Polk Street Stories

Saturday, June 19, 2010 9pm

Producer: Atlantic Public Media
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Public Historian Joey Plaster spent over a year gathering more than 70 interviews from people experiencing the transition of Polk Street in San Francisco from a working class queer neighborhood to an upscale entertainment district. This documentary contains stories from the alleys and bars, churches, shelters and clubs. It is an oral history of a place invented by those who had no other home.

As Joey says in his introduction:

“If the famous gay Castro neighborhood was scrubbed clean and glossy, I was always more attracted to its black sheep sister, the queer world of Polk Street. It was a whole world to itself, just about ten blocks of low rent hotels, bars and liquor stores, all sandwiched in between the gritty Tenderloin, City Hall, and the upscale Nob Hill. But by the time I got there, that scene was receding, and luxury condos and posh clubs were taking its place. I found that its marginal history wasn’t written down and hadn’t been recorded. I feared it too would disappear with the neighborhood. In a way, I started to think about Polk Street as this parent I never knew, now elderly and dying. And it became an obsession to save its history – its collective wisdom and secrets — before they were gone completely.”

This Transom Radio Special is produced by Joey Plaster with Jay Allison and at Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

photo credit: Allan Ferguson

State of Affairs

History of Gay Activism in Louisville

Friday, June 12, 2009
History of Gay Activism in Louisville
Since the year 2000, thanks to a declaration from President Clinton, the month of June has been Gay & Lesbian Pride Month. It has a special poignancy this year; this month marks 40 years since the Stonewall Riots – demonstrations against police raids in Greenwich Village that birthed the modern gay rights movement. We’ll spend Friday looking back at the history of gay rights in our own city, to see how things have changed – and how they haven’t – for LGBT Louisvillians. We hope you’ll tune in, and call us with your stories if you’ve been involved in the local gay rights movement.

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