Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 29 / 17 July 2014

Gay-owned SF jam company competing for Whole Foods grant

Jam maker Jake Blaine shows off his homemade wares. (Photo courtesy Jake's Castro Kitchen)

Jam maker Jake Blaine shows off his homemade wares. (Photo courtesy Jake’s Castro Kitchen)

A gay-owned San Francisco jam company is competing for a grant from the Whole Foods store in the city’s gay Castro District.

Jake’s Castro Kitchen, which was featured in this week’s BARtab article about the weekly Community Pop-Up Market in the Bayview, is one of three locally-owned food vendors chosen to compete in the grant contest. Whole Food’s Local Foodmaker Grant program is done in conjunction with Working Solutions, a local nonprofit that offers micro-loans to small businesses.

The public is invited to vote for their favorite via Facebook, and the winner will receive 5 percent of sales on July 2 at the Castro Whole Foods at 2001 Market Street. A link to the voting page online can be found on Jake’s Castro Kitchen’s Facebook page here.

Jake Blaine launched his jam-making venture last year and conjures up more than two dozen products, from jellies to chutneys, in his home kitchen. (He and his partner, Clint Higgins, had been living in the Castro when he launched the line but now live near City Hall in the Mid-Market neighborhood.)

As of Friday afternoon (June 13) Jake’s Castro Kitchen was in second place with 90 votes. In first was Yum Yum Tonics, with 121 votes, and in third was Eji’s Ethiopian, which had just 11 votes. Voting ends on June 19.

“We found out that you can vote once a day on both your computer and on your phone. So PLEASE make sure you vote for Jake’s Castro Kitchen TODAY,” reads a message from Jake’s Castro Kitchen on its Facebook page. “We really need your help. This grant will help us in many different ways and open a lot of opportunities for us.”

The Bay Area Reporter’s Business Briefs column in the July 10 issue with have more on Blaine and his company as it looks to expand into more retail locations.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 13, 2014 @ 4:02 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Appeals board delays vote on AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Castro pharmacy plans

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation wants to consolidate its pharmacy and clinical space in the Castro, but several AIDS organizations are opposed to the plan. (Photo: Matthew S. Bajko)

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation wants to consolidate its pharmacy and clinical space in the Castro, but several AIDS organizations are opposed to the plan. (Photo: Matthew S. Bajko)

A city oversight body delayed taking action this week on whether it should allow the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to open a new pharmacy space in the Castro or require it to seek additional review of its plans.

As the Bay Area Reporter‘s online Political Notes column reported Monday, the Los Angeles-based agency wants to combine its two San Francisco pharmacies into one location at 518 Castro Street.

The agency operates a pharmacy and HIV testing site at 100 Church Street, adjacent to its Out of the Closet thrift store, which it wants to vacate due to its landlord, Maitri Hospice, seeking increased rent for the space. The matter landed in court last year after AHF stopped paying its rent amid the lease renewal dispute.

AHF also owns the pharmacy at 4071 18th Street, which was formerly known as a MOMS Pharmacy. AHF acquired the HIV/AIDS specialty pharmacy chain in 2012, which it re-branded last year, and now wants to also vacate that location.

City planners initially granted the nonprofit its permits without public review but then changed course and informed AHF it had to seek a conditional use permit from the Planning Commission to proceed. AHF appealed that decision to the Board of Appeals, which ended up voting in March that because the agency operates 28 pharmacies it falls under San Francisco’s formula retail rules and would need to seek approval to open the Castro space.

AHF then told planners it was changing the name of the pharmacy, prompting Zoning Administrator Scott Sanchez to ask the appeals board to grant the permits because the chain store restrictions no longer applied.

That prompted Castro neighborhood groups, upset with the lack of a public process for the project before the planning commission, to file their own appeal. Local AIDS agencies, which have fought with AHF over multiple HIV policy and funding issues, joined in to voice their own opposition to the AHF’s plans.

After addressing the issue for a second time last night (Wednesday, June 11) the Board of Appeals postponed taking a vote on the matter. It asked AHF officials to return at a later meeting with more proof for why their Castro Pharmacy should not be considered formula retail.

The appeals board is expected to return to the issue at its August 20 meeting.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 12, 2014 @ 12:53 pm PST
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SF Pride announces 2014 musical acts, speakers

Organizers of the 2014 San Francisco LGBT Pride parade and celebration have announced the entertainment lineup and speakers for this year’s events, set for June 28-29.

Celebrity grand marshals and special guests this year will include New York Times bestselling author Janet Mock and gay former Congressman Barney Frank, while musical acts such as dance diva Debby Holiday and San Francisco natives The She’s will perform on the main stage.

George Ridgely, executive director of the LGBT Pride Celebration Committee, said in a June 10 news release, “As with each celebration, we are honored to dedicate a weekend of merriment and commemoration to the courageous work of the LGBT community members and supporters who tirelessly advocate for equality and inclusion every day of the year.”

The theme for the city’s 44th annual Pride is “Color Our World with Pride.” The celebration includes more than 20 community stages and venues, and over 230 contingents have registered for the parade.

There is no cost to attend, though a donation of $5 to $10 is requested. Donations from the celebration have helped Pride contribute nearly $2.3 million to nonprofits since 1997.

For more information, visit


— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 11, 2014 @ 4:55 pm PST
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Folsom Street Fair moving over

Folsom Street Fair-goers enjoy the festival. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Folsom Street Fair-goers enjoy the festival. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

The Folsom Street Fair will scoot one block to the west to accommodate residents and businesses in the neighborhood, producers of the annual leather and fetish street festival announced Thursday (June 5). The move, in which Eighth Street will be opened up, marks the first change to the fair’s footprint in almost 20 years.

As producers had previously announced, the fair, set for September 21, will also be held a week earlier this year in order to make way for the Oracle Open World tech conference, which starts the last weekend of September and will draw thousands of visitors to the city and clog up hotel rooms.

Organizers noted in a news release that the neighborhood, home to a dwindling number of gay bars, has changed “drastically” since 1995, when the event’s footprint expanded to include Folsom Street between Eleventh and Twelfth streets.

Demetri Moshoyannis, executive director of Folsom Street Events, said in the announcement that the board agreed to the move in order to meet three objectives. Those include “improving street traffic around the fair,” “minimizing impact on residential side streets,” and “engaging new community businesses.”

Eighth Street will open up to traffic and producers will be able to “engage fewer residential side streets,” while allowing businesses like The SF Eagle, Sports Authority, and CatHead’s BBQ, which are near the fair’s western end to “participate more actively.” The western boundary of the fair will be at Thirteenth Street, rather than Twelfth Street.

“Getting the Eagle onto the fairgrounds feels especially relevant for many of us in the leather community!” said Moshoyannis.

Board President Phillip Babcock stated, “We don’t want to keep producing the same fair year after year. … We’re excited to try something a little different.”

In an interview, Moshoyannis said organizers hadn’t had any complaints about the fair from residents around Eighth Street, but they wanted to be proactive.

“We’re just always trying to make the fair better and easier, so in looking at the map we supposed that this would be a better solution in terms of trying to minimize residential impact. … We thought things could be even better moving it west one block.”

Richard Park, who owns CatHead’s BBQ, 1665 Folsom Street, with his wife, said, “We’ve always wanted to be part of” the fair, “ever since we started here two and a half years ago. We’ve always been on the outskirts of it and felt a little left out.”

Park said business is already “pretty good” that day. For the restaurant, it’s more about “being part of the community.”

On the other side of the festival, Moshoyannis said, “We’ve gotten some business owners on the side of the fair between Seventh and Eighth that are disappointed the fair is not going to be there anymore. They want the fair to try to come back next year.”

Some businesses may want to be closer to the fair, but Brian Murdy, marketing director for Mr. S Leather, at 385 Eighth Street, said he doesn’t think the move will impact business the day of the fair.

“I think everyone will still make it down to the store,” said Murdy. “We’re still close enough. … I think there’s still a lot of excitement overall, and people want to get off the fairgrounds, too, to kind of get away. That’s what the store actually is, a place for people to get away” and take a break from the event.

For more information about the fair, go to


— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 5, 2014 @ 2:21 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay attorney David Waggoner a step closer to running in SF D8 supe race

David Waggoner (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

David Waggoner (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Gay attorney David Waggoner is one step closer to announcing a run against gay San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener this fall.

For nearly a year Waggoner has considered entering the race but remained noncommittal about a candidacy as pressure mounted among progressives to recruit a formidable challenger to the moderate Wiener.

With the June 10 filing deadline fast approaching, Waggoner pulled papers with elections officials May 30. In a phone interview with the Bay Area Reporter Tuesday morning (June 3), he indicated that he will likely enter the race.

“If I had to make a decision right now, I would say I am a candidate,” said Waggoner.

Yet the nonprofit lawyer could still opt against taking on Wiener, especially if Sara Shortt, a lesbian and executive director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, enters the race.

In recent weeks calls have grown for Shortt to run for the District 8 seat, which covers the gay Castro district, Noe Valley, Diamond Heights, and Glen Park. Shortt did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday morning on her intentions.

If Shortt decides to run, Waggoner was uncertain if he would also enter the race. One concern is that if Shortt and Waggoner both run against Wiener, they would divide the progressive vote. Under the city’s instant voter runoff system, a progressive split could give Wiener an advantage.

Wiener is already seen as a formidable opponent who will be well-funded in his re-election bid. Current political wisdom says that Wiener, due to his incumbent status and proven success on the campaign trail, will be hard to defeat.

A few critics of Wiener have indicated they intend to run against him, including nudity activist George Davis and gay activist Michael Petrelis. A more recent entrant in the race was Simon Timony, who won accolades for trying to protect a Muni bus from rioters following the San Francisco Giant’s World Series win in 2012.

The results of today’s primary race for a state Assembly seat between San Francisco Supervisors David Chiu and David Campos could also impact Waggoner’s decision on running for supervisor. Campos, who is gay, has been hit by supporters of Chiu, who is straight and has considerable support among the LGBT community, for his voting not to oust Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from office after he pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges stemming from an incident involving his wife in 2011.

Waggoner served as Mirkarimi’s attorney as he fought the charges, and the issue is sure to be a line of attack against him if he does run for supervisor. Wiener, who is supporting Chiu for Assembly, voted to remove Mirkarimi as sheriff.

If the issue dents support for Campos, who has been aggressive about turning out his supporters to the polls today, it could sway Waggoner against entering the supervisor race.

Others argue Waggoner’s role in the political scandal that transfixed the city for the better part of a year could actually be a benefit to him. Writing on his blog Petrelis noted that “given the wall-to-wall local media coverage of the Mirkarimi mess and David’s legal representation of him, I’d say he has the best name recognition of all District 8 challengers.”

Waggoner said he is likely to make a final decision about a candidacy later this week.

“I just want to make sure it is right for me to run,” he said.


— Matthew S. Bajko, June 3, 2014 @ 11:13 am PST
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Man sues SF Pride over 2013 shooting

Len Broberg, left, an SFPD inspector who was not working the Pride shooting case, faulted Pride officials for inadequate security. He is seen here with fellow officers along the parade route hours before the 2013 incident.(Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Len Broberg, left, an SFPD inspector who was not working the Pride shooting case, faulted Pride officials for inadequate security. He is seen here with fellow officers along the parade route hours before the 2013 incident.(Photo: Rick Gerharter)

A man who was shot at last year’s San Francisco LGBT Pride celebration is suing organizers, claiming they failed to provide adequate security.

Trevor Gardner, who’s 23 and lives in Los Angeles, is suing the city’s LGBT Pride Celebration Committee for “not less than $10 million,” according to the complaint he filed Thursday (May 29) in San Francisco Superior Court.

In a brief interview Thursday, Ryan Lapine, the attorney representing Gardner, said, “San Francisco Pride abjectly failed in their responsibility to secure this event.” He said it’s “difficult to put a price tag on” Gardner’s injuries, which “are permanent in nature” and will “affect him the rest of his life.”

Gardner had been working at a booth at the June 2013 festival when he was shot. Another man also was shot in the incident. Lapine didn’t know if the second man also planned to sue Pride. It wasn’t clear Thursday whether any arrests were made in connection with the incident. Police department spokespeople didn’t immediately respond to requests for information.

Pride Committee Executive Director George Ridgely and Pride board President Gary Virginia didn’t immediately respond to interview requests Thursday. Ridgely and Virginia both joined Pride after last year’s festival.

Shortly after the incident last year, Len Broberg, a friend of Gardner and the other victim, questioned the Pride Committee’s security practices and criticized the group’s top officials for not responding to the incident.

“I know there were a lot of cops out there,” Broberg said, but “you have to do something else to control the crowd.”

(Broberg, an out gay SFPD inspector, emphasized that he was speaking as a community member and as someone who attended the Pride festival, not as an investigator in the case.)

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in the Thursday, June 5 edition.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 29, 2014 @ 1:18 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man uses flashlight, skateboard in Castro robbery

A man used a flashlight to distract another man, took his cellphone, and threatened him with a skateboard early Thursday morning in San Francisco’s gay Castro district.

The incident started at about 3 a.m. May 29 at 18th and Castro streets when the victim, 26, was walking and the suspect approached him, according to a summary by Officer Albie Esparza, a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department.

The suspect, described only as a white male in his 30s, “used a flashlight to distract and disorient” the victim while removing the victim’s cellphone and wallet from his front coat pocket, said Esparza.

After the man asked for his property back, the suspect tossed his wallet to the ground. When the victim tried to retrieve it, Esparza said, “He was met with the threat of physical violence via a skateboard.” The suspect then fled on foot east on 18th Street. The victim wasn’t injured.

Anyone with information related to the case may call the SFPD anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444. People may also text a tip to TIP411. Type SFPD in the subject line. The incident number is 140 447 423.




— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:21 pm PST
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Oakland councilmember Kaplan announces engagement

Oakland at-large City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan announced Thursday that she is engaged to her longtime girlfriend.

Rebecca Kaplan, right, and her fiancee, Pamela. (Photo: Courtesy Kaplan's Facebook page)

Rebecca Kaplan, right, and her fiancee, Pamela Rosin. (Photo: Courtesy Kaplan’s Facebook page)

Kaplan made the announcement on her Facebook page on Harvey Milk Day, May 22. No wedding date was listed.

In her post, Kaplan praised her girlfriend, identified only as Pamela. Kaplan’s spokesman Jason Overman declined to provide Pamela’s last name, citing security concerns.

A quick search showed Kaplan’s fiancee is Pamela Rosin, owner of Awakening Presence Somatic Counseling in San Francisco’s Castro district.

“In 2012, I met my beloved – Pamela – and we’re excited to announce that we’ve gotten engaged,” Kaplan wrote. “I feel so blessed to have Pamela in my life. We both deeply value our love with each other and our work to improve the world around us. She has a beautiful heart, she makes me laugh – and I have to say: she gives great fashion advice.”

— Cynthia Laird, May 22, 2014 @ 2:05 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay SF-based video journalist seeks funds for sex education film

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 2.56.05 PMA gay video journalist based in San Francisco is seeking funds to help cover the cost of a sex education film he is making.

Alex Liu (seen shirtless in photo) studied molecular toxicology at UC Berkeley and worked at Genentech. He has reported health and science news for NOVA scienceNOW, CNN Health, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and San Francisco NPR station KQED.

In 2012, he started posting videos about sexual health related issues to his YouTube channel The Science of Sin. Since then he has created more than 30 videos, which feature a mix of “science, sketch comedy, and a little skin,” and has amassed an audience of more than 11,000 followers.

Slate recently named Liu’s video page one of its “Brilliant Ideas To Fix Science Education.” Now he wants to expand his webisodes into a full fledged movie called “A Sexplanation.”

According to Liu, his feature-length documentary “will strip down human sexuality from the biological to the sociological, starting with the premise that pleasure is a worthwhile pursuit.”

The project has already secured support from London-based production and distribution company Flynn Entertainment as a co-producer. The total cost for the film is estimated at $28,188, with an initial line budget of $22,788 and $5,400 for post-production.

Liu recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and easily surpassed his $10,000 goal. Now, with more than $11,500 raised, Liu is trying to reach $15,000 by May 28.

Some of the perks for those who donate are a DVD or digital download of the film ($50 level); a skyped 30-minute “sexplanation” call with Liu and an uncensored version of the movie ($69 level); a sex toy starter kit ($99 level); or executive producer credit and perks ($1,500 level).

He expects to begin filming this summer and intends to “journey through church pews, biology labs, fetish conventions and therapy sessions, investigating the stories of researchers, educators, and sexual pioneers, exploring what makes human sexuality throb, and how we can better understand sex.”


— Matthew S. Bajko, May 21, 2014 @ 3:16 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

CDC launches new campaign to get gay and bi guys talking about HIV

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 2.00.05 PMWith HIV infection rates remaining stagnant in the U.S., federal health officials are trying to jump start a national dialogue about HIV prevention with gay and bisexual men.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today (May 21) launched its latest campaign called “Start Talking. Stop HIV.”  Its focus is to promote gay and bisexual men to openly discuss HIV risk and prevention strategies with their sexual partners.

And as the posters for the campaign make clear, those strategies include PrEP, for pre-exposure prophylaxis, the once-a-day pill regimen that has been shown to be effective at reducing HIV infection rates. As the Bay Area Reporter noted on its blog last week, the CDC is now recommending that anyone at risk of contracting HIV should start taking the daily HIV prevention pill commonly known as Truvada.

“Given the range of HIV prevention options available today, talking about HIV prevention has never been more important for gay and bisexual men,” stated Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “Only after having open and honest conversations can partners make informed choices about which strategies will work for them. ‘Start Talking. Stop HIV.’ urges gay and bisexual men to break the silence and take control of their health.”

According to the CDC, gay and bisexual men account for more than half of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States (57 percent, or an estimated 657,800 persons) and approximately two-thirds of all new HIV infections each year (66 percent, or an estimated 31,400 infections).

Young (ages 13-24) men who have sex with men, especially young black MSM, are at particularly high risk for HIV, according to CDC data. Despite this heavy burden, a recent CDC study of gay and bisexual men in 20 cities found that 37 percent did not know the HIV status of their last male partner.

The new ad campaign is designed to reach gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities in all types of relationships, from casual to long-term. Created in consultation with more than 500 gay and bisexual men, it features real-world individuals and couples talking about HIV.

“Talking to your partner about HIV is one of the most important conversations you can have, but it’s not always an easy one,” stated Scott Johnson, a campaign participant. “To anybody getting into a new relationship: Start talking immediately. There’s no reason to be embarrassed or silent about anything.”

Campaign messages will appear nationwide in print and online ads, in billboard and transit advertising in key cities, and at Pride and other community events across the country. It also includes a number of short videos posted online.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:16 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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