To call seminal SF perfomer and alpha theater aficionado Arturo Galster merely a "drag queen" is to do his range -- from the legendary Vegas in Space movie and pitch-perfect live-sung Pasty Cline interpretations to his recent technicolor turns with the Thrillpeddlers -- a disservice. But his name will always call to mind that moment in the late '80s and early '90s when SF's drag scene unmoored itself from polite old school diva kabuki into a squall of gloriously punky, ironic camp.
Not even a guest starring role on Lookingcould save beloved Latino-oriented gay dive Esta Noche, alas! According to Eater SF, the Mission favorite is being sold by its owners-- reportedly willingly -- to the team behind SoMa meat market Wish.
The new owners take over next week, but will keep things the same for a while, in order for everyone to have some time to say goodbye. (New Mission businesses, please take note: this is how you help avoid a PR nightmare.) Then get ready for more craft cocktails and loungey vibes, Missionites! Ugh.
Imagine a place where all the gay men are masculine, well-built, physically unselfconscious, and fashionably tousled; where young male artists and young male people of color mingle with young white male techies (yet are still happily banished to Oakland or work the door at Esta Noche); where having a "lazy eye" or being "slightly portly" renders you disqualified for relationships; where HIV, addiction, and politics barely exist; and where everyone is drenched in soft-spoken sophistication, vague existential ennui, and puppy-eyed cuteness.
This isn't quite San Francisco (yet), but it is the San Francisco of gorgeously produced, play-it-safe-so-far gay-themed HBO series Looking (it begins airing Jan. 19) -- at least the first two episodes, which previewed tonight at the Castro Theater. It's too early of course to pass any kind of judgment on the entire series, which in many ways may be an accurate reflection of current gay culture, and I maintain very high hopes, especially with such good actors, writers, and attention to detail involved.
But let me tell you: I have never wished more for a stereotypically sassy drag queen to stomp onscreen and break some shit in my life.
Had TLC's Dance Moms lead me astray? I expected cut-throat twirlers and an atmosphere you could cut with a sharpened acrylic nail when I arrived at the April Follies same-sex dance competition on April 27.Read more »