By Tom Temprano
APRIL 18 — Willie Brown may have his bridge, Dianne Feinstein may someday have her airport (or terminal), but I’m thrilled to say that I’ve finally come out on the right side of a naming battle!
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisor’s Land Use committee unanimously recommended adding “Vicki Mar-Lane” to the 100 Block of Turk Street. Many of you may be familiar with both Vicki and the 100 Block of Turk thanks to the successful drag shows she threw at Aunt Charlie’s for more than a decade.
I lived nearby for years, and whenever I had out-of-town guests staying with me I would tell them to skip the Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower and to go see Vicki instead. “The Lady With The Liquid Spine” was my kind of San Francisco landmark, having performed in drag here since the 1980’s and continuing to do so until her death at age 76.
The street renaming, a first for a member of San Francisco’s transgender community, was no breeze. It took a couple years of organizing by Vicki’s friend Felicia Elizondo (aka Felicia Flames), Harvey Milk Club member Sue Englander, and others to rally property owners on the block and other community organizations to get on board. Ultimately the leadership of D6 Supervisor Jane Kim, as well as our two gay supervisors David Campos and Scott Weiner, saw this one through to its rightful, and successful, conclusion.
The street will be re-christened at the end of this year’s Trans March, a fitting scenario that will not only honor Vicki, but the legacy of trans activism on the block that began with San Francisco’s stonewall (which actually happened three years before Stonewall – take that New York!), the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot.
Vicki Mar-Lane wasn’t the only good thing to come out of Tuesday’s Land Use meeting as a packed house of nightlife and transportation advocates rallied to increase San Francisco’s late-night transit options. As someone who works in bars, and who, when not working, occasionally stays out at bars until their 2am closing times, I can attest to the dearth of ways to get home safely.
Having been mugged and nearly mugged on several late-night occasions, it causes me serious panic whenever a friend tells me that he or she spent 20 minutes unsuccessfully searching for a cab and was forced to take a 30-minute solo walk home after a night of drinking. Our lack of safe and affordable options for getting home between the hours of midnight and 6am are a public safety hazard for workers and patrons alike, and I was happy that Supervisor Wiener convened everyone from transit agencies to party professionals to try and get some changes made.
The lack of reliable Muni Owl busses, which ought to be added to whatever endangered species list their disappearing cousins, the Northern Spotted owl are on, as well as the absolutely ridiculous lack of late-night BART trains, were addressed numerous times by department heads and members of the public.
While much of the hearing was focused on safety concerns, taxi operators showed up en masse to air their grievances with the also present ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft. It made for an off-topic, though entertaining diversion from the issue I would have rather been focusing on, but I was happy to sit through the hours of testimony on an issue that I feel personally involved in.
Here’s to getting the Owl off the endangered species list, getting rid of BART’s bed time and getting drunk folks, and those who serve them, home more safely.
My suit got to make a rare public appearance this past Saturday at the EQCA Equality Awards at the mind-boggling fancy Palace Hotel. But seriously – I can see why Willie Brown throws his parties here. It seemed like money was literally dripping from the ceilings.
Kudos to event co-chair Bevan Dufty for throwing a hell of a fete. The party (and the after party) was a blast and seemed to raise a boatload of money for Equality California. My personal highlights included seeing David Campos give DPH’s Barbara Garcia a much-deserved award, a Katy Perry cover by American Idol’s Frenchie Davis — and an open bar that included scotch. Scotch!
MOVIE TIME: After several failed attempts at watching House of Cards something finally clicked last night. WHERE HAVE I BEEN? I’m going to have to cut the rest of this column short, cancel my weekend plans and see how the hell Frank is going to salvage this education reform bill.
TOM’S TOP TWO THINGS TO DO THIS WEEKEND
1) Hunky Jesus in Golden Gate Park. With Dolores Parklet half-closed for the holiday’s the Sister’s will be moving there beefcake crucifixion contest to Golden Gate, which should magically coincide with the park’s regular 4/20 activities. Just be sure to pick up after yourselves and be cool because the City won’t put up with any hijinks. Take it from Police Chief Suhr whose lead quote in the Chronicle may as well have come from straight from the mouth of Spicoli.
2) Daytime Easter/Reefer Madness. Sunday at El Rio from 3-8pm. Not to be outdone, the monthly party I throw with the lovely Heklina and the dashing Stanley Frank will also be awkwardly combining two of San Francisco’s favorite holidays. Come check us out after your morning of Golden Gate Parking .