Pink Saturday Blackout, and Not the Good Kind

While many Pink Saturday blackouts will happen in bedrooms all over the city this Sunday morning, many of them will occur beforehand via local media. Trying to list this year’s Pink Saturday in our Pride events guide -- an event given a Best Of Award earlier this year -- I was surprised at Mayor Gavin Newsom, Supervisor Bevan Dufty, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's request for us to not run any info pertaining to the sheer awesomeness that is Pink Saturday.

Here's Gavin's concerned communiqué:

June 13, 2007

As part of San Francisco LGBT Pride Weekend festivities, the annual “Pink Saturday” queer pride street party will be happening in the Castro neighborhood on Saturday June 23, 2007 from 7pm to midnight. As in the past, the City and County of San Francisco Department of Parking and Traffic’s ISCOTT Board and the Entertainment Commission have issued the necessary permits required for the street closure and for the small sound systems to be used at the event.

The permits are issued to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc. who pay for all of the permit and operational fees and expenses for the entire event. Conditional to the permit is the understanding that Pink Saturday is a “permitted non-event” and it is explicitly stated in the permit that the event is not to be advertised or promoted in any way. This has been the long-time agreement between the Sisters and the City, and speaks to everyone’s interest in helping to insure that the event and the number of attendees will be kept to a manageable and safe size.

During the past few years, Pink Saturday has grown in size and complexity. For 2007, the Mayor's Office, Supervisor Bevan Dufty, the SFPD, MUMC (Merchants of Upper Market and Castro) and the Sisters are united in their goal of maintaining a reasonable and controllable crowd level. We have all worked closely this year, with hopes to yet again maintain the tradition of welcoming the LBGT community (both resident and visiting) to enjoy the atmosphere of pride and freedom we experience all year long, while directly addressing all issues of safety for the participants and the volunteers who produce the street party.

To avoid having a situation that resembles Halloween in the Castro, the Sisters are firmly requesting a media black-out on the Pink Saturday street party until after the event has concluded at midnight on Saturday June 23, 2007. This includes, but is not limited to, advance articles, mentions in events columns or calendars and live news coverage during the event.

I kindly ask for your assistance on this matter to help us keep Pink Saturday manageable and safe for all those involved. I believe that eliminating the pre-event news and calendar coverage will help insure the safety of Castro residents and merchants the Saturday before Pride, not only for this year, but for the future.

Sincerely,

Gavin Newsom
Mayor

At first I was a bit taken aback. How dare anyone tell me what and what not to print, I cried out while pulling my lovely hair and running around in circles. But after thinking about the nightmare that Halloween in the Castro has become -- stabbings, homophobic taunts, sexual assaults, Marina whores dressed like sexy cats or sexy devils -- I am now secretly delighted by it, and complied. (At least in print, anyway.) One thing San Francisco nightlife needs is a city government-mandated velvet rope in my favor. At least one that might help take one less person off the street who calls me a "fucking faggot" at Noe and 17th Street while I'm trying to get my drink on. --Brock Keeling


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