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News Briefs: Events to light up the Castro

by Cynthia Laird

Two events will light up the Castro this weekend and shine a spotlight on the work of artists and musicians.

First up is the nighttime lighting Friday, October 27, of a temporary art installation called The Seed at Jane Warner Plaza on 17th Street at the intersection of Castro and Market streets. Consisting of six, 13 foot tall abstract flowers that will glow different colors, the artwork is expected to remain at the public parklet through 2020.

The work is the creation of the Los Angeles-based collective known as Aphidoidea. The floral sextet is inspired by the practice of making wishes as one blows away dandelion petals and represents the desire of countless LGBT people to be able to live and love freely.

According to the artists, The Seed "is a symbol that represents how a single wish that is blown away can carry enough weight to inspire a movement."

The Daphne Gooch String Quartet is set to perform at 7:30 p.m. with the lighting ceremony to take place at 8.

Sunday, October 29 the queer nonprofit Comfort & Joy, which for 15 years has hosted the Burning Man camp C&J Village for LGBTQ attendees of the annual desert bacchanal, will shut down Noe Street between Market and Beaver to throw an outdoor block party it is calling "Glow on the Street."

The event will feature art installations, drag shows, and DJs from 4 to 10 p.m. Performer Liam Ocean will be spinning multiple LED hoops to create a dazzling light show, while the night will end with a blacklight performance presented by the GayGlo Guerrilla Theater.

The event is free, though donations will be accepted at the entrance gates. A $10 ticket that will provide certain discounts at Flore cafe and the Lookout bar can be purchased in advance at .

B.A.R. columnist wins reporting award
Belo Cipriani, a gay man who writes the Bay Area Reporter's Seeing in the Dark column, received an honorable mention for this year's Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence on Reporting on Disability, presented by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Cipriani, 36, mostly focuses on disability and the LGBT community in his monthly column, challenging stereotypes about disability ranging from sex to parenting.

"I feel honored and elated to be recognize for my work. I also feel so lucky to have Tony Coelho, who I use to see on TV and hear on the radio as a kid, comment on my column," Cipriani wrote to the B.A.R. in an email, referring to the former California congressman who was one of the judges.

Cipriani said that people with disabilities "are not always a part of the national conversation and I believe that the Katherine Schneider award is helping to change this by encouraging more disability content."

"I am very grateful to the B.A.R. for picking up my column three years ago, and for believing in a type of reporting that they had never done before," he added.

The prize comes with a $250 award.

First place went to Chicago Tribune reporters Michael J. Berens and Patricia Callahan for their investigation into mistreatment of disabled adults in Illinois group homes. Second place went to Brian M. Rosenthal of the Houston Chronicle, and third place was awarded to Mona Yeh, Sonya Green, and Yuko Kodama for reports that aired on Seattle-Tacoma public radio station 91.3 KBCS.

Halloween dance in Ukiah
The Mendocino Pride Alliance, under the auspices of the Billy Foundation, will hold a Super Queero Halloween dance fundraiser Friday, October 27 from 7 to 11:30 p.m. at the Ukiah Veterans Memorial Building, 293 Seminary Avenue (at Oak).

DJ Goette Lee will be spinning. Costumes are encouraged.

The suggested minimum donation is $10. Food, coffee, and tea will be provided. There will be no-host beer and wine for sale. No nudity and no drugs, including marijuana and e-cigarettes. People must be 18 or older to attend.

Boo at the Zoo in Oakland
Boo at the Zoo, the Oakland Zoo's annual Halloween event, is back this year October 28-29. People can stroll the zoo in costume and collect treats. They can also ride the spooky "boo train" and join the dance party. Kids in costume receive a free ride ticket. They can also make treats for the animals and see how they celebrate Halloween.

Registration is not required, and the event is included with regular zoo admission, which is $22 for adults and kids over 15 and $18 for children ages 2-14. There is a discount for seniors over 65. Weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There's also an overnight event, "Family Sundown Spookfari" at the zoo during the weekend. Pre-registration is required and the cost for that is $90 per person for non-members and $80 for members.

For more information, visit .

Day of the Dead in Berkeley
Berkeley's eighth Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) celebration will be held Thursday, November 2 from 5 to 10 p.m. in downtown Berkeley (Kittredge Street and Harold Way) and will remember those who have passed on.

The event includes food trucks, a wine and beer garden at Maison Bleue, free skeletal face painting, and art and craft vendors. There will be a candlelight procession at 9. Costumes and traditional papier mache giant heads are encouraged.

Organizers said that this year, several altars will be created by local artists and students from Berkeley City College. The public is invited to bring photos or stories of loved ones, candles, breads, and flowers to add to the large community ofrenda, or offering.

The event is sponsored by the Downtown Berkeley Association, Berkeley Community Media, East Bay Loop, East Bay Express, and Yelp. People can take BART to the Downtown Berkeley station. Admission is free. For more information, visit .

'Michelle Meow Show' partners with Commonwealth Club
The Commonwealth Club has announced a new programming partnership with Michelle Meow, host of "The Michelle Meow Show" on radio and TV, to expand the range and depth of its programs dealing with issues of interest to LGBTQ audiences.

Meow, a lesbian who is currently president of the board that oversees San Francisco Pride, will begin hosting the show before live audiences next month. The shows will take place Thursdays at 10 a.m. at the club's offices, 110 The Embarcadero.

"This partnership will enable us to bring discussions concerning the LGBTQ community to a larger platform," Meow said in a news release. "It is a critical time for Americans to come together and address issues we face that affect all of us."

John Zipperer, vice president of media and editorial at the club, will co-host the show.

"Michelle Meow is a high-profile leader of the LGBTQ community, and her knowledge and passion for all aspects of it are well known," he said in the release. "The club has covered LGBTQ issues for many years, and we're excited about this partnership because it will enable us to take that coverage to a higher level."

Club members and the general public will be able to attend the taping of the program, which will air later that day on the Progressive Voices channel on TuneIn. Tickets will be available at the Commonwealth Club beginning in November.

For more information, visit .

Nonprofits can sign up for window space
San Francisco LGBTQ nonprofits can sign up to reserve window display space for 2018 at the Walgreens at 18th and Castro streets.

The program was started in 2001 by community members and store management in an effort to help nonprofits promote their services and events. The window enjoys an abundance of foot traffic on Castro Street., a reference site for LGBTQ nonprofits, now manages the sign-up system and offers 13-day reserved space to selected groups. Window displays should be eye-catching and cannot contain pornographic, political, or provocative themes.

Interested agencies should contact Gary Poe, OurTownSF's window reservation coordinator, at and include dates of major 2018 events or go to . Reservations are prioritized on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lambda Legal SF event
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund will be having a cocktail reception at the San Francisco home of board member David Tsai Wednesday, November 1 from 7 to 9 p.m.

The featured speaker for the Lambda Legal in the City event will be senior attorney Natalie Nardecchia, who will discuss the agency's work to combat the anti-LGBT policies and actions of the Trump administration, including the transgender military ban.

There is no cost to attend, but donations are strongly encouraged. To RSVP, visit . The address will be provided upon RSVP. To donate, visit .

AIDS survivor group holds forum
Let's Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome) will hold a forum for providers and community members Friday, November 3 at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street.

Since coining the term "AIDS Survivor Syndrome," Let's Kick ASS founder Tez Anderson said that he has received hundreds of messages and emails from people who felt supported by the knowledge that they were not crazy and not the only ones experiencing something they did not understand and couldn't name.

Now, there is research data to confirm the existence and impact of AIDS Survivor Syndrome. Ron Stall, Ph.D., director of the Center for LGBT Health Research and the associate chair for science in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health, has conducted research using the Multi-Center AIDS Cohort Study. He will present his findings at the forum.

In addition to Stall, attendees will hear from HIV long-term survivors and discuss what it will take to kick AIDS Survivor Syndrome.

Interested people are asked to RSVP by October 31 at . Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and lunch will be provided, courtesy of Nopo Pharmaceuticals. There is no cost to attend.

Contact the author at . Matthew S. Bajko contributed reporting.


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