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Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws: Gay San Francisco, 1985-1988

For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282; mjeffers@sfpl.org

November 27, 2012

Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws: Gay San Francisco, 1985-1988

Exhibition on View in the San Francisco Main Library, Jewett Gallery,

December 1, 2012 – February 10, 2013

An exhibition of photographs by Thomas Alleman that celebrate San Francisco’s gay community in the mid-1980s, will be on view on the San Francisco Main Library’s Jewett Gallery, beginning Saturday, Dec. 1.  The Library is located at 100 Larkin St. in San Francisco’s Civic Center.

Image of man in costumeAlleman’s photographs show a moment in San Francisco’s social history when the first wave of the AIDS epidemic crashed onto the Castro, one of the country’s most vibrant neighborhoods. While the community convulsed with well-earned fear, heartbreak and anger, some people still found the courage and the will to celebrate the dream of a life they’d come to find in San Francisco.

This exhibition, Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws: Gay San Francisco, 1985-1988, chronicles a blizzard of protests, demonstrations, vigils, marches and sit-ins, as the community struggled for social and political recognition of the AIDS crisis. Alleman photographed groundbreaking gay candidates for public office who sought change from inside “the system,” as well as street-level activists whose proud, queer anger drove them to hector that system from the outside.

The exhibition also shows people who embraced life in the Castro with a shimmy and a bounce and with life-affirming joy in bars, discos and on street corners. Alleman photographed parties and bar scenes, drag shows and Halloween evenings, and the artists who were creating a home-grown, alternate gay culture. Here are intimate portraits of writers, dancers, directors, painters, and actors as they danced in the “dragon’s jaws.”

Related programs:

Meet the Artist: Thomas Alleman – Dec. 1, 2 p.m., Main Library, Lower Level, Latino/Hispanic Community Room

Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws: SF Gay Culture in the 1980s – Panel Discussion. Jan. 23, 6 pm., Main Library, Lower Level, Latino/Hispanic Community Room.