Thursday, March 22, 2007

Slide into Scandal

There is an expensive "speakeasy" lounge called Slide on Mason Street, behind the St. Francis Hotel and under the Ruby Skye dance club (click here to get to their website).

On Sunday evening, it was the setting for a "New Issue Launch Party" for Benefit magazine, the glossy rag which details all the good works and fancy parties in which the rich of San Francisco indulge.

If you were feeling adventurous, you could even enter via the titular slide from the ground floor to the basement club.

The party was also a $20 suggested donation benefit for something called the San Francisco International Arts Festival (click here to get to their website).

Tim Gaskin, the founder/publisher of Benefit magazine, has been in the news quite a bit lately since he's close friends with Ruby Rippey-Tourk, the woman at the center of the Mayor Newsom adultery scandal. He also just appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle after giving a series of private emails from ABC-TV's Dan Noyes to Andrew Ross in some attempt to embarrass Noyes that backfired (click here for the I-team website with all the emails here).

Gaskin is a publicist and a gay pop artist with his finger in a lot of local celebrity pies, so to speak. His contribution to the "Hearts of San Francisco" project, for instance, is called ""Women for Justice," which depicts Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom as Frida Kahlo on one side and Kamala Harris as Billie Holiday on the other (click here to get to his website).

State Assemblyman Mark Leno was the only politician to make a brief appearance as he apologized for having to go to a Chinatown dinner which didn't seem to amuse him.

There were a meager selection of hors d'oeuvres passed around...

...along with the overpriced cocktails...

...but it all became worthwhile when Linda Tillery and members of her Cultural Heritage Choir assembled on the small stage for a musical set (click here for her website).

The San Francisco International Arts Festival was founded by the Englishman Andrew Wood (above) four years ago with the Edinburgh Festival as a model...

...but this year's edition, entitled "The Truth in Knowing/Now: A conversation across the African Diaspora" is being sponsored through a fiscal nonprofit headed by Krissy Keefer, who was last seen as the Green candidate for Congress against Nancy Pelosi.

As the befurred Mumba above put it, Ms. Tillery is a legend on the order of Nina Simone and hearing her live tends to be a special occasion, so if she does appear at the festival make sure to check it out.

The artistic director this year is Rhodessa Jones, above, who was beaming with such good energy that my friend Katja insisted on a photo.


sfwillie said...

In England a bar located below street level is called a "dive."

You omit mention of your personal reaction to the event, e.g. need to shower, new appreciation of Gavin.

So, we look to the photos for clues. Here's what the photos tell me:

"There are numerous chambers in Hell, each with its own punishment. The Slide/Benefit party was one of those chambers, specializing in boredom and irrelevance."

janinsanfran said...

Anything involving Rhodessa and Linda Tillery is not to be missed! The party, on the other hand, looks like not my thing.:-) but enjoy.

Spots said...

I am so bummed I couldn't go, so as to bitch/gush about it with you. As you well know, the fam and I were getting the shaft at some other crappy speakeasy...

sfmike said...

Good reading between the pixels, Willie. The mitigating factor was how much fun my date, Miss Katja, was having. And I wish both Jan and Spots could have been there too. It was bizarrely interesting.

p said...

"kids are playing with fire"