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Melissa Hawkins Photography Event

By Charlotte Robinson, February 15, 2019
At the GLBT Historical Society Museum in San Francisco a new exhibition opens February 15th entitled "SoMa Nights: The Queer Club Photography of Melissa Hawkins" that highlights the extraordinary vitality of gay nightlife in San Francisco's South of Market (SoMa) district during the darkest years of the AIDS crisis, an era that simultaneously marked the peak of AIDS activism & gay militant organizing in the city. Hawkins photos from 1986 to 1994 focuses on her work when she was a young photographer for the San Francisco gay weekly The Sentinel & other publications. Her black-and-white images vividly capture the scene with a combination of frankness & intimacy reflecting her dual roles as journalist & nightlife participant. This was a time when our community was still hesitant to make our identities public which could result in job loss or more. The exhibition includes powerful images from documenting parties at 177 Townsend, 1015 Folsom, The Eagle, The End Up, The Rawhide & The Stud in SoMa, as well as The Box in the Western Addition. The exhibit is co-curated by Hawkins & nightlife historian Marke B & will feature dozens of these never-before-displayed photos, along with memorabilia including flyers, posters, clothing & decorative artifacts selected to recreate an indelible moment in San Francisco & LGBTQ nightlife history. Tonight’s opening reception at the GLBT Historical Society Museum at 4127 18th Street in San Francisco runs from 7P to 9P & will feature DJ Junkyard of legendary club Junk, some of San Francisco’s best known nightlife personalities & brief remarks by the curators. Light refreshments will be served with beverages provided by Precept Wine, Fort Point Beer Company & The Stud. Tickets are $5.
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