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Difference between revisions of "The Black Cat Cafe"

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'''Jose Sarria, performing at the Black Cat, c. 1961'''
 
'''Jose Sarria, performing at the Black Cat, c. 1961'''
  
The Black Cat Cafe on Montgomery Street became home to a gay drag revue starring Jose Sarria. Sarria was born in San Francisco and performed each Sunday afternoon for fifteen years to full houses of 250 or more, using his role as Madame Butterfly to sermonize about homosexual rights and leading a sing-along of “God Save the Nelly Queens..."
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''Photo: Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California''
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The Black Cat Cafe on Montgomery Street became home to a gay drag revue starring José Sarria. Sarria was born in San Francisco and performed each Sunday afternoon for fifteen years to full houses of 250 or more, using his role as Madame Butterfly to sermonize about homosexual rights and leading a sing-along of “God Save the Nelly Queens..."
  
 
When it finally closed in 1963, The Black Cat had broken the barriers that prevented overtly gay bars from existing freely. A 1951 California Supreme Court decision banned the closing down of a bar simply because homosexuals were the usual customers.
 
When it finally closed in 1963, The Black Cat had broken the barriers that prevented overtly gay bars from existing freely. A 1951 California Supreme Court decision banned the closing down of a bar simply because homosexuals were the usual customers.
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''--Chris Carlsson''
 
''--Chris Carlsson''
  
Contributors to this page include:
 
 
''Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California - Publisher or Photographer ''
 
 
Carlsson,Chris - Writer
 
 
Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California - Publisher or Photographer
 
  
San Francisco Public Library,San Francisco,CA - Publisher or Photographer
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[[Sisters--Against Guilt | Prev. Document]]  [[Female Impersonators| Next Document]]
  
[[Sisters--Against Guilt  Prev. Document]]  [[Female Impersonators Next Document]]
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[[category:Gay and Lesbian]] [[category:North Beach]] [[category:1960s]] [[category:1950s]]

Revision as of 22:15, 11 August 2008

Gay1$sarria-performing.jpg

Jose Sarria, performing at the Black Cat, c. 1961

Photo: Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California

The Black Cat Cafe on Montgomery Street became home to a gay drag revue starring José Sarria. Sarria was born in San Francisco and performed each Sunday afternoon for fifteen years to full houses of 250 or more, using his role as Madame Butterfly to sermonize about homosexual rights and leading a sing-along of “God Save the Nelly Queens..."

When it finally closed in 1963, The Black Cat had broken the barriers that prevented overtly gay bars from existing freely. A 1951 California Supreme Court decision banned the closing down of a bar simply because homosexuals were the usual customers.

Manuel Castells convincingly argues in The Grassroots and the City that The Black Cat had also established an important cultural precedent for the gay community: fun and humor. As the community developed, feasts, celebrations, street parties, public and private bars, and bathhouses and sex clubs, became the important forms of cultural expression and sociability, which in turn strongly influenced other communities in San Francisco and beyond.

--Chris Carlsson


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