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News Briefs: Indian center nets $4.6K

by compiled by Cynthia Laird

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of India speaks to<br>supporters during his San Francisco visit. Photo: Gooch
Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of India speaks to
supporters during his San Francisco visit. Photo: Gooch  

The recent Bay Area visit by Indian gay prince, Manvendra Singh Gohil, the crown prince of Rajpipla, netted $4,661 for his new LGBT community center he is building in Rajpipla.

The majority of the funding for the center, which is under construction and set to open by the end of the year, was raised during a March 21 fundraiser in San Francisco's gay Castro district held by MAX, a social club for gay men and their friends. The money will be used to help furnish the LGBT center in the Indian State of Gujara, about seven hours north from Mumbai.

"I think the love and the support showered on me by the people of San Francisco has been amazing," Manvendra told the Bay Area Reporter when asked how he felt the visit, his first to San Francisco, had gone. "I am encouraged to come back again and again because of the support I have received."

In a brief interview at a private dinner reception held Wednesday, March 22 for the prince, Manvendra said he was especially "surprised and touched" to see so many Indians living in the Bay Area, both LGBT and straight, attend the various events on his schedule during his visit last week.

His trip coincided with the recent cancellation of a visit to India by transgender Alameda County Superior Court Judge Victoria Kolakowski at the invitation of the U.S. State Department. Indian officials failed to issue a visa for Kolakowski, the wife of B.A.R. news editor Cynthia Laird, who had been invited to talk to people about LGBT issues.

Asked about the visa snafu, Manvendra said he was surprised to learn of the incident and believes it was due to a miscommunication between the two countries' consular officials. He offered to help Kolakowski visit India in the future.

"I don't think someone who is a transgender judge invited by the U.S. Embassy to India should have a problem," he said. "I definitely welcome this person to come to India."


Arts Commission opens 'Sanctuary' exhibit

The San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries has announced the first installment of "Sanctuary City," a yearlong exhibition and public program series that delves into topics related to San Francisco's immigration policies, immigrant and refugee populations, and the history of its sanctuary city status.

The first installment, "Sanctuary City: With Liberty and Justice for Some," opened last week and will be on exhibit through April 8 at 401 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 126 (at McAllister).

For this exhibit, the SFAC Galleries partnered with Walter Maciel Gallery in Los Angeles. Co-curated by Bay Area artist Monica Lundy, the exhibition features over 125 portraits of immigrants to the U.S. by 100 artists from LA and the Bay Area. Conceived in response to the presidential election last November, the show is a statement in response to the current administration's efforts to block immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries from getting visas for 90 days and reinstates a temporary ban to refugees for 120 days. (That order was put on hold by a federal judge and has not gone into effect.)

There is no cost to visit the galleries, which are open Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit


Intersex forum at JCCSF

The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco will present "Between Genders: Exploring Intersex with Hida Viloria" Friday, April 7 at 7 p.m. at JCCSF, 3200 California Street.

Viloria, who was born with genitals and reproductive organs that don't fit standard definition of male or female, is a gender-fluid Latinx intersex author and activist. The first openly intersex person invited to speak at the United Nations, Viloria is founding director of the Intersex Campaign for Equality and chair of Organization Intersex International, the largest intersex advocacy group in the world. Viloria will appear in conversation with Sam McConnell, producer of "The Out List" and "The Trans List."

Tickets start at $28; JCCSF members get 10 percent off. For tickets or more information, visit


GLBT History Museum looks at Summer of Love

This spring and summer, many San Francisco cultural organizations are sponsoring special events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Summer of Love. The GLBT History Museum is taking part with a new exhibition set to open Friday, April 7, "Lavender-tinted Glasses: A Groovy, Gay Look at the Summer of Love."

"In San Francisco's Haight Ashbury district, young people were seeking a way out of what they saw as the soul-destroying alienation of materialism," curator Joey Cain said in a news release. "They created new art, philosophies, politics, forms of self-expression, music, and relationships. The city already had a dynamic LGBTQ community, and many members saw the developments of the Summer of Love as opening the way to greater liberation."

According to the museum, the exhibit tells this story by "highlighting the roles of four queers in the making of the Summer of Love: poet Allen Ginsberg, filmmaker Kenneth Anger, philosopher Gavin Arthur, and singer Janis Joplin. All of them brought their perspectives as artists, visionaries, and sexual outsiders to the uprising; all made a lasting impact on American culture."

Cain is a queer man who is a researcher, historian, and longtime community activist.

In addition, the exhibition documents the ways San Francisco's homophile community responded.

There will be a public reception Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the museum, 4127 18th Street. Admission is $5. The show runs through September 27. For more information, visit


SFMTA rehabs Church Muni station escalator or call 311.


SF court seeks applicants for civil grand jury

The San Francisco Superior Court is accepting applications for civil grand jury service for the 2017-18 term, Judge Susan Breall announced.

"San Franciscans who are eager to make a difference and want to be an agent of change in this great city should apply to become a member of the civil grand jury," Breall, chair of the court's civil grand jury committee, said in a news release. "The civil grand jury offers a unique and exciting opportunity to contribute to our community by examining city government to address inefficiencies in operations and hold officials accountable."

In order to serve, volunteers must be U.S. citizens, at least 18 years of age, have lived in San Francisco for at least the past 12 months, have no felony convictions, and be able to effectively communicate in English.

This year, judges on the civil grand jury committee are attending various community events across the city to recruit civil grand jury members in person. Through these efforts, the judges are committed to seeking a civil grand jury that represents the city's rich diversity.

A requirement of the California Constitution, the civil grand jury provides a "watchdog" function and has broad latitude to examine city departments, agencies, and officials. It issues a report detailing its findings and recommendations. Each affected city department or official is required to formally respond to each recommendation contained in the reports, which are then presented in public hearings before the Board of Supervisors.

The civil grand jury is independent and selects its own topics for investigation. Past civil grand juries have examined the city's clean power initiative, affordable housing, homelessness, and a variety of departments, including the assessor's office, fire department, and Muni.

The next term runs from July 1 through June 30. After the initial screening, volunteers are interviewed by a panel of Superior Court judges, who select a pool of 30 jurors. From that, the 19 sworn jurors and 11 alternates are randomly selected.

Interested volunteers should be able to commit time consistently throughout the one-year term. The civil grand jury usually meets once a week, with additional meetings and interviews scheduled as necessary.

To apply, visit The deadline is May 31.


Matthew S. Bajko contributed reporting.



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