill injections of fat extracted from my belly into the creases on my cheeks, to counter the poz face effect from my HIV drugs.

My hubby Mike will come pick me up from UCSF's Parnassus campus around 5 pm, and bring me home for rest and recovery. Wish me wellness!


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

SF Pride Parade Led by the FBI, Pelosi, Smirnoff, Cops & Pols

Here it is three days after the SF Pride Parade on Market Street and the contingent lineup is still not on the organization's web site. Their media coordinator, Katie Harrar, sent me the spreadsheet listing the lineup and just as in previous years, it was the same old tired political and corporate business as usual.

Among the contingents getting early, prime marching positions were the Dykes on Bikes, trans brothers and sisters, Native American two-spirits and the We Are Orlando folks, which is nice window dressing, but there were way too many electeds and law enforcement officials for this queer.

Look at how electeds Nancy Pelosi, US Senate opponents Loretta Sanchez and Kamala Harris, Mark Leno, Gavin Newsom and Ed Lee, along with the SF Police and Sheriff Departments and the FBI were front-loaded. Oh, Smirnoff vodka's parent company Diageo was in the mix too.

As in previous years, SF Pride wasn't the least bit transparent about how they decided the lineup. It's all done in secrecy and behind closed doors. I've posted the full 243-contingent lineup on my Google drive here.

Glad I boycotted SF Pride and its Parade again. No need for me or Mike to enable or in anyway participate in the profiteering and ego-feeding of politicians with our presence at any SF Pride events.

They're here! They're politicians, law enforcement and corporations and they control SF Pride! Get used to it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Harvey Milk Plaza: SFMTA's Major Redo Concept Study Online

Over Gay Pride Weekend, a little birdie sang to me about an elevator was allegedly to be installed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the Department of Public Works in the next 12-16 months at Harvey Milk Plaza. I contacted SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose and he gave me the scoop on a major redevelopment coming to this vital piece of queer public property"

"We are currently in the very early stages for a new elevator at Castro station. The scope of the project includes a new elevator on the south side of the station. As part of the project we will be adding other accessibility improvements including re-grading the path of travel to the new elevator, relocating a curb ramp to improve access, replacing sidewalk paving on the street and mezzanine levels, improving lighting along the path of travel, plus other misc improvements. We have just begun meeting with community groups and will continue reaching out as we move forward."

The 12-page conceptual study shows the elevator at Milk Plaza will go in next to the rainbow flag pole on the sidewalk level and descend down to the sunken plaza and entrance level to the Muni underground station. Needless to say, I'm quite curious to hear _any_ public discussion about the flag and the plaza and who controls this public space. 

I've posted the SFMTA document here and have not heard from the agency as to whether they've shared it on their site.

The scope of the work info confusingly states that "Harvey Milk Plaza re-design and modification are not part of the scope of work for this project." Well, after reading the 12-page outline and looking at the imagery, I'd sure like to hear more about how installing the new elevator won't affect the design of the area surrounding it.

What's the schedule for the project? It began in February of this year, civic design review concludes in October, Milk Plaza design review finishes at the end of this year, and the elevator installation will be completed by January 2019.

Lotta changes coming to the plaza and I hope the first open community meeting is soon announced.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Weekend Woof #105: SF Pride 2016's Shirtless Dudes

My latest edition in the continuing Weekend Woof series is now online. Saw a few handsome fellas around town during Gay Pride Week in San Francisco and caught their images on my camera.

Many thanks to the dudes who appear in the footage and hope everyone had a happy Gay Pride season.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

'Wiener & Mayor Lee Suck! ACT UP' Sign 4 SF Pride

Another round of San Francisco Pride homo hoopla draws to a close tonight and I'm pleased to share that I skillfully avoided most of the crowded madness and rampant corporatization.

I caught three excellent films at Framline40 - "Pushing Dead," "Being 17," "Jonathan" - the last of which I saw this afternoon at the Castro Theater. As always, a joy to run into friends from my political and cinematic worlds at all of the screenings.

Over Gay Pride Weekend, I paraded hither and yon with a double-sided "Wiener & Mayor Lee Suck! ACT UP!" sign, and the majority of folks had no idea who either politician was, signaling their visitor status, while a robust number of folks heartily approved of my messaging.

One shirtless fella gladly held the sign, struck a few poses with me and mentioned he had a bulge in his shorts causing my queer eyes to gaze south.

How was your Gay Pride?
Trannies Heckle Fag Pol Off Stage: Reclaim Queer Public Space!

Let's get queerly real for a moment. Queer public space and events have got to be politician free, ensuring a community doesn't have electeds hogging mic time and feeding us pablum.

It makes my activist heart skip a beat saluting the pissed off trannies at the picnic in Dolores Park on Friday, June 24, in preparation for the Trans March, who righteously heckled career fag Democratic Mark Leno off the stage.

The question must be asked of organizers: Why the eff are you inviting these pols to the Trans March? We get enough of them daily from City Hall and Sacramento.

Next, Leno is out of a job and he gets mic time at a trans event and he calls angry trannies like Donald Trump, all because they ain't interested in his 4,987th useless proclamation that he holds in his hot homo hands.

Who the hell does he think he is that trans and queers can't yelled at him when the damn well feel like it? He and his buddies need to get this memo: no more LGBT equality business as usual!

His chosen political heir is heartless Scott Wiener, who milled about the stage along with Ed Lee and fag tax collector Jose Cisneros and rising fag City Hall operative Alex Randolph.

There is no legit reason for that cabal to again occupy queer public space at a rally. They had more than enough time barely two weeks ago on June 12 to commemorate the Orlando massacre.

Thank you, my trans and queer variant brothers and sisters who acted up, stood up and spoke up against fag Democratic types colonizing our time in the park.

We don't need Leno pimping himself and giving cover to Wiener, who's in tight race for state senate. Not that Jane Kim is any great progressive shakes, but at least she ain't Wiener and that should not be a pass for her. Kim needs to be pressed on a host of issues.

That said, she's wise to avoid appearing at any event with Wiener or the Mayor and be on the receiving end of boos that intended for them.

Watch the video:

Saturday, June 25, 2016

SF Pride Hides Parade Lineup Info?

Since 2013, I've objected to SF Pride deciding the lineup of contingent for the parade up Market Street with nary a ray of sunshine and transparency and that year, I pointed out 23 politicians had early placing in the lineup and how law enforcement were front-ended. No hours-long waiting around for electeds and cops.

Last year, I again kvetched about SF Pride's opaque process on this matter and how the police and politicians were again up front and were joined by Airbnb and Apple, enjoying early spots in the parade.

This year, SF Pride has not shared the lineup on their web site. Why open yourselves to community scrutiny before the June 26 parade, right? Keep the info off-line and don't expect any hassle about who goes first or last till after the whole shebang is over, seems to be the attitude at SF Pride.

Where is the lineup info and why can't SF Pride simple post it online for all to see?

I'll be skipping the profiteering parade and the all the police and politicians and corporations, ok, and the ordinary and fabulous queer folks and groups who aren't part of the parade's problems. No need for me to associate in any way with the commercialization and co-opting of what used to be a liberating experience.

For me, Queer Pride has nothing to do with SF Pride and those who exploit it for commercial and political gains.
Frameline40: 'Pushing Dead' & 'Jonathan' = Must-Sees

It's the final days for Frameline40 and I'm catching two movies this weekend at the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.

The enthusiastic audience response to the two screenings of the San Francisco set gentrification drama "Pushing Dead," starring local activist and acting icon Danny Glover, is getting a third showing. It plays tonight at the Victoria Theater at 9:15 pm and I've heard only positive buzz about this film.

After watching the trailer for "Jonathan" from Germany, reveling in its camerawork and big compositions, I put it on my must-see list. A few deets from the program:

"Gorgeous cinematography, a bucolic German setting, and director Piotr Lewandowski’s lyrical storytelling style make 'Jonathan' a uniquely sumptuous visual experience—and illuminate a tale about family, romantic love, and bittersweet regret."

Catch it on Sunday at 4 pm at the Castro Theater. More info on these and all events - tix, times, film synopses - at Frameline40, click here and get to the festival this weekend!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Complete List of 178 Civilians Killed by SFPD since 1939 

Back in April of 2014, I was the first public citizen and blogger to request, obtain and share on the web, the full list of all civilians killed in officer-involved-shootings by members of the San Francisco police force. The list of names totaled 168.

Since then, there have been ten additional fatal encounters between a civilian and an SFPD officer and the names of those individuals have been added to this list, bringing it up to 178.

Unlike two-years ago, the police department refused to release the race of the dead persons, citing state privacy codes. The full SFPD letter and page with the new names is share here. This is, as far as I know, the most accurate list of it's kind. Lemme know if any fatalities have been omitted.

1939: One: Castro, Carlos (White male)
1940: One: O’Toole, John (White male)
1941: Three: Church, Richard (White male), Brown, Joseph (White male), Imperiale, John (White male)
1942: Two: Silvestri, Joseph (White male), Walker, Harvey (White male)
1943: Four: Weber, Howard B. (White male), Warner, Glenn K. (White male), Dallas, William L. (White male), Pruszynski, Valdimir (White male)
1944: Four: Artega, Julio (White male), Anderson, Robert (White male), Taylor, Paul (White male), Adams, James (White male)
1945: Six: Buchanan, Willie (White male), Melendez, Francisco (White male), Brown, Paul Jr. (White male), Murphy, James (White male), Hayward, Bert (Unknown race), Pellan, William (Unknown race)
1946: Three: Copeland, John T. (White male), Ping, Lou (Oriental male),  Armelin, Eustice (Filipino male)
1947: Three: Knego, Frank (White male), Dabandan, Apolonio (White male), Ella, Edison Griffith (White male)
1948: Zero
1949: Three: Pixley, Ernest (White male), Leonard, Frank (White male), Chene, Dennis L. (White male),
1950: Two: Lassen, Dwaine (White male), Stanek, Robert (White male)
1951: One: Moss, Francis H. (White male)
1952: One: Lewis, Harper (White male)
1953: Three: Martinez, John (White male), Bishop, James L. (White male), Nichols, Jack (White male)
1954: One: Aladrid, Ernest P. (White male)
1955: Two: Ewen, Paul D. (White male), Smith, Albert (White male)
1956: Zero
1957: Zero
1958: Zero
1960: Two: Padron, Liborio (Filipino male), Bruce, Paul (White male), Cronin, Joseph (White male)
1961: Two: Porter, Lester (White male), Barajas, Joaquin (White male)
1962: One: Medina, Ernest Isaels (White male)
1963: Zero
1964: Zero
1965: Four:  Besk, Knute A. (White male), Vogel, Joseph Adam (White male), Cortez, Govea (White male), Camargo, John A. (White male)
1966: Two: Johnson, Mathew (Black male), Klebanew, Richard (White male)
1967: Zero
1968: One: Rains, James A. (White male)
1969: Six: Pollard, William H. (White male), Linthcome, Al (Black male),
Ross, Lannie (Black male), Ogden, Larry L. (White male), Brumfield, Charles (Black male), Martin, David O. (White male)
1970: Five: Clancy, Gerald M. (White male), Beavers, Miles T. (Black male) Morton, Charles (Black male), Prince, Van Allen (Black male), Williams, Alfado (Black male)
1971: Four: Torres, Christopher (White male), Legault, Ronald (White male), Faletoso, Maya (Spanish male), Johnson, Clarence (Black male)
1972: Three: Deer, Earl (Black male), Scarborough, Earl (Black male), Fowler, Raymond (White male)
1973: Three: Pratt, Josiah (Black male), Alexander, Dennis (Black male), Lenton, Albert (Black male)
1974: Four: Bacy, Wilber (Black male), Mueller, Herbert (White male), Hughes, Andre (Black male), Quinteno, Ivan Peter (White male)
1975: Zero
1976: Zero
1977: One:  Hill, Lloyd H. (Black male), Wells, Coleman A. (Black male), Riegel, Robert (White male)
1978: Zero:
1979: Two: Hughes, Perry (Black male), Sorrel, Roger (White male)
1980: Four: Grillo, Patrick (White male); Garrett, Vernell J. (Black male); Mata, George (White male); Hill, Raymond (White male)
1981: Two: David, Wayne M. (White male); Thomas, David J. (Black male)
1982: Two: Contawe, Ricardo (Asian male); Middleton, Victoria (White female)
1983: Two: Payne, Demetrius (Black male); Truong, Vo Tuoc (Asian male)
1984: One: Hoard, Jackie (Black female)
1985: One: Farrow, Warren (Black male)
1986: Three: Lumpkin, Larry (Black male); Flores, Charles (White male); Yip, Nesly (Asian male)
1987: Zero
1988: Four: Groshe, Tony (Other race male); Dixon, Ronald (White male); Bell, Charles (Black male); Barnett, Abraham (Black male)
1989: Three: Cafaro, Joseph (While male); Mason, Martin (White male); Nasalgay, Rene B. (White male)
1990: Seven: Bouyer, Allen (White male); Singh, Narinder (Other race male); Montes, Manuel (White male); Villanueva, Raymond (Asian male); DOE, John (Other race male); Quaid, Henry (White male); Wadsworth, Norman (Black male)
1991: Two: Galen, William (White male); Dixon, Edward (Black male)
1992: Three: Gardner, Scott (White male); Griffin, Glend (Black male); Washington, Damon (Black male)
1993: Three: Williams, Frank (Black male); Houston, Albert (Black male); Flores, Juan (Asian male)
1994: Three: Huang, Sai Ting (Asian male); Moore, Sidney W. (Black male); Boutwell, Victor (White male)
1995: Three: Boss, David (Black male); Hankston, William (Black male); Sheenan, Edwin (Black male)
1996: One: Thibeaus, Lernest (Black male)
1997: Two: Truong, Hue (Other race male); Solano, Silvano (Hispanic male)
1998: Two: Madrid, Jessie (White male); Smart, John M. (White male)
1999: Two: Nguyen, Phuc (Asian male); White, Bufford (Black male)
2000: Zero
2001: Two: Stelley, Idris (Black male); Smith, Randy (White male)
2002: Five: Hooper, Gregory (Black male); Tims, Richard (Black male); Ruffin, Robert (Black male); Tan, Jerry (Asian male); Akbar, Jihad (Black male)
2003: One: Moll, Michael (White male)
2004: Four: Dean, Paul (Other race male); Boyd, Cammerin (Black male); Angulo, Carlos (Hispanic male); Rugley, Gustavo J. (Black male)
2005: Zero
2006: Four: Harrington, Michael (White male); Ruff, Marlon (Black male); Breed, Charles (Black male); Eklund, Karen (White female)
2007: Two: Vargas, Mario Javier (White male); Robinson, Rene (Black male)
2008: One: Cole, Leonard (White male)
2009: One: Li, Xiyu (Asian male)
2010: Three: Bui, Vinh (Asian male); Lee, Michael (Other race male); Smith, Edward (White male)
2011: Six: Smith, Joshua (White male); Hill, Charles (White male) (BART police department officer involved shooting); Sicat, Roselyndo (Asian male); Woo, Peter (Asian male); Harding, Kenneth (Black male); Young, Steven (White male)
2012: Two: Pralourng, Pralith (Asian male); Hughes, Dennis (White male)
2013: One: Wilkerson, Dale (White male)
2014: Three: Nieto, Alejandro (Hispanic male); Sandoval-Contreras, Giovany; Evans, Oshaine
2015: Hoffman, Matthew; Perez-Lopez, Emilcar; Brown, Alice; Benitez, Herbert; Lopez, Javier; Woods, Mario
2016: Gongora, Luis; Nelson, Jessica 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

#Orlando Memorial Planned for SF's Harvey Milk Plaza

This is news to me. From the Bay Area Reporter today:

"Gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos, who represents the Mission, is working to erect a memorial to the Pulse shooting victims at Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro. On Monday, gay Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the Castro, told the B.A.R. that he envisions a community process for any memorial, but that he and others are supportive of it."

In keeping with Campos' terrible track record of not engaging his district and the larger queer Latino and Anglo communities via social media about his latest proposals, there is no info on this memorial idea via his Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Nice of the two rival gay supervisors to agree amongst themselves about a potential plaque or other iconic way of remembering the Orlando victims on City property, but it's obnoxious of them not to inform the LGBT and Latino communities.

The blood is barely dry and cleaned up in Orlando and already San Francisco politicians are jockeying for positions to best exploit the tragedy.

Actually, from the day this massacre unfolded, June 12, and with Wiener staging a political rally at Castro and Market Streets with electeds who've endorsed him in his tight race for state senate, exploitation by electeds has been part of the mix of reactions.

How to process the BAR's news? First, if there is to be such a memorial on public land, I'd like a discussion if it should be in the Mission or the Castro, or even one in each district.

Second, you know what comes next, we need to make sure control of the rainbow flag is an integral part of the community process. There cannot be a debate about an Orlando memorial at Milk Plaza without including the flagpole and the entire plaza's environment.

Let the public discussion begin!
Colorful BAMPFA Atrium & Bach-Mania

Have a gander at the newly installed colorful clumps of very movable soft furniture in the atrium you pass at the new BAMPFA home, on your way into the Barbro Osher Theater. Cal students draped themselves over the chunky pieces, then snapped images of themselves.

That space needs to be occupied by folks and not just an empty area with no reason to linger, chat and engage with the new venue in creative ways. Glad to see the museum administrators adapting the venue to be as inviting as possible.

The photo of the students was taken few weeks ago, when I finally caught up with Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet's most-accessible film, "The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach," at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive. We were treated to a pristine imported 35mm print from a cinematheque in Europe.

A fictional diary of Johann Sebastian Bach's second wife, this 1968 film featured excerpts from his music performed at locations where it was first heard and I found the cinematic austerity pleasing to my eyes and ears.

Since seeing it, I've pretty much listened only to Bach's enormous body of music and find it difficult to listen to any other music. I'm sure this Bach-mania will pass but until it does, my queer ears will enjoy his partitas and sonatas and concerti and choral works and preludes and cantatas and . . . all the rest of his mighty compositions!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sup Cohen Drops 'A-hole' Bomb on #OpenGov over Calendars

The biggest foe of sunshine at San Francisco's City Hall is Board of Supervisor President London Breed, who has muddied the waters when I requested her work calendar. She's claimed many dumb excuses for withholding it and was the only Supervisor to vote against Sup. John Avalos's 2015 legislation mandating the Supes keep and release calendars.

Unfortunately, Avalos didn't call for posting the calendars online so the burden in on the public to request them. I filed many requests with the Supes and shared their calendars on my site.

At the June 9 meeting of the Rules Committee, Breed's BFF, Sup. Malia Cohen, questioned Sunshine Ordinance Task Force member Eric Eldon about personalities of the public seeping into the process. Cohen completely ignores her personality and that of some of her colleagues when requests are made for their public records.

She drops the a-hole bomb targeting me and #OpenGov, as you hear in the video.

Eldon cites my advocacy as an example of how at least one member of the general public uses the SOTF to push forward greater transparency for all citizens, whether the politicians or reporters like me or my tactics.

My only dealings with Eldon have been at SOTF hearings and, of course, I am thankful he understands where I'm coming from and is also backing my idea that City Hall needs to post elected officials' calendars on one site every month. 

Interesting how Cohen starts off talking about the lack of "decorum" and "professionalism" on the SOTF then blurts out an epithet. Entitlement does strange things to these politicos.

Let the sunshine reign supreme!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

SF Mayor: No Decree Lowering Flags for Orlando LGBT Latinos

In the grand scheme of things, a simple flag lowering ain't much but it is a vital way of visually expressing a community's pain and brings about healing of the collective psyche.

There apparently was no proclamation from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee ordering that all flags on municipal property fly at half-mast out of sympathy and solidarity with the dead or maimed 100-plus queers, straights and a lot of Latinos.

Why the omission of an order to bring flags down in San Francisco, if for no other reason than in cooperation with President Barack Obama's proclamation to fly flags on federal government land and buildings at half-mast?

He did however, and appropriately so, declare official City mourning with the lowering of flags after the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting of 2012 and the passing of Nelson Mandela in 2013.

I emailed a whole lotta folks in various mayoral advisory positions asking why he forgot to issue a decree lowering flags on _our_ public property for a few days over the Orlando tragedy, and didn't receive a response.

You can read Mayor Lee's releases and proclamations here.

Berkeley Rep Flies Rainbow Flag for #Orlando & Pride

Last night, our favorite regional theater company, the Berkeley Rep, was flying the LGBT Pride Flag on their facade facing Addison Street. It was a sight quite pleasing to my queer eye and I was moved by the mix of the company's flags and the rainbow colors.

Folks in the box office informed me the Pride flag flew in honor of the 100-plus dead and wounded in Orlando, and for Gay Pride Month. Feeding two birds with one seed, as I like to say.

Just the uplift I needed at the end of very emotionally and politically wrought week.

I was in Berkeley to see my first play by Athol Fugard, "Master Harold . . . and the boys" at the Aurora Theater also on Addison Street. They displayed a chalk version of the rainbow flag in their entrance way.

This modern classic drama was well-acted, enthralled the audience who cheered the actors and production with a standing ovation at the end and gave me the theatrical catharsis I was looking for and needed this weekend.

Life is so much better thanks to the performing arts, those who create it and the audiences that enjoy live theater.

Thanks, my friends at Berkeley Rep and Aurora Theater, for all that you do on your stages and in the communities in which you live.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Frameline40: Queer Film - Now More Than Ever

The LGBT Cannes is how many refer to the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival and Frameline40 kicked off last night at the Castro Theater, and now more than ever, we need to see ourselves and our lives, and as we were reminded this week in Orlando, our deaths appropriately and widely represented on the big and little screens.

A number of films are of keen interest and should please my queer eye and bent ear.

Top of my must-see list is Andre Techine's latest work from France, "Being 17," playing June 21 at 7 pm at the Castro. He made one of my favorite queer films of the 1990s, "Wild Reeds," and he always makes intelligent narratives with terrific camerawork.

"Being 17" is described as a hormonal battle between two late-adolescent boys that promises an emotional reckoning for both of them.

Next up is the San Francisco-set tale "Pushing Dead" about a network of diverse folks struggling to stay alive and in the City, centered on an HIV positive gay man. In the cast is hometown actor and progressive activist Danny Glover, one more reason to catch this at the festival. Might we see Glover in the Castro on June 18 when the film screens at 6:30 pm?

I missed "The Joneses" when it played to packed houses and appreciative audiences at the recent San Francisco International Film Festival, and heard only positive buzz about it.

This documentary examines a trailer park in the Bible Belt of Mississippi and the owner, a trans woman, and her adult sons and other colorful people who make the park their home, struggling to get by and enjoy life. It unspools at the Roxie on June 18 at 1:30 pm.

Other docs on my list are more historical including "Flashback 1977: Frameline's Founding Year," an omnibus program of three shorts and Arthur J. Bressan, Jr.'s groundbreaking feature "Gay USA," all from that important year. Catch it on June 19 at 6:15 pm at the Roxie.

And then there's Marlon T. Riggs' revolutionary black queer representational in all its beauty and pain doc "Tongues Untied" from 1989, showcasing a cross-section of African-Americans in short tales, which was awarded the Best Documentary Prize at the Berlinale. It plays June 23 at 1:30 pm at the Castro.

What are you planning to see at Frameline40? More info on all programs, showtimes and ticket purchasing details, click here.
NYT Buried 1980 NYC Gay Bar Massacre on Page B1

The world's most influential newspaper, the New York Times, for decades sowed hatred of and significantly contributed to the demonization and devaluation of LGBT lives, damage that extends to today despite radical pro-gay changes at the Gray Lady.

Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr's metro desk on June 16 ran a piece by gay reporter David W. Dunlap about the Manhattan gay Ramrod Bar massacre on November 19, 1980, that left two dead and six folks wounded. The headline yesterday was "New York's Own Gay Massacre, Now Barely Recalled."

Well, it was barely covered by the Times so it's not surprising so few remember or are aware of this mass shooting.

Dunlap quoted gay media observer and write Edward M. Allwood, author of "Straight News: Gays, Lesbians and the News Media," and cited a passage from his book detailing the murder Greenwich Village murder scene. No mention made by Dunlap regarding the lousy Times coverage back then, as Allwood wrote. Here's what Dunlap overlooked from "Straight News":

"When copies of the New York Times arrived at newsstands at dawn, the only mention of the shooting was on the bottom of page one, where a single-column box directed readers to page B1.

"In many newspapers, mass murder would merit a banner headline.

"The Times, however, gave the story secondary priority and put the article by veteran crime reporter Josh Barbanel on the front of its local news section.

"'No one called up eighty-five editors and had a meeting about how the story was handled," Barbanel recalled. 'The thing happened late in the evening. The deaths didn't happen all at once. It wasn't a finished polished story that happened at five o'clock at night. These are factors that go into the eight million decisions that are made in the course of night at a newspaper. It was put on page B-one, which is the second most prominent place in a newspaper.'"

The single mention of the Times by Dunlap yesterday was a reference to their story about eight months after the killings, on page A20, titled “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals."

Good of the Times to remind and educate readers about the Ramrod gay bar massacre, but the paper needs to be spanked for omitting their shameful under-playing of the 1980 tragedy. Yes, the Times could always do better in acknowledging its woeful history. I think Dunlap - out gay longer than anyone at the paper - is doing a better job than most in covering our lives now.
San Diego G/L News: SF Voted Against Orlando Flag Lowering

It says much about what is wrong with the anemic state of journalism in San Francisco that to learn how decisions were made regarding lowering the flag at Castro and Market Streets, you need to read a San Diego web site.

Thanks a lot, Timothy Rawles of San Diego Gay/Lesbian News for speaking with the man who flew a mini rainbow flag at Milk Plaza for a few measly hours on Sunday!

Quite sad that Daniel Bergerac apologized to his board for breaking their GOP-like Just-Say-No policy and seeks their forgiveness. What b.s. that the Castro Merchants, without a ray of transparency, voted amongst themselves to _not_ lower the flag and Bergerac went against their wishes.

You may communicate your thoughts about this situation at the group's web site:

From the San Diego Gay/Lesbian News:

The Pride flag standing vigilant over the entrance to one of the most recognized LGBT neighborhoods in the world is flying full-mast in San Francisco, despite other cities flying theirs at half-mast. President Obama ordered that all U.S. flags on federal property to be flown at half-mast until Thursday in honor of the victims of the Orlando massacre.

Although the Pride flag doesn’t need to follow this protocol, it is out of respect for those in the community that many LGBT neighborhoods mirror the president’s orders when it comes to the LGBT rainbow banner. The decision to fly the Pride flag at full-mast in the Castro was implemented five years ago by members of the Castro Merchants, and has been strictly followed ever since, with no exceptions even in respect to the recent tragedy in Orlando.

The guidelines for the policy are set by the large merchant's organization, and their President Daniel Bergerac. Bergerac says he is not insensitive to the pain and resilience of the LGBT community being gay himself, but he has to follow what his board has voted on.

“Unfortunately I have 300 members of which I am trying to appease and they all have varying opinions of it and the decision and vote that was made by the membership is what I have to respect.”

But last Sunday, before the city’s vigil honoring the victims of the Orlando attacks, Bergerac broke protocol and bought a smaller flag and flew that at half-mast. Once the vigil was over the larger banner was put back in place and once again flown at full-mast. 

It was a bold move, and one the community applauded.

“My decision on Sunday to replace the flag with the smaller one and fly it half-staff was my decision to beg for forgiveness, rather than ask for permission by my membership who have voted completely against doing what I did,” he said. 

One of the problems is that the 30-foot banner is so large that flying it mid-pole would interfere with cables and powerlines. We asked Bergerac if it were possible to fly a smaller one at half-mast until Thursday, or on special occasions, but again it is not the agreed upon protocol, and he emphasizes there are no exceptions.

“In my mind it is unfortunate that the organization was put through such an emotional, heated, debate over this, and it is unfortunate that – the whole situation is very unfortunate,” he said. San Diego follows the presidential orders of the U.S. flag when it comes to raising or lowering the Pride flag in Hillcrest. 

Executive Director of the Hillcrest Business Association, Benjamin Nicholls tells us that although there is an agreed upon policy for the San Diego flag, he is open for discussions about its positioning if community members think there is a need. For now, the Castro district, one of the most celebrated LGBT neighborhoods in the world will have to keep thier Pride flag at full-staff even in the wake of the Orlando tragedy, a situation Bergerac says he may not agree with, but must abide by.

“Our membership after much debate, months and months and months of debate, voted unanimously that the Pride flag in Harvey Milk Plaza would fly as the artist intended 365 days a year at full staff," he said. "That was the decision of our membership."

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Harvey Milk Plaza Rainbow Flag: Full-Mast; Gay Bar: Half-Mast

This video was shot around 4:30 pm today in San Francisco's Castro district, showing the rainbow flag controlled by the Castro Merchants and Scott Wiener flying as it normally does and not reflecting the world's grief over the Orlando massacre.

A block away, the Lookout Bar had its rainbow flag positioned at half-mast, as requested by President Obama.

Here is a beautiful letter from longtime Castro resident and business Isak Lindenauer, who is not a member of the merchants group, that appeared in the Bay Area Reporter today. Thanks, Isak, for your words that sum up much of how I and others feel about the flag and those who control it:

"Many who were grief-stricken over this week's anti-gay violence in Orlando called on Castro Merchants and the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District to see to it that the rainbow flag at Castro and Market be lowered out of respect for the loss of so many LGBTQ folk.

"Quite surprisingly, the flag was unceremoniously lowered and a smaller rainbow flag flew quietly at half-mast Sunday. Castro Merchants finally got it right. The flag and the decision to lower it to honor those who have been lost in the ongoing struggle for our rights has been embroiled in controversy for a number of years now with ownership and all decisions around its use being decided by the merchants' organization, which cares for it.

"Many of us have argued that the flag belongs to the people: not to Gilbert Baker, who designed it and will always have recognition for that inspired act, nor to the merchants who pay for its upkeep, nor to anyone else. Rather it belongs to LGBTQ people everywhere.

"It has been transformed into a symbol of the freedom of a people.

"Then on Tuesday the merchants recanted their decision and took down the half-mast flag. They proclaimed on their Facebook page that the flag will always fly as a symbol of our undying, "unvanquishable" pride. Once again they got it terribly wrong. Flying the flag forever and regardless is not pride; it is hubris. It is casting a blind eye on the vicissitudes of life.

"It asserts they know more than the rest of the world and how most all other flags in it serve: Part of the just and proper use of a flag is its lowering in honor of the fallen-a single committed individual who has served the public or a group who have lost their lives in the service of freedom's eternal stand in the face of hatred.  "What will it take to open the eyes of this organization that holds the people's flag captive? At this terrible juncture, for LGBTQ people in particular, there is still no clear answer.

"God bless those who died and those who are injured and bring comfort to their friends and families." Watch this short video:


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

SF Dems Cheer Call to Lower Harvey Milk Plaza Flag 4 Orlando

At tonight's meeting of the Democratic County Central Committee held at the State Building on Golden Gate Avenue, I used my two minutes of public comment time to inform the audience about business as usual regarding the rainbow flag flying at full-mast.

Many folks applauded, one woman even stood up to cheer, my call for honoring the dead and supporting the survivors of the anti-gay terror in Orlando.

Dear Harvey Milk, please forgive the Castro Merchants and Scott Wiener for waiting till 100 or so LGBT and other folks were mowed down from gun violence before _finally_ using the flag to honor our queer fatalities.

May I live so long to see the day when the community is in control of the flag at the plaza that bears the name of another gay martyr killed by a gun. Enough is enough with the Castro Merchants and Wiener's bullshit. Watch the video:


Why is the SF Chronicle Running a Gun Ad Today?

The following letter was emailed to the San Francisco Chronicle's managing editor Audrey Cooper:

Dear Ms. Cooper,

In the aftermath of the tragic and mindless carnage from guns in Orlando, I was quite upset seeing the advertisement this morning in your newspaper's print edition.

Why are you allowing such products to be promoted in the Chronicle?

Please consider no longer taking ad dollars from gun manufacturers or stores that sell these instruments of death.

Michael Petrelis
SF Gays Ignore Obama on Orlando, Fly Rainbow Flag Full-Mast

My heart is depressed over the carnage in Orlando and the loss of LGBT and everyone's life in this tragic episode at the Pulse dance club on Sunday, but I felt better when I saw a mini rainbow flag had replaced the usual gigantic version at Harvey Milk Plaza.

It's beyond sad or even comprehensible that the Castro Merchants within hours of this small but important gesture of grieving using public space, quietly reinstalled the big flag and it's flying at full-mast.

Our President Obama issued a proclamation lowering all flags on federal government property to fly at the respectful position of half-mast until Thursday. Millions of ordinary folks, regardless of not being part of the govt, have heeded Obama's call to send a visual message of solidarity with Orlando and the LGBT people and their flags, rainbows and Stars & Stripes, blow in the wind at half-mast.

Unfortunately, not so in the Castro of San Francisco. It's business as usual for the Castro Merchants. How sad.

In Missouri, we find others who don't want to use flags in support with and out of love for the Orlando dead and survivors. From the Kansas City Star:

"Cole County, Mo., the home of the state Capitol, sparked outrage after voting Tuesday morning not to lower flags flying over county buildings to half-staff to honor those who died in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history. So much outrage, in fact, that the county reversed its decision Tuesday afternoon. 

"The Jefferson City News-Tribune reported that the county’s presiding commissioners voted 2-1 against lowering the flags to honor the victims of the massacre at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that left 49 people dead and 53 injured.

"While the commissioners expressed sympathy for the victims, they worried that lowering the flag to half-staff too frequently would reduce its meaning. They denied that the decision had anything to do with the fact that the shooting took place in a gay club.

"'I want to honor those who have served our country, but we can’t lower it for every event like this that occurs,' Commissioner Kris Scheperle told the paper. 'I do feel for those who were gunned down, but I don’t think it warrants lowering the flag.'"

(Read more here:

If you think the rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza should fly at half-mast honoring the victims of Orlando, give Castro Merchants president Daniel Bergerac at call and ask him to do the right thing. His number: 1-510-919-8388.

Eerie how the bogus arguments of politicians in the Show Me State echo those of the Castro Merchants.