Summer in the City by the Bay - Stan Wu

Celebrate Gay Pride (or the Summer) in the City by the Bay
By Stan Wu

Who needs Pride Weekend as an excuse to visit everyone's favorite city? San Francisco offers its own unique charm of stunning scenery, incredible restaurants, a cool vibe, and a myriad of cultural events to visitors anytime of the year. For those who haven't been up North for a while, there are many new sights and pleasures that await you. Now's the perfect time to enjoy a romantic party or Gay Pride weekend getaway to San Francisco.

San Francisco Pride Weekend happens only a weekend after Christopher Street West. Their Pride Festival is on a larger scale and seems to involve more of the entire city. And of course, you can't mistake that San Francisco "edge" with sunny Southern California's! Kick off your weekend on Friday night with the 24th Annual Pride Concert (You're a Grand Old F(l)ag), keep partying on through ReUnion Saturday night at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. On Sunday, take in the wild sights at one of the biggest Pride parades in the nation followed by the Celebration (with over 10 main stages) near the Civic Center.

The San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival gets underway June 13 and continues until the end of the month. This hugely popular festival unfurls in screens across the city, with many new cinematic gems to be discovered. Highlights are sure to be "Lan Yu" (set in the gay underworld in Beijing) and Margaret Cho's most recent concert documentary.

San Francisco is brimming with fun cultural events throughout the summer. Check out the newest play "Sleeping with Straight Men" at the nation's longest-running gay and lesbian theater, Theatre Rhinoceros. Or relive Elizabethan days by enjoying a free performance of Shakespeare in the Park (Golden Gate to be exact), a city tradition. And if you haven't visited the Sony Metreon yet, the entertainment and adventure zone complete with arcades, IMAX theatre, restaurants and shopping, don't miss it.

On a down note, Club Universe, the location of so many great dance parties over the years, closes its doors forever next month. If you want to relive some of those memories one last time, head to the closing night party on July 6. There are literally hundreds of bars and clubs in the city, but one of the best is Sugar at the Stud, a groovin' dance club chock full of pretty boys and girls enjoying the funky music.

After you've spent the day (and night) taking in San Francisco's unique sights and sounds, there's no better place to rest your head than the newly-renovated Clift Hotel, located just steps from Union Square. Hotel king Ian Schrager spent $40 million renovating the property last year, and the steady stream of celebrities and visitors has made it the most "buzzed-about" hotel in the city. The sophisticated, clean rooms offer a peaceful oasis, while the hip Redwood Room features a glass bar and flat-screen TVs with changing digital art. And homesick Angelinos will be happy to ding at an outpost of Asia de Cuba (with the same type of cool, understated Mondrian vibe) as well.

San Francisco has deservedly earned the reputation as one of the great restaurant cities of the world. Ana Mandara is a modern Vietnamese restaurant co-owned by Don Johnson and Cheech Marin, with a dining room that is a stunning reproduction of colonial Vietnam. The menu features new, memorable twists on Vietnamese favorites: steamed crepe with shrimp, banana blossom salad, and seared Mekong basa fish are standouts. For more traditional fare, try Jiana, a New American seafood restaurant in North Beach. Executive Chef Marc Valiani was the personal chef for the Gold-medal winning 2002 U.S. Snowboarding team. The menu includes remarkable chilled prawns appetizer, and delicious entrees such a seared duck breast, spice-crusted tuna, and garlic-crusted lamb loin. Both restaurants are mid-range in price and are well-worth the splurge to celebrate your fabulous, unforgettable weekend getaway in the City by the Bay.


San Francisco Pride Weekend, June 28-30, 2002

San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
June 13-30, 2002

Theatre Rhinoceros (the Studio)
"Sleeping with Straight Men"
June 14-July 21
(415) 861-5079

Shakespeare in the Park
"The Winter's Tale"
August 31-Sep. 30

Sony Metreon
101 Fourth Street, corner of Mission

Club Universe Closing Party
July 6, 2002

Sugar at the Stud
9th and Harrison
(415) 252-7883

The Clift Hotel
495 Geary Street, Union Square
(415) 775-4700

Ana Mandara
891 Beach Street, Fisherman's Wharf
(415) 771-6800

1548 Stockton Street, North Beach
(415) 398-0442

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