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A Year in Review
Room for Squares
by Philip Wong on Dec 28, 2007
Usually around this time of year, people begin to compile their “Best of” lists. This week, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and compile a list of what I thought were some major gay events of the past year. These are the events that made our community; some were major and others not so much. All of them, however, were distinctly San Franciscan.
Let’s start things off with a bang. Sexy gay bois in too short, too tight cut off tees, aging hipsters in unflattering skinnies, the ever present, ever watchful chicken-hawks, and enough booze and techno music to drown out even the loudest tickings of Father Time...what else could it be but Pride? Few things are as community-unifying as San Francisco’s annual Pride celebration, if only for the reason that it serves as a reminder to the rest of the nation of just how freaking gay our city is. Back in June, people came from all over in celebration of this year’s theme “Pride Not Prejudice", a fitting one given the polarizing views of our ever-increasing community. But really, people will come no matter what you call it. That’s what makes Pride so great.
Annual get-togethers are one thing, but the weekly nightlife of San Francisco is another thing entirely. This year, we saw a shift, or rather a disbursement, in the epicenter of major gay party-going and of gay life in general, for that matter. While it isn’t an exclusively 2007 phenomenon per se, it can surely be said that the wandering eye of the young party-goer shifted from the usual haunts of the Castro to the SOMA, the Mission, the Polk-Gulch areas, and even as far as to the reaches of Oakland. Not a surprise really, considering that fewer and fewer homosexuals are prone to actually calling the Castro home, but no less welcome all the same…as gay neighbors all around make for gayer neighborhoods.
It never really dawned on me before, but this year it really hit home how much of a paradise San Francisco is for lovers of independent film. Let’s face it, as a town we’ve never been known to hold out on the things we love. This can certainly be said of film festivals. The best of the lot was this year’s Frameline Festival. Frameline31 stood out because it was international, and San Francisco is a neat little international city. The highlight of this year’s festival for me was Eytan Fox’s film The Bubble, an endearing film that pitted a fairytale romance against the reality of the enduring Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Speaking of film fests, while it isn’t technically a festival, Midnight Mass celebrated its 10th Anniversary this year. What began as a little love fest for film lover and performer Joshua Grannell, aka Peaches Christ, has in 10 years grown into an international show and a beloved San Francisco tradition. This year, Peaches celebrated in style with a host of celebrity guests including Mink Stole, Elvira, and John Waters himself. What better way to bring a city together than to celebrate its affinity for subversion and over-the-topness. Hats off to you, Peaches Christ!
Another performer deserving of major props this year is Cyndi Lauper. This year, she cemented her status as a gay icon by launching and bringing her travelling gay revue, known as the True Colors Tour, to the Bay Area. For one night in July, folks at the Berkeley Greek Theatre were treated to a few hours with the Dresden Dolls, Debbie Harry, Rosie O’Donnell, Erasure and Ms. Lauper herself. As more and more gay performers are gaining prominence in today’s music industry, this night served as a post-Pride reminder of empowerment. It also highlighted the importance of the Matthew Shepard Act, a proposed federal bill which seeks to include crime’s motivated by homophobia to the nation’s existing hate-crime laws.
In a separate bid to enhance the safety and future of our communities, the SF LGBT Center unveiled a new solar energy system donated by PG&E back at the start of the year. The new technology being used by the Center will allow them to save dwindling money and precious resources. It is a clear example of how everyone in the community can benefit from an energy efficient plan. And in light of the current climate crisis that really made itself known this year, it stands as a step toward achieving for the community at large what will definitely be an ongoing fight for everyone in the years ahead.
There you have it. Those were only some of the events that made 2007 a memorable year. There are undoubtedly countless others that ought to be included on this list. Still, the only way to ensure that you enjoy any of them is to actually experience them for yourself. So go out, have fun and ring in the New Year. Just remember to be safe and make it memorable.
by Philip Wong on Dec 28, 2007