A daddy’s guide to San Francisco LGBT Pride 2018. Get the inside scoop from a longtime local for a fabulous Pride.
My first (and second) Pride were protest marches, not parades – 1994 New York City and 1995 Pride in London. It was a bold statement for LGBT people to march in broad daylight, showing pride against the law and a homophobic culture that still tries so hard to fill us with shame.
Then Pride somehow became a parade. In 1995 some friends came back from Pride in Paris all aglow raving that Pride there was a fabulous glittery parade with floats and fabulosity and fun. This was a novel concept. Then, as if overnight, all the Pride events became parades. Here we had witnessed Pride morphing from a protest into a glittery celebration of ourselves. Fabulous!
Moving to San Francisco in 1998, gay pride became my holiday season in this fagtastic Mecca. The Pride parade has always included local and national LGBT groups and organizations. From the lesbian-bingo-loving-poodle-owners-association to the Daddy’s leather buttpluggers club and the rando naked dude skipping down the street. And too right for his personal pride protest against body shame, I say.
Then, somewhere along the line, the floating advertisements for everything from Altoids to Southwest Airlines came to drown out the LGBT organizations. Last I heard even Walmart had a contingent, what could possibly be next?
While it sucks to sit there all day watching floating commercials, it’s also exciting to see big corporations courting us to show prove how progressive they are. Especially after so many decades when they wouldn’t even touch upon the issue.
These days, the LGBT Pride party in civic center of Saturday and Sunday (11am – 6pm) nowadays attract all sorts, including a rowdy contingent of straight teenagers gagging for a party. I am grateful that our queerness is nowadays such a non-issue that the straight kids wanna join, but then again us queerdos can also feel rather diluted.
All of this, plus maturing social needs, leaves many a gay Daddy wondering where the hell can we go for Pride fun?
Well, San Francisco is full of options. Don’t miss my entries for the Castro Scene and the Soma Scene.
Plan Ahead: Films, Shows, Special Events
Let’s begin our Pride Journey with some fantastic shows happening at the Frameline LGBT Film Festival, the National Queer Arts Festival, and local cabaret club Oasis.
Frameline LGBT Film Festival
This will be the 42nd year of Frameline’s San Francisco LGBT film festival, (14-24 June, 2018), with dozens of movies at 3 different theaters. If you’ve never been to a film festival screening nor the Castro theatre you are in for a Real treat. Check out the program, and pre-purchase some tickets at https://www.frameline.org/.
Inside Scoop: Catch a screening that includes a Q&A with the movie makers (such as a premiere), especially anything at the beautiful Castro Theatre. The audience enthusiasm is often electric. Seeing the beautiful, historic Castro Theatre is alone worth the price of admission. Arrive early and join the gitty line, darling, for the best seats.
Oasis Cabaret Theatre & Nightclub
San Francisco has alot of unique features, especially its unique style of drag. And the epicenter of that San Franciscan, over-the-top, high drama, comical, sometimes raunchy but often-sex-or-toilet-humor drag is Heklina and D’Arcy Drollinger’s adorable cabaret theatre-cum-nightclub, Oasis. Here you’ll find nightly cabaret shows around 7pm of various hilarity, followed by a late night club scene that starts around 10pm. Saturday late nights feature ‘Mother’ which is Heklina’s legendary weekly drag show and dance party, renamed from ‘Trannyshack’ which started in 1996. Check out their calendar of events
National Queer Arts Festival
This is the 21st annual installment of the National Queer Arts Festival with events from May 10 through June 30. Brought to you by the Queer Cultural Center, check out the program here.
The Trans March: All day events from 11am leading up to the TransMarch from Dolores Park at 6pm. It wraps up with a sober after party from 7-9:30pm at Wicked Grounds and a later sober-optional after party at El Rio from 8pm-2am.
The Stud: A party for for all sorts, including Pups and their handlers, ‘Stud Puppy’ from 9pm till 4am. Come for the Stud and stay for the Pup
Saturday, June 23:
Pride Party: Civic Center from noon-6pm. See a map and schedule of events here.
Jock Strap Party at Mr. S. Leather (385 8th Street) from noon to 6pm. Parties at this local, legendary, leather and fetish sex shop are always a blast and can get very sexy (literally). Shop for sex toys and fun fetish gear to great music while sexy dudes in jock straps get down. Always a good time. Be sure to buy some high quality ‘Brown Bottle’ or ‘Good Stuff’ at the front counter, but never ask for “poppers” because that’s illegal honey, nobody sells those 😉
Polyglamorous is hosting a rooftop soiree at Club Oasis from 3-9pm. This is a cute crowd but pack your thermals it’s been cold in this town lately.
Dyke March: Dolores Park. Official festivities on the main stage kick off at 11am, but I would get there early if you want to get a spot anywhere in the park. It will be quite a scene. Please respect the ‘dykes only’ space. The dykes march from 18th Street and Dolores at 5pm. Unless you are a dyke or have been specifically invited by one it’s best to support from the sidelines to respect their space.
Comfort & Joy is a queer arts collective and theme camp @ Burning Man, and this will be their 14th annual Afterglow (10pm-6am). Tickets may not even still available, but I wouldn’t miss it. If no longer available, get there early to grab the few door tickets. Outrageous and/or dayglo (blacklight reactive) attire is best.
Gage Lennox’s Big Bang from 10pm-3am is likely to be a sexy good time. I’m sure dudes will, quite literally, rock out with their cock out.
Juanita More is hosting a Pride Party from 10pm-4am, and this is a delightful local scene.
Sunday, June 24:
Pride Parade: Market Street from Beale (Embarcadero Bart Station) to Eighth Street. It starts at 10:30am but you better scope out a spot long before that if you want to see anything. Or buy yourself some grandstand seats for a view. Pack layers and sun protection, it goes from hot to cold real quick around here.
Pride Party: Civic Center from 11am-6pm. See a map and schedule of events here. Particularly interesting is the intergenerational conversation area called ‘Seniors Tell All,’ where the older folks get to tell stories to the youngins’. That’s in the southwest corner of Civic Center plaza (towards Grove and Polk. The Cheer San Francisco stage is always a delight. Also, plan ahead for the performances on the main stage.
From noon to 7pm, Juanita More is hosting her 15th annual pride party that benefits charity at 620 Jones Street near Civic Center.
From 3pm-11pm hear some oldschool soul at legendary local club ‘Hard French‘ at Mezzanine, 444 Jessie Street.
From noon to 6pm the local house DJ legend David Harness hosting Mighty Real – a fantastic poolside party at the Phoenix Hotel.
The Eagle will offer it’s weekly beer bust (3-6pm) and stay for local legend disco DJ Bus Station John’s “Disco Daddy” tea party from 7pm till 2am.
Honey Soundsystem returns from 8pm to 4am at the August Hall to deliver a big dance night out.
I would love to hear your suggestions and events for inclusion on this page, please send them here.