Tag Archives: Obituary

An Empress and a Gentleman: So Long, Jose Sarria…

20130824-113529.jpg Soldier. Homosexual. Native Son. Candidate. Empress. Activist. Gentleman. Widow. San Francisco Legend. R.I.P. Jose Sarria, aka the Nightengale of Montgomery St, the Widow Norton and Empress Jose I. born December 12, 1922/23. died August 19, 2013.
First Gay Candidate.

Empress of San Francisco.

Regal Departure.

(Haiku for Jose Sarria)

Funeral service at 11am on Friday, September 6th at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Internment in Colma, reception at Lookout Bar on 16th Street.

Mike Caffee, who knew Jose, says his friends sometimes jokingly called him “the Nightmare of Montgomery Street” – instead of “Nightengale!”

The Bay Area Reporter has more here.

Photos 1, 2 & 4 Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society (San Francisco).

The Passing of a Pup and Friend – Date Set for Wake/Remembrance

As many of The 15 Association brothers already know, it was announced by his family in Eureka, Jim & Mike (a.k.a. Duke), that Copper took his own life on Saturday, January 14. As some might not know, Copper suffered from a genetic autoimmune disease called idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic anemia, whereby his body would essentially attack itself. He was being treated medically for this condition, but still this disease left Copper in pain much of the time.

Copper did not leave any note, so his motives as to why he left us always will remain a mystery. Many of those closest to him made a pact to not second guess their own actions, try to figure out what more could have been done, or play the “what if game” in any way. Such thoughts will not change the present and feel counterproductive to the healing process.  They can potentially cause angst and ongoing self-recrimination during what needs to be a time of reflection and caring.  For those just learning of this news, please comfort and care for each other in the ways most fitting to yourself and your nature.

Copper will be deeply and sorely missed by the many souls he touched. He will be remembered fondly for his characteristic playfulness, his deep and thoughtful eyes, his hardworking nature, his impetuousness, the fierce loyalty he showed to those he considered family, and the fun-loving side of being a pup on all fours.

In remembrance and honor of Copper, Jim and Mike (Duke) will be hosting a Puppy Wake open to the public and predominantly, but not exclusively, for those in the broader Leather Community who wish to attend.  The concept of a “Puppy Wake” is (coined by Master Jim) is to both honor and remember Copper in a upbeat way.  It is based on the traditional Irish Wake, which is more of a party, and there will be a time set aside for people to share, either publicly or privately, fun stories or happy memories of Copper.

This is a social event intended to be a celebration of life. There will be music, perhaps DJ’d, and a place for pups to “pup out” if they wish to.  This is gathering of brothers and friends.  This is not a play party, however, so please keep any “non-puppy” toys in their bags.  There is, of course, no cost to attend. There will be a “Wall of Memories” where people can write or draw anything they wish.  If you have pictures or prewritten prose that you wish to bring and post on the paper wall, please do so.  There will also be colored markers to write with at the event. The wake will be held:

Saturday February 25  – 1:00PM – 4:00PM – Mr. S Playspace, 385A Eighth Street, San Francisco (above the retail store, with entry to the left by 20 feet of main doors)

Estimated Timing for the Afternoon: 1-2PM  Greet, Mingle, Socialize, Munch (watch for puppies under foot!) 2-3PM  Public Voicing of Happy Memories (for those so inclined) 3-4PM  Continued Socializing, Mingling, and Munching.

While this is begin held during The 15 Association’s Anniversary Weekend, it is not an official 15  event, and members are welcome to attend or not as they wish.  Jim & Mike wish to thank Mr. S Leather for the donation of the space for the afternoon, the Leathermen’s Discussion Group for providing chairs and light snacks and beverages for the wake, and the San Francisco K9 Unit for their planning assistance.

Rudolf Brazda, Gay Buchenwald Survivor, dies at 98. Protected by Gay SS during the WWII?

Rudolf Brazda is photographed in 2008 in Berlin in front of a memorial for homosexual victims of the Nazis. Brazda died Wednesday, according to a German gay rights group. He was 98. (Ronny Hartmann / Associated Press)

“They were never able to destroy me. I am not ashamed.” Buchenwald survivor Rudolf Brazda lived almost a century as a gay man, enjoying the tolerant climate of the Weimar Republic as a young man, and living openly with his lover. When the Nazis came to power, all that changed. Brazda was arrested under the notorious Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code and deported to the Buchenwald death camp. The pink triangle that marked him as a homosexual in the camps may have also helped saved his life. “Others died but I came through” Brazda once explained. At least twice he was helped by SS guards, with whom he probably had sexual relationships. He discretely describes the guard who intervened to prevent his execution for insulting another guard as “infatuated.” After liberation, Brazda settled in Alsace, where he met his partner Edi in 1950. The couple stayed together until Edi’s death in 2002. Earlier this year, Brazda was honored by the French Legion d’Honneur. Kim Willsher of the LA Times reports from Paris. Story here.

Rest in Peace. Rest in Power. George Wong

Friend of this site George Wong passed away the morning of June 6, 2011. George was a long-time officer with Avatar Los Angeles and a Gay Games gold medalist in volleyball. He will be missed. For the Leatherati obituary, click here.

The Revolution will not be Televised: RIP Gil Scott-Heron

Influential musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron died today at the age of 62. Widely regarded as a forerunner of rap, hip-hop and related genres, he was perhaps best known for his 1971 spoken word piece The Revolution will not be Televised: “The revolution will not go better with Coke. The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath. The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat. The revolution will not be televised…the Revolution will be Live.” It has been covered and sampled by KRS-One, Elvis Costello and Justin Bond, among others.

Gay Ugandan activist David Kato beaten to death in his Kampala home.

In Oct. 2010, “Rolling Stone,” a newspaper in Kampala, published photographs of gay Ugandans. Included was one of David Kato, a gay activist, who was killed on Wednesday. AP Photo.

In the United States, we worry about marriage and inheritance rights. Activism might mean putting on the old tux for an HRC event. The cheese is divine; try the wine. Elsewhere, things are different. In most of sub-Saharan Africa, our brothers and sisters have to worry about being outed in the press, and activism can mean being beaten to death by thugs with rebars. In Central Asia, family fatwas are common. Try being a little gay twink in Kyrgyzstan. The male members of your family may well be honor-bound to kill you on sight. Give a fuck? When the charity wagon next pulls into your station, consider supporting ILGA, The International Gay and Lesbian Association, where your American dollars and Euros can support gay rights work in Sri Lanka, Tanzania, China, and other places where it is Really Interesting to be queer. R.I.P. David Kato….read the New York Times Article here.

RIP: Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson. Influential Gay Industrial Music Pioneer dies in Thailand at age 55.

Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson

British-born industrial music pioneer Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson has died in Bangkok, Thailand at the age of 55. With Genesis P-Orridge, Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti, he was one quarter of the influential early industrial music / performance art ensemble Throbbing Gristle, slyly named after Brit slang for an erection. Christopherson later musical projects included Psychic TV and Coil, which he formed with his partner, John Balance. In addition to music, he was also an accomplished photographer and video director with credits including videos for Marc Almond, Diamanda Galas, Nine Inch Nails and The Rollins Band. Coil’s version of Tainted Love is a beautiful, chilling reworking of the classic through the lens of three decades of AIDS. Christopherson died in his sleep on November 25th, 2010.

Oldest Munchkin is not only merely dead, he’s really most sincerely dead.

photo credit: Charles Sykes / AP

Meinhardt Raabe, best known for his role as the Munchkin coroner in the Wizard of Oz, has died at age 94 at Orange Park, Florida. Mr. Raabe delivered the immortal lines: “As coroner I must aver, I thoroughly examined her, and she’s not merely dead, she’s really most sincerely dead.” According to the New York Times obituary, Raabe “was also a wartime aviator and the first Little Oscar, the mascot of the Oscar Mayer meat company.”