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Interview: Martha Wash Returns to San Francisco Tonight, It’s Gonna be Raining Men

October 24th, 2014 Comments off
Image via Martha Wash

Image via Martha Wash

It’s hard to believe that when Martha Wash takes the stage backed by a five-piece band at Feinstein’s at the Nikko tonight, it will be her first time performing in her hometown in three decades. “I’m nervous about it,” says the 60-year-old San Francisco native, whose thunderous vocals have been a staple of gay dance culture since she began her career—along with her friend Izora Rhodes—as a backup singer for Sylvester in the mid-1970s, singing at the likes of the Castro Street Fair and the Elephant Walk Bar. “I’m hoping to see a lot of familiar old faces and friends from my school days.”

Wash was in her late teens when she first encountered Sylvester—who died of AIDS in 1988—when he opened for R&B star Billy Preston (now best known for “Get Back” with the Beatles). “Sylvester’s band was cool and he was clearly enjoying himself. I grew up in the church, but even in elementary school there were boys who I think were gay, and in high school, there were gay guys in my classes. So that was no big thing for me. I was used to it.”

“Two years later,” she remembers, “I auditioned for him. I did a gospel song, and he hired me on the spot.” On some of Sylvester’s best known recordings, the mix is such that Sylvester could be considered the back-up, with lead vocalist honors going to Wash and Rhodes—also known as “Two Tons of Fun.” (The pair also recorded the evergreen novelty tune “It’s Raining Men” as The Weather Girls.) Sylvester is now the subject of an off-Broadway musical, Mighty Real in which actress Jacqueline Arnold takes on the role of young Wash. “I haven’t seen it yet,” confesses Wash, “But its pretty weird to have somebody else playing you.”

 

Keep reading after the jump…

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Get Your Tickets: Andrew Lippa and Kristin Chenoweth Star in ‘I Am Harvey Milk’

October 1st, 2014 Comments off
Image via I Am Harvey Milk

Image via I Am Harvey Milk

Producers Bruce Cohen, Robb Nanus, Jessica Leventhal, Bruce Robert Harris, and Jack W. Batman will be bringing  Tony- and Grammy Award–nominee Andrew Lippa’s oratorio, I Am Harvey Milk, to the New York Stage for a one-night-only performance on October 6th at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Starring Mr. Lippa as Harvey Milk and Tony- and Emmy Award–winner Kristin Chenoweth as the Soprano soloist, I Am Harvey Milk will feature the Orchestra of St Luke’s and introduce the 120 member All Star Broadway Men’s Chorus. Part choral work, part theater piece this theater experience is an emotional celebration of an American hero. It weaves the story of Harvey Milk’s life—from boyhood to his rise as the first openly gay man to hold public office in California to his assassination.

Tickets for the New York premiere of I Am Harvey Milk are now available here. Tickets start at $40 with premium seats, including access to a VIP reception, starting at $500.

 

San Francisco Could Become First City to Offer HIV-Prevention Drug to Everyone

September 22nd, 2014 Comments off
Image via Passport.

Image via Passport.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is currently investigated whether it could offer the life-saving drug Truvada, which prevents HIV, at a significantly lower cost or even free to the city’s citizens. The drug can cost upwards of $13,000 a year for those who choose to take it, and San Francisco Supervisor David Campos hopes that he can persuade the Board of Supervisors to come up with a plan to offer the drug and prevent unnecessary new cases of HIV. “I’m sick of meeting people 18, 19, 20, 21 years old who are [HIV] positive. We know that this is not necessaryThis coming Tuesday, I will introduce a measure to allocate funds for navigators to educate patients about PrEP, and provide subsidies to San Franciscans who cannot afford the life saving medication.” [PinkNews]

Hedwig Macarons? Welcome to the Wonderful World of Yigit Pura!

August 13th, 2014 Comments off
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

By Jim Gladstone

When Passport interviewed the pensive and pulchritudinous pastry chef Yigit Pura for our Business Profile in April, 2013 the San Francisco-based, Turkish-born entrepreneur spoke of his love for music and the arts. Pura explained that the inspiration for his most successful desserts has often come from beyond gastronomy. Well, lightning struck leavening in Pura’s mad-scientist mind on a recent trip to New York when he took on Neil Patrick Harris’ Tony-award winning performance in John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch. While Hedwig’s follies might leave some amongst us hungry for something juicy and spit-roasted, Pura aimed at more wholesome cravings to come up with The Hedwig Schmidt (which can be purchased here), a macaron that serves as a metaphor. Taking its cues from Hedwig, this version of the classic French sandwich cookie combines a slightly brittle surface, a splash or two of booze, and a profound inner sweetness—the filling is bourbon-orange marmalade with a Brandied cherry center. It’s finished off with an in-your-face toss of edible red glitter.

Hedwig Macaron Art by RCA

Hedwig Macaron Art by RCA

Close your eyes and that cherry almost tastes of Doogie Howser. The macarons are available in a 14-piece-box by mail order for $35, and can be purchased individually for $2 at Pura’s Tout Sweet pastry boutique in San Francisco. The treat’s debut comes just in time for NPH’s final week as Hedwig on Broadway; Andrew Rannells (Girls, Book of Mormon) steps into his platform heels on August 20. The day before, the spotlight will belong to Pura himself as his first cookbook, Sweet Alchemy from Chronicle Books hits stores nationally.

VIP Lounge with ‘Top Chef’ Preeti Mistry

August 12th, 2014 Comments off
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

Charismatic, openly gay, Indian-American Chef Preeti Mistry first caught our attention as a fan favorite on the sixth season of Bravo’s Top Chef. She currently heads up Oakland’s acclaimed, creative-Indian venue Juhu Beach Club, helping fill out the city’s buzzing culinary landscape and its prolific female chef scene.

Born in London and raised in Ohio, Mistry moved to San Francisco in 1996 with her girlfriend, Ann Nadeau (they’ve been together for over 18 years now), and landed chef gigs at Google and SF’s de Young Museum. Inspired by trips that the couple took to Mumbai during 2011, Juhu Beach Club began life as a pop-up restaurant in San Francisco. A Mission District brick and mortar followed, and, in 2013, a move to Oakland’s hip Temescal neighborhood.

While taking cues from Mumbai’s senses-stirring street food and spices, Mistry’s dishes are inventive, fresh, and original, including slider-style sandwiches called pavs, vegetarianguju chili, and crisp cilantro lemonade. In a playful nod to street-food style, the dishes and cups resemble disposable paper and plasticware, yet are sturdy and reusable. Mistry, who tweets under @chefpmistry, shares her Oakland musts, Top Chef secrets, and, of course, travel tips!

Keep reading over at Passport magazine online…

Selfie Nirvana at the New Madame Tussaud’s in San Francisco

July 15th, 2014 Comments off
Photo via Jim Gladstone

Photo via Jim Gladstone

By Jim Gladstone

Welcome to selfie nirvana.

Since its grand opening just under a month ago, the world’s newest branch of Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum has offered LGBT San Franciscans an enormously entertaining reason to visit the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, a part of town normally left to the tourists.

The museum’s public marketing team figured they would grab our attention by featuring the world’s first wax replica of Harvey Milk. While that figure—grinning from ear-to-ear, neck garlanded with a pink lei—is indeed a welcome tribute to the local queer population (and an admirable move on the part of Tussaud’s, given the middle-of-the-road tourist crowd that makes up the bulk of their traffic); its the museum’s hands-on policy—visitors are allowed to pose and interact with all the figures—that makes it hard to resist. The figures, crafted with incredibly precise detail, including human hair attached strand-by-strand, are surprisingly realistic.

Photos with your arms wrapped around Rihanna, booty-shaking with Beyonce will draw double takes from your Facebook friends and Instagram followers. You can stand proudly beside Billie Jean King and President Obama.

Read on and see more pictures after the jump…

Or bring home souvenir snapshots of yourself with fantasy boyfriends Johnny Depp and Leo DiCaprio.

The jig will be up if you post a shot of yourself taking tea at Tiffany’s with gay fave Audrey Hepburn or sharing a doobie with late Bay Area icon, Jerry Garcia. But you know what they say about fame: They wanna live forever.

San Francisco has long been a haven for pranksterdom, and Madame Tussaud is a woman after our foolish hearts.

 

Image via Gladstone

Image via Gladstone

 

Image via Gladstone

Image via Gladstone

Former NFL Prospect and All-Around Hottie Brad Thorson Comes Out as Gay on Blog

July 9th, 2014 Comments off
Image via Instagram

Image via Instagram

This Fourth of July was a special kind of celebration for former Wisconsin and Kansas offensive lineman Brad Thorson, as he celebrated his own kind of independence—coming out of the closet. In a blog post, the all-state player at Homestead High School who also played for Wisconsin and then to Kansas told the world that he is gay. While he was not signed during the 2011 NFL draft, Thorson ended up joining the Arizona Cardinals.

“I’ve been told many times that the process of coming out is cathartic. Yet since coming to terms with my sexuality, I found it arduous and unnecessary,” Thorson writes. “At least that’s what I kept telling myself. So today, I’m putting it in writing and not looking back. I’m gay,” he declared. “I’m also an athlete. For years, I struggled to unite these two identities in my own mind. Not until after my professional athletic career came to an end did I allow myself to understand my sexuality. Now, three years later, I’m finally ready to share that with people.”

Welcome to the team!

‘Inclusion Inspires Innovation': Apple Releases Celebratory Pride Video

July 8th, 2014 Comments off
Image via YouTube

Image via YouTube

Apple has continually showed their support for the LGBT community throughout, and now the tech giant show off its record presence at this year’s San Francisco Pride. With nearly 5,000 marchers, Apple writes: “On June 29, thousands of Apple employees and their families marched in the San Francisco Pride Parade. They came from around the world — from cities as far as Munich, Paris, and Hong Kong — to celebrate Apple’s unwavering commitment to equality and diversity. Because we believe that inclusion inspires innovation.”

Read more…

White House Honors Harvey Milk by Releasing USPS Commemorative Stamp

May 22nd, 2014 Comments off
Image via USPS.

Image via USPS.

Activists who launched a campaign back in 2011 to have Harvey Milk’s image on a United States Postal Service stamp got their wish today as the White House will hold a special dedication ceremony at 5 P.M. to reveal a stamp commemorating the San Francisco LGBT activist on what would have been his 84th birthday. The “Forever” stamp honors the San Francisco politician who is largely credited as the first openly gay person to be elected to public office. According to the SF Gate: “Also attending will be Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., the first openly lesbian U.S. senator, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga, a leader in the civil rights movement, Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman and Stuart Milk, the slain supervisor’s nephew and founder and president of the Harvey Milk Foundation.”

Already, CBS reported, people are lining up in San Francisco to buy the stamp.

Chelsea Manning Named Honorary Grand Marshal of San Francisco Pride, But Will it Backfire on Organizers Again?

April 17th, 2014 Comments off
Image via Facebook.

Image via Facebook.

For a second year in a row, Chelsea Manning has been named an honorary grand marshal of San Francisco Pride. The decision to name her as a grand marshal this year is surprising after last year’s decision to revoke the title from her after she was convicted by a military court. According to the pride’s board president Gary Virginia, the reason that she was named an honorary marshal this year is to help “repair a rift the controversy created.” Manning, according to the Huffpo, released a statement that said: “As a trans woman, I appreciate the Pride movement’s significant role in bringing together diverse communities and elevating the public profile of the fight for queer rights,” she stated. “I have always enjoyed attending Pride celebrations given the opportunity, and I’m deeply honored to receive this title.”

This year, San Francisco Pride will take place June 28-29.