Friday, July 10, 2009
Summer afternoon on 16th Street between Valencia and Mission. Cold wind, bright sun. I was trudging limply home from Potrero Hill, the site of my new gym where I had just finished working with my new trainer. And I was not really taking in the San Francisco street scenery or noticing anything much except my own sore muscles. But then the tableau above just spontaneously presented itself – and I managed to prop the camera on top of a parking meter in time to catch it. The little Mexican-American drag bar under its rainbow flags is called Esta Noche. In the early 90s when I first moved into the neighborhood, friends told me it was a dive of bad reputation and seriously warned me never to go there, so of course it was the first place I went. There was an aging Cuban drag queen in those days called La Taina who lip-synched in Spanish to tragic ballads, very much in the style of Edith Piaf. She used to let me buy her drinks sometimes, after her numbers. But that was long ago and La Taina has retired into private life.