Perhaps I’m too old, but I don’t recall that “queer” had the same context it does today.
No matter. Anthony Friedkin’s “Gay Essay” was a hot show at the DeYoung Museum SF in 2014. Here’s a poignant look into his work, and a time when homosexuality was illegal, and “queer” was a fighting word.
Way way back from era long ago forgotten, in palaces (and, ummm, bathhouses) swept away by the sands of time, we danced the nights away to Viola Will’s disco cover of Stormy Weather, and her other big disco cover hit If You Could Read My Mind. I’ve un-earthed, via YouTube, the rare, ultra-difinitive, ultra long, ultra-maxi, ultra-uber versions.
She sang back up for Barry White, Joe Cocker, and Smokey Robinson before trying her luck in the UK, where she had a string of hits. Although she never achieved mainstream success in the US, her singles were popular at dance clubs, and had a loyal following in the gay community.
I was fortunate to see Viola Wills perform at two Gay Prides in San Francisco, where she held church and brought the house down.
This is what Viola Wills looked like, after having six children by the time she was 21! Amazeballz. She died in 2009 of cancer, but she left behind a beautiful musical legacy, and six shildren, 21 grandchildren, and 8 greatgrandchildren.
Rick Gerharter (left) with yours truly, Jim James (right). Here we are in front of Rick’s photographs at the Oakland Museum’s new show: “Queer California: Untold Stories” from April 13 to August 11, 2019.
Rick has earned his place in history as a photojournalist, documenting decades of struggles and triumphs for the San Francisco Bay Area Reporter, the preeminent gay community news organization.
The museum donor’s preview event Thursday was packed with VIP’s. Afterwards, we escaped to Huangcheng Noodle House on Webster and 8th St. in Chinatown. The Chinese potato salad appetizer was a delightful adventure in newness for us. Shredded, blanched and then cooled potatoes drenched in a sesame oil green onion light curry spiced vinaigrette.
A gigantic, rich, savory bowl of shaken beef noodle soup. It was so good I almost didn’t even notice my pal Rick’s fashion forward camera print shirt. He really is a dedicated Shutterbug!
During those rare moments when either of us Chatty Cathys had nothing to gossip about, there was the ubiquitous gigantic flat screen television off in the corner, featuring the Cat Channel!