Gay bars and clubs can be sacred spaces for queer people. That’s why it was so heartbreaking to learn that The Stud in SoMa was up for sale, unable to afford its 300-percent rent hike. One of San Francisco’s oldest gay bars, The Stud is home to some of the most inventive drag shows and ridiculously wild Beyoncé-themed parties. Not to mention a go-to film location for HBO’s Looking.
Thankfully, San Francisco’s ever-resourceful queer arts community was able to band together and defeat the gentrification-monster. A group of drag queens, performers, DJ’s, bartenders and LGBT business leaders announced earlier this month that they would be taking over The Stud! And they’re forming a fabulous collective to keep its doors open and its 50-year-old legacy alive. Keeping San Francisco Stud-ly.
“The real-estate market shows no signs of slowing down. If historic businesses are going to survive, our community will have to innovate,” said collective spokesperson and drag star VivvyAnne Forevermore. “And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.” 👏
The Stud Collective has been working with SoMa district supervisor Jane Kim and the Mayors Office of Economic and Workforce Development to create a co-op business model that will make the iconic bar a viable business for years to come.
“Not only has The Stud been the site of important artistic and political events, it currently serves one of the anchor business for the future Tenderloin/SOMA LGBT Heritage District,” Kim said. “I’m honored to be helping lead the efforts to make sure the Stud is open for another 50 years.”
It’s places like The Stud that make San Francisco such a fascinating city. It’s hopeful to see that its denizens can actually do something more than complain. Here are the list of the 15 members who deserve our gratitude for coming together to save The Stud:
Jerry Lee Abram: Production and Technical
A founder of the influential queer music festival Homo-a-go-go, Abram has worked in event and stage production as technical director, lighting designer and road manager. His production expertise have led him to working with Peaches Christ, Radar Productions and SFMOMA.
Nate Allbee: Government Relations and Operations
Named one of the city’s most influential LGBT people by San Francisco magazine, Allbee is a nightlife promoter and political strategist who authored the Legacy Business Historic Preservation legislation protecting The Stud.
Siobhan Aluvalot: Performance and Operations
An artist, DJ, and party producer, Aluvalot’s work has shown at the Frameline Film Festival, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Berkeley Art Museum. She’s also performed at the SF Pride Main Stage.
Marke Bieschke: Communication and Promotion
Another one of San Francisco magazine’s most influential LGBT people, Bieschke has written professionally about SF nightlife for 20 years. He is the publisher of daily progressive news site 48 Hills, as well as the publisher of The San Francisco Bay Guardian. He is a board member at the GLBT Historical Society, and an event consultant to the de Young and Asian Art Museums.
John Foster/Fucking Cartwright: Promotion & Nonprofit Arts
In addition to being a visual and performance artist, DJ and fine arts professional, Foster is the Senior Preparator in Visual Arts at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Paul Dillinger: Business and Finance
Yet another one of San Francisco magazines’s influential LGBTs, Dillinger is the vp of innovation at Levi’s and sits on the board of directors of the Levis Strauss Foundation.
Houston Gilbert: Business and Finance
A 15-year Bay Area resident and queer nightlife aficionado, Gilbert is a statistician and business professional with experience in public health, the food and beverage industry and as back-up performer for drag shows.
Terra Haywood: Operations and Art Direction
An active member of the political, queer and nightlife community in the Bay Area, Haywood is an art director with a passion for entrepreneurship and decades of experience in bar and restaurant operations and management.
Kelly Lovemonster: Marketing and Promotion
San Francisco resident Lovemonster is a successful events curator and writer. He’s the co-founder of the nationally renowned queer dance and performance party Swagger Like Us, and he is the 2016 recipient of the SOMArts Curatorial Residency.
Dottie Lux: Promotion and Performance
Full-time burlesque performer, producer and instructor, Dottie Lux proudly produces SF’s longest running weekly burlesque show, Red Hots Burlesque. As a burlesque expert, she’s appeared in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, NBC, New York University, KOFY-TV, the Museum of Sex and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Meg Murray/Profundity: Production Design and Business Strategy
The author of the San Francisco Drag Coloring Book, Murray is a go-to creator for props and art for productions and performances. In addition, she is a business consultant focused on the practice of collaborative strategy with clients among the Fortune 10.
Alpha Mulugeta/Honey Mahogany: Promotion and Performance
A social worker who has worked closely with the queer community for over a decade, Mulugeta is also known by his alter ego Honey Mahogany who has appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race, hosted the Castro Street Fair and SF Pride and hosts the weekly drag show Mahogany Monday’s.
Mark O’Brien: Promotion and Performance
An instrumental member in the launch of the Burning Man art car BAAAHS (the Big-Ass Amazingly Awesome Homosexual Sheep), O’Brien is a DJ and event producer who also co-founded Polyglamorous, which won the 2016 BAR Bestie award for Best Monthly Nightlife event.
Rachel Ryan/Little Gem: Promotion and Performance
A member of the influential House of Salad, Ryan is a longtime promoter, performer and nightlife hostess, known for her community-driven approach to nightlife and entertainment that focuses on inclusion.
Neven Raja Samara: Design and Art Direction
With over 12 years of design experience, Samara’s work ranges from magazine design to social media campaigns, as well as logo design and environmental design.
David Schnur: Development and Construction
An experienced developer focusing on supportive housing for homeless people, Schnur’s work for a San Francisco nonprofit organization has helped open more than 1,000 units of housing for low income people in the Bay Area.
Mica Sigourney/VivvyAnne ForeverMORE!: Promotion and Performance
A promoter and drag queen, Sigourney has been hosting Club Some Thing at The Stud for eight years and is the artistic director of performance group OX.
Featured Photo: Shot in the City