Letters to the editor

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday March 22, 2023
Share this Post:
Letters to the editor

The neighborhood's living room

The Castro Theatre is the living room for the Castro neighborhood. Not only do we, the residents of the Castro, love it, visitors are amazed by its beauty and welcoming vibes. If alterations are made, believe me, these changes will be forever. There will be no turning back.

Please attend the San Francisco Board of Supervisors' land use committee hearing on April 3 ["Crucial Castro Theatre meetings pushed to April," March 9] Write to members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors urging them to approve that the interior of the theater be granted landmark status and protection.

George Knuepfel

San Francisco

Art gallery adds hope to Castro

I write in response to the recent front-page story "Beleaguered Castro seeks signs of hope" [March 1]. I am disappointed that, amid the appropriately sober accounting of the state of local business and street conditions, no mention was made of the most hopeful young business on Castro Street. I'm speaking of Queer Arts Featured, the robust art gallery occupying the footprint of Harvey Milk's historic camera shop.

In its mission to enrich the community by showcasing local queer creators, Queer Arts Featured represents a continuity of purpose that follows Milk's: amplifying LGBTQ expression in order to provide hope to those struggling to find it. I am part of the rising generation inspired to embrace this pursuit, as are Queer Arts Featured's millennial founders. They land within a junior minority among Castro business owners, proving that the enterprising spirit of the neighborhood might persist into the future if given the chance.

Queer Arts Featured offers dynamic programming that attracts new crowds into the Castro. I lead a community event, Queer Bedtime Stories, which recently held a successful first gathering in the gallery. It drew 40 attendees eager to indulge in the words of LGBTQ authors. Many who attended are newcomers to San Francisco and moved in when rent became more affordable compared to pre-pandemic pricing.

Queer Arts Featured is a crucial foothold for young queers passionately engaged in the struggle to manifest vibrant communities in the wake of historic loneliness and existential political threats. The gallery space is often aglow with welcoming events like drag makeup tutorials, clothing swaps, mindfulness workshops, and art show openings that can erupt into the street with music, dance, and general gay revelry.

This moonshot of a business exists because of $39,000 collected from about 100 donors, proving that hope emerges when we pool our resources. As recently reported by the B.A.R. ["Castro arts gallery starts fundraiser as rent doubles," February 6], the gallery's mission continues to conjure collective support via a GoFundMe campaign, which aims to mitigate a more-than-double rent increase. The fact that the gallery's pink neon sign stays lit despite myriad struggles endemic to the Castro can help brighten the gloom.

Want to find hope in a beleaguered Castro? Look to the cushioned bench planted at 575 Castro Street. Then, step inside Queer Arts Featured to marvel at the dazzling creativity within our community. Harvey Milk, the Godfather of Hope whose painted face beams from the shop's front wall, would be proud.

Scott Sessions

San Francisco

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.