B.A.R. planning special issues for Pride Month

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday April 26, 2023
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A contingent marched in last year's San Francisco Pride parade. Photo: Rick Gerharter
A contingent marched in last year's San Francisco Pride parade. Photo: Rick Gerharter

The Bay Area Reporter will be publishing special reports throughout all five Thursdays of this year's Pride Month — including in a mammoth-sized issue days before the parade and celebration marking the 54th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

This year marks the 53rd San Francisco Pride parade, set for Sunday, June 25, on Market Street from the Embarcadero to Eighth Street near Civic Center, where the celebration will take place.

In addition to the Pride parade, drag artists Juanita MORE! and Alex U. Inn will host their fourth annual People's March, which started in 2020 during the COVID pandemic when the in-person Pride parade was canceled. The People's March will start at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 25, at Polk and Washington streets.

While the anticipated 80-page B.A.R. issue is coming out June 22 — the paper's largest of the year — there's more to the paper's coverage of the month's festivities than that one issue.

"Everything doesn't happen on parade weekend," said Michael Yamashita, a gay man who's been the B.A.R.'s publisher for 10 years and was the paper's longtime general manager before that. "Every organization has Pride-related events throughout the month."

Yamashita said the B.A.R. has an indispensable role in the San Francisco Bay Area's LGBTQ community. Though mainstream media outlets have covered LGBTQ issues more often in recent years, the B.A.R. consistently does so with the community's voice.

"We're the only publication that's singularly focused on our community," Yamashita said. "We are LGBTQ people providing our own focus on the news for our own community. ... Nobody can cover our community better than members of the community who are active participants."

Among the events to be featured are the Frameline47 film festival June 14-24, which will be featured in two parts, starting June 8 and concluding in the June 15 issue, as the paper's arts staff has done for decades. The film festival will be held at the Castro Theatre, which itself has been at the center of much controversy in the last year and a half, of which the B.A.R. has provided extensive coverage. (See this week's story.)

Other special reports in the paper's arts and nightlife section will include an exploration of "Virtue," a filmed musical by Camera Obscura; stories on the main stage performers; an advance on the new musical adaptation of "The Wizard of Oz;" reviews of "Let The Right One In" at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Magnolia Pictures' new film "Blue Jean;" an interview with Sandra Bernhard in advance of her return to Feinstein's at the Nikko; an advance on the popular Out in the Vineyard annual Sonoma wine tasting and cuisine weekend; and an advance on the new touring production of Stephen Sondheim's musical "Into the Woods" at Union Square's Curran Theater.

"We'll also include a BARchive history feature by Michael Flanagan about the Eureka Mall (Patio Cafe, Paperback Traffic) and the locals and celebrities (Lily Tomlin, Divine) who created and visited events there in the 1970s and 1980s," noted gay arts and nightlife editor Jim Provenzano.

(The Eureka Mall was a term for a now-defunct corridor of small businesses on Castro Street.)

In the news section, the monthly Business Briefing column that normally runs the second Thursday of the month will run a week later in the June 15 issue. It will include an update on a lesbian-owned business in the Castro LGBTQ district as well as feature a new venture from several entrepreneurs based in California.

There will also be news aplenty on the queer community's newsmakers, the parade and festival, plus the trans and dyke marches that take place on the Friday and Saturday of Pride weekend, respectively.

"A lot of times news events happen suddenly, and we will be prepared to cover Pride and other news just as we have for many years," lesbian news editor Cynthia Laird stated in the release. "Already, the paper reported earlier this month that the San Francisco Pride board will keep its same policy with regard to law enforcement marching in the parade. Like last year, command staff will be allowed to march in uniform, while other officers and deputies will be wearing shirts with their department's logo."

First published in 1971 the B.A.R. is the oldest continuously-published LGBTQ newspaper in the United States. It was first distributed at San Francisco's gay bars south of Market, on Polk Street and in the Castro (hence the abbreviation). It comes out with a new issue each Thursday but content is produced throughout the week and available at ebar.com.

Yamashita said that each week 20,000 issues are printed. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, they've only been on the news racks in San Francisco.

Post-Pride, readers can expect news and coverage of this year's celebration in the June 29 issue.

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