City revokes Pink Saturday permit for Castro dance party

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Tuesday June 21, 2022
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Pink Saturday drew a crowd in 2011, with the illuminated pink triangle on Twin Peaks in the background. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland<br>
Pink Saturday drew a crowd in 2011, with the illuminated pink triangle on Twin Peaks in the background. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

A permitting snafu may sink the Pink Saturday fashion show and dance party planned for the Castro June 25. A separate daytime event being produced by the Castro Merchants Association, featuring drag contests and a petting zoo, will go on as scheduled.

Gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman told the Bay Area Reporter Tuesday morning that he's doubtful the other event, called A Touch of Pink, will occur. He told the B.A.R. that Soul of Pride, which had planned to host the A Touch of Pink fashion show and dance party on Saturday, does not have a valid permit from the Interdepartmental Staff Committee on Traffic and Transportation, or ISCOTT, which is out of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

"I don't think there's going to be a Pink Saturday," Mandelman said. "As of this morning they do not have a valid permit, which leads me to believe there's not going to be a Pink Saturday in the Castro this year."

Soul of Pride for years has hosted the Global Village at the Pride festival in the city's Civic Center during both days of Pride weekend and will do so again this weekend. According to the volunteer-led group's website the A Touch of Pink event is to take place from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

Tuesday afternoon, an ISCOTT official stated that the permit had been "revoked for failure to meet permit conditions."

"The event will not be allowed to set up stages or otherwise activate the area," the email stated.

Officials did note that it's anticipated that like in prior years, there will likely be an informal party taking place in the area. A key time will be around 8 p.m., when the unpermitted Dyke March arrives in the Castro, according to the ISCOTT email.

Free to attend, the Soul of Pride event was to feature at 3 p.m. Mario B. Productions' Pretty and Pink Fashion Show. From 4 to 8 p.m. was to be music and performances, including DJ Moscone, Grand Marsha DJ Black, and hip-hop artist Drippy and Wet.

Reached by phone Tuesday morning, Mario B said he was not aware of the permitting snafu. Lisa Williams, who's involved with Soul of Pride, said on the same call that she wasn't aware of any problems.

"I'm not aware of that and I'm in the middle of a staff meeting," Williams said.

Dave Karraker, co-president of the Castro Merchants Association, wrote in an email that it was his understanding A Touch of Pink had secured a conditional permit for the event but did not know if all the conditions had been met.

For Pink Saturday in 2021 the group focused on the LGBTQ+ African diaspora in the Bay Area had set up its Soul of Pride Urban Global Village Stage on 18th Street in the Castro during the daytime and presented a host of musical acts and DJs. The Castro Merchants Association had been closing down several blocks of the street in the heart of the city's LGBTQ district throughout the COVID pandemic in order for restaurants and bars to set up tables in the roadway to serve patrons outside. It ended doing so last year after it parted ways with the outside vendor who had been helping with the weekly street closures.

Karraker has been publicizing this year's Pink Saturday events as a way to bring people to the LGBTQ neighborhood as its businesses strive to bounce back from the last two years. The Castro Merchants' daytime block party on June 25 will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Noe Street between Market and Beaver streets.

A highlight of the daytime goings-on will be the Drag Performer of the Year contest. Celebrity judges set to take part include San Francisco Mayor London Breed, gay ABC7 daytime anchor Reginald Aqui, gay 99.7 FM morning show host Fernando Ventura (99.7 FM) and drag queen Juicy Liu aka Michael Trung Nguyen with the GLBTQ+ Asian Pacific Alliance.

It's been six years since there was a nighttime dance party on the streets of the Castro for Pink Saturday. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence stepped away from producing the event in 2015, after saying they could no longer guarantee the safety of visitors. That year the San Francisco LGBT Community Center oversaw it and turned it into a daytime event.

The unofficial kickoff to Pride weekend hasn't been held since.

Mandelman said that following this weekend's Pride festivities it would be a good time to start planning for next year if the Castro community wants to revive the traditional Pink Saturday Party.

"There's plenty going on this weekend," he added.

Updated, 6/21/22: This article has been updated to indicate the city has revoked the permit for Touch of Pink.

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