Issue:  Vol. 46 / No. 21 / 26 May 2016
 

New Castro bookstore will hold a gala opening in June

Dog Eared Books owner Kate Rosenberger, left, and Nolan Ventura, who will be one of the employees at the new Castro Street location, are surrounded by books in the Valencia Street shop. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Dog Eared Books owner Kate Rosenberger, left, and Nolan Ventura, who will be one of the employees at the new Castro Street location, are surrounded by books in the Valencia Street shop. Photo: Rick Gerharter

To celebrate the debut of its location in San Francisco’s gay Castro district, its second in the city, Dog Eared Books is planning to throw a free gala opening party next month.

Lesbian bookseller Kate Rosenberger announced in March she had signed a lease to move into 489 Castro Street, which became available due to the closing of the clothing shop Citizen.

The storefront formerly had housed LGBT bookstore A Different Light, which operated there from 1986 until its closing in 2011.

The news about Dog Eared Books came within days of the announcement by Books Inc. that it would be shuttering its Castro location at 2275 Market Street. It is expected to close in mid-June.

Since A Different Light closed, Books Inc. has been the only bookstore in the heart of the Castro. A few blocks north, just off Market Street, is Aardvark Books, which has long had its storefront at 227 Church Street.

As for why Rosenberger, whose flagship store is at 900 Valencia, wanted to expand, she had told the Bay Area Reporter in March that “the Castro needs and deserves a great bookstore and we are planning to bring it to the neighborhood.”

In an announcement about the event to mark the opening of the Castro store, Dog Eared Books said it is “throwing a great big party where members of the public can mix ‘n’ mingle with our staff, drink swanky cocktails, eat fancy hors d’oeuvres, and listen to brief readings by a few of our favorite local authors.”

The Castro location’s gala opening party will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday, June 20 right at the start of the city’s Pride Week festivities. Entrance will be based on first-come, first-served, and the night will feature a number of local literary luminaries.

Among those invited are Armistead Maupin, the gay Castro resident who wrote the beloved Tales of The City series of books that were made into a TV miniseries, and fellow gay writer Brontez Purnell, the author of Johnny Would You Love Me If… who is also a choreographer, performance artist, filmmaker, and musician.

Others expected to present short readings of their work include Harper’s Magazine contributor Rebecca Solnit, an activist and the author of Men Explain Things to Me and Infinite City; and San Francisco State University professors and authors Peter Orner and Alejandro Murguía, a former San Francisco poet laureate.

Also on the bill are Amy Berkowitz, who wrote Tender Points and hosts the Amy’s Kitchen Organics reading series, and Katrina Dodson, the translator of The Complete Stories, by Clarice Lispector, which won a 2016 PEN Translation Prize.

Serving as the night’s emcee will be Baruch Porres Hernandez, a writer, performer, visual artist, and storyteller. He is also the curator and head organizer for the San Francisco Queer Open Mic and program director for ¿Donde Esta Mi Gente?

— Matthew S. Bajko, May 27, 2016 @ 2:55 pm PST
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SF Pride: No Pink Brick this year

Donald Trump, host of the television series "The Celebrity Apprentice," mugs for photographers at the NBC 2015 Winter TCA Press Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Donald Trump. (Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Organizers of San Francisco’s LGBT Pride parade and celebration won’t be giving out the Pink Brick to anyone this year.

The dubious honor, which typically goes to someone who’s done harm to the LGBT community, has previously been awarded to people such as conservative TV host Bill O’Reilly and anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera.

But in an email today (Friday, May 27), George Ridgely, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee’s executive director, told the Bay Area Reporter, “We will not be issuing a Pink Brick for 2016. It is an aspect of the event that I would like to reevaluate for the future. Given where we are in the planning for 2016 we will not be looking at this until after this year’s event.”

That news comes despite the Pride Committee asking the public to cast their votes for a Pink Brick winner this year, and presumably, thousands of people did.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump, who’s expected to be the Republican party’s nominee for 2016, was among the candidates for this year’s Pink Brick.

This year’s Pride festivities are set for June 25-26.

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in the Thursday, June 2 edition.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:43 pm PST
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CA LGBT group condemns anti-gay incident in San Jose

EQCA's Rick Zbur Photo: Courtesy EQCA

EQCA’s Rick Zbur Photo: Courtesy EQCA

Late this afternoon, a statewide LGBT advocacy group condemned what it called a “hate speech” incident that occurred recently in San Jose and involved the husband of termed out state Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D-San Jose), who is running in a heated race for a state Senate seat.

Equality California called on the individuals and organizations involved in the reported incident to publicly take a stand against hate speech, provide leadership to ensure civil political and public discourse, and encourage their associates to do the same.

The 260-word statement from EQCA Executive Director Rick Zbur, however, did not name the lawmaker, her husband, or anyone else involved in the incident, which reportedly occurred April 29 during a fundraiser held by the the Santa Clara Building Trades Council at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose.

EQCA’s statement came after the Bay Area Reporter’s Political Notebook reported in today’s issue how reaction by South Bay LGBT leaders has been mixed in the weeks since the first media reports on the anti-gay incident were published in mid-May.

According to various accounts, Neil Struthers, who is married to Campos, called Laborers’ Local 270 business manager Enrique Arguello a “fucking faggot” at the event. Struthers also reportedly used his fingers to suggest sex in response to seeing a photo of Arguello with Omar Torres, a gay man who works as an aide to San Jose City Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco and is a regional director for the California Democratic Party.

The reports claimed Struthers asked Arguello if he and Torres were lovers and how their sexual relationship worked.

Both sides have been political opponents for years and have accused the other of lying about the incident. In media interviews and a video she posted online, and has since taken down, Campos has blamed her Senate race opponent, Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose), and state Senate President Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) of ordering Arguello to attack her husband and of bullying behavior toward her and other women.

Both Beall, who is endorsed by EQCA, and de León have denied the charges, painting them as cynical campaign ploys ahead of the June 7 Primary election.

As the B.A.R. column noted, few LGBT leaders in the South Bay have spoken out publicly about the incident. One who did was San Jose resident Anthony Macias, a gay Republican running in the race for Beall’s 15th Senate District seat.

The day of the first media reports about the incident, Macias via his Facebook page called on Campos to denounce her husband’s remarks. More recently, Gabrielle Antolovich, the board president of the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center in downtown San Jose, reached out to Torres to express support.

The South Bay’s main LGBT political group BAYMEC, which stands for Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee, has not posted any statement about the incident either to its website or Facebook page.

In his first media interview about the incident, Torres told the B.A.R. he found the silence from his fellow LGBT leaders troubling. Had the comments been directed to more “established LGBT leaders there would be an uproar,” contended Torres.

Because EQCA is an LGBT civil rights organization fighting for equality and social justice, it said in its statement that it “take reports of hate speech very seriously.”

The organization defined anti-LGBT hate speech as “a form of violence that demeans and traumatizes members of our community” and “a form of psychological abuse that impacts self-esteem and contributes to high rates of depression and suicide, including rates of attempted suicide four times higher for LGBT youth than for the general public.”

Zbur added that not responding to hate speech when it occurs is tacit approval of discrimination that can result in additional violence against LGBT people.

“It is important that organizations and community leaders stand up against hate speech when it occurs and when reports of incidents occur,” stated Zbur. “The importance of civility in public life and political discourse is an important value that all our leaders should affirmatively embrace and promote.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, May 26, 2016 @ 4:00 pm PST
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Man arrested in stabbing at Castro Muni stop

Photo: Rick Gerharter

Photo: Rick Gerharter

A man was arrested Wednesday night after he threatened to kill another man and stabbed him in the neck at a Muni stop in San Francisco’s Castro district.

The May 25 incident occurred at 8:49 p.m. when the suspect walked up to the victim, who was standing at the transit stop, and said “that he was going to kill him,” Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, said in a summary. The man then stabbed the victim in “in the neck with a knife,” Esparza said.

The suspect was arrested and taken into custody, but his name wasn’t immediately available. He was described as a 52-year-old Hispanic male.

The victim, 41, was taken to a hospital with a non-life threatening stab wound.

[Update]: Esparza said in an email that Mark Anthony Arroyo, 52, a homeless white male, was booked on suspicion of attempted homicide, brandishing a weapon, and violating parole.

“There were no words exchanged,” Esparza said. “The suspect yelled and then attacked” the victim. [End update]

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 10:20 am PST
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B.A.R. experiencing issues with Issuu.com

Today’s pdf version of the Bay Area Reporter can be accessed at the link below. We are experiencing some issues with uploading the May 26, 2016 edition to Issuu.com.

We hope to have this issue corrected soon.

Link to pdf version: www.ebar.com/archives/2016-05-26.pdf

— Cynthia Laird, @ 10:11 am PST
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Assemblyman Chiu honors SF Castro mainstay Cliff’s Variety

Assemblyman David Chiu is surrounded by the family that owns Cliff's Variety, which the lawmaker named his 2016 Small Business of the Year.

Assemblyman David Chiu is surrounded by the family that owns Cliff’s Variety, which the lawmaker named his 2016 Small Business of the Year.

At a luncheon today in Sacramento Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) honored Cliff’s Variety as his 17th Assembly District’s 2016 Small Business of the Year.

The general supply store has been a mainstay of San Francisco’s gay Castro district for decades. Hilario DeBaca first opened the store in 1936 and named it after his son Clifford.

Over the ensuing years the store changed locations and expanded under the ownership of DeBaca’s son Ernie, and later, his granddaughter Lorraine. Today it is located at 479 Castro Street and is owned and operated by Ernie DeBaca’s grandson Ernie Asten and his family.

In a release announcing the honor for Cliff’s, Chiu’s office noted that the store was one of the first straight-owned businesses in the Castro to hire LGBT staff during the demographic changes of the 1970s. Not only has the family-run business “championed equality and inclusion ever since,” noted the release, it also highlighted how Cliff’s is known for its “eye-catching window displays.”

“Cliff’s Variety has an incredible legacy of LGBT inclusion, which is easy to forget now that the rainbow flag flies proudly over the Castro,” stated Chiu. “It also happens to be a terrific store that has survived and even thrived in an era of increasing retail sameness. I welcome the opportunity to honor Cliff’s Variety as they celebrate their incredible 80th anniversary.”

Accepting the award was Ernie and Martha Asten, as well as Terry Asten Bennett, Cliff’s general manager and a great-great-granddaughter of Hilario DeBaca, her husband Richard and their daughter Camille.

“We are proud to have served for eight decades that have seen tremendous changes to the city,” stated Asten Bennett. “We are grateful to both our staff and the Castro community for making us who we are.”

The annual awards ceremony is organized by the California Small Business Association.

— Matthew S. Bajko, May 25, 2016 @ 1:49 pm PST
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NFL’s 49ers donate $75K toward repealing anti-LGBT North Carolina law

49ers owner Jed York

49ers owner Jed York

The Santa Clara-based 49ers football team has donated $75,000 toward the effort to repeal North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2.

Jed York, the Bay Area team’s chief executive officer, announced the donation to the Equality North Carolina Foundation late Monday, May 23 while in Charlotte, North Carolina to attend the NFL owners’ quarterly meeting, which had been scheduled 18 months ago prior to the passage of the discriminatory law.

In a phone interview with the Bay Area Reporter, York said he wanted to do something to assist with the local efforts to repeal HB 2 while in town. The law not only bans local cities in the state from adopting non-discrimination laws, and repealed one adopted by Charlotte, it also requires transgender individuals to use public restrooms based on the gender assigned to them at birth.

The adoption of the law earlier this year has led to cities and states across the country to ban taxpayer-funded travel to North Carolina, businesses to cancel expanding in the state, and numerous entertainers to boycott performing in the Tar Heel State.

“I certainly understand why the meeting wasn’t changed. But I didn’t want to come here and not, at least, let my opinion be heard and make sure the folks fighting HB 2 on the ground had the resources to continue their fight to repeal HB 2,” said York.

Matt Hirschy, director of advancement at Equality N.C., told the B.A.R. the 49ers’ donation is one of the single largest donations the group has ever received. In 2014 it had revenues of a little more than $369,000, according to its most recent tax filings, while it posted a deficit of $52,220 that year.

“It is certainly something we are extremely humbled by and grateful for. It is an unprecedented gift for us,” said Hirschy. “I am a bit speechless frankly.”

The money will be used to continue the group’s education campaign about the need for state lawmakers to pass protections for LGBT North Carolinians, especially trans residents of the state, said Hirschy.

The U.S. Justice Department plans to sue North Carolina in federal court over the passage of HB 2, which it says violates laws banning sex-based discrimination. North Carolina’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, plans to countersue the federal government in an attempt to have HB 2 be deemed valid.

The Charlotte City Council pulled from its agenda Monday night a compromise proposal that would have seen it rescind its non-discrimination law in the hope of seeing state lawmakers then amend HB 2. But LGBT advocates, as well as the city’s mayor, had been pressuring the city leaders to keep their law in place.

Monday night York was scheduled to meet with local parents who have transgender children as well as transgender adults at a private dinner in Charlotte organized by local LGBT advocates.

He and his family have long contributed to LGBT causes in San Francisco. His parents, Denise DeBartolo York and John York, donated $3,500 toward the effort in 2008 to defeat Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in California that voters narrowly passed that November.

He first reached out to Equality N.C. in late April ahead of his trip through gay former San Francisco supervisor Bevan Dufty. When he was in office, Dufty several times brought the Yorks out to gay bars in the Castro, which he represented at City Hall.

“We sat down and talked about how to have an impact on HB 2,” said Dufty, who accompanied Jed York to Charlotte.

Dufty approached Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which has an initiative focused on equality in sports and has received funding from the 49ers. She put Dufty in touch with Chris Sgro, the executive director of Equality N.C. who was appointed to fill a vacant state house seat last month.

Being the parent of a “gender-expansive child,” noted Dufty, the issue is a “very personal” one for him.

“I can’t imagine living in a state with a law like that,” he added.

Although he does not have any close relatives who are transgender, Jed York said he was struck by the interview 60 Minutes recently aired with Harvard University’s Schuyler Bailar, who was accepted onto the Ivy League school’s women’s swim team but then joined the men’s team after deciding to transition to being male.

“His story really stuck with me. I admire Schuyler‘s courage,” said York. “This issue if you don’t know enough about it, if you don’t have a trans family member or friend you are close to, it seems strange. The more we can do to let people know there are people like Schuyler out there, really human individuals who have a difficult time figuring out who they are and want to be, I don’t think we will see discriminatory laws like HB 2 in place.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, May 23, 2016 @ 5:05 pm PST
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Governor recognizes Harvey Milk Day

The late San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk.  Photo: Dan Nicoletta

The late San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk. Photo: Dan Nicoletta

California Governor Jerry Brown today (Friday, May 20) issued a proclamation to mark Harvey Milk Day, which is Sunday, May 22. The annual state holiday marks the slain gay icon’s birthday. Milk, who was killed almost 40 years ago, would have been 86 this year.

“As one of the first openly gay politicians to hold office in the United States, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk is remembered as a hero in the movement for acceptance” of LGBTs, Brown said. “His courage in facing a hostile public and his insistence on being treated the same as anyone else contributed greatly to the advancement of this cause. Milk succeeded because he was not just a gay leader but a champion for his district, a brilliant coalition builder and community organizer who brought the real concerns of ordinary people to city hall. His legacy lives on in the vibrant neighborhoods of San Francisco, which he helped restore to vitality at a time when American cities were in crisis.”

Milk became the first out LGBT elected official in California when he won a seat on the Board of Supervisors in 1977. He represented the Castro and other neighborhoods

Dan White, a former supervisor, assassinated Milk and Mayor George Moscone in City Hall in November 1978.

In his proclamation, Brown said, “I urge all Californians to remember Harvey Milk for his contributions to the more open, free, and honest society that we live in today. We should also remember how he died, at the hands of a fellow supervisor, a killing that Milk himself had anticipated because of the virulent opposition he faced. On this day, let us rededicate ourselves not only to the cause of equal rights for all people, but also to the peaceful and democratic process envisioned by our nation’s founders.”

The state of California held the first Milk Day on May 22, 2010. Harvey Milk Day is considered a day of special significance, meaning public employees do not receive the day off and schools are not closed when it falls on a weekday.

For the seventh annual observance, San Francisco’s Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club will present a screening of The Times of Harvey Milk , the 1984 Academy Award-winning documentary, at 3 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street. Tickets are $12 and available online. More information is available at the Facebook page, “The Times of Harvey Milk – Birthday Screening at the Castro Theatre.”

Earlier in the afternoon, at 1, gay Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose District 8 includes the Castro, will join other community leaders at Harvey Milk Plaza (Castro and Market streets), to celebrate and honor Milk. The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band will perform. Interested people are welcome to attend.

 

 

 

 

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 20, 2016 @ 2:05 pm PST
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SF Police Chief Greg Suhr resigns

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Former San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr resigned today (Thursday, May 19) after police fatally shot a 27-year-old African American woman in the city’s Bayview district this morning.

Many have been calling for months for Suhr to resign following other deadly police shootings and scandals in recent months. The woman killed today, whose identity hasn’t been released, had allegedly been driving a stolen car, according to news reports.

Mayor Ed Lee had supported Suhr, but in a statement today he said that he’d met with the chief, and “I have arrived at a different conclusion to the question of how best to move forward. … The progress we’ve made has been meaningful, but it hasn’t been fast enough. Not for me, not for Greg.

“That’s why I have asked Chief Suhr for his resignation. And in the best interest of the City he loves so much, he tendered his resignation earlier today. Despite the political rhetoric of the past few weeks, I have nothing but profound admiration for Greg. He’s a true public servant, and he will always have my respect.”

Lee said that he’s named Deputy Chief Toney Chaplin as acting chief.

Besides the shootings, Suhr, who’s been with the police department for more than 30 years, has also seen other scandals erupt recently. Several officers allegedly exchanged racist and homophobic text messages, among other problems, and the Department of Justice has been investigating the department.

The city’s supervisors have started weighing in.

Board President London Breed, who represents District 5, said she’s known Suhr since she was a child in the Western Addition.

“Greg was always respectful, always a servant of the community,” Breed said. “I only hope his resignation today can help heal the wounds our community has suffered, and that all of us can dedicate ourselves to the police reforms Chief Suhr helped begin.  May his departure be an opportunity at last for our City to come together, and for everyone, no matter their color or creed, to feel safe in our communities.”

District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, who was recently joined by three other supervisors in calling for Suhr to be replaced, today thanked Suhr for his decdes of “devoted service.”

“Now,” Kim said, “we have to unite as a City more than ever to effect the deep changes that we know are necessary to heal and make the city safer and stronger.”

District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell, who’d spoken out in support of Suhr, said he respects Lee’s decision, and he also thanked Suhr for his work.

“Chief Greg Suhr was one of the most progressive Chief’s in the nation and in San Francisco history,” Farrell said. “I deeply respect Chief Suhr as a person, as a true San Franciscan, and as someone who woke up every day to keep the public safe, strengthen ties in the community with our residents, and to make San Francisco a better place for all communities.”

He said he looks forward to working with Chaplin “on strengthening the relationships needed with communities across San Francisco to implement the ongoing, proposed, and needed police reforms.”

District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar, who had supported Kim’s effort to have Suhr replaced, said, “I applaud” Lee’s decision and Suhr’s resignation, “though it troubles me that the announcement follows yet another officer involved killing of an African American woman in the Bayview. … This opens the door for the Police Commission to conduct a national search to select a chief that can challenge the culture of bigotry and racism in the department and rebuild trust with low income communities.”

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 19, 2016 @ 6:07 pm PST
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Gay Survivor contestant receives surprise donation from singer Sia

Tai Trang is surprised by singer Sia during the Survivor finale show hosted by Jeff Probst.

Tai Trang is surprised by singer Sia during the Survivor finale show hosted by Jeff Probst.

He may not have been named the “Sole Survivor,” but gay San Francisco resident Tai Trang did walk away a winner from Wednesday night’s season finale of the hit CBS reality show.

The singer Sia surprised him, and show host Jeff Probst, with a $50,000 donation to Trang and said she would donate another $50,000 to an animal rights charity of his choosing.

Trang, a vegetarian who protected a chicken he had dubbed Mark from the boiling pot and brought with him to the last tribal council of the season, appeared stunned.

“I’m speechless,” stammered Trang as Sia, cloaked behind her signature black and blonde wig to mask her identity, hugged him on stage.

This morning, in a radio interview with Entertainment Weekly, Trang was asked about the surprise move by the Australian singer, whose full name is Sia Kate Isobelle Furler.

“Oh my God, it was amazing, I was in shock,” he said. “I said, ‘What’s happening? I’m still answering.’ And then Sia was on. It’s just crazy. I didn’t recognize who she was, but I know her music. And I so appreciate it, and she gave me $50,000 for the animals. I said, ‘Yes, that’s good, to bring awareness to the animals, and all life really, awareness of not being so human-centric.’ And she said, ‘I’ve been watching the show, I’m a huge fan,’ and that I’m one of her favorites because of who I am. I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is crazy.'”

Trang, 51, a gardener for the Port of San Francisco, was a fan favorite of the 32nd installment of the show, which this season saw 18 contestants battle it out for the $1 million dollar prize on the islands of Cambodia.

Armed with an immunity idol and an extra vote he could use to axe a fellow Survivor: Kaoh Rong competitor, Trang was among the trio that made it to the end. But having played a key role in voting out most of the seven-member jury, tasked with deciding who would be the winner, Trang ended up in third place.

Michele Fitzgerald, 24, beat out Aubry Bracco, 29, to be named the winner.

Trang’s being on the show was somewhat of a fluke, as he explained in an interview last month with the Bay Area Reporter. In the summer of 2014, he and his partner, Mark Philpot, 56, who works as a nurse in the Tenderloin for the city’s public health department, had applied to be contestants on another CBS competition show, The Amazing Race.

Although the couple wasn’t picked, Trang caught the eye of a casting director, who recommended he think about applying for Survivor. He sent in an audition tape, was picked, and left in March of last year to tape the show.

His next challenge will be completing next month’s AIDS/LifeCycle ride that benefits the Los Angeles LGBT Community Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Trang has been a participant of the fundraiser the past 13 years.

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 12:22 pm PST
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