Drag Queens Say Farewell to Mission Institution Esta Noche

Fabian Echevarria
Anna Conda and Heklina at "Save Esta Noche"

Another one bites the dust.

Mission gay bar, Esta Noche, has closed its doors to make way for, you guessed it, another swanky cocktail bar geared toward 20-somethings with disposable income. The venue, which for the past 33 years has catered to the queer Latino crowd and played host to weekly drag shows, was a little rough, for sure. Locals tell stories of walking by mid-afternoon and catching glimpses of dudes blowing other dudes behind open doors. But it's San Francisco. Wouldn't you be a little disappointed if we couldn't stand some mid-day BJ action?

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Where the Bears Are: Oh My!

They're beefy! They're hairy! They're bears! And they solve murders!

If you're a fan of Murder She Wrote and have a yen for big, hairy, gay guys, Where the Bears Are might be the show for you. Now preparing to shoot its third season, real life bear pals Ben Zook, Joe Dietl and Rick Copp are the stars, and the creative team behind this light, funny look at at three beefy LA guys who solve murders while they search for Mr. Right!

The guys engage in some of the wittiest banter this side of The Golden Girls. Co-star Rick Copp wrote many of the Bears' scripts. Copp knows a thing or two about comedy: his many credits include authoring the screenplay for The Brady Bunch Movie (1995). He even worked on The Golden Girls, which is one of Bear' influences. The Los Angeles resident chatted with SF Weekly about his furry offspring.

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Oscar Shoo-In Dallas Buyer's Club: Talking with Jared Leto


On March 2 we'll find out if Academy shoo-in Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto will win the coveted Oscar for their courageous performances in Dallas Buyers Club. Both actors have already received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards for their work in the film. Dallas Buyers Club has also been nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

Dallas Buyers Club is the true story of Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), who was given 30 days to live after his doctors diagnosed him with HIV in 1985. Though he appears on the surface to be a white trash escapee from the trailer park, Woodroof was in fact highly intelligent and resourceful.

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Final Tales: Q&A with Armistead Maupin on Concluding his Iconic San Francisco Series

Juan De Anda/SF Weekly
Armistead Maupin: Chronicling San Francisco one Tale at a time

Armistead Maupin refuses to be the old fart who bickers about San Francisco not being what it used to be, even after chronicling it for nearly 40 years.

What started off as a set of weekly installments in The San Francisco Chronicle in 1976, Maupin's Tales of the City series turned into an eight-novel series, three PBS television miniseries (based off the first three novels starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney), and a stage musical at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater in 2011.

Harper Collins

However, Maupin's work is more than just a popular fad of literature. It's a big-hearted portrait of a time, place, and people that were misunderstood, oversimplified, or simply ignored. Maupin was able to take a 1970s San Francisco that was the national mecca of sexual liberation/acceptance and depict in an endearing and humane manner.

Tales of the City chart the unexpected adventures of esteemed characters like Anna Madrigal, Mary Ann Singleton, and Michael "Mouse" Tolliver while simultaneously commenting and chronicling the changing times of San Francisco and the world at large.

Now Maupin has chosen to end the series after 40 years with last week's release of The Days of Anna Madrigal, a work that is less about departure than coming home. The book is an 270-page love note and elegy for the characters, their way of life, and to that place we and they call home: San Francisco.

SF Weekly had the opportunity to speak with Armistead Maupin on his literary trajectory, the changing nature of gay identity, writing plot lines and sagas over the span of decades, HBO's Looking, and saying good-bye to the residents of 28 Barbary Lane. Below is the full interview with some slight editing for brevity.

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G.B.F.: New Film Explores Gay Friendships With Humor

GBF: now playing at AMC Metreon

Darren Stein's new film G.B.F. (Gay Best Friend) won't be drawing comparisons to Will and Grace -- that fondly remembered sitcom was about a gay man and a straight woman who really were best friends. Stein's film is a comedy about high school cliques, where the queen bees use gay male friends as status symbols.

The performances are broad and the dialogue is often silly. Yet, G.B.F. has heart. Through it's humor it manages to make a fairly serious statement on the meaning of friendship and the importance of being true to one's identity.

Michael J. Willet and Paul Iacono are delightful as Tanner and Brent, two closeted gay nerds, best friends who might just be in love. That friendship is tested when bitch/diva Fawcett (Sasha Pieterse) decides to make Tanner over into the kind of hot, trendy, gay man she thinks he should be. Suddenly the invisible geek is the most popular guy at school.

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Will Gays: The Series Be Able to Compete With HBO's Looking?

They're Gay. And they have their own web series.

The show's title is simple and cuts to the chase: Gays: The Series is creator Peter William Dunn's self described "dramedy" web series.

Dunn, who is also the writer/director/co-star, describes Gays as being "about four twenty-something gay best friends navigating the tumultuous terrain of New York City. Growing up, screwing up, and screwing along the way."

And time will tell if New York-based Gays will steal a few viewers from HBO's San Francisco show, Looking.

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Let's Kick Ass: Long Term AIDS Survivors Tell HIV Virus to Shove It!

Tez Anderson, founder of Let's Kick ASS

ASS: AIDS Survivor Syndrome.

According to the mission statement posted on it's website, Let's Kick Ass is a grassroots movement of long term survivors, positive and negative, honoring the unique and profound experience of living through the AIDS epidemic.

"We're dedicated to reclaiming our lives, ending isolation, and envisioning a future we never dreamed of," the statement reads in part.

On Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, members of Let's Kick ASS attended a screening of We Were Here at the Castro Theater. The film is David Weissman's riveting documentary about the worst years of the AIDS crisis. A packed house sat in stunned silence as the film recalled the staggering volume of death that decimated the 1980s gay community. Survivors interviewed for the film tearfully recall losing virtually everyone they knew.

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Tear Jerker Documentary Bridegroom Makes a Powerful Argument For Marriage Equality

Tom Bridegroom and Shane Bitney Crone.

Tom Bridegroom and Shane Bitney Crone were young and in love. Together for six years, they were devoted to each other. In 2011, Tom, 29, died in a freak accident. What happened next was equally horrific.

The events which followed Tom's death would not have occurred had marriage been available to Shane and Tom prior to Tom's death. By the time marriage equality permanently returned to the Golden State in 2013, Tom was two years in his grave.

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Art Awareness: AIDS Epidemic Posters on Display and in New Book

The Keith Haring Foundation
Keith Haring's art is synonymous with AIDS activism during the 80s and 90s.
Its been more than 30 years since the first cases of HIV and AIDS were diagnosed and reported and in that time, public awareness has increased and so has the possibility of a cure. The stigma attached to individuals diagnosed with the disease has dissipated and these individuals aren't treated as social pariahs.

Buzz Bense Collection
Wrap him up in your love!
Popular mass media depictions of the AIDs crisis such the Academy Award-winning film Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks and Tony Kushner's epic 8-hour play, Angels in America have introduced the horrors of the debilitating illness and the valiant efforts of resistance in mainstream popular culture. These works introduced the American public to various sexual identities and gave HIV and AIDS a human face. But as the San Francisco-based Center for Sex and Culture's (CSC) recent venture proves -- there was another visual art form that created awareness and inspired social change and perception: the poster.

The poster was the first medium used in the LGBT community to spread messages of hope and education during the hard-hitting years of the AIDS epidemic with slogans like "Safe Sex is Hot Sex" and "Outliving Forecasts of Doom: Keep it Safe." There were images of homosexuality made human and empowering.

"They showcase sexuality, gay lifestyles that are very diverse, identities and languages," said Carol Queen, executive director of the CSC. "There are many, many images of gay men in particular that most people had never seen before these poster began to show up on walls and cities all over the world."

Print posters were truly an essential and integral part of the 1980s and early 1990s era of activism. Now, the CSC is publishing a book that displays parts of their 150 print collection that will also go on public display Friday, Nov. 8.

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National Coming Out Day: San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Invites You to Come Out

Gay Men's Chorus of San Francisco

Closets tend to be dark and cramped spaces, and unless you have a coveted walk-in like Liberace or Carrie Bradshaw, there's very little room for excess baggage -- and sometimes it just needs to come out.

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