June 28, 2014
On the Saturday of San Francisco’s Gay Pride weekend, the streets of the Castro are closed to vehicles and a huge block party is thrown in the streets.
Bars were packed to the gills, but so were the streets. DJs spun their music at the mouth of the parking lot next to the Castro Theatre, in front of the Castro Country Club on 18th Street, on a bandstand near the intersection of 19th and Castro, and near The Edge on 18th. QBar and 440 Castro had go-go boys dancing out of their front windows while Dante’s Table set up a go-go platform on the sidewalk in front of their restaurant.
Houses with balconies along Castro Street had partiers dancing on the fire escapes, throwing beads to passersby willing to flash their boobs or their dicks. Although most revelers were in regular street attire, many wore costumes or drag or glitter, some stripping down to underwear or jockstraps or completely naked (a few even barefoot). San Francisco prohibited ordinary nudity in public a few years ago, but a blanket exemption exists for permitted street festivals like Pink Saturday, Pride, and the Folsom Street Fair.
Sadly, the party has become an attraction for unruly elements that don’t feel pride and solidarity with the gay community but rather are there to get drunk in public and cause trouble. One Sister of Perpetual Indulgence and her husband were assaulted by as many of seven people at the intersection of 18th and Castro (witnesses are encouraged to contact the police). Rumors have it that the police had to order Dante’s Table to close due to rowdiness in front of the restaurant.
Much of the violence appears to have occurred after nightfall, by which time I had already taken 760 photos and was safely home.
Here’s a video of partiers dancing earlier in the afternoon.
And here’s the first of three photo galleries from Pink Saturday.