Sunday, June 30, 2013

Weekend Woof #45: (Mostly) Shirtless SF Pride Pix

There were so many eye-pleasing dudes all over town for SF Pride this weekend, and a few were snapped by my camera, that I simply have to post a second woof set of pix before the weekend is over. Hope one and all had a Happy Gay Day experience and enjoy the heatwave hanging over the City!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Village Voice's Damage Control for NY Gay Pol Corey Johnson

(Barney Frank listens to Johnson ask a question. Credit: Towleroad.)

He didn't have a good week, new and old media wise. From a Village Voice blog post yesterday written by John Surico, titled "The Misunderstood Candidacy of Corey Johnson":

[O]ne Democratic candidate named Corey Johnson is in the running as (New York City's District 3 Councilmember Christine Quinn's) replacement. But he faces many of the same attacks on Quinn's mayoral campaign, some of which are mired in too-easy-to-leapfrog judgments.

Laying on sympathy before we get to any specifics, because Johnson has allegedly been attacked this week. I would say his thin record of accomplishments has been challenged, his omitting and then replacing a job with a real estate corporation from his resume noted by City Hall Watch's Seth Barron, and the Queens Politics blog's Adam Lombardi reported Johnson was not a registered lobbyist.

Good thing Barron and Lombardi weren't waiting for the Voice to poke around Johnson's resume and lobbyist records.

[Johnson was appointed in 2005 to and through election by his peers became] the chairman of Community Board 4, the local citizen group in Quinn's constituency. Using that experience, he joined GFI Development Corporation as its director of government and community affairs in 2008--a position that would naturally attract attention from opponents.

Sounds to me that Johnson used his CB4 position and network contacts to hire himself out to that corporation and should be scrutinized by rivals and voters, a key constituency left omitted by Surico.

So, like Quinn, Johnson has benefitted (sic) from real estate wealth, which his campaign has received $8,400, in total, from; several of his donors are even veterans from the speaker's past and current campaigns, like Mario Palumbo of Millennium Partners and the development crew behind the Brooklyn Naval Yard.

Interesting to see that $8,400 figure very probably came from my post examining real estate donations to Johnson and Surico conveniently fails to mention my research. The central point about Johnson has received four-figure real estate donations hadn't come up till my post appeared and undercuts the Voice's contention that there's been too-easy leapfrog judgments. I'm just following the money.

According to sources who spoke to the Voice, Johnson never registered [thanks for the link. -MP] with City Hall as a lobbyist for GFI as required by law. But that's because, in his position, he was not responsible for those efforts on behalf of the corporation--a misconception from which the aforementioned judgments originate.

Huh? His job title was director of government affairs and he wasn't responsible for GFI's efforts with City government. Really? Who are the anonymous Voice sources and why can't they be named? Might be good for the Voice to check with the Lobbying Bureau of the City Clerk and see what they have to say. Also, if he wasn't fully in charge of all GFI government affairs, Johnson still could have spent consider time and effort communicating and lobbying City officials and agencies.

At GFI, his job was simply PR for the public, to make sure the Corporation didn't look like the bad guy to tenants by mending ties between Big Development and the little man.  

Says who? More anonymous Voice sourcing.

I chose the treatment of Corey Johnson's candidacy for a reason. His situation highlights an all-too-common theme of election seasons: laziness, plain and simple. The most catchy clip jobs are fueled by accusatory dialect, a ton of misdirected pathos and, as a result, SEO [search engine optimization] bait. It's a replacement of logic that detracts the voter from the reality of the situation, stretching facts and leaving truths few and far between.

Yes, the laziness of publications like the Voice to not scrutinize Johnson's donors and his track record of alleged accomplishment and not simply list where he's been employed, and raise questions about his ethics as a high-profile GFI government and PR guy.

There's been no replacement of logic, which Surico and the Voice imply they are now using to bring forward a better examination of Johnson's candidacy. All they have done is provide a large dose of damage control for him.
Weekend Woof #44: Muscle Chub, Daddies, Tuchus, Boys

My camera has been working overtime snapping pix of attractive queer dudes all around San Francisco. Between the heatwave and the SCOTUS gay marriage decisions, oh, and the Frameline 37 film festival, there's been an abundance of men and boys parading the streets and pleasing my homo eye.

Happy Queer Liberation to All!!

Man of color with the rainbow colors walking through Jane Warner Plaza, with a cool drink in hand.

What a combo. Gray bearded man and an inked boy with bulging bicep barely contained by his tee shirt, passing each other at the plaza.

Two daddies holding hands on their way to catch a film at the Castro Theater on Friday evening.

Oy, what a lovely tuchus to appreciate on this boy seen on Valencia Street after locking up his bike.

Muscular man enjoying the sun and heat at the plaza, showing quite a basket, before finding a red metal chair to sit on and watch the crowds walking by.

At the farmers' market on Noe Street is where I saw this sexy bald muscle chub boy with his equally fine furry daddy with a hot small beer belly.

Blonde boy strolling down Market Street after checking his smartphone for messages.

A bit of advice to everyone. Be sure to slather on the sunscreen this weekend and drink lots of water, and enjoy San Francisco Pride.

Friday, June 28, 2013

ABC: Anyone But Christine: Queers Against Quinn at NY Pride

It's vitally important that LGBT people not waste their votes on Democratic Party hacks who happen to be gay, without first demanding genuine leadership and accomplishments that benefit the community, as they climb up the political ladder.

If you're in the New York and New Jersey area on Sunday, please join this contingent at New York City's Parade.

The Queers Against Christine Quinn has created political space that allows for much-needed criticism of her and her policies that will in essence be another term for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, if she is elected mayor of New York. The group has staged protests outside her fundraisers, picketed the New York Times for their soft-glove coverage of Quinn's tenure as City Council Speaker and maintains a web site about her and their efforts to hold her accountable.

As if that weren't enough, a leading Quinn critic, Louis Flores, has written a book called "The Roots of Betrayal: The Ethics of Christine Quinn" to inform voters and potential donors about her self-serving political career. You can read the first chapter here for free.

Here's the info about how to join the contingent and go here to read their Facebook page:

Join Queers Against Christine Quinn as we march in this year's Heritage of Pride Parade in Manhattan. 

Date: Sunday, June 30, 2013 
Line Up: 12:00 p.m. 
Meeting Place: 38th Street (btwn 5th and 6th Aves.) 
We are in Section 7, Group 18. 

March with us to make a bold political statement about why people should vote for Anybody But Christine Quinn!
Socarides Slammed by Humm for his DOMA/Clinton Record 

(The three-page Socarides penned talking points for the Clinton White House in 1996, after the president put his signature on DOMA. Memo obtained and shared by Duncan Osborne of Gay City News.)

Thank goodness we have my dear old friend Andy Humm to take Democratic Party homosexual Richard Socarides, Bill Clinton's special adviser on LGBT issues when he occupied the Oval Office, to task over his refusal to outright apologize for his role of minimizing the harms of DOMA and deflecting flack from gays when his boss signed the damn act into law.

Some of my previous blogging about Socarides' shameful silence when DOMA was enacted and efforts to hold him accountable is here, here and here.

Here is what Humm wrote at Socarides' blog at the New Yorker site on June 24:

Richard Socarides has never owned up to his role as one of the political architects of the Defense of Marriage Act as the gay liaison to President Bill Clinton who signed it. Any other gay operative with any self-respect would have resigned on the spot. Richard also fails to note the true history of the movement for same-sex marriage. It was not begun by gay leaders, but by individual gay and lesbian couples who wanted their right to marry. 

The Human Rights Campaign was so dismissive of the issue that they did not even downgrade the 80% of members of Congress who voted for DOMA in 1996 when issuing their ratings at the end of the year. 

Evan Wolfson, then of Lambda Legal Defense, did indeed get on board defending the Hawaii plaintiffs in the mid-1990s, bringing Lambda Legal Defense into the picture. But he was getting flak from even progressive groups such as NGLTF at the time who insisted we weren't for the marriage issue.

And this is what Humm posted at Socarides' New Yorker blog post on June 26:

Socarides calls Anthony Kennedy's application of his "careful consideration" standard "new," but it is the same one Kennedy used in his 1996 decision overturning Colorado's anti-gay Amendment 2 that forbade any gay rights laws in the state. As Socarides notes, it is not the "heightened scrutiny" standard LGBT people hoped for and need [...]

Finally, Socarides minimizes the harm President Bill Clinton, for whom he worked as gay liaison, did in violating his oath to uphold the constitution and sign DOMA in 1996. It wrote anti-gay discrimination into the law and gave permission to politicians across the country to pass even worse anti-gay marriage constitutional amendments. Clinton even told John Kerry in 2004 that his only hope for winning the presidential election was coming out against same-sex marriage. 

The Clintons are on board on same-sex marriage now, but the damage they did to the cause by opposing our equal rights for more than 15 years is incalculable. 

Thank you, Andy! May I live so long to hear the Clintons and Socarides once and for fully and clearly apologize for their b.s. regarding gay marriage and DOMA.
SFPD: No Difference Btwn Gay or Straight Baths, 7/17 Hearing

There is no law on the books prohibiting the operating of bathhouses, which are defined as commercial venues with shower and water facilities and cubicles with doors, catering to homosexual males. Yes, I've blogged about a ban on gay bathhouses and used the word ban, simply because it's shorthand that best describes the unofficial situation and political sensibilities that prevent a businessperson from opening a bathhouse catering to gays in the City.

The injunction shutting down gay bathhouses in the 1980s pertained only to specific bathhouses at certain location and didn't outlaw bathhouses from opening at other locations, as best I can recall.

Since there is no bathhouse ban statute in San Francisco, owners of massage parlors or related venues have applied for bathhouse licenses.

I emailed Lt. Troy Dangerfield, who used to work in the police department's public information office and is now in charges of the permits division, to ask him about the pending bathhouse permits. My interest was piqued after reading a story earlier this week in the SF Examiner by Chris Roberts about the massage parlors seeking the bathhouse permits.

This matter will be discussed next month, according to Dangerfield, who also states department policy regarding basic bathhouse equality:

There are 8 Baths on the Hearing Calendar for July 17, 2013. The San Francisco Police Department does not differentiate between gay or straight baths. Our goal is compliance with the law. [The hearing takes place at] 1:00pm in Room 551, at 850 Bryant Street Fifth Floor. That is all the information about the hearing that is needed.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

NYC Pol Corey Johnson: How Much $$ From Real Estate Developers?

(Johnson, left, interviewing Rep. Jared Polis in January 2009. Credit: Towleroad.)

Ever since he came out on the front page of the New York Times in May 2000 as a high school football player in Massachusetts, at the time of the LGBT Millennium March on Washington, Corey Johnson has been groomed by Gay Inc and Democratic Party leaders as The Next Great Gay Hope.

Has he lived up to all the hype he's generated since then, and what precisely are his tangible accomplishments of benefit to the larger gay community? Such questions should be answered as Johnson uses his perch as the appointed head of New York City's Community Board 4 in his campaign to be elected to the City Council in the fall.

At his web site, the page for Johnson's positions and accomplishments regarding affordable housing in New York contains nothing but hype and vagueness:

[He] has a proven track record of fighting to preserve and expand affordable housing in our neighborhoods. Corey knows from personal experience that affordable housing is essential to keeping our neighborhoods diverse, vibrant, and livable. As a child, Corey grew up in affordable housing and during his tenure on Community Board 4, thousands of affordable units were created to ensure that seniors, working families, artists, and people with disabilities could continue to make their homes here. Corey will continue to fight for permanent affordable housing in our neighborhoods. Corey believes that New York City should have oversight over its own rent regulation laws and supports the repeal of vacancy decontrol.

Let's unpack this. No specifics about the track record, cites long-ago personally living in affordable housing, states lots of new units were constructed during his Community Board tenure but that does not equal actually having had a hand in the construction, and ends by saying he'll continue the fight for more affordable housing. Huh? What fight exactly is he talking about?

I've gone over his list of donors at the NYC Campaign Finance Board and he's raised nearly $176,000.

Of that amount, about $8,400 came from 34 donors who listed a real estate related company including development firms or people who said they were real estate brokers as part of their identification info.

Among the donors is Mario Palumbo of the Millenium Partners Real Estate Development Company, who gave $250 and also served for a number of years as president of the board of directors of the city's LGBT Community Services Center. His donation shows an overlap of real estate developers and Gay Inc interests that are backing Johnson.

The largest donation from a real estate leader, at $2,750, came from Joseph McMillan who is the CEO of the DDG Partners Development firm.

Most of the $8,400 in real estate linked checks were in the $100 to $200 range.

Developers are much more concerned with city government and currying favor with elected officials because they want tax breaks for their properties, rezoning to build higher buildings, more rich people around to buy condos and coops and want to get rid of rent stabilization.

And thirty-four developers or real estate industry folks want to see Johnson elected to the City Council. They must like his track record on affordable housing (snark).
Surveillance Video of City Hall Restroom Incident

On October 26, 2012, gay Honduran leader Erick Martinez came to San Francisco's City Hall for a photo-op I had organized at the Harvey Milk Bust on the second floor in the Grand Rotunda, in which he received warm greetings from queer Latino/a Supervisors David Campos and Christina Olague (who was not reelected). Erick has faced death threats from Honduran military personnel and visited California seeking LGBT solidarity, which I and other activists were proud to provide him.

That was the day my legal hassle with an elected official began. This surveillance video excerpt shows what occurred in the hallway.

At the 3:48:15 mark, the elected official appears on the left of the screen on his way to the bathroom. Around 3:49:30 I walk from the right toward the bathroom. Supervisor Campos enters the screen shot from the left at the 3:50:50 point heading to the wooden bench.

My legal hassle concluded on June 13.

In a related matter, the support blog created and maintained by my good friend Todd Swindell, the WeLikeMike site, is ceasing operations. Thank you, Todd, for all of your love and assistance.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Complaint: NYC Pol Corey Johnson Not Registered as a Lobbyist

(Johnson, left, interviewing Democratic gay power broker David Mixner in October 2010. Credit: Towleroad.)

After rooting around the Office of the City Clerk of New York City's web page for its Lobbying Bureau and finding no email addresses or info regarding how to file a complaint requesting an investigation, I phoned 1-212-NEW-YORK and eventually was connected to a live person in the Clerk's office.

I was given the name of the Chief Investigator, Mr. Walter Carcione, and his direct dial number, and in a call he shared his addy with me and the following complaint was sent this morning.

(New Yawkers oughtta be squawking about the dearth of details for citizens looking to make complaints regarding lobbyists at their City Clerk's web site. The Clerk wants to hear from folks about the lobbyists wielding power with City government, right?)

A tip o' the hat to Adam Lombardi at the Queens Politics news site for sparking my interest to file this complaint with Carcione, with whom I'm follow up with tomorrow. Updates will appear as they happen.

Text of my complaint:

I wish to file a complaint against Mr. Corey Johnson, who served as Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations for the GFI Development Company starting in July 2008 according to Crain's New York site:

Corey Johnson, former political director for Mark Green’s 2006 attorney general campaign, began this week as government relations director for G.F.I. Development, a Wall Street-based real estate firm. 

Further, reporter Seth Barron of the City Council Watch site wrote earlier this month that Johnson may have left his lobbyist position at the GFI Development Company in 2011.

At the Queens Politics news site, Adam Lombardi reported yesterday that despite being GFI Development's lobbyist for a number of years, Johnson has not registered with the City Clerk as a lobbyist. 

I have searched the City Clerk's database for registered lobbyists and Corey Johnson's name isn't listed.  

For your information, please be aware that Johnson is currently a candidate for the 3rd District seat on the City Council. 

In my view, Johnson was legally required to register as a lobbyist for the years in which he was employed as the Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations at the GFI Development Company, and there is no evidence at the City Clerk's site that he was properly registered. 

Therefore, I request that you investigate my complaint and determine if Johnson violated City lobbying laws.
Gay Marriage Win; Mike + Mike Will Still Live in Sin

(Mike and I in the October 1995, top, and in January 2013 participating in a solidarity photo campaign with our LGBT Russian friends.)

When the Supreme Court decisions were handed down today shortly after 7 am local time, I was asleep. Helicopter noises woke me up and I thought there's either a small riot or party happening at Castro and Market Streets, and the choppers want aerial shots.

I soon learned the good news about the gay marriage win from the Supremes and called Mike at work, just to hear his voice and exchange expressions of love. We soon moved on to other topics after chatting about the Prop 8 and DOMA decisions.

Sure, we're happy with how the Supremes ruled but Mike and I are not interested in gay marriage as an option for us. We're quite content with our living arrangement that has suited us just fine since we met and connected in June 1995. Why spoil a perfectly happy homo life partnership with state-sanctioned regulations?

Mazel tov to all our friends and others who will soon take advantage of gay marriage restoration in California, but we also acknowledge our wish, and that of many other LGBT people, to enjoy the many fruits of freedom from marriage.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NY Post: Gay Pol Johnson Worked for Anti-Gay Marriage Firm

(Corey Johnson with Lady Gaga at the National Equality March in 2009. Credit: Towleroad.)

Color me way over Democratic Party gays working their way up the political ladder and maintaining the status quo,with only lip service paid to challenging or actually changing political norms.

The NY Post's reporter M.L. Nestel shared this news on Monday:

The gay community-board chairman running for City Council this year tried to hide his past work for corporate clients that have opposed marriage equality, The Post has learned. Corey Johnson, 31, who is in the race for Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s seat, proudly portrays himself as a trailblazer for gay rights [...]

But from 2008 to 2010, he served as director of government and community affairs at Wall Street-based real-estate firm GFI Development Co. — a fact that was left off his site. GFI and some of its brass have spent more than $30,000 backing candidates who oppose gay marriage [...]

Johnson also says he’s a champion of affordable housing [...] “I did work for them, but I no longer work for them currently,” Johnson said about GFI.

Much, if not all, of this info seems to have originated from reporting blogger Seth Barron posted on June 13 at his City Council Watch site, reporting which included many links to source documents. Barron shed much light on this firm and their anti-tenant activities, and Johnson's work for the firm:

GFI Development buys old buildings and turns them into hotels, condominiums and the like.  Corey Johnson’s job was to facilitate the political side of things, as we see in this June 2009 article detailing his advocacy on behalf of a GFI development before Community Board 2 in Brooklyn.  

In 2008, around when they hired Corey to be their front man in New York City, GFI Development bought the old Breslin Hotel, on 29th Street, which was an SRO.  Their efforts to evict or buy out the existing tenants led to a series of court battles, but eventually the Breslin gave way to the trendy Ace Hotel.  Corey Johnson had his birthday party there when it opened in 2010, and was so delighted that he even wore a tiara, according to this record of the evening.

At the time of the Ace Hotel’s opening, Corey Johnson, top lobbyist and community affairs director for GFI Development, was also Vice-Chair of Community Board 4 and Co-Chair of the CB4 Land Use Committee.  Is this a conflict of interest?  Well, it is true that the Ace Hotel at 29th and Broadway is two blocks east of CB4’s eastern boundary, so maybe not, technically.

I'm glad to see Barron's City Council Watch and the NY Post are keeping tabs on Johnson, and expect to see more sunshining of the candidate as the race for the District 3 City Council seat progresses to the fall primary. Oh, and the NY Post should have properly credited Seth Barron for his investigative reporting.
'Interior Leather Bar': Lost 'Cruising' Footage Made Boring

(Courtesy photo.)

Maybe my mistake was having enthusiasm and thinking co-directors Travis Mathews and James Franco's new film was a reimagining of the lost footage from William Friedkin's notorious "Cruising" would respect the audience and offer new insights, that led to deep disappointment.

Part genuine doc, some faux scenes and scripted dialogue, and all-too-brief actual gay sex onscreen add up to a boring "Interior Leather Bar", which I caught on Sunday night at the Castro Theater. It was shown as part of the Frameline 37 film festival.

The narrative starts with Mathews and Franco meeting in an LA hotel room with their female producer and a straight actor auditioning for the Al Pacino character, then we follow the pre-production sessions including one where straight actors talk about playing gays, before climaxing with choppy scenes from the leather bar sexual activities.

Franco holds an on-set chat with the actor playing Pacino, and says he feels he's been wrongly conditioned by society and Hollywood to be more accepting of violence in film than love-making. To examine such thinking, he decided to make this semi-mock doc.

I might have been more receptive to it if there weren't so many annoying extreme close-ups (where you could count the number of pimples on an actor's face).

It all added up to a sense of being pranked by the filmmakers. That might explain why there was only polite applause at the end of the screening and a robust number of folks quickly leaving the theaters, avoiding the Q&A.

Monday, June 24, 2013

SF Ex: 8 Bathhouse Permits Pending at Police Department

(The location of the old gay Bulldog Baths is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to this plaque at 130 Turk Street.)

Once upon a time, there was bathhouse equality in San Francisco and there were venues for gay and straight clienteles. But at the height of AIDS hysteria in the 1980s, this City closed gay bathhouses because of the stereotype that homosexual males couldn't be trusted behind doors on cubicles in commercial spaces. What was allowed then and continues today are sex clubs with no privacy for patrons and active, continual policing by the clubs' staffers.

Over at the SF Examiner today their ace reporter Chris Roberts, who is quite skillful at obtaining public records no one else is aware of and making them news, clues us in to developments related to straights and bathhouses in 2013:

Massage parlors shut down for illegal activity including prostitution are now back in business in the Tenderloin, and they are trying to obtain permits from police to operate as bathhouses.

Villa Aroma at 801 Geary St. and Total Comfort Spa at 450-B Jones St. have applied for city permits as bathhouses, according to police records [...]

Eight bathhouse permits are currently being processed by the Police Department. It's not clear if the other proposed bathhouses also were former sites of massage parlors. A spokesman for the health department said Thursday that such records would not be available until Tuesday [...] Villa Aroma and Total Comfort could receive permits as soon as next month.

Sex work and money issues aside, I oppose leaving the police department as the sole City agency that decides whether bathhouse permits should be issued. Instead, I'd prefer for either the Department of Public Health to have that power or another City department or a combination of thereof.

I've emailed the SFPD's permits division, requesting info as to whether any of the eight pending permits are for a gay establishment. I'll update when I hear back from the department.

Sure would be great if, as many expect, there will soon be a Supreme Court decision allowing for gay marriages to resume in San Francisco (and elsewhere), or, as the politically correct deem gay marriage, there will be marriage equality, I'd like to see bathhouse equality restored in this City.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

'Lewd & Lascivious' Entertains & Educates: '65 SFPD Gay Ball Raid

The bare basics of the 1965 New Year's Day Mardi Gras Ball (talk about mixing up holidays for a good cause!), held at the California Hall located on Polk and Turk Streets in San Francisco, were known to me before seeing the terrific new documentary "Lewd & Lascivious".

After enjoying every one of its fifty-minute running time, I now am more educated about the ball, how it came to happen, the raid on it by the San Francisco Police Department and why it changed this City's and gay history.

(Director Jallen Rix on stage introducing his film.)

"Lewd & Lascivious" played yesterday afternoon to an almost sold out house at the Victoria Theater as part of Frameline 37, and I happily give it two thumbs up.

The documentary shows Christian clergy around 1960 reaching out to the gays and lesbians in the bars on Polk Street and in North Beach, primarily for spiritual guidance for those who wanted it but to also plant seeds of justice to challenge the constant harassment and occasional assaults by the SFPD.

Clergyman and their wives proposed a fun gathering of queers on New Year's Day in 1965, and after getting the backing of the six gay and lesbian groups in existence (who had never coordinated an event together before with each other), set up a meeting with the police. All the clergy and queers wanted was to be left alone at a private event, at a hall where the owner had no problem with who was renting his venue.

(Jon Borset, seen here after the screening, was one of the arrestees in 1965. He says one of the worst parts of having his name and real age appear in the paper the next day was that his friends learned he was 35, not 29 as he claimed in the bars!)

The SFPD raided the ball, gay men in evening attire hid their faces as the cops snapped photos as they were led into the paddy wagons while drag queens in gowns and wigs gleefully struck poses and requested lots of photos of themselves camping it up.

A trial ensued, the judge dismissed the District Attorney's legal arguments, massive local and national media coverage was part of the mix, and when it was time to stage the 1966 edition of the ball, the cops had a radically new hands-off attitude.

One minor criticism I have to make is about the background music as the survivors engage in their truth-telling. The power of their voices and choice of words, their anger and laughter, are diminished because the music is manipulative.

(The audience gives a well-earned standing ovation to the survivors in attendance at the screening on June 22.)

Props to the director Jallen Rix for a well-edited film with swift story-telling, assembling many of the surviving clergy and queer activists, all of whom are articulate and humble, and bringing light to this landmark ball and raid that happened before the Compton Cafeteria Riot and the Stonewall Inn Rebellion.

Let's hope this important documentary is shown on our local PBS outlet KQED and PBS affiliates nationwide. 
Video: SFPD Chief: Barricades at Pride & New TV Series

Almost two weeks ago, I blogged about San Francisco Chief of Police Greg Suhr making an appearance at the June 11 SF Pride board meeting for a Q & A session. I taped most of what he said, until my camera ran out of memory, and was unable to post the tape (which is in RealPlayer format) directly to Vimeo. Using Microsoft LifeCam, I shot the tape off the monitor and it uploaded without a hitch.

At the start, you hear me asking Suhr about metal barricades lining all of Market Street during the annual Pride Parade and how I don't like that the barricades and the police make it so difficult for folks on the sidewalk to join a passing contingent.

What is commemorated and celebrated the last Sunday of every June is queers standing up to the cops at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, and I think San Francisco queers need to revisit the issue of the SFPD having so much say over how we mark that rebellion.

When Suhr says a person either needs to join a contingent where they gather prior to the Parade or just watch it marching by, we see how our Pride has been co-opted by the cops and that should be addressed to reclaim Pride.

In addition to discussing security at Pride, Suhr also chats about the new TV series set in San Francisco and produced by Steven Bocho, "Murder in the First", about two homicide investigators at the police department.

Weekend Woof #43: Sexy Bald Dudes & Friends

There sure are lots of sexy bald dudes catching my queer eye lately on the streets of San Francisco. As we get closer to Pride on June 30, I expect to see more such men visiting from out of town and hope to catch lots of them with camera.

Those chubby fellas with thick dark beards and shiny heads sure know how to put out the 411 on adorable and hunky.

My handsome friend Larry, whom I know from our NYC days, outside the Yerba Buena Screening Room last weekend. We both showed up to see Ulrich Siedl's new film from Austria, "Paradise: Love", but due to a gas leak in the area the screening was cancelled. It's been rescheduled for Saturday, June 29 at 5 pm.

This is Misha who last weekend was taping signs on Market Street urging folks on the day the Supreme Court renders its Prop 8 gay marriage decision, to gather that evening at 6:30 pm at Harvey Milk Plaza.

A political acquaintance, Richard, flashing his beautiful smile and the peace sign for me. We expect to run into each other again at the Trans March on Friday, June 28 at Dolores Park.

My "miracle worker" dental hygienist Jack. He's not only pleasing on the eyes, he is also a true sweetie-pie with a great sense of humor and giggle. Looking forward to seeing him and his adorable partner Ernie at the Dore Alley Fair on the last Sunday in July.

Say hello to my hunky and handsome buddy Kenny. He came over on a hot day to help solve my latest computer problems, and since he was sweating so much I asked him to cool off by removing his tee shirt then pose for me.

Big thanks to all these dudes for sharing themselves with my camera!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

ACT UP Reunion in SF: Report + Pix

An estimated fifteen veterans and allies of various ACT UP chapters gathered at San Francisco's LGBT Community Center late this afternoon for a two-hour plus reunion.

In New York, the ACT UP veterans back East were holding a simultaneous get-together and we tried to interact with them via Google Hangout, but when I spoke with Alan Klein on the phone about how ACT UP/NYC was not streaming to us, he said the person who was supposed to arrange their Hangout participation was running late.

Here in San Francisco we enjoyed a few minutes at Hangout with former ACT UP/NYC members Jamie Leo and Kit Winter who were at their own computers and both were in Los Angeles. Great to see them again and say hello.

Many thanks and big hugs to everyone in San Francisco for coming out today for some grub-n-gab, our buddies in LA and the gang in Manhattan for this collective in-person and online gathering of the tribe. We're here and we are damn fabulous!

From the left, back row: Greg Scott, ACT UP/DC and NYC, Derek, ACT UP/Philadelphia, Liz Highleyman of ACT UP/Boston, yours truly of ACT UP/Petrelis, Kendell  from ACT UP/NYC, Cedar of the newly revived ACT UP/SF. Front row, from the left: Brett Thomas of ACT UP/San Francisco State University, Dean Ouellette of ACT UP/NYC and the original ACT UP/SF, Carmen Simon of the contemporary ACT UP/SF.

 Derek, Dean and Liz chatting and posing for my camera.

Greg displaying one of his scrapbooks and explaining a flyer to Kendell. 

 Kendell and Derek giving up their smiles for my photographic needs.

One of Dean's photos, on paper, from back in the day. Here's he's smiling with Maria Maggenti at his side sharing a grin. CORRECTION: Dean informs me that is not Maria but instead is his friend Nicole. I regret the error but it was nice anyway to think of Maria!!

Carmen and Brett were having an intense conversation about organization when I took this shot.

A photo scrapbook next to a flyers-and-news-clippings scrapbook passed and shared by Greg.

Friday, June 21, 2013

No Litmus Test to March 4 Manning at SF Pride & Michelle Shocked 

(On May 17, IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia, San Francisco queer grassrooters declared Manning a grand marshal of Pride at Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro district.)

Some in the Bradley Manning ad hoc coalition Grand Marshal, Not Court Martial (GMNCM) have expressed displeasure that nutty singer Michelle Shocked wants to join the folks marching for Manning at SF Pride on June 30. I dissent from their views because I believe come Pride Sunday, the Supreme Court will have rendered its decision on gay marriage and that will be the dominant issue of the Pride Parade and Celebration.

Let me also state for the record that I in no way endorse the loony positions of Shocked, but instead very much see her as a tool to build more awareness about Manning, his plight and court martial, and a bigger Manning contingent.

In other words, the Manning contingent will be competing for community, blogger/social media, traditional news attention with the Supreme Court's ruling and if it goes positively for the gays, there will be tremendous elation at Pride. And if the justices determine that there's no standing or makes no ruling, anger will infuse the Pride events.

Either way, the Manning contingent could use every damn body it can muster and if any participant is likely to bring some old and new media attention to the contingent and do the most important thing - spell Bradley Manning correctly - then don't dissuade that person no matter how vile her views may be on other issues from joining the contingent on June 30 at 10 am at Howard and Beale Streets. That is where the contingent will gather.

Extending an invitation (talk about radical), to Shocked from GMNCM would generate attention and in turn spread the word about where and when the GMNCM coalition. The coalition should clarify if it has a litmus test before marchers can join them, or if everyone is welcome to march for Manning.
Frameline 37: Films Bring Us Together

Queer cinema rules over the Castro, Roxie and Victoria theaters in San Francisco and the Elmwood in Berkeley from now until June 30.

The 37th annual Frameline film festival opened last night with a gala screening of "Concussion" at the Castro, and the reviews for the movie and hoopla on Twitter are all thumbs up and positive. What better way to launch Frameline this year, than with gay movie-lovers happy to be inside dark theaters and ignoring the beautiful weather?

I catch my first film of the festival today with "Pit Stop", screening at 4 pm at the Castro. It's described as a narrative feature looking at small town blue collar men and their lives. Director Yen Tan is expected to be there. Always a treat to have the filmmakers in attendance for Q & As.

High on my list of must-sees are the documentaries "Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia", the AIDS themed "Battle of AmFAR" featuring Liz Taylor and Mathilde Krim, "Continental" about the famous Upper West Side bathhouse with the fabulous Michael Musto offering gossipy dish, and also "I Am Divine" all about John Waters' muse and underground icon Divine.

Among the features I hope to see are the Polish movie "In the Name Of", about a Catholic priest coming to terms with his homosexuality, and Travis Matthews and James Franco's "Interior. Leather Bar" that recreates the lost footage of "Cruising".

See you at the queer movies!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

SF Pride Rejects HRC Mediation in Bradley Manning Mess

In early May, my friend local progressive attorney and former Harvey Milk Democratic Club leader David Waggoner and almost thirty co-signatories submitted a rather confusing six-page complaint to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission requesting an investigation into whether SF Pride had violated municipal human rights statutes when it rescinded a grand marshal slot to Wikileaks hero Bradley Manning.

When I first heard about David's move, I phoned him and said he was a hero for filing the request for an investigation. Speaking as an advocate who files similar complaints, I'm always pleased when activists engage with government bodies for redress of wrongs.

David does not have a blog and as far as I know has not posted the six-page complaint and other pertinent documents anywhere on the web, hindering a fully transparent look at the charges made to HRC and subsequent actions. One of the complaint's signatories, activist and artist Clinton Fein, posted the document here, and I laud him for that.

In late May, David was informed by the HRC that they rejected his request for an investigation but he issued no statement about the development and didn't share the documents he received from the commission. On June 1, after he shared the documents with me, they were published at my blog.

The HRC told David on June 18 that SF Pride formally rejected the agency's offer of mediation between the nonprofit and the complainants, and he shared this info on the Bradley Manning for Grand Marshal, Not Court Martial (GMNCM) group on Google:

I was informed by the HRC this morning that SF Pride has declined to participate in any mediation. Because mediation requires the consent of the parties, the HRC process is effectively over at this point, unless Pride changes its mind [...] It may be a good idea for others to follow up with emails, calls or letters to the Board of Supervisors, Mayor's office, and HRC.

My hope that David would release a statement as far and as wide as what he issued in May with the initial filing was dashed. I was also surprised he asked GMNCM members to contact the Supervisors, because he has not publicly endorsed calls to have the Supervisors hold a City Hall hearing about anything to do with SF Pride. Unfortunately, he also didn't provide talking points if one wanted to contact the elected officials.

Earlier today, David informed the GMNCM folks of his communication to our local gay weekly and he also posted the HRC letter to the Google group, which is how I obtained a copy. David wrote:

I forwarded the HRC letters to the BAR, along with this comment: To recap, Pride's leadership slandered Bradley Manning, disenfranchised the Electoral College, banned the press from its meetings, and alternatively either ignored or screamed at community members. Supervisor David Campos and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano have publicly castigated Pride, while Bevan Dufty, for his part, simply declined the honor of being a grand marshal. Now, in refusing mediation from the Human Rights Commission, Pride has yet again conveyed a clear and consistent message: it is accountable to no one. 

A snap up for sharing the HRC letter with the BAR, but as with other pertinent documents, he's done nothing that I'm aware to share the communication with the at-larger LGBT community. He seems to think it's enough to try and get the BAR write up something and if they don't, well, then no one beyond the GMNCM group will know about it. That is not effective engagement with the grassroots or public, in my view.

BTW, the BAR didn't print anything about SF Pride rejecting mediation or David's comment. So, does he have a plan to educate as many people as possible about the latest developments stemming from his original complaint? Who knows.

Regarding his comment, much of what he states is factual about the Electoral College and a press banning but only at meeting I believe not several and yes, gay electeds have criticized SF Pride, but none of that pertains to HRC rejecting his request for an investigation nor does it require SF Pride to participate in mediation.

I must disagree with his contention that SF Pride is accountable to no one. Even I, a longstanding critic of the organization, recognize they have been accountable to anyone who bothers to show up at the two monthly SF Pride meetings open to all, and since the Manning mess began SF Pride leadership has held two and half meetings at their office and a town hall forum in Castro.

Perhaps it would be more accurate for David to say SF Pride has not yet yielded to pressure from hundreds of queer and progressive allies who want Manning reinstated as a grand marshal at the Pride Parade.

My reason for writing this is because I hope my friend takes all the good advocacy he's done with HRC and their responses and documents, and better uses it all to show the inadequacies of the HRC and then goes one step further and speaks up for a City Hall hearing after June 30 about this mess and the $58,000 SF Pride annually receives from the City.
Trans Diva Fimbres: SFPD Chief Giving Me Away At City Hall Wedding

When my cherished longtime friend, renowned diva and transgender activist colleague Veronika Fimbres, pictured, informed recently she was getting married again, I humorously asked if she was trying to break Elizabeth Taylor-Hilton-Wilding-Todd-Fisher-Burton-Burton-Warner-Fortensky's record for number of marriages.

She said no, she wasn't trying to follow in Taylor's footsteps and that she and her hubby-to-be Randy Brad Dolphin, pictured, are in love and want to get hitched. Her current full name is Veronika Lee-Tillman, Nichols, Cauley, Hernandez, Paker, Fimbres, and she plans to go by Veronika Fimbres after her June wedding.

I was surprised when Veronika mentioned her friend Greg Suhr, pictured, San Francisco's Chief of Police was giving her away, only because I wasn't aware of their friendship. Only in San Francisco can we have a diva transwoman getting married at City Hall during Pride season and the police chief giving her away to her spouse.

Congratulations to the happy couple! Here are the details from Veronika:

Michael, my husband Randy Brad Dolphin would love to have you write about our impending marriage.

Our upcoming nuptials will happen in the City Hall Grand Rotunda on Friday, June 28th at 11:30 am. All are invited to attend the 15 minute ceremony and ring exchange, where my friend and our Police Chief Greg Suhr will be giving me away for my parents, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Paul Curd who are unable to attend the happy ceremony.

Chief Suhr offered us this blessing: "I am very happy for Veronika. She is a lovely lady and her guy is very lucky to have found her. It was a surprise when she asked me to give her away but a pleasure to have the honor of being able to do it. I wish the new couple many happy years together."

I am wearing a white designer jacket with a fabulous hat that resembles a veil, a stylish short black skirt and divine black cupcake heels. My husband loves lilacs, so I will carry a bouquet of them, with a "bling-bling" encrusted handle. To honor my African-American heritage we will be "jumping the broom" and a yet-to-be-determined way to honor my Native American ancestors as well.

The reception will be on Sunday, June 30 and attended by hundreds of thousands of people as it will be the LGBT Pride Parade, where I will be an honored and proud Grand Marshal. My new spouse Randy and I will ride up Market Street, sharing our wedded bliss as we wave to the crowds.

I have been a member of the U.S. Navy, a registered nurse and a Trans and LGBT community organizer for over thirty years. I was born in Detroit, Michigan. My spouse, Randy Brad Dolphin, also a U.S. Navy veteran, formerly worked for more than three-decades at the Ford Motor Company. He was born in Boise, Idaho. We met thirty-nine years ago when we both were in the military.

We will honeymoon first in the Sonoma Wine Country before spending a week in Las Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel.

Duane Cramer will be the official photographer, and Tony De Renzo will be the videographer. In lieu of gifts, the couple ask that donations be made to the AIDS Housing Alliance, SF.