Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 50 / 14 December 2017
 

‘When We Rise’ filming coming to SF

A scene from the 1979 White Night Riots. Photo: Dan Nicoletta.

A scene from the 1979 White Night Riots. Photo: Dan Nicoletta.

Filming of the ABC TV miniseries When We Rise, based in part on the memoir of Harvey Milk confidante Cleve Jones, is set to take place in San Francisco April 28 to May 8, according to a city film commission official.

The scenes reenacted here are expected to include the 1978 Gay Freedom Day parade, as the LGBT Pride parade was then known, as well as the 1979 White Night Riots. The latter refers to the fiery battles between police and residents that erupted after a jury convicted Milk assassin Dan White only of manslaughter, rather than murder.

Jones, who lives in the Castro, went on to become a well-known AIDS and labor activist. His book is set to be released on his 62nd birthday, October 11.

He said although the film is not a documentary, “We’re going to do our best to have it be as truthful as possible. I think we all have a very keen sense of responsibility to make sure that the overarching narrative is accurate – though I’m sure many people will point out many things that aren’t quite accurate,” he quipped.

Manijeh Fata, a film coordinator with the city’s film commission, said most of the filming would take place in the Castro, although scenes would also be recreated at City Hall. Producers are expected to put out a call for volunteer extras. The film is currently being shot in Vancouver, Canada.

Milk became the first out LGBT elected official in California when he won a seat on the Board of Supervisors in 1977. White, a former supervisor, assassinated Milk and Mayor George Moscone in City Hall in November 1978.

Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award for his screenplay for the 2008 Milk biopic, also wrote the screenplay for When We Rise.

The Castro has been used by several LGBT-related movie and television film crews in recent years. Whole swaths of the neighborhood were decorated to recall the early 1970s for Milk in January 2008. More recently HBO’s Looking, about the modern-day lives of three gay men living in San Francisco, filmed inside various businesses in the gayborhood and at nearby Dolores Park, as did  Netflix series Sense 8, which also utilized the 2014 Dyke March to film scenes involving the shows’ lesbian and transgender female couple.

Fata said people associated with When We Rise are scheduled to appear Thursday, April 7 at the regular meeting of the Castro Merchants business group.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in the April 7 edition.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 31, 2016 @ 3:21 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF photog seeks funds to replace stolen equipment

George Lester

George Lester

San Francisco photographer George Lester has launched a Gofundme fundraising campaign so he can replace camera equipment recently stolen from his home.

Lester, who’s gay, is known for photographing LGBT events and is one of the official photographers for this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle, the annual bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles that raises money for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. He also takes photos for the Bay Area Reporter.

“It is not easy to ask for assistance, but my passion is photography and capturing the memories of my community,” Lester says on his online crowdfunding page, which he launched March 29.

He explains, “Recently, my house was broken into and all of my camera equipment was stolen.” He’s looking to replace his camera, flash, and lenses.

As of this afternoon (Thursday, March 31), Lester had raised $5,675 of his $7,900 goal.

On his site, he tells supporters, “As a thank you for your donation, I would like to offer you a session in my portrait studio. (Once I get my new camera equipment).”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:00 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Upper Market real estate office projects in Castro head to planning

Real estate firm Drysdale Properties is aiming to open a satellite office in the storefront at 2324. Market Street.

Real estate firm Drysdale Properties is aiming to open a satellite office in the storefront at 2324 Market Street.

A pair of projects involving upper Market Street real estate offices in the Castro are headed to the city’s planning commission.

Two years after Drysdale Properties, a local affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, first announced it planned to move into the roughly 280 square foot space at 2324 Market Street, its permit request will be heard by the oversight body at its April 21 meeting.

As noted in a story last June, Drysdale’s attempt to open a satellite office in the bathroom-less storefront was blocked when a complaint was filed against it for not seeking the required permits imposed on real estate offices wanting to open in ground floor retail spaces along upper Market Street.

City leaders imposed the zoning controls in an attempt to limit the number of real estate offices, as well as financial services and other non-retail uses, that could move into ground floor storefronts on Market Street between Octavia Boulevard and Castro Street.

D&H Sustainable Jewelers, at 2323 Market Street, had been interested in leasing the space directly across the street from it to open a watch store, but its entreaties with the landlord were rebuffed. And the Castro Retail Strategy released last summer argued the space should be used for retail.

Nonetheless, last fall Drysdale won the backing of the Castro Merchants business group to take over the storefront. The company noted it is locally- and woman-owned and planned to utilize the space daily, including on weekends.

The Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District and the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association also voted to support its permit request, while the Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association voted to oppose it.

2201 Market Street housing project advances

A rendering of the proposed building at the corner of Market and Sanchez streets. Courtesy Edmonds + Lee Architects, Inc.

A rendering of the proposed building at the corner of Market and Sanchez streets. Courtesy Edmonds + Lee Architects, Inc.

Meanwhile, a planned mixed-use housing project at 2201 Market Street, which has housed the San Francisco flagship location for real estate firm Catarra, recently won several variances it had needed for the design of the building.

The triangular lot at the intersection of Market and Sanchez streets is one of the last remaining developable corner parcels in the area.

At that intersection in particular, it is the second-to-last corner property to be redeveloped.

The 22-unit Century SF condo building at 2200 Market Street opened in 2013, while Forest City’s 88-unit apartment complex at 2175 Market Street, on the corner with 15th Street, opened in the fall of 2014.

Across the street and currently under construction is Greystar’s 87-unit mixed-use development at 2198 Market Street, where Market, 15th and Sanchez all intersect. It is slated to open this summer.

The final site at that intersection houses a Chase Bank branch that includes a small parking lot for 15 vehicles. Plans to demolish the existing building and build a Trader Joe’s grocery store were abandoned in 2005. At this time there are no known plans to redevelop the property.

Two years ago Donald St. Sure, the property owner of 2201 Market Street, first announced plans to demolish the existing structure on the site, which has housed various retail shops in the past, from an audio and electronics store to a seller of home furnishings.

The current plan is to build a six-story, 65-foot tall flatiron building with 3,200 square feet of ground floor commercial retail space, fourteen dwelling units at the second through sixth floors, and a basement level garage with four stacked parking spaces accessed from Sanchez Street.

A view of the proposed building’s Sanchez Street facade. Courtesy of Edmonds + Lee Architects, Inc.

A view of the proposed building’s Sanchez Street facade. Courtesy of Edmonds + Lee Architects, Inc.

The building, designed by local firm Edmonds + Lee Architects, Inc., would extend outwards at the corner, with the retail spaces recessed inwards.

Because the proposed building covers the entire lot and is designed with bays that extend beyond the property line, it required the granting of a rear yard modification and variance from the requirements for obstructions over streets and alleys.

Zoning Administrator Scott F. Sanchez granted the zoning code exceptions for the project at his monthly Zoning Variance Hearing held Wednesday, March 23.

The design will now be reviewed by the planning commission, though a hearing before the panel has yet to be scheduled.

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 30, 2016 @ 4:58 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Breaking: Openhouse announces ED’s departure

Openhouse Executive Director Seth Kilbourn, left, joined Bob Ross Foundation President Thomas E. Horn and Openhouse program director Michelle Alcedo in front of the future site of Openhouse's offices, which will be named the Bob Ross LGBT Senior Center. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Openhouse Executive Director Seth Kilbourn, left, joined Bob Ross Foundation President Thomas E. Horn and Openhouse program director Michelle Alcedo in front of the future site of Openhouse’s offices, which will be named the Bob Ross LGBT Senior Center. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Seth Kilbourn, executive director of Openhouse, the San Francisco nonprofit dedicated to helping LGBT seniors, is leaving his post at the end of May after eight years in the post, the nonprofit announced today (Wednesday, March 30).

The news comes as the organization works to construct the much-delayed housing welcoming to LGBT seniors at 55 Laguna Street.

“Under Seth’s leadership, Openhouse has succeeded in making LGBT-welcoming senior housing a reality in San Francisco,” said Bill Scherer, president of Openhouse’s board, in a news release. “Openhouse has grown into a multi-service agency that today helps thousands of seniors every year maintain their independence and improve their health. We are thankful to Seth for his leadership and passion in driving our mission forward. The enduring foundation that we have built together means we can support the needs of our community for many years to come.”

Kilbourn stated, “I am deeply grateful to Bill and the board for their leadership, and to the extraordinary staff for their commitment and talent. Together we have built an organization that is having a measurable impact on the lives of thousands of LGBT seniors. The milestones we have achieved and the strength of the organization provide an important opportunity for me to plan my next chapter.”

The first 40 units of project and new Openhouse Service Center are set to open in August. A second phase of construction, which begins in October, includes another 79 apartments and an Openhouse Program Center.

“The opening of the city’s first LGBT-welcoming senior housing community manifests the vision that has driven this organization for many years and I am particularly proud to have helped Openhouse deliver on that promise to the community,” said Kilbourn. “I look forward to supporting Openhouse through this transition, and in the years ahead.”

During Kilbourn’s time at the agency, its budget grew from $500,000 to $1.8 million. He led the organization through a comprehensive strategic planning process in 2013 that resulted in a five-year plan that guides the agency’s growth. Openhouse served almost 2,000 LGBT older adults in 2015, the agency said, “a 300 percent increase since completing the strategic plan.”

For more on this story, see the Thursday, March 31 edition of the Bay Area Reporter

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:17 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF mayor bars city travel to North Carolina after state passes anti-LGBT law

02_11_Mayor_Lee_Int_23_LRG1

Mayor Ed Lee

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee today (Friday, March 25) issued a ban on publicly funded city employee travel to North Carolina after that state’s governor, Pat McCrory, signed into law a bill that overturns protections for LGBTs.

“We are standing united as San Franciscans to condemn North Carolina’s new discriminatory law that turns back the clock on protecting the rights of all Americans including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals,” Lee said in a statement. He said he’s directing city departments to immediately implement the travel ban for trips that are “not absolutely essential to public health and safety.”

“I believe strongly that we should be adding more protections to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in the United States, not taking them away,” Lee said.

He praised Charlotte, North Carolina Mayor Jennifer Roberts and cities like hers that have worked to protect LGBTs from discrimination.

Lee also said, “I also applaud Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed who is a champion for equality for all,” but added, “With other states like Georgia on the verge of passing more discriminatory laws, let me be clear that San Francisco taxpayers will not subsidize legally sanctioned discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in any city or state.”

North Carolina’s law specifically bars transgender people from using bathrooms that do not match their birth gender.

Theresa Sparks, who’s transgender and serves as executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, stated her agency “is unequivocal in its condemnation of North Carolina” and McCrory “in legislating what patently amounts to bigotry, intolerance, and discrimination against the LGBT community. This is an affront to human rights not only to LGBT individuals in North Carolina but also serves as an attack on the civil and human rights of LGBT individuals across the country.”

Sparks added, “Fighting for equality and overcoming prejudice and discrimination has long been a mainstay in the history of the LGBT movement. Although the LGBT community has experienced some important milestones in recent years such as marriage equality, this progress is under attack by North Carolina’s effort to legislate hatred and should stand as an offense to all citizens of the United States.”

Lee noted that last year, after Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law legislation that legalized discrimination against LGBTs, Lee ordered a similar travel ban. After many others did the same, Indiana amended its law, and Lee’s ban was lifted.

Gay San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener announced Wednesday that he’s exploring legislation prohibiting city travel to North Carolina.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 25, 2016 @ 10:29 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


White House AIDS Office head steps down

President Barack Obama’s lead HIV policy adviser is stepping down, the administration announced Thursday (March 24).

(Dr. Amy Lansky)

(Dr. Amy Lansky is the new head of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy.)

Douglas M. Brooks is resigning after two years as head of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. He’s being replaced by Dr. Amy Lansky, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official who works as a senior policy adviser for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Office of National AIDS Policy.

Officials with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, one of the largest AIDS-based nonprofits in the country, praised Brooks and Lansky.

Tim Jones, the AIDS foundation’s interim CEO, said in a news release, “The director of ONAP shapes federal HIV/AIDS policy and funding which impacts how agencies, such as San Francisco AIDS Foundation, are able to serve clients. Our organization in particular has enjoyed a warm, productive relationship with Mr. Brooks, who has visited our organization and met with our service providers, clients and advocates to better understand the work we do.”

Highlights of Brooks’ time at ONAP include his work to reduce HIV health disparities, according to the AIDS foundation. In February, he announced “a $10 million, multi-year initiative” to offer men of color who have sex with other men HIV testing, linkage to care, housing, and other services.

(Douglas Brooks. Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn)

(Douglas Brooks. Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn)

Ernest Hopkins, the AIDS foundation’s director of legislative affairs, said, “Douglas has engaged the foundation and the city of San Francisco with curiosity, encouragement, and excitement as we have partnered on both national and regional projects.”

Hopkins pointed to the updating of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy as Brooks’ “finest achievement.”
The revised strategy “sets the bar even higher for governments and localities – to focus on the data of the epidemic today to address the health disparities that impede our success. He has led with empathy, clarity and purpose, and we will miss his spirit,” Hopkins said.

Lansky has worked at the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Programs since 1991, the AIDS foundation said.
She’s focused on “applying epidemiological research to the development of HIV prevention programming and policy,” and she’s “developed behavioral interventions with an eye on reaching and serving populations most at risk for HIV.”

James Loduca, the AIDS foundation’s senior vice president, said, “Dr. Lansky’s reputation of esteemed leadership precedes her and she’s been an invaluable adviser to Douglas during his tenure.”

– reported by Seth Hemmelgarn

— Cynthia Laird, March 24, 2016 @ 10:14 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Venn on Market, the building next to the SF LGBT center, signs first retail tenant

A personal gym is slated to move into on of the storefronts at Venn on Market. Image courtesy of Christiani Johnson Architects

A personal gym is slated to move into one of the storefronts at Venn on Market. Image courtesy of Christiani Johnson Architects

Two years after it opened, the building next to the San Francisco LGBT Community Center has signed its first retail tenant.

According to leasing agent Kevin Velotta, with Blatteis Realty, a personal fitness gym is set to move into the 2,034 square foot ground floor storefront at 1844 Market Street.

The building, known as Venn on Market, opened in early 2014 after years of delays in its construction. Yet both of its two retail spaces have remained vacant.

The identity of the owners of the personal fitness gym that leased the building’s larger storefront remains unknown. Velotta told the Bay Area Reporter the business moving in “would like to keep it discreet for now.”

The building’s other storefront, which measures 1,826 square feet, “has some activity as well,” said Velotta, though he did not specify what kind of business was interested in the space or how soon the lease would be signed.

The 113-unit Venn apartment complex, designed by Christiani Johnson Architects, had been approved back in 2007. Work on the site then started but soon stopped, leaving a pit in the ground that lay fallow for years.

As the B.A.R. noted in a 2012 article, the initial developer was forced to sell the project, then that buyer offloaded the $55 million project to MacFarlane Partners, which saw it to fruition. At the time, Susan Smartt, who was the managing director for West Coast development at MacFarlane Partners, had told the B.A.R. that the company was conferring with the LGBT Community Center about potential retailers.

Their goal was to find retail uses that contribute “to the vibe of the neighborhood,” said Smartt, now executive vice president for Related California.

Having Venn’s retail spaces activated could boost the LGBT center’s efforts to find a cafe operator willing to lease a portion of the ground floor in its building that is closest to its next door neighbor. Bringing in a new cafe is part of its planned interior remodel for the building, which is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

The LGBT center had previously leased the space to a gay owned coffeehouse, but it closed in 2008 amid a rent dispute. Since then the center has mostly used the area for extra seating or meeting space.

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 23, 2016 @ 3:51 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Boy, 15, arrested in Castro robbery

01_07_Milk_Movie_52_lrg

Photo: Rick Gerharter

A 15-year-old boy was arrested after he allegedly stole a woman’s cellphone and headphones as he attacked her in San Francisco’s Castro district late Monday night.

According to police, the woman was texting on her phone at 10 p.m. March 21 in the 400 block of Castro Street when the boy grabbed the phone.

“A struggle for the phone occurred,” and the boy “overpowered” the 34-year-old victim, Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, said in a summary.

The boy fled but “was detained by people in the area and subsequently arrested by police,” Esparza said. Police don’t release names of juvenile suspects.

The woman wasn’t injured.

A different incident this week involved a man who’d been masturbating at a bus stop getting hit with a crow bar.

Esparza said the Sunday, March 20 assault started at 11:55 a.m. as the victim was at a bus stop at Market and Church streets “masturbating in public.”

Another man, who “became angry watching” the masturbator approached him, and “a verbal altercation ensued leading to a physical altercation.”

The suspect struck the victim “over the head with a metal crow bar,” causing the victim to lose consciousness, Esparza said.

The victim was taken to a hospital with a non-life threatening head injury.

The suspect was described only as a white 35-year-old man.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:19 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Hearing to be held on upper Market Street housing project in SF Castro district

A rendering of the proposed building at the corner of Market and Sanchez streets.

A rendering of the proposed building at the corner of Market and Sanchez streets.

A planned mixed-use housing project on upper Market Street in San Francisco’s gay Castro district will be the subject of a zoning hearing next week.

The site in question, at 2201 Market Street, is a triangular lot at the intersection of Market and Sanchez streets and is one of the last remaining developable corner parcels in the area. It has also been hotly contested, with a plan for Starbucks to take over the existing building rejected by city planning officials in 2013.

At one point home furnishings store Industrialists was housed at the site. More recently real estate firm Catarra has used the space for its flagship location in the city.

Two years ago property owner Donald St. Sure announced plans to demolish the existing structure and replace it with a new 6-story building with nine condos over ground-floor commercial space over a basement parking garage.

At the time, a preliminary assessment of the project by planning staff found that it was “generally consistent” with the neighborhood design guidelines for the upper Market Street corridor, particularly for “including the active ground floor use and urban form that is generally appropriate for Market Street, as the city’s cultural, ceremonial and commercial spine.”

As currently proposed, the new construction would result in a six-story, 65-foot tall mixed-use building with 3,200 square feet of ground floor commercial retail space, fourteen dwelling units at the second through sixth floors, and a basement level garage with four stacked parking spaces accessed from Sanchez Street.

The building extends outwards at the corner, with the retail spaces recessed inwards. The design is by local firm Edmonds + Lee Architects, Inc.

Because the proposed building covers the entire lot and is designed with bays that extend beyond the property line, it requires the granting of a rear yard modification and variance from the requirements for obstructions over streets and alleys.

A view of the proposed building's Market Street facade.

A view of the proposed building’s Market Street facade.

Under the zoning code, the building is supposed to maintain a rear yard equal to 25 percent of the lot depth, but in no case less than 15 feet at grade level and each succeeding level or story of the building, according to planning department staff.

The bays planned for the building exceed the zoning guidelines that say they should not extend more than three feet beyond the street and that the maximum length of each bay window or balcony should be 15 feet at the line establishing the required open area.

Zoning Administrator Scott F. Sanchez will take up whether to grant the zoning code exceptions for the project at his monthly Zoning Variance Hearing set to take place at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 23.

The meeting is held in Room 408 at City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place.

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 18, 2016 @ 3:36 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


No Pink Party in the Castro this year

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener confirmed Thursday that there will be no Pink Party in the city’s gay Castro district the Saturday before the annual LGBT Pride parade.

(A person dressed in pink celebrated at last year's Pink Party. Photo: Pete Thoshinsky)

(A person dressed in pink celebrated at last year’s Pink Party. Photo: Pete Thoshinsky)

Following a March 17 meeting with key stakeholders, Wiener told the Bay Area Reporter that there will be no street closures this year. In previous years, the streets were closed for the unofficial party.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence had produced what was known as Pink Saturday for nearly two decades. Last year, however, the Sisters decided to end their oversight of the street party due to escalating violence. A sister and his husband were attacked in 2014, while Stephen Powell, 19, died after being shot toward the end of the party in 2010.

Last year, at the request of Wiener, the San Francisco LGBT Community Center stepped in to oversee the event, which was renamed the Pink Party and held earlier in the day. Wiener said Thursday that the center, which is planning for a major interior remodel of its upper Market Street building this spring, doesn’t have the capacity to continue producing the street party.

“They don’t have the staff and it’s not a core part of what they do,” he said.

Wiener said that the pre-Pride street party was never an official city event and that other groups had not offered to put it on.

“There’s no other community group that’s stepped up to do the Pink Party,” he said.

Wiener said that the city will be prepared for “lots of people” who are used to coming to the gayborhood and that his office will work with the San Francisco Police Department, Castro Merchants, and other city agencies to plan for the increased crowds.

The Dyke March, which also takes place the Saturday before Pride, is expected to take place and Wiener said that “temporary street closures” would be created for the end of the march.

The B.A.R. will have more about the Pink Party cancellation in next week’s paper.

— Cynthia Laird, March 17, 2016 @ 4:17 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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