Queer San Francisco's Lost History

queer San Francisco Osento, a Japanese bathhouse on Valencia Street in queer San Francisco, is long gone, closed now for nearly a decade. I could have used a soak, though: It was an uncommonly hot and muggy day in the city, and I’d been walking its streets for hours. Back in the day, people looking for Osento on a similarly soupy afternoon were probably just as confounded. The women-only communal bathhouse, a frequent haunt for lesbians, didn’t have a sign out front. It was mostly known through word of mouth by its clientele, who say its founder ended a nearly three-decade run when she shuttered it in 2008 and moved north to Lake County, Calif. Now it is a splendid Victorian dwelling, kaleidoscopic in hues of magenta, turquoise and gold. On its facade are stunning sculptured plaques of sea horses, conchs and starfish. Elaborate cast reliefs of tattooed mermaids by a San Francisco artist named Natasha Dikareva gaze ahead. While the relaxation rooms, saunas and a secluded deck for nude sunbathing were all gone, somehow the bathhouse’s spirit lives on.

By Elizabeth Zach – Full Story at The New York Times

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San Francisco's Japantown

Photo by David Yu - Japantown You don’t have to travel halfway around the world to experience the Japanese tradition of celebrating the blooming of the cherry blossoms in springtime. In April, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is happening for the 49th year in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown. The festival concludes April 16-17, bringing together food booths, live bands, martial arts demonstrations, a pageant, cultural performances and more than a few young people dressed as their favorite anime character. The April 17 Grand Parade starts in City Hall and ends in Japan Center. The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival attracts about 200,000 people, which makes it the best time of year to visit Japantown, one of only three designated Japanese neighborhoods in the U.S. and which also happens to be the oldest and largest.

Full Story at Queerty

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Photo by David Yu]]>

No Pink Party in the Castro This Year

Castro Pink party San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener confirmed Thursday that there will be no Pink Party in the city’s gay Castro district the Saturday before the annual LGBT Pride parade. Following a March 17 meeting with key stakeholders, Wiener told the Bay Area Reporter that there will be no street closures this year. In previous years, the streets were closed for the unofficial party. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence had produced what was known as Pink Saturday for nearly two decades. Last year, however, the Sisters decided to end their oversight of the street party due to escalating violence. A sister and his husband were attacked in 2014, while Stephen Powell, 19, died after being shot toward the end of the party in 2010.

By Cynthia Laird – Full Story at the BAR

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