In a few short years North Beach was ground zero for a host of talented musicians, comics and poets not associated with the Beats. The Purple Onion was central to that world.
There are rare bars that are popular in one generation and come back a second time. Even rarer is one which has three lives. The 181 Club was such a bar. It lasted from the 1950s to the 1990s and left its mark on three generations.
Male prostitution is probably as old as the city itself. Edward Prime-Stevenson wrote in 1908 that soldiers in the Presidio were for rent during the Spanish-American War. It is certainly as old as the homophile organizations.
Rock and roll was tied up in my concept of what San Francisco was even before I moved here, but when I first visited in 1978, punk and New Wave were the dominant forces.
Bars have played a huge role in the rich tapestry of gay history. Here's an overview of oral (ahem!) accounts of the Haight's bar scene over half a century.
Art Lick had an oversized impact in the three years it existed (from 1989 to 1992). Perhaps that was because art seemed so vital in the midst of the AIDS epidemic.
Richard "Sweet Lips" Walters wrote a column in the Bay Area Reporter from April 1, 1971 till June 24, 2010. first called "Sweet lips Sez" and eventually shortened to "Sweet Lips." Somewhere along the way it became much more.
When I heard about the impending closure of Flipper's (482 Hayes) last month, it got me thinking about the history of the LGBT community in Hayes Valley, where I live.
Shortly after having moved to San Francisco in the early 1980s, I was introduced to the concept of gay stand-up comedy (as it was called then).
A fire in San Francisco that was set by a workman in 1981 ignited a whole different sort of blaze: A media frenzy of anti-gay sensationalism. This feature casts a look back at a disgraceful episode from a deeply homophobic era.
From the mid-'60s through 2008 there was another type of downtown bar - the businessman's bar. The two downtown bars which lasted the longest and had the biggest impact were Sutter's Mill and the various incarnations of Ginger's.
Visitors to Pacific Heights could be excused these days for thinking there is little gay about it, save for the gay colors on Victorians like the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square. But this was not always the case.