Friday, October 31, 2008

All Quiet on the Castro Front

So far, really good:

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.

more anon,

PS -- an unofficial count from my perch here: 6 Sarah Palins; 2 moose.

Bar hopping and hoping`

....a "Halloween normalcy" has taken hold -- for the moment: loads of people in costume; loads of people enjoying the bars -- all good humored.

I've got everything crossed, of which I have two.

more anon

Street Smarts

...and like a rogue wave, the burst of bicycles moves through, circles around, and dives down upon Castro again-and-again.

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.

more anon

Critical MESS

..well, this is, as they say a "fluid situation". The "respectful" group of Critical Mass riders seems "trumped" by a group of others circling the Castro and blocking streets in-and-around the "94114".

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.

more anon

And the traffic flows again....

....and it's 8:01pm and the first challenge of the evening has been met: Critical Mass, remarkably creative and respectful has moved on: stopping to greet fans-and-foes alike at the intersection of 18th & Castro. Five minutes later - they were gone. The streets are again full of cars, and the sidewalks full of revelers.

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.

more anon,

PS - a REALLY cool "Borg" just walked by. Gotta' go before I'm "assimilated".

And the bikes keep on coming

...and the large group of cosutmed bicyclists (there goes a mummy) are heading past: several hundred strong now. Ooops! Someone dinged a car going past, and the plaintive sound of a car alarm adds to the din of bike bells and whistles. Another mummy, a Dracula on two-wheels and a biker coverd in "No on 8" posters wheels past.

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?

more anon,

Critical Mass UPDATE!

...and a change of route! The "Critical Mass" bikers are on their way up 18th, headed for the Castro: A group of SFPD officers just headed to make sure everything goes smoothly.

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!

7:27pm -- Critical Mass Update

..and a report from the front: Critical Mass is on Van Ness and headed AWAY from the Castro (whew!). We salute all our eco-and-transit-friendly friends in the Bike Coalition AND thank them HEARTILY for not adding to any traffic/pedestrian congestion issues here in the "94114".

more anon

7:20pm -- Bustling Streets; Busy Bars

7:20pm - just back from a walk around the 'Stro and all seems weel. The bars are doing a booming busy (hurrah!), traffic is flowing freely and the sidewalks are filled with respectful revelers: so far, not too different from any Friday night in the Castro.

The media and police are out in force -- seeing if for the second year in a row, the 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.

more anon,

Lions and Tigers and Palin's, Oh My!

5:44pm --

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.

2:40pm - Castro

..and so, a drizzly Halloween is upon us. Seems like only yesterday I was here in Castro doing the same: checking in with my fellow neighbors and businesses; coordinating with Public Safety officials; getting ready for -- hopefully -- a respectful Halloween.

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.

more anon,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Three Days and Counting!

Tonight in the Castro was one of those magic times: the World Premiere of "MILK." It seemed like EVERYONE was there waiting to pick up their tickets.

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 the back of a police car.

Pretty clear, yes?

Our thanks to KGO / Channel 7 for last night's story on efforts.

more anon,

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Banners and Flyers and Bar-Cards, Oh My!

Whew! They just arrived: our "Home for Halloween" BART/MUNI banners.

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 "

More anon.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Opinion vs. Opinion

One week 'til Halloween and people are still QUITE emotional about "Halloween!"

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, "", 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.

Cordially, Anonymous

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.

very best,

David Perry

more anon

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Get a Date" on Halloween!

Gotta' love this: Our thanks to Javier Valencia at KRON-4 for passing this along: perfect for all those "singles" out there looking for something to do on "All Hallow's". Because - remember: there is NO party in the Castro! Keep that traffic flowing and keep the "94114" safe!

FormName: Community Calendar Event Submission
EventName: Singles Halloween Party
EventDate: 10/31/08
EndTime: Midnight
StartTime: 8pm
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 Entrée (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 Café, 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.


TRAVEL with www.


EventLocation: Nicolino's Garden Cafe, 1228 Reamwood Ave, Sunnyvale CA
ContactName: 650-327-4645

More anon,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The "Halloween Chronicles"

And a happy "National Coming Out Day" to everyone. If Harvey Milk were around (and somehow I know he is looking down on us from that great big camera shop in the sky) he'd be smiling.

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 ( 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.

more anon.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Have a "Green" Halloween!

And, as the three-day-weekend loometh, our thoughts turn to..what else! "Home For Halloween" and keeping the Castro save on All Hallow's. And, while we're keeping things safe, let's keep them "green". Below -- a contribution from James David of Goodwill Industries on planning for a "Green" Halloween. And remember - like last year, no party in the Castro. So, keep it at home, and keep it green!

* * *

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 ( 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 ( 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.

* * *
Thanks James!

more anon,

Monday, October 6, 2008

"Retail Campaigning" and Video Contest!

Wow! What a GLORIOUS day in the Castro! Yesterday's Castro Street Fair ( was one of those PURRRRRRRRRRRRfect San Francisco days. The Fair's founder, Harvey Milk, would have been proud. The weather was gorgeous and the Castro really glistened.

The crowds and questions were steady at our "Home For Halloween" ( 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

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 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 by Saturday, October 18, 2008.

For more information on Home for Halloween, contact
# # #

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Castro Street Fair - Next Stop, Halloween

Wow - what a week. Talk of the entire economy melting down grabbed most of the headlines this past few days. But, the work of keeping Castro safe, quiet and trouble-free continue as does the second annual "Home for Halloween" campaign designed to remind people -- no party in the Castro again this year!

Attended a "MUMC" (Merchants of Upper Market and Castro") meeting earlier in the week ( 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.

More anon,