Friday, December 10, 2010
575 Castro Street-"Center Earth" for the S.F.Gay Rights movement in the 1970s. By Jerry Pritikin
About a month ago, I received an email from the HRC,(Human Rights Campaign) the largest gay rights organization in th country. They asked me for my permission to use my iconic image of Harvey Milk, for their new store that will be located at 575 Castro Street. That's the landmark location of Harvey Milk's camera shop, made even more famous in the "Milk" movie. I told their representative that I had problems with some of HRC's programs. They have had many Black-Tie Events, and I felt they were pricing OUT gay students,seniors and the average hourly wage gays from attending them. I also remarked, that I felt they were wrong when they left the trans-gender segment of the gay community out of their "Rights" agaendas. That being said... I feel it can become a great attraction for tourist, and or gay pilgrims visiting that landmark location. In the past few days, a few of the people depicted in the MILK movie, has cried fowl... saying Harvey would be appall, knowing that the HRC is moving into his location. I honestly doubt that! Recently there was a posting on the site known as THOUGHTS FROM A QUEER NUDEST http://nudewoody.blogspot.com/2010/11/harveys-as-happiest-place.html tellin the history about Harvey's landlord at the 575 Castro location, that raised the rent many hundreds of dollars and forced Harvey to move from that location in early 1978. It also tells how Paul Langley, in the late 1980's raised the rent of the well known Elephant Walk Bar & Restaurant from $6,000. to 12,000. a month forcing them out of business. Paul came to me and asked if I would sell him a few of my Harvey Milk images and memorabilia... and I refused, because I knew his background in the evolution of the Castro.I also found out that the story was based on one of my comments on a well known gay website, called the Petrlis Files.
I am now in negotiations with the HRC, to use my "Milk/Save Our Rights" image as a mural on the back wall. I would be honored
if it happens. I first met Harvey when he opened that location, and bought my film and had it develped there,too. That was center earth for much of the early gay rights movement. In my archives are more stories about those times. Hope everyone has a Great Holiday Season and New Year. I'll let you know of any up-dates...Cheers, Jerry
The image Harvey Milk and me Photo credit Danny Nicoletta Others (c) Jerry Pritikin