Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Community Initiative

The Lone Star Saloon on Harrison and Ninth Streets holds a weekly beer bust on Saturday afternoons from 3 to 7 where a sot can drink as much beer as they want for $9 while soaking up sun in their backyard.

The admission price usually goes directly to a community organization which can also set up a barbeque and sell raffle tickets to raise more funds. This money is then often donated to some stupid AIDS nonprofit whose management makes six-figure salaries for doing plenty of nothing.

Last Saturday's beneficiaries were a group I had never heard of before called the San Francisco Gay Men's Community Initiative. It was started about four years ago by a pair of workers for San Francisco's Public Health Department (not pictured) after they noticed that many of their gay co-workers along with their mental health clients were becoming increasingly isolated and agoraphobic, not leaving their homes for much besides work.

They have weekly meetings called "The Wilde Chat" and organize field trips to cultural institutions and more. Their website (click here) is fairly extensive, though they are in the process of "rebranding," which means they will be called simply "The Community Initiative" which hints at a post-gay sensibility. I suppose they will also have to change the art (above) on their website.

When I asked the gentleman above why he was part of the group, he explained that his longtime partner had died suddenly of a heart attack. "There was no warning of any sort, he was as healthy as could be, and suddenly he dies in bed next to me. I went into complete shock for over a year and hid from the world. This group helped me out of it." The $9 drunk felt much more virtuous after that story. I hope the group prospers and doesn't turn into an abomination like the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and its ilk.


Larry-bob said...

I'm surprised you hadn't heard of them, Mike... I list their groups on sfqueer, though I've never made it to one myself.

Civic Center said...

Dear l-b: I tend to avoid anything that involves lots of meetings which may explain it. I very much liked the guys who were volunteering for them at the Lone Star, however.

Unknown said...

Lately I seldom buy into the beer bust (do the South Bay Bears *really* need my money?) But upon entering on Saturday, I was intrigued enough to ask the gentlemen at the door what the Community Initiative is. They explained to me that they offer and promote alternatives to engaging in society beyond the bars and online sex. I responded that that was a great thing, because if that's all you're doing, you're going to wind up a very unhappy person, and gladly forked over the bucks. Oh - and nice front page on the Chron today :{)

Civic Center said...

Dear Tim: Thanks for the confirmation. I did the same thing at the door, asking impertinent questions about the latest nonprofit scam, but I changed the way I felt about them after talking to the two hot dog dudes. And yeah, that "Chronicle" review and photo from "Don Giovanni" was lots of fun. All my straight engineering coworkers were totally amused.