- Written by Tim Evans
Samuel M. Steward, PhD aka Phil Sparrow was a gay pioneer in the world of tattoo, sexual researcher as an associate of Dr. Alfred Kinsey, and a writer of gay erotica under the name Phil Andros. His book Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos chronicles his years as a tattooist among the derelicts and young sailors that roamed the darker side of Chicago. He kept a detailed diary of his customers and their reasons for tattoos.
Phil Sparrow was a pseudonym for Dr. Samuel Steward after he left a 20- year position in academia in the early 1950s that was dull and unrewarding and entered the wild and at the time, underground world of tattooing on the shady side of Chicago. His book Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos offers an interesting view into the life of a gay man, a tattooist no less in the 1950s and 60s. I found this book when I Googled “gay tattoo artists” and his name appeared, among others. His story is fascinating and deserves a place not only in tattoo history but in our gay archives as well.
Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos was published in 1990 and the era in which it takes place now seems archaic compared to the surge in popularity of tattoos and modern well lit, sanitary shops. When Phil Sparrow started his tattooing much of it was done with flash, a premade design displayed on the walls of tattoo shops. Phil started in the bad side of Chicago where gangs, drunks and sailors from a nearby naval training base gathered to get a tattoo and sometimes share their sordid tales. His was a step above the “jaggers”, a derogatory term for unscrupulous tattooists. Phil made certain his equipment was sanitary and refused to tattoo under the age of 18. He would not, like some would, tattoo someone who appeared drunk. Later when he moved from Chicago to Oakland, CA he became the “official” tattooist for the Hells Angels
What of Samuel’s gayness in the days before Stonewall? In this book he mentions the subject only briefly and without much detail. He was out in his personal life but feared being labeled a homosexual in his business and on the street as it might attract too many “tricks”. He writes, “In those days, before the Stonewall incident, it was imperative that if you were homosexual you had to keep it hidden”. As far as gay men that he knew there was not much interest in getting tattooed with such reasons as “I hate needles” and “I would never put THAT on my body.”
Samuel’s book is a fascinating look into the world of tattooing in the 50s and 60s from the perspective of a literary and artistic gay man. As much as the gay community and society as a whole has now embraced tattoos Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos is a fascinating snapshot of the artforms mid to late 20th century history.
- Written by Jason
- Written by Jason
Constellating Care Networks is an exhibition and mapping project highlighting the history and presence of Fresno’s LGBTQ+ community. The exhibition includes collaborations with Imperial Dove Court; El Daña; Reel Pride Film Festival; Qistory; Bruise Violet Collective; FCC Allied Staff and Faculty Association; and a series of live performances by Fattycakes and the Puff Pastries; Drew Sands (Trap Girl); and Eighteen Hundreds.
We invite members of the community to participate in a public mapping project which locates the unique history, present, and future of the LGBTQ+ community in Fresno and the surrounding rural areas and towns. We invite you to share artwork, memories, stories, networks, and places. "Places" could mean: bars, bookstores, intersections, street names, fields, grassroots organizations, informal safe spaces, clubs, and music venues. These constellations will be added to a large-scale “map” which will accumulate over the run of the exhibition.
WAYS TO PARTICIPATE:
- Online: From August 20, you can upload images and tell us about your places and networks.
- In person (Until Oct 8th): Materials and prompts are available in the gallery during our regular opening hours and special events (Mon—Thurs 10AM—4PM; AH (Art/Home Economics Building #17)).
Constellating Care Networks at Fresno City College is organized in conversation with the exhibition Nobody Promised you Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall (August 19—October 31, Phebe Conley Gallery CSU Fresno). Constellating Care Networks is organized by Art Space Gallery curator Elena Harvey Collins, Katherine Fobear, Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies at CSU Fresno, and artist and community arts facilitator Carissa Garcia. It is co-sponsored by the Center for Creativity and the Arts, College of Arts and Humanities, Fresno State. This exhibit is also made possible by the McClatchy Fresno Arts Endowment of the James B. McClatchy Foundation.
- Written by Super User
An LGBTQ+ and Ally Resource Fair for the community. Local organizations and out of town Community Service Based agencies that serve our community.
Free Food Distribution & Raffles
Free COVID Vaccine Mobile Unit
Several Resource Booths
#anthembluecrossmedical The Fresno Spectrum Center, Faith Advocacy, LGBT Fresno, PFLAG of Fresno, Equality CA., Out Against Tobacco, Legal Aid at Work, Trans-E-Motion, The Fresno Center, The Holistic Center, WelbeHealth, Community Link, Pride Panthers Coalition Inc., Ca. Rural Legal Aid Services
- Written by Jason
Cassandra Peterson — best known to the world as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark — released her new memoir Yours Cruelly, Elvira today and, in the process, came out by revealing her 19-year relationship with another woman, Teresa “T” Wierson.
Their relationship began, as all the best do, at the Hollywood Gold’s Gym when Peterson spotted who she thought at the time was the hottest bad boy in Tinseltown. “Often, when I was doing my preworkout warm-up on the treadmill, I couldn’t help noticing one particular trainer — tan, tattooed, and muscular — stalking across the gym floor, knit cap pulled so low over his long brown hair that it nearly covered his eyes,” she writes in the book. “Dark and brooding, he gave off such intense energy that when he crossed the enormous gym floor, the waters parted and people stopped in their tracks to stare.”
Continue reading at The Advocate
- Written by Jason
Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall presents a constellation of twenty-eight LGBTQ+ artists born after the 1969 Stonewall Uprising and working, five decades later, in New York, the hometown of the revolt. Commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the six-day rebellion—ignited by a routine police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village—the exhibition explores the profound legacy of the Uprising within art and visual culture today. At once looking into history and facing the future, the artists on view pay tribute to activist fore parents while asking how we will care for tomorrow’s generations.
Drawing its title form the rallying words of Black trans artists and activist Marsha P. Johnson, the exhibition underscores both the precariousness and the vitality of LGBTQ+ communities through the interconnected themes of revolt, heritage, desire, and care. A leader in the Stonewall Uprising, Johnson remains a touchstone for many of the artists whose work engages radical antecedents of the LGBTQ+ organizing. Honoring figures who have been excluded from mainstream storytelling, these artists challenge us to recount history from the perspectives of those surviving at its margins.
In this spirit, Nobody Promised You Tomorrow aims to expand our collective imagination of the Stonewall Uprising, beyond protestors in the street, to consider the everyday acts of care between friends and lovers that sustain communities and public activism. White supremacy and persistent state violence, gender-based oppression, and the increasing pressures of gentrification form the social and political backdrop of this exhibition. The artists presented here grapple with these conditions to question how moments in his- tory become contested monuments.
Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall was organized by the Brooklyn Museum and curated by Margo Cohen Ristorucci, Public Pro- grams Coordinator; Lindsay C. Harris, Teen Programs Manager; Carmen Hermo, Associate Curator, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art; A.L. Rickard, former Curatorial Assistant, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art; and Lauren Argentina Zelaya, Director, Public Programs, Brooklyn Museum, with assistance from Levi Narine, former Teen Programs Assistant, InterseXtions and Special Projects, Brooklyn Museum.
Mark Aguhar • Marcel Alcalá • Chicome Itzcuintli Amatlapalli • Felipe Baeza • Morgan Bassichis • Anna Betbeze • Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo • David Antonio Cruz • TM Davy • Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski • John Edmonds • Mohammed Fayaz• Camilo Godoy • Jeffrey Gibson • Hugo Gyrl • Juliana Huxtable • Rindon Johnson • DonChristian Jones • Papi Juice • Elektra KB • LINDALA • Park McArthur • Michi Ilona Osato • Una Aya Osato • Elle Pérez • LJ Roberts • Tuesday Smillie • Tourmaline • Kiyan Williams • Sasha Wortzel • Constantina Zavitsanos
$10 adults Children (Ages 5-16) $5.00. Children 4 and under are free. Cash or Card accepted, upon arrival.
If you need financial assistance, please contact LGBT Fresno.
- Written by Peter Robertson
SIX HUNDRED THOUS-AND YOU.
The Bulldog Pride Fund was established in 2005 with two $50 donations, and officially recognized by the Fresno State Alumni Association in 2006.
As of June 30, 2021, total donations to the BPF have surpassed $600,000! Overall, the BPF endowment has provided 86 scholarships valued at $165,000.
Thank you, donors, for your support of and investment in students attending Fresno State. We appreciate you.
BONUS INTRA. MELIOR EXI.
- Written by Janet
After having to cancel the 40 th Anniversary of Kampout last year due to COVID, the Kampout Committee has begun preparations for the celebration of 40 years in the pines. Kampout 2021, A Hike Down Memory Trail, will be held the weekend after Labor Day, September 10 through 12 at our site across the road from Texas Flat Campground.
The theme this year is your favorite theme…and there are a lot to choose from. From the Stone Age to the 60s, from under the sea to outer space, Kampout has gone to the movies, Vegas, the wild west…just about everywhere and everything has been covered…and we’d love to see your favorite on display.
The cost for the weekend is still just $40. Kampers who arrive early will be subject to a $10 a day per person charge. The cost of admission covers your kampsite, 2 beer busts, the Progressive Kocktail Party, 2 breakfasts, Saturday dinner and
much, much more. You can relax by the creek or join in all the fun and games and compete for prizes. There’s the Yacht Regatta, Needle in the Haystack, and the always popular and hilarious Kamptown Races. Don’t forget the Kampstravaganza Show on Saturday night where you can compete for the titles of Kamp King and Kamp Kween. We encourage everyone to participate in this fun show.
Camping in the Sierras can cost around $30 a night, just for a place to pitch your tent. At $40 for the whole weekend, Kampout is the best bargain for your entertainment buck. This year, in accordance with government guidelines, proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test dated 3 days prior to arrival will be required. There will be no exceptions to this.
The health and safety of our kampers is #1 priority.
So, mark your calendars...celebrate our anniversary…we hope to see you all.
For more information, see our website at www.kampoutfresno.com
You can also visit our Facebook page and join our event.
- Written by Tim Evans
Last year I reached 65 years of age. I have been wondering for a while now what that means to me, how I truly feel inside and what lies ahead. I struggled in my youth with being gay and fought valiantly to act straight and fit in. But was I really kidding my family and friends? I did nothing overtly “straight” like play sports and date girls, but I also did not do the stereotypical “gay” things either. I was not in drama club or worked on artsy projects or sang in a school chorus. I was just kind of existing. I had friends who were school athletes, and we would do the usual high school shenanigans with alcohol and weed and sometimes stronger drugs. But all the time I would secretly pine away for the leader of the pack. After high school I did not go to college and drifted and wore a mask until I found a steady job, moved away from my hometown and began an ordinary existence. Work, weekends, friends, drinking, hiding my true self and then back to work on Monday. There is no doubt it wasn’t all bad and I had some fun times, but the drinking got out of hand, and I knew inside I was trying my darndest to appear straight and not fooling anyone, though no one asked me if I was gay. Along the way I had a tryst with an equally confused guy, and I turned on him with all my internalized homophobia.
Years turned into decades, jobs came and went. I gingerly came out of the closet in my late 30’s and met a man who I dearly love and have married. I no longer hide my gayness, but life is still ordinary, and I wonder where I fit in? Do not get me wrong, life is good, and my husband and I enjoy our jobs and our adventures and our orange dog, Cali. But I often wonder where in the gay community do I fit in, where do I find family?
I like to follow the festive gatherings of the radical faeries and dream of going to one myself. But, really, at 65, would I now don feathers and boas and dresses? Would I need to? But if I didn’t, would I be shunned? The bar scene is loud and probably filled with buff young men dancing shirtless. My husband and I would stick out like a couple of overweight old queens. I am self-conscious enough as it is. Well, what about the bears? I could probably pass in the bear scene. I wear a beard; I am heavy set and love Levi jeans and flannel shirts.
I think I like being ordinary and I like being at home with my husband and dog. I realize as I write that I am stereotyping the gay cultures I mentioned. I mean no disrespect and I love that they exist and watch from the outside wishing I belonged. When I go to pride events, I love the colors and diversity that dances and swirls all around me. Dykes on bikes, bears, faeries, trans folk, ordinary queers like me, all of us are one and absolutely no one will take that away from us. In the end though, I struggle with where do I fit in? Where is my adopted family? My biological one is distant to say the least. At the age of 65 I find that there is much that doesn’t matter to me anymore. I don’t follow fashion trends and I wear jeans or cargo shorts and t shirts most of the time. I love my tattoos and large gauged ear piercings. To me they are symbols of my personality. They represent a spirit, a celebration of who I am and what I enjoy. In cooler weather I like to wear a vest with a sparkling brooch pinned on it. I don’t care what other people think because this is what I like and compared to the rest of my biological family it is most certainly not ordinary! So maybe, in the entire spectrum of gay culture, I am making my own statement about who I am. I know my family is out there. I’m 65 years old and loving my life.
Today, LGBT Fresno announced free transportation to LGBT+ individuals in need. This program was launched in an effort to help address the epidemic of violence against the LGBT+ community.
Our goal is simple — provide reliable and immediate access to transportation for LGBT+ people, a community that has been disproportionately impacted by discrimination, stigma and violence. At the end of the day, this initiative aims to save lives.
This initative is sponsored by Hedrick's Chevrolet.
On a monthly basis, Hedrick's Chevrolet will provide funding for rides. If those funds are exhausted, LGBT Fresno will fund rides with a set monthly amount of earmarked funds.
"We thank Hedrick's Chevrolet for their support in funding the carrying our community members to events and their essential appointments." Jason Scott, Executive Director of LGBT Community Network / LGBT Fresno.
If you or someone you know is interested in participating, please submit a request online.
To help fund this program, please donate online.
- Written by WestCare
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