Saturday, November 1, 2008
But.....the second annual "Home For Halloween" campaign is over and again (thankfully) a success.
Castro businesses -- busy.
Castro residents -- the neighborhood quiet.
Castro visitors -- respectful.
Oh -- the Abominable Snowman, Sister Dana (in VERY Pink wig with "jack-o-latern knocker) and a Fallen Angel (from Manila) just walked into Brandy Ho's.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Castro's "First Lady" Donna Sachet just came by for a visit and a celebratory glass of vino, fresh from her performances at the family-friendly SF Halloween Festival at Lot-A. The crowds were enthusiastic, if not huge (wet weather doesn't a great outdoor event make), and certainly a help in our efforts to keep the Castro from boiling over as in years past. Joining her was our very own "Supe" Bevan Dufty -- fresh from a tour of the District. He seemed pleased: the businesses of the Castro are doing a booming business;. The streets are clear. The sidewalks safe.
A pretty good Halloween I'd say.
As I sit here in "Brandy Ho's", several members of the SFPD sit behind me, taking a break from a VERY long night.
I gotta' say it: I've had the privilege to work on several projects with the City Family, including the Home for Halloween campaign, and the residents of San Francisco have MUCH to be proud of. Most have NO IDEA how hard, and how seriously, our peace and public safety officials work on their behalf. The next time you see someone in a City uniform (ANY City uniform) take a moment to tell them thank you.
PS -- an unofficial count from my perch here: 6 Sarah Palins; 2 moose.
The patience of the police is truly astounding (learned from hard experience). I can see some drivers, clearly "Critical Mass Virgins," caught in the middle of this who are NOT possesed of such patience.
Right now, a group of several hunder bikers (many without helmets -- there is a law against riding without a helmet, yes?) is pouring down 18th Street -- many riding against traffic; many doing everything possible to be disruptive -- one with a large amplified sound unit dragging behind to make things even more "festive."
But -- once they bike past: the streets again flow free.
18th & Castro -- open and flowling freely.
Market & Castor -- open and flowing freely.
Hopefully, they will "bike on" and deliver their message to another neighborhood.
This is NOT the way to have a respectful protest. Taking over a neighborhood against the neighbors will is NOT the way to influence people and build support. This is NOT the night to make more difficult the work of our very hard-working Police, Fire and Public Health professionals.
In short -- this is NOT the night for "Critical Mass" to be a "critical mess" but rather to be PART of all our efforts at keeping the streets safe for cars, bikes and pedestrians.
4 hours to go 'til witching hour.
Wouldn't it be nice if everyone was ALWAYS this well-behaved on Halloween and other nights? Wouldn't it be nice if the City Family didn't have to work so hard to project the vast majority of its citizens safe from a few intent on violence?
Well done Critical Mass: thanks for making your statement, peacefully and respectfully, and then moving on so that the rest of us who live-and-work in the Castro can get on with our Halloween -- with our life.
PS - a REALLY cool "Borg" just walked by. Gotta' go before I'm "assimilated".
Outside: the group has done what we most did NOT want them to do: they have blocked the intersection at 18th & Castro. So far, the crowd seems well-behaved, and the police are taking a "wait and see" approach. These two groups are used to each other -- Bike Coalition and SFPD. Here' s hoping the spirit of cooperation will rule the night, and the intersection will again be free for ALL traffic to flow normally.
Two cops just walked by with coffee from "Starbucks", helmets dangling from their waists: casual. I'll take THAT as a good sign that no one is too worried about the crowd getting unruly.
Ah, democracy - ain't it a wonderful, messy thing?
From my perch here at the 18th Street Brandy Ho's Restaurant, I'll have a good view! :-)
"Dear Friends in Critical Mass" -- PLEASE stay repsectful and help ALL of us keep the Castro safe tonight! Don't block the streets!
The media and police are out in force -- seeing if for the second year in a row, the www.homeforhalloween.com campaign will work in its efforts to keep Halloween safe and every 'hood of the City violence free.
It's early yet --let's see how the evening goes. But, my hope (and that of the City family I know) is that it will be fun, festive and safe Halloween for all concerned.
Just back from the "SF Halloween Festival" at Lot-A: fun, free and family friendly. I saw a lion and tiger (children), and a GREAT Sarah Palin (an adult). And now - I've been gifted with a "Holy Visitation" from our very own Castro Patron Saint, "Sister Dana van Inquity" (tonight, in costume as a "naughty Wizard".
"But," says Sister Dana. "I'm going home to change into something more scandalous involving a LONG pink wig."
You go Sis!
More anon from the heart of the Castro.
Report from the streets:
2:30pm: a lively group of parents with children from the Harvey Milk School on 19th Street did their annual "Halloween Parade" through Castro: adorable costumes and proud parents. A group of Police escorted them through the cross walks to keep everyone safe-and-sound.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Jim Hormel -- first openly gay ambassador
Roberto Achtenberg -- first openly-gay cabinet official (and as Jesse Helms infamously dubbed her "that damned lesbian")
Harry Denton, "Mr. San Francisco Nightlife"
Donna "Castro's First Lady" Sachet
Geoff Kors and Kate Kendall, the hardest working "No on Prop 8" team around (thanks to them for their tireless efforts).
Sean Penn and the whole "MILK" crew.
Certainly "St. Harvey" was looking over everyone. Cameras and tourists competed for sidewalk space and a view. Police laughed and directed traffic. It was everything the Castro is supposed to be.
Fun. Diverse. Peaceful. Respectful.
Here's to a recurrence on Halloween.
This week, tens-of-thousands of "Home for Halloween" flyers hit the streets in the City, and throughout the Bay. Also, our "No Party in the Castro" banners went up in BART/MUNI stations all over the region. Let's hope everyone gets the message.
If you live and work in the Castro, come on down on Friday night.
If you don't -- PLEASE look for parties in your own "home" neighborhood.
If you're intent on bad behavior, public drunkenss or sexist, homophobic or violent behavior then PLEASE do stay home for Halloween.
If you decide to test the will of the police and the commitment of the neighborhood to realize Harvey Milk's vision of a community commited to respect, diversity and fairness then you WILL go home for Halloween...in the back of a police car.
Pretty clear, yes?
Our thanks to KGO / Channel 7 for last night's story on efforts.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Our thanks to both agencies for helping us get out the word about plans for October 31. Keep it sane! Keep it safe! Keep it OUT of the Castro and DON'T MISS THAT LAST TRAIN BACK HOME! BART and MUNI will be running a regular schedule that night, so don't get caught in a costume on the wrong side of the Bay with no pocket for your "Fast Pass" or BART change!
This weekend, aggressive distribution of the "Home for Halloween " flyers and "bar cards" starts in the City and throughout the East and South Bay. On Monday -- keep your eyes peeled for our banners in select BART and MUNI stations, and look up for electronic signage at each station with the following message:
""On Friday, October 31 there is NO Halloween Party in Castro - for info on other events go to www.homeforhalloween.com. "
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I take that as a good sign, having always believed that emotional response (respectfully portrayed) is an indicator of someone who cares.
In that vein, I share with our blog readers an email I just received (with the sender's name kept anonymous) and my response.
My goodness -- can't we ALL just get along?
Mr. David Perry,Are you continuing this year to ban a Halloween celebration in the Castro? Is a part of your future goals to close all the neighborhood bars in the Castro, or to ban the Castro Street Fair? I find it amazing, being a businessman as yourself, that you continue to use and abuse bureaucracy over democracy and free-will to enforce your opinions in our community.
While I agree that we need better organization and preparation for an event in the Castro for Halloween, it is not necessary to create a ban- common sense tells us that is facism. A majority of residents whom are *natives* of San Francisco (unlike yourself), are excited to see the joy and good impression "Halloween in the Castro" makes within the community, and nationwide. I see your bureaucratic attempts at banning a celebration in our community as an attempt to distinguish our community from the "straight" community. We must begin integrating people into our community, and the straight community must start integrating the gay community into theirs. Are your efforts simply being used to boost your ego, and see what level of impact you can have in San Francisco politics?
Your opinion, nor that of anyone else, should have an impact on what occurs within the public domain- that is simple Constitutional sense. Do you plan a future career-candidacy as another socialist bureaucrat in our City?
Lastly, please answer to me your personal reasons for banning Halloween in our community? Are you another liberal disgusted with our cultural holidays? I can't wait until I amass a group, of lets say 1,000 people, and pile along the sidewalk in front of your home. Or possibly taking you to Court would be a more adult approach. Maybe we should build a site, titled, "www.nobusinessfordavid.com", requesting that people boycott your company until you read the Constitution and allow freedom in the Castro once again.
Being that Halloween in the Castro is such an advertising benefit for businesses, I am sure I can amass a large amount of capital to follow through with such an idea. I'll allow you to conclude.Trick-or-treat, David.
And my response...
Dear Anonymous -- thanks for your thought-provoking email. I appreciate your love for, and concern for, the place we both call home: San Francisco. I share it and honor it. Although I am not fortunate enough to have been born here, I have lived and worked here for 22 years. I am sorry you find our efforts -- done at the behest of the City of San Francisco -- as anything other than an attempt to keep Castro (and the entire City) safe and free from violence. This year, all Castro businesses are open and promoting their events. For this, we are all grateful. There very much WILL be Halloween in the Castro.
As for "cancelling a celebration:" the fact is quite the opposite. Businesses in the Castro are open, and will be doing a brisk business on Friday, October 31. The only thing that has changed is that a street party which over the last few years has attracted crowds in excess of 100,000 will no longer be allowed to spill off of public sidewalks to impede traffic, the rights of pedestrians, or the rights of those who live-and-work in the "94114." In effect, current laws are being enforced: quite the opposite of anything hinting at something un-constitutional. As part of last year's measures to stop the extreme crowds of years past, many bars and restaurants in the Castro closed in support of our efforts. They were the true heroes of last year, and took a financial loss because of it. I cannot imagine anything more selfless than their efforts on behalf of the commonweal.
We hope that the message of last year -- repeated this year -- that violent, homophobic and drunken behavior (none of which is conducive to business) is not welcome in the Castro "home" neighborhood, will again be heeded by those who would not respect our celebrated diversity. I hope that we can both agree on that.
Again, thanks for taking the time to write, and I hope you -- like all San Francisco residents and all people everywhere -- can enjoy a business-friendly, peaceful and respectful Halloween.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
FormName: Community Calendar Event Submission
EventName: Singles Halloween Party
EventDescription: Meet new single friends at this fun party! Includes a Costume Contest with prizes (costumes are optional) and dancing to your favorite hits. Adults of all ages welcome. Friday, October 31, 2008, 8pm-Midnight. Cost is $20 at the door for the Dance Party only.
PROGRESSIVE DINNER OPTION: Come early and enjoy dining with your fellow singles at 7pm. Gentlemen change tables after each course, so you get to meet everyone before the dancing begins. Dinner (optional) is an additional $30 all-inclusive, which includes Choice of EntrÃ©e (New York Steak, Filet of Sole, or Petite DiPollo Chicken), Salad, Bread & Butter, Coffee or Hot Tea, Tiramisu Dessert, Tax, and Tip). Must be prepaid by credit card by calling Barbara at 650/327-4645 by Thursday, Oct 30).
LOCATION: NicolinoâEUR(tm)s Garden CafÃ©, Private Banquet Room, 1228 Reamwood Avenue, Sunnyvale CA 94089. From Hwy 101 take N Lawrence exit; right on Tasman; left on Reamwood. Free parking.
CO-SPONSORED by The Society of Single Professionals, the worldâEUR(tm)s largest non-profit singles organization; and by Singles Supper Club, the Silicon ValleyâEUR(tm)s premiere dining club for singles.
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EventLocation: Nicolino's Garden Cafe, 1228 Reamwood Ave, Sunnyvale CA
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Harvey would be smiling for a variety of reasons:
1) The Castro has-and-gets the respect he fought for, and ultimately gave his life for. Today, the San Francisco Chronicle carried an above-the-fold article on Halloween and its often troubled history in the "94114". Thanks to Chuck Nevius for a great article full of info, wit and the celebrated diversity of opinion that Harvey championed. Bottom line -- As Harvey had hoped, the Castro is written about, and considered an intregal part of the San Francisco whole. Here's the article, reminding people that again this year, there is NO party in the Castro: keep it home for Halloween.
2) Harvey would be smiling because his neighborhood is listened to and respected for its diversity. So, when non-Castro elements have descended on Halloweens past intent on ruining Harvey's smile, Castro businesses and residents have worked with City officials to make it clear: not in MY home. Hence, the 2nd annual "Home for Halloween" campaign (www.homeforhalloween.com). In a sense, the Castro has "come out" as a vital part of the City -- not just a place for people to gawk at our LGBTQQ sisters and brothers. We have demanded respect and received it.
3) "National Coming Out Day" is a real reason to celebrate. As a wise man once said, "the truth will set us free" and certainly Harvey freed many through his vision, a vision those of us proud to live in Harvey's district work hard to further.
I like to think that if Harvey were still around, he'd be right up front -- like his successor Supervisor Bevan Dufty -- helping support the Home For Halloween campaign to keep Castro safe; to demand respect for its residents; to spread the word that violence, bigotry and bad behavior don't have a home here.
Friday, October 10, 2008
* * *
A Green Halloween
Halloween is one of those holidays that could easily be eco-friendly by making a few tweaks and simple changes.
When it comes to decking the halls for Halloween fun, use locally grown organic pumpkins instead of plastic decorations. We live in California and have access to some of the best produce in the world. Swanton Berry Farm (www.swantonberryfarm.com/) just south of the City has a stellar selection of organic pumpkins. Pumpkins look so much better than the tacky plastic decorations out there. Have you seen the talking McCain-as-vampire lawn ornament at your local drug store – truly frightening. Why add to landfill when real pumpkins are the best holiday decoration. When Halloween is over, you can use it for pumpkin pie or just compost it.
While you are at your local store, just breeze right past those plastic Halloween candy buckets. Remember the good old days when kids were content using pillow cases for their trick-or-treating. Pillowcases are the sturdy green solution for carrying candy. As for everyone’s favorite part of Halloween, look for organic and free-trade candy. If you have problems finding these environmentally friendly tasty treats, search Amazon.
Buying used costumes and then donating them back to the place of purchase is something we of course advocate at Goodwill (www.sfgoodwill.org). Imagine how many costumes made out of non-recyclable material end up in landfill. We save all the costumes we receive throughout the year and have recently unveiled them to the public – diverting thousands of costumes from the trash heap. So why buy new when you can help yourself and the planet by buying repurposed. In these lean economic times, everyone is looking to make their dollar stretch when they can. Costumes can be really pricey especially if you consider that you wear them just for one night. Goodwill has a great selection to make you look great, help your pocket book and do some good for the environment.
In San Francisco especially, Halloween is huge and if we all do our part, we could turn Halloween orange green. All it takes is a few simple changes.
* * *
Monday, October 6, 2008
The crowds and questions were steady at our "Home For Halloween" (www.homeforhalloween.com) booth throughout the day. The result: 90 % of the comments about our 2nd annual public safety campaignn, and reminder that -- like last year - there is no party in the castro -- were supportive. Common were such comments as "we're with you", and "thanks for helping keep the Castro safe on Halloween" or "it's sad that violence has marred what used to be a peaceful celebration but we understand."
There were a few (5) comments from people totally opposed to the campaign. One person accused me of being "homophobic" and "not understanding the neighborhood." When I politely informed him that I was a 22-year openly-gay-and-married resident of the Castro (18 years as renter; 4 years as a property owner) and someone who had started my business here, he said "well, you're not my type of gay person" and harumphed off.
Well...I honestly didn't have a response to that. :-)
Below - details about this year's "Home For Halloween" video contest. Get your cameras ready!
Dedicated Website Highlights Abundant Alternatives to Halloween Gathering in the Castro
Website features online video contest to encourage “home grown”
Halloween celebrations throughout the Bay Area
6 October 2008 – San Francisco, CA: Halloween is for everyone. This year, the second annual “Home for Halloween” campaign is spreading the word through a broad public awareness campaign, including an online video contest at www.homeforhalloween.com.
The website is part of a multi-layered media effort to discourage individuals who live outside of the San Francisco from coming into the Castro neighborhood the night of Halloween – Friday, October 31, 2008 -- while encouraging San Francisco and Bay Area residents to either stay home on Halloween or go to a venue with Halloween activities outside of the Castro. Like last year, the central feature of the website is a broad list of public activities taking place all around the Bay Area on Halloween evening – this year with an added feature whereby groups and individuals can enter their own event directly from the website. As with last year’s campaign, the site includes a blog with updates on the campaign and area activities, downloadable flyers in English, Spanish and Cantonese and the campaign’s video/audio public service announcements. Also, the site will feature an online video contest asking individuals to tell their stories of why they will be staying at home for Halloween.
“The main purpose of the Home for Halloween campaign and its website is to remind people throughout the Bay Area that the true spirit of this holiday is to be found celebrating in one’s own community,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “There are so many wonderful and safe events happening in all parts of San Francisco and surrounding cities. This one central site allows people to find out what is happening in their neighborhoods, share their perspectives about home-grown Halloween activities and tell us why Halloween in their home area will be special through the online video contest.”
Videos that are submitted for the contest should be no more than one minute long, address the question of “My Home for Halloween is,” and also include the URL www.homeforhalloween.com at some point in the video. A panel of youth judges from the ZeumMasters Program -- a teen internship and youth development program at Zeum, San Francisco’s multimedia arts and technology museum.-- will award three prizes: $ 750 first prize, $250 second prize, and $100 third prize. Winning videos will also be prominently displayed on the Home For Halloween website. To enter the contest, individuals submitting videos are asked to post their videos online to the hosting site of their choice (e.g. YouTube, Google Video, Vimeo, Blink, etc.) and email their video link to email@example.com by Saturday, October 18, 2008.
For more information on Home for Halloween, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
# # #
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Attended a "MUMC" (Merchants of Upper Market and Castro") meeting earlier in the week (http://www.sanfranciscomerchants.com/associations/castromerchants.htm). Everyone, rightfully so, is concerned that the unwanted, drunken-and-disorderly crowds of old will return this Friday, October 31. People asked informed questions, many pointed, but seemed pleased that the SFPD, Entertainment Commission and Mayor's Office were responding to concerns.
Bottom line: no one wants 100,000 streaming down Market towards the "dip" at 18th and Castro. It's not safe, and the City is working hard to make sure it's not gonna' happen. So -- tell your friends: On Halloween, the party is NOT in the Castro. If you live in the "94114" or have friends visiting -- great. But, if not - PLEASE use the handy-dandy-list on this website to find a Halloween event close to YOUR home. The Castro isn't a petting zoo -- go gawk somewhere else thank-you-very-much. The Castro loves your business, but after the nightmare Halloweens of years past, we are DEMANDING people's respect. And, we thank the Mayor's Office and SFPD for backing us up on this. Ditto for the efforts of Supervisor Dufty.
Tomorrow, my 22nd Castro Street Fair (yikes!). I'll be at booth # 513 handing out flyers, and answering questions. Please feel free to swing by.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Below (with his permission) I share a little "day brightner" from local community member/artist Jeffrey Ferns, who is working in support of the Home For Halloween campaign to keep the Castro safe, and also to help "spread the word" that Halloween IS for everyone.
Dear Laura Fraenza and Roberto Hernandez:
Thank you for the inspirational and informative Volunteer meeting tonight regarding Halloween 2008. I had no idea what we were in for given the recent negative press and opinions that have been circulating regarding the event. To be honest I was looking for a way to bow out or not commit myself to this event that the papers portrayed. Instead I walked away proud of the diversity and commitment of the community that sat at the table pitching in and saying “Si Se Puede” and count me in. From the Castro, the Mission, Excelsior, Bay view, West of Twin Peaks, the Sunset, Richmond and Tenderloin, the community came together from every demographic and neighborhood to do what others called impossible or isn’t their issue.
We did not discuss what could not happen we spoke of what could, we did not speak of how much money we did not have, we spoke of what we could contribute. We understand fully the challenges past and present and yes, we still moved forward with tenacity and faith in our abilities and communities. We are San Franciscans, we push back on the swell of unpopular opinion because the collective truth is firm in our hearts. The collective truth of wanting and needing to move away from fear and take back our Halloween from the violence and nay-sayers.
Tonight we began to build an “Altar” of hope community and expectation for Halloween in San Francisco. The expectation that our kids, our grandparents, our partners, our neighbors and our tourists can and will have a safe place representative of our great city to celebrate the history and community that permeates our lives. It is about celebrating diversity, it is about community and yes we have and will continue to come together to create an event worthy of being called Halloween San Francisco Style.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
As of today, the www.homeforhalloween.com website has listed the following number of events taking place on Friday, October 31:
- 71 SF (non-Castro) events
- 13 East Bay events
- 16 South Bay / Peninsula events
Additionally, there are four other Halloween-themed events taking place prior to the 31st which we have listed.
Please -- help us spread the word! If you are promoting, producing or KNOW of an event taking place on Halloween, tell us about it! Add to that list via the form available on this website.
On Monday, we taped TV Public Service announcements in 10, 15 and 30 second versions. They wil be ready for broadcast/distribution sometime next week. As was the case last year, our thanks to Javier Valencia, Pat Patton and everyone at KRON-TV 4 for their assistance and support.
Next week, we launch our online video contest and continue our outreach/partnership efforts in the East Bay and throughout the Peninsula. Here's the copy -- coming soon to a TV screen (and YouTube page) near you!
Remember, like last year, there is NO party in the Castro. Also - a reminder: wherever you're headed on the evening of Friday, October 31, if you're taking BART into SF, you BETTER be on-the-train-and-on-your-way home by midnight. The VERY last train leaves 16th and Mission at 12:15am Halloween night/November 1; Embarcadero at 12:30am.It's a long walk home, so keep it CLOSE to home! And -- on Halloween, you won't stand a GHOST of a chance finding parking, so....take BART "early and often" to make it a home-grown Halloween.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
An event planned for Parking Lot A, an open space south of Market near the Ballpark, will take place on Friday, October 31 focusing on Halloween's original partiers: kids. Plans include a family-friendly celebration from 4pm 'til 8pm, complete with costume and pie-eating contests, followed by entertainment featuring local musicians and performers beginning at 8pm. Admission is free and open to the public.
We're compiling information from around the Bay Area on other neighborhood and community events -- and expect more. So, now is the time to go www.homeforhalloween.com and tell us about your event!
As was the case last year, there will be NO official party, entertainment or street closures in the Castro. Bars and restaurants will be open, and we hope they do a booming business. But, a note: there will be very healthy and obvious presence of public safety, peace and alcohol control officerss in the Castro -- so let's keep this October 31 safe, sane and violence free. Gone are the days of 100,000 revelers overflowing Castro Street into the surrounding residential areas.
Next up: in a few days, this year's TV Public Service Announcements will begin airing, and this year's "Home for Halloween Video Contest" will be launch. Stay tuned.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
This year, on Friday, October 31st, bars and restaurants will remain open in the Castro. However, as was the case last year the streets will not be closed to traffic and public transit is currently planned to run normally. Again, our fine men and women in uniform -- the SFPD, Sheriff’s Office, Parole Officials and others -- will be on hand to deal with anyone who doesn’t get the message.
There will be zero tolerance for behavior which doesn’t respect the celebrated diversity of our communities. And again like last year, there will be zero tolerance for individuals and businesses that do not obey alcohol consumption and distribution regulations.
Like last year, the City will actively promote Halloween events in other San Francisco neighborhoods and Bay Area communities. These events will benefit from the extra marketing push being undertaken by the Home For Halloween campaign. Like last year, this website will have details about what's going on in the North, South, and East Bay.
The fact is this: the Halloween celebration of years past has simply outgrown the Castro. Castro & Market and the surrounding neighborhoods are not an appropriate venue for crowds in excess of 100,000 people! Businesses and residents alike are tired of having their “home” dis-respected.
Last year, the City Family and Mayor Newsom’s office sent out the message loud and clear. This year, the effort continues, and with your support, we can indeed make October 31 a “home” for celebrations that are fun, festive and respectful. Halloween is for everyone.
In coming days and weeks, our "boo blog" will continue to update the campaign's progress and unveil this year's "BooTube" videos and PSA campaign.