News Briefs: Panel workshops offered ahead of quilt display

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday May 25, 2022
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Roddy Williams stacked an AIDS quilt block on shelving in a San Leandro warehouse February 14, 2020, as the first of three semi-truckloads arrived from Atlanta. Photo: Rick Gerharter
Roddy Williams stacked an AIDS quilt block on shelving in a San Leandro warehouse February 14, 2020, as the first of three semi-truckloads arrived from Atlanta. Photo: Rick Gerharter

The National AIDS Memorial Grove has announced that panel-making workshops will be held over the next couple of weeks ahead of the historic AIDS Memorial Quilt display set for San Francisco's Golden Gate Park in June.

The AIDS grove, which took over stewardship of the quilt in 2019, stated that the free workshops will be held June 1 and 8, from 3 to 6 p.m., at its offices at 543 Castro Street in San Francisco.

As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, a massive display of the quilt is set for June 11-12 in Robin Williams Meadow, with some panels being displayed in the AIDS grove, which is also located in Golden Gate Park. The San Francisco installation will include 350 blocks of the quilt, which contain almost 3,000 panels, according to Kevin Herglotz, a gay man who is chief operating officer for the grove. (A block of the quilt has eight panels.)

Each three foot by six foot panel commemorates a loved one who lost their life to AIDS. They create a moving personal tribute to a loved one and can be made through paint, fine needlework, iron-on transfers, hand-made appliques, spray paint, or the traditional old-fashioned quilting, a news release stated.

Many new panels are expected to be part of the upcoming display, which will mark 35 years since the first panels of the quilt were created during the darkest days of the AIDS pandemic.

The upcoming AIDS quilt display will be the largest ever in San Francisco and the biggest installation anywhere in the U.S. in a decade — the last such showing was in Washington, D.C. 10 years ago, Herglotz said.

The Names Project, the former nonprofit home of the quilt, ceased operations following its wind-down after the November 2019 announcement that the AIDS grove would take over the memorial. In February 2020, shortly before the Bay Area locked down because of the COVID pandemic, the thousands of panels arrived to be stored at a warehouse renovated for that purpose in San Leandro, near the Oakland International Airport.

For more information about how to make a panel or to volunteer and attend the display next month, click here.

Oasis mural unveiling

The San Francisco Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District has announced that a new mural will be unveiled at the Oasis nightclub, 298 11th Street, Thursday, June 2, at 3 p.m.

The mural in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood, entitled "Showtime," is a collaboration among five premier queer artists — Serge Gay Jr., Simón Malvaez, J. Manuel Carmona, Elliott C. Nathan, and Christopher McCutcheon — and is what they've called "a love letter to SOMA," according to the leather district's recent newsletter.

Gay is known for his murals, most recently "Never Alone" on the building that houses Maitri Compassionate Care hospice in the Duboce Triangle neighborhood. Malvaez and Carmona painted "Queeroes" on the side of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center in 2021.

Mayor London Breed and gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) are expected to be on hand for the unveiling.

The leather district partnered with Oasis, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and the SOMA West Community Benefit District to bring this major piece of public art to the area, the newsletter noted.

The "Showtime" mural will grace the 11th Street and Burns Place facades of Oasis, Cal Callahan, district manager of the cultural district, wrote in a Facebook message. Another mural, "Sylvester," was unveiled on the Folsom Street side of Oasis in May 2021, as the B.A.R. previously reported. For that project, the leather district partnered with Oasis and artist Josh Katz.

Another Planet plans benefit screening of 'Milk'

Another Planet Entertainment, which took over management of the Castro Theatre in January, has announced a screening of the 2008 film "Milk" that will benefit the LGBT Asylum Project and the Rainbow Honor Walk.

The screening, scheduled for Thursday, June 2, at 8 p.m. at the theater, 429 Castro Street, will raise funds for the two Castro-based nonprofits. The Oscar-winning movie was directed by Gus Van Sant and stars Sean Penn as the slain gay San Francisco supervisor.

"The Castro Theatre is where 'Milk' premiered in 2008, so it's absolutely the perfect place, and perfect film, to kick off LGBT Pride Month," stated Mary Conde, vice president for Another Planet who is in charge of the overall Castro Theatre project. "More importantly, this screening will raise funds for, and awareness of, two esteemed local LGBTQ nonprofits based in the Castro."

The Rainbow Honor Walk is a volunteer-run organization. The project involves installing three foot by three foot sidewalk bronze plaques in the Castro that honor groundbreaking LGBTQ individuals throughout history. The first 20 plaques were installed in September 2014, with an additional eight plaques added in 2017, 12 more in 2019, and 12 more just installed in May, according to a news release.

"The Rainbow Honor Walk is so grateful for this," stated Donna Sachet, board president of the organization. "Long supportive of the LGBTQ communities and progressive causes, Another Planet has stepped forward to help the Rainbow Honor Walk keep alive its mission of educating about those queer heroines and heroes that have walked for equality and justice."

The LGBT Asylum Project assists clients who are low- to no-income and often arrive in the U.S. with stories of torture and abuse they suffered in their home countries. The LGBT Asylum Project provides support to immigrants in the San Francisco Asylum Office jurisdiction (from Bakersfield, California to Seattle, Washington), who identify as LGBTQ+ and have been persecuted or have fears of future persecution if they return to their home country.

"The LGBT Asylum Project was founded to make sure that all LGBTQ+ asylum seekers receive high-quality legal representation so they don't have to go back to countries where they could be harmed or even killed for being who they are and who they love," stated Okan Sengun, a gay immigration lawyer who founded and is executive director of the organization.

Since Another Planet announced its management of the Castro Theatre, some community groups and individuals have reacted cautiously, expressing concerns that the theater will continue to show LGBTQ films and be available for queer-themed programming.

Tickets for the special benefit screening are $25 general admission and $100 VIP, which includes a pre-show reception and special concessions. To purchase tickets, click here.

Maitri to hold drag benefit

Maitri Compassionate Care will kick off Pride Month with its "Heels for Hope" benefit Saturday, June 4, at 7 p.m. at the Marines' Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter Street in San Francisco.

Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will host the evening of comedy, drag, and music. Performers include comedian FC Sierra, tenor Marcus J. Paige, and singer-songwriter Bobby Jo Valentine. There will be a special performance from the high camp drag group Fou Fou Ha.

Proceeds will benefit Maitri and its programming for people living with HIV/AIDS and those undergoing gender-affirming surgeries.

Tickets are $52-$78 for regular seating or $104 for VIP, which includes a special pre-show reception at 6. To purchase tickets, click here.

Art Walk SF comes to the Castro

Art Walk SF, which celebrates the art, music, food, and small businesses of the city, will bring its monthly first Saturday program to the Castro June 4 from noon to 5 p.m.

A news release stated that the free, family-friendly event will showcase art and music and celebrate the shops, restaurants, and other small businesses in the LGBTQ neighborhood.

Some small businesses are expected to be activated as pop-up gallery spaces and live music venues. Artists, musicians, makers, art collectives, and nonprofits can participate and can sign up here.

Future Art Walk SF events are planned for Divisadero (July 2), the Fillmore (August 6), Clement Street (September 3), West Portal (October 8), and the Excelsior/Outer Mission (November 5).

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