As a destination the Castro is thriving, as a neighborhood/community it is failing. Why? (27 empty storefronts)

Once a place with such a concentrated gay business sense and activism, the Castro has become a place where I see this identity slipping away before its time. Don’t get me wrong. I love the tourists. I love the families, straight and gay. But I don’t love what we are projecting as community. If we can even call it ‘community’ anymore. And while I understand  bar culture thriving in the Castro, is the reason there is a Castro, we are losing examples of  non-alcoholic entrepreneurism. Which is a complete and total shame.

Thank goodness for the GLBT Historical Society is there, otherwise Britney Spears wouldn’t have had anywhere to pose that didn’t have a backdrop of booze.

Perhaps evolution is taking its natural course and the gay identity is being pushed out of the neighborhood where it was born, for profit. Or is it something else?

Maybe this is the future we’ve been fighting for–total integration, assimilation, homogeneity–at a price tag we can’t afford. The issue for me is our fight isn’t over. It’s really just begun.

Now that things are moving toward a more integrated future we need to celebrate our history and be strategic about our future. We need to lead through example and help people understand how the differences, we are inherently born with, can actually be advantageous. Being able to drink the rest of the country under the table shouldn’t be our standout attribute.

Currently there are 27 empty storefronts. Many of which were iconic gay businesses that created a sense of community and drove activism through example.

I was walking through the Castro last Thursday baffled by the amount of vacancies.  Then I saw this  post on Monday by Michael Petrelis on his blog Petrelis Files.  While it’s worth a full read, I’ll include an excerpt here:

There are more than two-dozen empty retail spaces, restaurants and an entire building up for rent or available for purchase in the Castro district, and the reasons for rather high numbers are many, starting with the continuing recession and stretching to greedy landlords wanting too much coin.

The Castro, as with all gay or hip enclaves, is always evolving and recreating itself, but I sense a deeply nervous entrepreneurial community worrying about the businesses of the area and an equally anxious grassroots network of activist wanting greater say in who controls local public spaces.

Then I saw this post on craigstlist — $10,000 for 2,000 square feet. But YAY, there is parking…no wonder things aren’t renting. Who can afford the rent?

Um, yeah...OK I'll take two

I’m not giving up, just putting it out there. I think we can do more. I have some ideas. I hope you do too.

Bevan, I’ll be calling you very soon.

One of many empty slots to showcase our talents. If only the price was right
Not iconic, but prime real-estate
I have plans for this space once Bevan has won, and no longer needs it as headquarters

WOOF Edition of Dial-Up this Thursday ::monthly party @ Public Works:: co-hosted by

I’m co-hosting the WOOF Edition of Dial-UP this Thursday at Public Works.  This event is a collection of some of the best promoters, DJs, and talent in SF, including Honey Soundsystem, Hard French, and Vienetta Discotheque.

DJ SuperBear—aka Mark Louque–is going to be the very special guest. Gracing Europe, New York, and Provincetown with his DJing talents, he is rarely in SF.

This year alone he DJ’d Berghain in Berlin, the Black Party in NYC, and threw one of the best bear parties I went to, last year, during Provincetown’s Bearweek (Fag Bash).

Along with SuperBear, the very talented RJ (Viennetta Discotheque), Dr. Sleep (Dirty Talk), and DJ Dandylion (NYC, Marinate) will be rocking us all night long.

Phil @ Fag Bash in Provincetown
One of the undersea creatures at Fag Bash, Provincetown Bearweek

So let’s show him some love and be naughty on a Thursday.  It is the new Friday, after all…

SuperBear and Juanita More!

WSJ Article Leaves Out Important Facts on HIV Antiviral Slowing Transmission, also the study they reference was 97% hetero

Perhaps I’m reading this article wrong or being too critical. Bottom line, I’m confused. While it’s exciting to hear antivirals are slowing HIV transmission, something the gay community has talked about for sometime, the WSJ article that ran today leaves out important points of clarification.

My concern with the way this is positioned is it doesn’t specify if the insertive partner or the receptive partner is infected. Perhaps the study digs deeper into this, but I haven’t been able to locate it.

While I understand antivirals reduce the infection, even without antivirals women are less likely to pass HIV to their male partners. So if a woman is infected, even without medication or condoms, it is very unlikely the male will get it (something like 2 – 5 %). Reversed however, if the male partner is infected, the female partner is very likely to get it. (somewhere around 85%)

This is an important point that is missing.  Also interesting, this study was 97% heterosexual. The question remains, in these couples how many are infected men and how many are infected women? If most of these are infected women the transmission is unlikely, regardless of the study findings.

I sent the reporter a note. Will keep you posted on what I hear. Just feels like he needs to expand on the point he made and provide additional context from the study.

This is especially true for folks not as familiar with transmission. Read the full article and let me know what you think.

Excerpt below from the WSJ on HIV Antivirals Slowing Transmission:

Treating AIDS patients with antiretroviral drugs makes them strikingly less infectious, researchers said Thursday, in a landmark finding that is likely to reinvigorate efforts to slow the pandemic.

The results were so overwhelming that an independent panel monitoring the research recommended the results be released four years before the large, multi-country study had been scheduled to end.

“This new finding convincingly demonstrates that treating the infected individual—and doing so sooner rather than later—can have a major impact on reducing HIV transmission,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the U.S.’s National Institutes of Health, which funded the study.

The randomized trial of 1,763 couples—in which one partner had HIV and the other didn’t—confirms a growing body of less rigorous research and is likely to inject new urgency into treatment campaigns, which could have the added benefit of slowing the spread of HIV. AIDS workers have dubbed this “treatment as prevention.”

Zombie Proof House, Mixes Modern Lines with a Retractable Draw Bridge and Metal Shudders

I couldn’t help but think of Zombie Boy when I saw this post. I think he should buy it!

Model Zombie, Full body

According to  All That is Interesting:

“The Safe House,” designed by KWK PROMES, starts to get eerily close to something I could work with, if say 200 bludgeoned members of the undead army came over to eat their way into borrowing some sugar.

“The most essential item for our clients was acquiring the feeling of maximum security,” begins the designers’ website in the summary of the structure. Who wouldn’t feel safe in a concrete rectangle that folds in upon itself to become completely sealed? Even the windows are covered with a slab of concrete when the structure is on nap time.

According to Design Milk, who also featured the house:

The Safe House by KWK PROMES is located in a small village on the outskirts of Warsaw, Poland. Surrounding the area, many of the buildings are “Polish cubes” from the 60s and old wooden barns. The house was designed so that the homeowners never feel unsafe or exposed. The result is something of a modern fortress with lots of movable parts and secret openings, complete with a working drawbridge.

From the architects, KWK PROMES:

The clients’ top priority was to gain the feeling of maximum security in their future house, which determined the building’s outlook and performance.
The house took the form of a cuboid in which parts of the exterior walls are movable.
When the house opens up to the garden, eastern and western side walls move towards the exterior fence creating a courtyard.
After crossing the gate one has to wait in this safety zone before being let inside the house. In the same time, there is no risk of children escaping to the street area in an uncontrolled way while playing in the garden.

Movable elements interfering with the site layout
The innovation of this idea consists in the interference of the movable walls with the urban structure of the plot. Consequently, when the house is closed (at night for example) the safe zone is limited to the house’s outline. In the daytime, as a result of the walls opening, it extends to the garden surrounding the house

New type of building
The sliding walls are not dependent on the form of the building. That is why this patent can be applied to both modern and traditional, single- and multi – storeyed houses covered with roofs of different geometry.
This universal solution we came up with gives a new type of building where not the form but the way of functioning is the most important. The name: “safe house” gains a new meaning now.

Accomplishment of this idea required the use of technically complex solutions. The most significant are the sliding walls (both 2,2 m high, 22 and 15 m long), which allow to interfere with the urban structure and determine the safe zone of the plot.
They are not the only mobile elements of the building. Apart from these, there are large shutters (all 2,8 m high, with a width ranging up to 3,5 m, opening up to 180 degrees) and a drawbridge leading to the roof terrace above the swimming pool.
The southern elevation is closed by an enormous roll-down gate of 14 and 6 m manufactured by a company normally supplying shipyards and air companies. It is made with white anodized aluminum which makes it possible to function as a movie projection screen.
All the movable elements are based on built-in electronic engines, that guarantee safe operation.
The whole building is a concrete monolith, while it’s mobile parts – for the sake of considerable size – are light steel trusses filled with mineral wool. As a result, the building is perfectly insulated when closed.
The whole house as well as the mobile elements are clad with cement-bonded particleboards – Cetris and waterproof alder plywood fixed to a steel construction and painted with dark wood stain, which resembles the wood widely found on the surrounding houses and barns, and makes it fit well into the rural landscape.

… to Organic
Once the house opens, it’s bright and spacious interior merges extensively with the garden.
Wide glazings behind the movable walls let the building acquire energy during the day (winter) or prevent the sun’s heat from going into the house (summer). At night, when the house is closed, the thick outer layer helps the building to accumulate the gained energy. Such a solution together with the hybrid heat system (most of the energy is gained from renewable sources – heat pump and solar systems supported with gas heating) and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery makes the house become an intelligent passive building.
Every day the house acts in a similar way – it wakes up every morning to close up after the dusk. This routine reminds of the processes occurring in nature – the house resembles a plant in its day and night cycle.

All Time Favorite DJ/Producers Playing an Extended Set @ Public Works on Saturday ::Wolf+Lamb vs. SoulClap::

Wolf+Lamb is based out of New York. Soulclap is based out of Boston. They are putting out some of the best music right now.  As producers and DJ’s they produce a sound that is approachable, yet inspiring. On Friday May 14, Wolf+Lamb and SoulClap will be DJing together at Public Works. Tickets are $15.00 in advance.

Their tour, SoulClap vs. Wolf+Lamb, kicked off April 1st to launch their CD released on DJ Kicks.  In all, they are DJing 22 parties all over the world. Including Berlin, London, New York, and of course San Francisco.

The CD released last month, isn’t exactly what I expected. It’s a bit of departure from what I like about both of their individual mixes and podcasts.  While not a total success in my opinion, it’s definitely got some tracks that are worth the purchase price.

DJ Kicks Cover

Even though it’s not my favorite DJ Kicks, I’m looking forward to their combined efforts on the dancefloor. When I’ve seen either one of them, separately, it’s been a unique experience.

Instead of assaulting dancefloors with an obscene amounts of beats per minute, they provide a sultry atmosphere that spans from electronic to rock. The common layer is a very danceable beat, muted enough, to allow a story to unfold.

For instance, listen to this gem from Soulclap. A remix of Jamie Foxx’s One Night Extravaganza.  This is quintessential for why I love them.

According to the Resident Adviser, some background on their DJ Kicks Album Release:

Over the past few years, the two DJ teams have carved a new niche for house music in the US, thanks in part to the Wolf + Lamb label and its parties at The Marcy Hotel in Brooklyn. Both outfits push a sound that’s a bit slower and sexier than what you’re likely to hear in a European club, a vibe that Soul Clap’s Eli Goldstein dubs “gentle and deep.” After a couple of European tours and a series of big EPs, the foursome have settled in Miami for the winter and gotten to work on their first major compilation, which aims to encapsulate their trademark sound by highlighting many of artists from their enclave in the Northeast.

“The concept for this mix was originally going to be to use our favourite tracks from the last two years–y’know, classic stuff,” Wolf + Lamb’s Gadi Mizrahi says. “But then we thought it might be a stronger idea to do something that was about our world. We have such a strong sense of collective about the way we do things at the Marcy Hotel and on the Wolf + Lamb label… We figured if we could bring that to a mix and keep it in the family, with people who’ve released on the label we would have something special.”

This means loads of new material by Wolf + Lamb regulars, such as Deniz Kurtel, Slow Hands and Greg Paulus of No Regular Play, plus Zev and Gadi themselves. Meanwhile, Soul Clap pay homage to their hometown of Boston with exclusive tunes by Tanner Ross and SECT. Goldstein makes his solo debut as Eli Gold, while Charles Levine (Soul Clap’s other half) tries out his vocal talents on “Lonely C.” Friends of family like Lee Curtiss and Benoit & Sergio fit into the tracklist as well.

According to Charlie Levine, there’s one thing you can specifically expect not to hear on the mix: pop edits. “For Soul Clap, a lot of what we’ve done that has been hyped over the last couple of years has been edits,” he says. “Now we’re looking at all original material released on !K7. It’s a timeless label and DJ Kicks is one of the oldest compilation series. It totally legitimizes Wolf + Lamb, Soul Clap and this new sound.”

And even thought I didn’t care for the album, it’s getting great reviews.

I’ve mentioned their podcasts and have, more often than not, been listening to either SoulClap or Wolf+Lamb while writing this blog.

The Duos - Wolf+Lamb vs. SoulClap

This Sunday @ Lonestar: SF Human Petting Zoo to Support Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS)

It’s the time of year, that only comes twice a year. One of my best friend’s birthdays. Come join us Sunday May 8th and help us celebrate Riley’s Birthday.

For animals and their admirers

All you need to know is it’s a big one (birthday, that is) and there will be a human petting zoo. Money raised at the event will benefit P.A.W.S.

Festivities will start at Noon and go until 7 p.m. at the Lonestar Saloon (1354 Harrison Street). Everyone is welcome as long as you are 21 or older.

Animals will be played by Riley’s pals. And everyone is welcome to join in the costuming fun.

Critters will be caged. And friendly, unless provoked.

After party is hosted by at Honey.

Ke$ha and Jake Shears @ Juanita MORE! and Joshua J’s Bootycall, last night

You know your party is on the map when Ke$ha arrives for a twirl on a Wednesday night. Well done Juanita MORE! and Joshua J.

Also, notable was Mr. Jake Shears, of the Scissor Sisters in the house of MORE! Jake has been working on the Musical adaption of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City set to debut in SF on May 18.

Jake will also be making his Bootycall DJ Debut on May 25th.

Photo Courtesy of Bootycall
From the Bootycall Press Team, Edwina and Bubbles:

Last night (5/4/2011) in the Castro, Booty Call Wednesdays was the place to be for pop songstress and party girl, KE$HA, and Scissor Sisters’ front man, JAKE SHEARS. The celeb-duo hung out together all night tossing back shots of Jack Daniel’s at the weekly party Booty Call Wednesdays after Ke$ha’s SF show at the Warfield.

The Booty Call party was in full swing when Ke$ha’s bodyguards cleared a space near the front of the bar for her and her new party pal Jake Shears. Ke$ha and Jake sat with legendary SF drag queen, Juanita MORE!, and infamous gay party promoter Joshua J. taking photos, slamming shots, and holding court. At one point Ke$ha was heard asking Joshua J., “Who in here is straight, I want to make out with someone”.

The A-list celebs were able to hang out long enough for a few drinks and some photos, before the crowd got rowdy trying to push toward Ke$ha and Shears. Security quickly whisked Ke$ha to her car outside, while Shears stayed inside partying with Juanita MORE! and Joshua J.

Jake Shears is in SF rehearsing for the opening of ‘Tales of the City the Musical’. While he is here, he has been spotted all over the city and now is popping up in gay nightclubs hanging with the locals. Jake Shears makes his SF DJ debut at Booty Call Wednesdays May 25, 2011. The musical master mind says he loves to DJ and can’t wait to share his new found passion at Booty Call Wednesdays.