(Photos used by permission)
GLBT Museum honors golden age of nightlife
Exhibit by Melissa Hawkins at GLBT Historical Museum on display until May 27.
To quote Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” and the same could be said for the LGBT scene in San Francisco during the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Amidst the tragedy of a then incurable HIV and AIDS epidemic, was a nightlife that has arguably not been equaled in our city since. Creativity and community were at the core of the parties that happened at Uranus, The Box, and more. It’s all celebrated via the photography of Melissa Hawkins in the exhibition SoMa Nights: The Queer Club Photography of Melissa Hawkins. In conjunction with the show, which happens at the GLBT Historical Society Museum (4127 18th Street, San Francisco), a panel and community discussion is on the calendar for March 21st, from 7 - 9pm. Curator and bon vivant Marke Bieschke will be the moderator for Life Beyond Uranus: Remembering a Golden Age of San Francisco Nightlife.
Wendy: Just seeing the event title, Life Beyond Uranus: Remembering a Golden Age of San Francisco Nightlife, will definitely bring out so many stories, from so many people, about their illustrious lives at that time.
Marke: That’s so true. What’s been amazing and remarkable about the show, and one of the the catalysts for why I wanted to curate it, is the amount of memories [from] this period that it has sparked. Many people who have remained in San Francisco, through hell or high water, and a lot of people from outside, who had to move away from San Francisco, have been brought together by their memories of this time period in San Francisco nightlife, and how much it meant to them. Seeing people interact at the opening, online, people sharing their own photos sparked by this show, has just brought out what a family of people there were back in the day - so diverse, so many different kinds of people, but they were all united by their love of going out at night, during this crazy, wonderful time.
Wendy: It’s a two hour event, featuring a panel discussion. Do you know yet who will be on your panel that night?
Marke: Sure. So far we have Lewis Walden who was the DJ at Uranus, and he’s going to be sharing some photographs that he took, from the nightclub, from 1989 to 1993. [Also on the panel will be] Gus Bean, who was the promoter for the first big circuit parties here, which were very different from Uranus, but at the time, people went to all different kinds of clubs, so there was a lot of crossover. He promoted Colossus, at 1015 Folsom, as well as some other parties around town. Then, we’re gonna have Jennifer Junkyard Morris. She was the DJ at Junk, at The Stud, which was one of the first alternative clubs that focused on New Wave, and underground rock during the ‘90s. Those are our confirmed panelists. We have [reached out] to more, and we’re going to definitely have representatives from The Box; we’re gonna have more club kids who went to Uranus, and we’re going to be talking about all the clubs from the period. That’s all I can reveal!
Wendy: Will there be an opportunity for the event-goers to interact with the panel?
Marke: There certainly will. I’ll be moderating the panel, and Melissa Hawkins, the photographer [whose works are on display], will also be there. We’ll be sharing some memories, and then we’re gonna invite the audience to share their own memories and ask questions of the panel.
Wendy: Melissa Hawkins is responsible for the photographs at the exhibition.
Marke: Right. She was the photographer for the paper, The Sentinel, which was a weekly, and later biweekly, gay paper. That was in the ‘80s and ‘90s; I believe it was founded in the ‘70s, and the GLBT Historical Society has a complete collection of the paper in its archives. Melissa, in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s was their nightlife photographer. That sparked the interest in getting the newspaper aspect, and the media aspect, together with her beautiful photos.
Wendy: Let’s talk about the club kids from that era. There were some crazy fun things going on; who could forget Betty Pearl’s infamous carrot throwing episode at Uranus, for example?
Marke: I have some great pictures of my mother with Betty Pearl, because they look the same!
Wendy: How funny! there was Richie Rich, and Chi Chi LaRue....
Marke: Richie Rich was a club kid who moved to New York and became famous as a fashion designer. He’s back here in the Bay Area now; I’m hoping that he’ll be able to come. Then, there is the artist Jerome Caja, who was famous for dressing up in skimpy negligees, tight outfits, and doing crucifixion acts at Uranus. He’s featured in the show. Also featured in the show are people like Chi Chi LaRue, who’s a famous pornographer now. We have pictures of Lady Bunny, who was there; Justin Vivian Bond, who moved to New York and became very famous; Linda Perry, the rock star, was on the club scene back then, and we have her in there too.
Wendy: Coinciding with all of this, there was a lot going on. That was the fun activism - being out, dressing up, being completely over the top. Gay culture has always been in the forefront, and the nightlife was always the most fun and over the top, but possibly that time was the pinnacle, at least so far. Now it can feel a little more toned down, in terms of sense of humor, and all of that, because things have gotten so much more mainstream.
Marke: Yes, as the gay community has assimilated it’s gotten less extreme, I guess (laughs).
Wendy: Yes, but that period was extreme on every level. People took it to the nines in the clubs, but also in the streets, with ACT UP and Queer Nation, and all of the groups and coalitions that were coming together fast in response to HIV and AIDS, to address multiple issues.
Marke: One of the points that the show really emphasizes is that this was really the height of the AIDS epidemic. People were living with a lot of trauma, a lot panic, a lot fear, but they were using that energy to organize with ACTUP, and Lesbian Avengers, and Queer Nation, and the focal point of this organization was at the clubs. People were going out every night; they were blowing off steam, and that’s how they would meet each other. You’d walk into the clubs and the first thing you’d see would be a poster for the latest protest; you’d see a bowl of condoms, or someone passing out a safe sex packet. You would see people talking about who was sick, who had been lost, what kind of drugs were being developed. It was a mode of communication, going out. Nightlife was really fulfilling, not only partying and blowing off steam, but it was really seizing the moment to live in the moment, and also to communicate with everybody about what was going on.
Wendy: People came together in a way that was unprecedented. .
Marke: People look back at that time and they just think it was constant sadness, and there was that, but there also was this other side, where it was people coming together to celebrate their life in the now and to try to do something about things. There were happy times, and there was a party side to that time. Especially young people think of that time like we were all walking around moping. No! We were out dancing and putting on crazy outfits that we got at the vintage store. Yes, we were sad because one of our friends was in the hospital, but that wasn’t gonna stop us from going out and partying because we might be next.
Wendy: Life Beyond Uranus: Remembering a Golden Age of San Francisco Nightlife is being presented to celebrate the museum’s exhibition SoMa Nights: The Queer Club Photography of Melissa Hawkins. When did that open?
Marke: February 15th was the opening and it was jam-packed. It was like a family reunion. There were so many people screaming and yelling when they recognized someone, and we had Jennifer Junkyard [Morris] playing all the music from the time. Part of the photography show is music; we have two listening stations where we have DJ sets from The Box and Uranus, so you can hear the music from that time while you look at the photos. We have a slide show that’s part of the exhibition, that shows 90 more of Melissa’s photos, because we could only fit 30 on the wall, as well as archival footage from the GLBT Historical Society featuring some of the footage of clubs of that time.
Wendy: That sounds amazing! How long will the exhibition be up?
Marke: it ends on May 29th.
Wendy: So if people can’t make the event for some reason, they can still come check out the exhibit for a while.
Marke: Exactly. It’s a really engaging show. It’s actually the first show that the GLBT Historical Society Museum has done with a living photographer, which is really fun and interesting.
Wendy: You’re a perfect moderator for the event, given your history documenting and taking part in San Francisco nightlife. You’re also a co-owner of The Stud, so you have an insiders viewpoint on what goes into making a club work.
Marke: Two years ago The Stud was in danger of closing, and I and 17 of my friends, including my husband, stepped in to buy The Stud, and try to figure out if a cooperative model of running a gay nightclub was feasible. We’re the first collectively owned gay nightclub in the world, and we parcel out all the work between all 17 of us, and we are doing great so far. We just extended our lease for two more years, to stay in that space, and we’re looking toward finding a more permanent home.
Wendy: You’ve been something of a soldier in the fight to preserve some of our most loved institutions here in San Francisco, like the SF Bay Guardian.
Marke: Yeah, thank you! I’ve written about nightlife in San Francisco for the past 22 years, and a lot of it has been at the Guardian. I started working at the Guardian in the early 2000s, and eventually through all the turmoil, became the publisher. Throughout it all, I’ve written about nightlife. When the Bay Guardian stopped putting out a paper edition and we launched 48 Hills, I still remained, writing about nightlife, just because I love it so much. I also write about nightlife for a number of other outlets. I’ve kind of just been immersed in nightlife, so when Melissa approached the museum, because she realized that she had all of these beautiful photographs that probably would need a home, I was on the board of the museum at the time, and I just thought this would be the perfect thing for me to curate. It would bring my knowledge of nightlife together, and allow me to explore more. I moved here in 1994, right when the entire period of her photographs ends, so I wasn’t here for that. When I moved here all the people in the photographs were giants to me. It was great to be able to meet with them.
Wendy: Where did you move here from?
Marke: From Detroit.
Wendy: That’s a big music capitol. Is that what sparked your love of nightlife?
Marke: Yeah. I threw the first raves in Detroit, and that’s what put me through college. Once I graduated from college, I realized my prospects of dating were very limited in Detroit, so I moved to San Francisco.
••• Also in the March 2019 Issue •••
Illustration of Bar Headed Geese. (© Alces Images)
In spring, a young bird’s fancy turns to thoughts of love — and flight
Back in October, in “As the Crows - and other birds - fly,” we learned from bird expert Eddie Bartley about which birds migrate and where they go. Some birds travel hundreds, even thousands of miles. How can something so small perform such an athletic task, often with little or no rest along the way and without a Smartphone to look up directions on? I called Bartley back, and here is what I learned.
In spring, as the days start to get longer, birds’ bodies start to undergo changes. Just as teenagers experience hormonal changes, so too do birds. Every species of bird, and even within individual bird populations, has different physiological modifications caused by hormonal change. Unlike people, birds experience the changes every year and within a short time frame. Imagine going through puberty every year!
The bird’s hypothalamus triggers hormones in the pituitary gland. Hormones affect future egg-laying and stimulate the thyroid. Thyroxine affects the growth and pigmentation of feathers. Males develop more color to impress the girls. The adrenals are stimulated; testosterone and estrogen production are increased. And the part of the brain that controls singing is stimulated. (Hey-ba-by! Hey-ba-by!)
In addition to raging hormones, pancreatic enzymes trigger eating behavior. The birds start to stuff themselves, a condition called hyperphagia (over-eating). As the bird gorge themselves on whatever they can find to eat, they layer on fat. The pancreas produces more insulin, increasing the concentration of blood sugar.
These extraordinary changes are happening to birds right now. The medium and long-distance migrants - the birds in the tropics, Mexico, and the southern United States - are bulking up for the Big Push north. They are waiting for their nesting territory to thaw out and then they will start their spring migration.
But birds can’t watch the weather channel to find out what is going on in the home nesting area. The Big Push is triggered by the photo-period, the amount of daylight every day. Photo-period is a more reliable indicator of what is happening in another part of the world than the local weather in the birds’ wintering grounds. Scientists have proven this by experimenting with giving birds different photo- periods and observing how the birds react to the change in the amount of light during the day.
As the days get longer, the birds’ sex organs increase in size and the muscles associated with long-distant flight bulk up. By the time the increasing daylight tells them to leave, birds must be in peak physiological shape.
Local weather does, however, play a part in when the birds decide to take off on the Big Push. In North America in the spring, there are more low pressure zones and the winds blow counter-clockwise. Birds will catch the northbound winds on the edges of these low pressure zones. For example, in California as the days get longer and the temperature climbs, birds will ride the winds to head north.
Fall migration is in many ways a mirror image of the spring changes. In the fall, as high pressure builds, the winds come from the northwest and the birds use them to aid in their southbound flight.
After the mating and nesting season are over, the birds don’t need the sex organs, and the organs reduce in size. Kidneys also reduce in size, because they are not needed as much during the migration.
Hyperphagia still occurs. Shorebirds can double their weight. Imagine if you went from 150 lbs. to 300 lbs in a few months. As the birds fly, all that newly acquired fat gets burned off.
In spring or in fall, how do birds find their way across hundreds or even thousands of miles of land and sea? According to Bartley, they follow a wide variety of clues due to the unique abilities with which they are born.
Birds that fly during the day can see polarization patterns that let them locate the position of the sun, even on cloudy days.
Songbirds navigate at night by star maps. Researchers have placed them in planetariums and then rearranged the star maps to see which direction the birds go. (And no, I don’t know who cleans up after all this.) Songbirds get so restless at night that the Germans have a word for it - Zugunruhe or migrating restlessness. Songbirds need the stars, and they won’t migrate when it is cloudy. They also depend on tailwinds to help them travel long distances.
Many birds are diurnal and migrate during the day. Swallows, swifts, and raptors all benefit from the thermal uplift during the warmer daytime hours.
Some birds migrate by using landmarks such as mountains and rivers. They get better at it as they gain more experience. Ducks and pelicans travel in flocks, sharing the knowledge of the more experienced birds.
Doves and pigeons navigate photo-magnetically, using magnetic material at the base of their bill to detect the magnetic patterns of the earth. This same geo-magnetism is used by salmon to return back to their place of birth.
Some birds may even be able to navigate by scent. This would be especially helpful in finding an island in a large body of water, where there are no distinguishing landmarks.
How far and fast can birds go? Again, there are as many answers as there are birds.
A barn swallow might travel 90 miles in a day. A red knot might travel 90 miles or up to 600 miles in a day. A hawk might travel 10 miles one day and 300 miles the next day. Hummingbirds make an amazing journey across the Gulf of Mexico. The ruby-throated hummingbird travels 500 miles non-stop in an epic one-day journey.
Migration speeds also vary widely. Most birds (90 %) fly at 15 to 45 mph. (Yes, that’s miles per hour.) In general, larger birds fly faster, and all are affected by the direction and speed of the wind. Songbirds travel at 10 to 30 mph. Raptors may lolligag around or get motivated and travel at 20 to 45 mph. Waterfowl such as ducks and loons travel at 30 to 50 mph.
Wing loading affects how high and far birds can fly. The loading is calculated by a complex formula involving the weight of the bird compared to the surface of the wing and other factors. You’ve probably noticed that some birds have a hard time getting off the ground and others soar easily. Wing shape and size all affect how easily a bird takes off, how high they can fly, and how long they can stay afloat in the air.
With differing flight capabilities, it is not surprising that birds have their own preferred air corridors as they migrate.
Among songbirds, 75% travel at elevations of 500 to 2,000 feet. Raptors range from 700 to 4,000 feet. Waterfowl travel from 1,200 to 4,000 feet. Shorebirds can fly at 1,000 to 13,000 feet elevation. Bar-headed geese fly over Mt. Everest and have been seen by aircraft at 30,000 feet. These geese have specialized hemoglobin that can store higher amounts of oxygen.
Even if we cannot always see them, birds can see us - or rather, they can see our building lights.
According to the Golden Gate Audubon Society website, birds that migrate at night can be drawn off course by tall, lighted structures along their flight path. Drawn by the bright city lights, birds sometimes collide with buildings or rooftop structures. At the speed they are travelling, these collisions are usually fatal. Other times the birds will circle a lighted building until they drop from exhaustion.
Over 200 species migrate through the Bay Area in the spring and fall. Turning off unnecessary lighting at night not only saves energy costs but also saves the lives of these wayfarers as they wing their way over our sleeping neighborhoods.
Ask your company to participate in Lights Out for Birds. Lights Out is a voluntary program where building owners, managers, and tenants work together to ensure that unnecessary lighting is turned off during migration periods. Spring migration dates for the Lights Out program are February 15 through May 30.
Bartley reminds us that all this wonderful information gathered by scientists applies to the birds they have observed. Birds may be part of a flock, but just as with people, there will always be birds who fly to a different drummer.
In addition, a lot of migration is not detected by us. At the Raptor Observatory, Bartley watches birds that eventually fly so high they can’t be seen against the blue sky. Bartley suggests, “Just go out and admire it wherever you can.”
QTPOC events at Strut. Visit strut.org for details.
Upcoming Castro Events
Spanish Wine Class with Paul
March marks the beginning of spring and its new growth. This month we will be focusing on wine making techniques. Understanding how winemakers choose to ferment and age their grapes. Building the flavors in wines by using specific methods from tank fermentation to aging in oak barrels. Join us as we continue to discuss and enjoy wine. We will taste three expressions of whites and reds that are aged differently. Space is limited.
Wednesday March 20th
6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Location: Canela Bistro & Wine Bar (2272 Market St.)
RSVP: email@example.com to reserve your spot
Visit canelasf.com for moreinformation
QT-Con: QTPoC Reflections In Comics
Join QTPOC at Strut and EFNIKS for their next kickback event looking at QTPOC representation in comic books; the history of QTPOC comic books characters, the importance and impact of that representation.
Please refrain from wearing scented products, so that people with chemical sensitivities can join us. On that note, so folks with severe allergies to dogs can join us, please leave your pet at home unless it is a certified service animal.
Thursday, March 21
5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Sexual Health Services and PrEP Enrollments from)
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (Panel discussion)
Location: Strut (470 Castro St.)
Question? Text QTPOC to 474747 or contact Kay Nilsson at firstname.lastname@example.org 415-766-1334
March EVNA Meeting
Former EVNA president Lion Barrett has passed in December 2018. He lived on 17th Street and served as president from 1998-2001 (then called the EVPA). EVNA don’t have many details. The group is asking locals to share pictures or memories, which will be included in the group’s next March newsletter.
Wednesday, March 27th
7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Doors open about 6:45pm
Location: Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy (19th St. at Collingwood)
Visit evna.org for more information
Disco Coalition kicks off the first fundraising projects with 13 happy hours with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting queer non-profits within San Francisco. Each party will also honor a queer hero. For the premier, event host and “queero” Juanita MORE! will get the party started and GLBT Historical Society will be the beneficiary.
Friday, March 29
5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Location: Lookout Bar (3600 16th St.)
Visit discocoalition.org for more information
Advance Care Planning
“When good health fails” by Sally Stephens (San Francisco Examiner, November 19, 2017) helps to convey the purpose of National Healthcare Decisions Day: “Talking about a serious illness is difficult. But it’s better to have basic discussions about who can help, what they can do, what companies offer what services and how much they cost while you—or your elderly parents—are still feeling relatively good. Don’t wait until you desperately need help.”
Dealing with a serious illness is hard. But a little forethought and planning can go a long way to help you, your family and your friends cope. That way you’ll be more ready and prepared when you get one of those early morning jarring phone calls.”
It is time to start planning for National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD)—April 16.
In-kind support is needed for photocopies for Resources table and binder.
Why should you have written instruction for end-of-life care? Share your experience if you have recently experienced the loss of a loved one who did not have an Advance Directive. Respond by March 28.
Started by me in 2014 as Advocate for National Healthcare Decisions Day, this year marks the 6th Annual Healthcare Decisions Day San Francisco with Healthcare Decisions Week from April 9 through April 16.
HEALTH CARE DECISIONS DAY
National Healthcare Decisions Day is designed “to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.”
This year marks the 12th Annual National Healthcare Decisions Day. Beginning in 2018 nhdd.org extended the Day to April 16-22.
Neighborhood branches of the San Francisco Public Library now acknowledge National Healthcare Decisions Day from April 9 through April 22.
Healthcare Decisions Day San Francisco
During the weeks of April 9 through April 22 neighborhood branches of the San Francisco Public Library acknowledge advance care planning with books/materials for Advance Directive, wills, trusts and estate planning, and a sign for April 16. All branches are invited to participate. Contact your neighborhood branch to inquire if participating.
Facilitating “The Conversation”
To help facilitate “the conversation,” order a copy of my reference book for seniors, Elder Diary: Starter Kit, to help you organize your health information. Order at www.caringboomers.blogspot.com.
Elder Diary: Starter Kit
By Anise J. Matteson
An instructional guide designed to help non-medical persons better manage the care of their loved one. The kit contains a guide book with an Important Document Checklist; Self-Tests and a page that explains the form’s purpose and what information you will be asked to complete; examples of completed forms; sample forms for recording medical and other important information, and more. ©2006. MATTESON ELDER CARE SERVICES.
An Advance Directive is a part of patient-centered care—a treatment plan specific to a patient’s needs. It provides instructions in your own words to family/caregivers, friends and health care professionals when there is a significant condition change.
You should have an Advance Directive to specify your decisions in the future regarding health care, end-of-life care, nutrition, hydration, hospice care, No Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and organ donation when you become unable to express your wishes. (Examples with supporting documentation: do not hospitalize, autopsy request, feeding restrictions, other treatment restrictions.)
Medicare covers voluntary advance care planning as part of the yearly “Wellness” visit. This planning for care you would want to get if you became unable to speak for yourself. You can talk about an advance directive with your health care professional, and he or she can help you fill out the forms, if you want to. An advance directive is an important legal document that records your wishes about medical treatment at a future time, if you are unable to make decisions about your care. You pay nothing if the doctor or other qualified health care provider accepts assignment.
NOTE: Medicare may also cover this service as part of your medical treatment. When advance care planning isn’t part of your yearly “Wellness” visit, the Part B deductible and coinsurance apply.
SOURCE – Section 3: Find Out if Medicare Covers Your Tests, Services or Item (Medicare & You 2018, p. 66.)
SECTARIAN HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE
“An optional addendum to your advance directive. The language in this addendum clarifies that admission to a religiously-affiliated facility does not imply consent to particular care mandated by the institution’s religious policies and directs a transfer if the facility declines to follow the wishes outlined in an advance directive.” (CompassionAndChoices.org)
Religious non-medical health care institution (inpatient care)
In these facilities, religious beliefs prohibit conventional and unconventional medical care. If you qualify for hospital or skilled nursing facility care, Medicare will only cover the inpatient, non-religious, non-medical items and services. Examples are room and board, or any items and services that don’t require a doctor’s order or prescription, like unmedicated wound dressings or use of a simple walker.
SOURCE: Section 3: Find Out if Medicare Covers Your Tests, Services or Item (Medicare & You 2018, p. 59.)
A Letter to My Primary Health Care Provider Concerning Decisions to be Made at the End of My Life. www.compassionandchoices.org.
Advance Health Care Directive. (English/Spanish). California Medical Association. www.calhospital.org /resource/advance-health-care-directive.
Hospice by the Bay. Community services: include Advance Care Planning Seminars, Estate Planning Seminars, Community Grief Counseling and Support Groups: call (4415) 526-5699. www.hospice bythebay .org/index.php;/locations/san-francisco. (415) 626-5900
My Directive Regarding Healthcare Institutions Refusing to Honor My Healthcare Choices. [Sectarian Health Care Directive.] www.compassionandchoices.org.
My Life, My Choices™, Planning for Future Healthcare Decisions. Hospice of Marin Community Education Program. http://hospicebythebay.org/event/my-life-my-choices-planning-for-future-health-care-decisions/.
Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment. Download “POLST FOR Patient and Loved Ones” at http://capolst.org.
Planning Ahead. SENIORS & THE LAW: A Guide for Maturing Californians. Section includes: What is a living will? Can I be barred from handling my affairs for any reason? What is a conservator? Do I need a will? How is the property in a will distributed? Does a will cover everything I own? What is a revocable living trust? Will my beneficiaries’ inheritance be taxed? Can I leave my savings in a bank account for later use? Download at http://www.calbar.ca.gov/portals/0/images/pamphlets/2015_Seniors062615-web.pdf.
The Good to Go Resource Guide. Compassion & Choices MAGAZINE, Special Resource Issue, 2012 Reprint. Chapters include: How to Make Your Health Care Decisions Known, Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, Your Wishes, Glossary, The Conversation, and more. www.compassionand choices.org. (800) 247-7421.
DATES TO REMEMBER:
Healthcare Decisions Week San Francisco: April 9-16
National Healthcare Decisions Day: April 16
National Healthcare Decisions Week: April 16-22
Anise J. Matteson, CBF is an Advocate for National Healthcare Decisions Day, Certified Bereavement Facilitator, retired Registered Health Information Technician, and writer of reference books for seniors. Information is educational only. For specific questions, consult your physician and an attorney. email@example.com. ©2019.