Friday, June 2, 2023

Tina T & Me & the First Gay Olympics


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May 31, 2023

Tina T & Me

& the First Gay Olympics




The date was August 28, 1982. I was living in the Haight, the famous hippie neighborhood next to Golden Gate Park. I was spending a pleasant Sunday walking in the park. I noticed a major hubbub around Kezar Stadium. A lot of people were lining up to go in! Things very rarely happened at the funky old stadium on the edge of the park. I asked someone waiting in line what was going on.


(Note: Now the Gay Olympics are called the Gay Games. That is because the International Olympic Committee sued the organizers of the Gay Olympics for trademark infringement. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the Gay Olympics organizers lost. A lawyer representing them rued the ruling, noting that "Olympics" had been applied to contests involving rats and cockroaches and saying, "I guess the moral is that if you're gay, in the next life you'd better be born a rat if you want to use the word 'Olympic'." (Info from Wikipedia))

And now, back to my story:

How had I not known that this historic and earth-shaking event, named at that time the Gay Olympics, was taking place right around the corner from where I lived??!? I absolutely HAD TO GO!

The last of the crowd was almost in. I ran to the box office booth. The woman inside the tiny booth told me she had no more tickets. She said, yes, there were still seats. But she had sold all the tickets she had.

Oh no! This was impossible! I was here at Kezar Stadium! The opening ceremony of the Gay Olympics was here at Kezar Stadium! And somehow the two phenomena -- me and the Opening Ceremony -- were not going to meld!

There was no way I was not going to the opening ceremony of the Gay Olympics in my neighborhood.

I pleaded with the box office woman to somehow get me in. She said there was nothing she could do. HOWEVER one of the stores in the Haight was also selling tickets. Perhaps they had some left and I could buy one from them!

At this point, it occurred to me to look in my wallet and scope out my resources. I had almost no money -- less than two dollars. Oy vey. (Nobody had a credit card in those days unless you were a real grown-up with a real job. I was just a flakey dyke playwright.)

But wait! I had my checkbook! (That's what people carried around in the days before everyone had a credit card.)

I asked the Box Office Woman if she thought that the store in the Haight would accept a check. She thought there was a good possibility that it might.

The whole audience was now in the stadium. The ceremony had begun. I could hear someone speaking inside but I couldn't understand what they were saying.

I ran to the store on Haight Street. It was not a short run for someone who was not capable of running in a track event at the first Gay Olympics. It was about four blocks.

I made it. The store was open.

Through my wheezing and panting, I asked the man behind the counter if he had tickets to the Opening Ceremony of the Gay Olympics.

Yes, he did have tickets.

Would he take a check?

Yes, he would take a check for the ticket.

Hallelujah! I was going to the Opening Ceremony at the first Gay Olympics!

I took out my checkbook.

I opened my checkbook.

There were no checks left in my checkbook.

That was the kind of thing that sometimes happened before everyone had credit cards. When you wrote your last check, you had to remember to put more checks into your checkbook. Sometimes you forgot.

I spent a very small amount of time trying to convince the man at the store to give me a ticket. He was clearly not receptive to the idea that I absolutely HAD TO go to the Opening Ceremony.

I walked as fast as I could back to Kezar Stadium. I had no idea why. There didn't seem to be any way I could get in. I stood there glumly, at the entrance, staring up at the stadium walls.

And here came all the athletes! Yes, they were marching into the stadium, right in front of me! I cheered them all wildly, all by myself, jumping and shouting and waving my arms. They were organized according to country, and I cheered every single contingent.

Oh my goodness. I felt so good. I had found a way to be part of the Opening Ceremony! I was the very first person to cheer the athletes at the Opening Ceremony of the first Gay Olympics!

And then, the athletes were gone. They were inside the stadium. I was not. There was someone still standing at the entrance. Clearly, he was the gatekeeper. He looked about nineteen. He didn't look particularly gay. He looked exactly like the kind of well-muscled young man who is hired to keep the riffraff out of a stadium.

I went up to him. He looked at me coldly. After all, he had his job to do. I told him that I was a lesbian and it was very very important to me to attend the Opening Ceremony of the first Gay Olympics.

He said nothing.

I told him that I had tried to buy a ticket at the stadium box office, but all the tickets were sold out.

He gave me a surly glance.

I told him I had then run all the way to the store on Haight Street, intending to buy a ticket with a check. I actually got out my checkbook to show him it was heartbreakingly empty of checks.

I think it was the sight of my empty checkbook that finally got to him. He saw that I wasn't some deadbeat dyke trying to finagle myself into the Opening Ceremony of the first Gay Olympics for free. No! I was an upstanding lesbian who had really truly sincerely TRIED TO BUY A TICKET with an empty checkbook!

He said, with a condescending growl, "Alright, alright. Go on in!"

And I did. I found a seat. I listened as our Congressman, Phil Burton, read a proclamation from the United States Congress in honor of the first Gay Olympics. He sounded so happy reading it. He was truly excited. That felt pretty damn good, in 1982, to hear my Congressman read a proclamation from the federal Government honoring gay people.

And then it was time for the entertainment. I had no idea who it would be, and it was... Tina Turner! I was really surprised, because until fairly recently, she had been a big star. And extremely recently, since she had left her violent husband, she was supposed to be falling apart, going down the tubes, her life a total mess. A has-been. A never-would-be-again. But here she was, one outcast honoring a stadium full of outcasts with her presence.

I think it took some courage on her part to perform for the Opening Ceremony of the Gay Olympics.

And of course she was tremendous. She was a ball of fire, a fountain of passion, intensity, and joy. Soon she had us all on our feet, singing and dancing along with her. She had the whole stadium in the palm of her hand, and we were loving every minute of it.

That's the only time I ever saw Tina Turner perform live. I've always felt a connection with her, because she honored the first Gay Olympics with her explosive performance. That was a very special day for everyone in Kezar Stadium. And it ended with Tina Turner rising from the ashes of her life to make all us lesbians and gay men feel so good.

So good.

All for now, Bloggellinis! Terry

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Arise, All Women Who Have Hearts!

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Mother's Day 2023

Arise, All Women

Who Have Hearts!




The first Mother's Day was in 1870. But it was conceived by Julia Ward Howe as...

Mothers' Day for Peace

This is from Peace Alliance:

  • Julia Ward Howe was a prominent American abolitionist, feminist, poet, and the author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” She nursed and tended the wounded during the civil war, and worked with the widows and orphans of soldiers on both sides of the war, realizing that the effects of the war go far beyond the killing of soldiers in battle. The devastation she witnessed during the civil war inspired her to call out for women to “rise up through the ashes and devastation,” urging a Mother’s Day dedicated to peace. Her advocacy continued as she saw war arise again in the world in the Franco-Prussian War.

Below is Julia Ward Howe's powerful invocation of Mother's Day for Peace.

Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Dear Bloggellinis: (I never can remember how to spell this word that I invented.) I'm back from my wanderings and ready to read the paper every day and write blogs some days in my ongoing effort to entertain you all, discover who the hell I am, and in the process save humanity! What do you think of Mothers' Day for Peace? Or maybe just a PEACE day once a year when we all gather with friends to dare to dream of a peaceful world? It's a powerful idea, isn't it? How do we make this happen? Terry


Monday, April 17, 2023

Bye Bye Mummy Hummer


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April 17, 2023

Bye Bye Mummy Hummer




The other morning, the hummingbird nest outside my door was hanging down from the branch instead of being nestled on top of the branch.

I peeked inside. There was nothing. There was nothing on the ground either. Had another bird attacked the nest? There had been no windstorms in the past few days, but had the wind gradually been working the nest loose, with a small blast sending it off the branch?

I saw no hummingbird around. I gently detached the nest from the branch. What a work of art!

Look how she pasted little pieces of green leaf on the outside, so that it would be better camouflaged in the branches! I brought the nest into my studio. I saw there were teeny tiny pieces of eggshell inside.

Yes, they were certainly bits of eggshell. I picked one up with a tweezer to be sure. I had an intense desire to keep this beautiful object for its beauty and for a souvenir of Mummy Hummer's visit.

But then I got an email from one of the Bloggellinis (can't remember who) with a link to a story where a woman had found a hummingbird nest, with one of the babies still alive, on the ground. So she duct taped the nest back into its original place, and the mummy hummer returned and raised her surviving baby until it fledged and flew away! So I decided to fasten the nest I had back into place with duct tape.

While I was futzing around with the nest and the tape, Mummy Hummer came to fly around for a brief visit. At least I assume it was her.

Perhaps it's not the most artful job, but it's pretty secure, although perhaps not as strong as her work.

I was hoping Mummy Hummer would return to her nest. But there's been no sign of her. It's been several days now. I had a spasm of grief in the beginning. I was so sad the Mummy's project had been derailed! But that's nature fer ya! I have homeowner's insurance and medical insurance, but Mummy Hummer had nothing! It was the luck of the draw. Nature red in tooth and claw -- although I saw no evidence of actual violence against Mummy or her progeny -- although maybe there WAS violence, considering those tiny scraps of eggshell. If so, I'm glad I didn't witness it.

I'm going to wait another day or so, and if Mummy doesn't return, I'll take the tiny nest down and keep it with my other treasures, for its own beauty and to remind me of this whole precious experience with a wild being.

The painting of a hummingbird that began the blog is from the WeMoon Calendar that I get every year. On the page facing the hummingbird is this poem by Emily Kedar, which I find beautiful and comforting:


we are unprotected

here in this mottled world

where darkness veins the light

and everything we love

is on its way to becoming

everything we lose,

ceaseless metamorphosis

turns inside us and around us

until we're dizzy with the frenzy

of this being here,


Meanwhile, outside

the hummingbird

skims the air

with her piston

of desire

Her clear want for nectar

breaks my doubtful heart


I remember something

from when I was still just light

When I was looking

into this world

from the one outside of it,

looking down, listening,

I remember hearing laughter

and wanting that new nectar,

yes, even with so much being ripped

from us, yes, even with all the pain of endings

I remember: the world is what I wanted.

All for now, Bloggellinis. Terry

Friday, April 7, 2023

"KAREN" Calendar Confession


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April 8, 2023

"KAREN" Calendar Confession




When I wrote the blog about that disgusting misogynist "Karen Coloring Book," I decided not to include my IMMEDIATE response while I was in the store. I wanted the focus to be on the book, not me. But now I want to tell the story of what I did when I saw "Karens in the Wild."

(Click here to read the original blog, "KARENS: Hating Women is Hip Again!")

A brief recap:

I went to my local hardware store and saw "KARENS in the Wild" on the counter. But "local hardware store" is a very inadequate description of where I saw the book. It was in Cliff's.


Cliff's is a variety store, a hardware store and a fabric store and a garden supply store and a housewares store and a toy store. And more. It is a community institution and undoubtedly one of the greatest stores in the world. It is a gem, a storeroom of delights, a fountain of lightbulb variety, a treasure chest of tools and screws and such. It is where, most of the time, I find what I am looking for. And if I'm just browsing, I often find something that I absolutely must have -- like a miniature turquoise rubber spatula. I'm a fool for anything turquoise.

Cliff's is a BIG store. Below is just one of many aisles.

As you can see from this "BUY THIS STUFF" window display below, Cliff's has a sense of humor.

Cliff's puts out a special guide for people shopping for supplies for their Burning Man trip.






To celebrate their 80th anniversary, the Cliff's workers formed a marching band and paraded around the neighborhood! I had marched along with them!

Can you imagine how wonderful it is to live up the hill from a fabulous hardware/variety/fabric/garden supply/houseware store that entertains everyone with a marching band on their 80th anniversary?

Cliff's isn't just a store.

It's a pillar of the gay community.

It's part of my identity as a San Franciscan.

I felt BETRAYED when I saw "Karens in the Wild" there.

I asked to talk to the manager -- which, according to the Karen Coloring Book, instantly made ME a "Karen." The manager wasn't there.

I have to give the man behind the counter credit: He looked at the book and immediately got why I was upset.

He said, "Oh, I see. Because there's no equivalent word like 'Karen' for MEN."

Me: "That's right!"

BUT the OTHER man behind the counter told me to relax and have a sense of humor. Now, if I was complaining about the racism in a coloring book, would he have dared to say that? Of course not. Everyone understands (at least in San Francisco) that racism is offensive and must be squashed. But sexism? Hey, just relax, lady!

I snuck the book away from the counter to photograph every page, so I could write a blog about it. 

Taking those photos so enraged me that ...




Yes, I did! The man standing there (a different one from the first two) shouted, "That's rude!" I shouted back, "That book is rude!" He shouted again, "No! You're rude!"

I stomped out of Cliff's. I felt GREAT! I was filled with triumph and adrenalin. I have been such a Nice Girl (mostly) for 76 years, I was delighted to be rude! I walked down Castro Street feeling...

...THRILLED to violate decorum!

Ecstatic to have been ....





Yes! I felt righteous outrage!

I was a Warrior for Women!

Women Warriors throw things!


Or DO they.....

Slowly my euphoria drained away and I realized that in fact it IS rude to throw things, even hateful books. Let me be clear: To throw a book when you're alone in the privacy of your own home is a perfectly fine thing to do. It was the public nature of the book-throwing that was rude.

I no longer felt so triumphant.

Not only that, I go to Cliff's all the time. Once a week, at least. And even with my mask on, I'm very recognizable with my two black Standard Poodles. Would I have to leave Nikki and Loulou home, so I could sneak into Cliff's incognito every time I needed a light bulb? That would be a drag. They enjoyed a visit to Cliff's too! Would I have to take a bus to buy a screwdriver at distant hardware store?

I realized my carefree walkabout lifestyle required Cliff's. I saw my life getting much more complicated. I absolutely had to feel free to patronize Cliff's.

I realized the next time I went to Cliff's, I would have to apologize because it is in fact inappropriate and rude to throw things in a store. 

Had I ever thrown anything in a store before? I don't think so. But then, I had never been confronted with a disgustingly misogynist coloring book before! 

What is the point of throwing something in front of other people? It is perhaps not quite the right action to take if you want them to seriously consider your point of view.

Oh, but it felt so great... The physical act of doing it... The shouting...

But is it a persuasive thing to do?

Perhaps not.

But IT FELT SO GOOD to express my FRUSTRATION at the astounding resilience of woman-hating!

Come to think of it, I could have made a real SCENE and yelled and TORN THE BOOK UP, and then refused to pay for it, which would have caused them to call the police and I would have been arrested!

Gee, I wish I'd done that. That would have really taken guts. Now THAT would have been APPROPRIATE!

Or I could have said, very calmly, "I know that you probably aren't responsible for this book being here, but I would like you to look at this page and consider how I feel as a woman.... blah blah blah..." That would have also been appropriate.

Anyhow, I did what I did, and I felt I had to apologize for my book-throwing. Can you apologize even if you don't regret what you did? I will always cherish those moments of slipping the Leash of Niceness. But I had to smooth things over for practical reasons. Where else was I going to find a miniature turquoise spatula within walking distance?

So two days later, I went back to Cliff's. First thing I notice:


The "KAREN Coloring Book was not there. That has to be a victory.

I said to the man making the keys, "I came here a few days ago and threw a book behind the counter."

KeyMan: "Oh yes! I heard all about it."

Me: "I'd like to speak to the man who was behind the counter."

Keyman: "Sure. I know who that is. I'll get him." 

It was all kinda genial and relaxed, as if people throw things all the time in Cliff's and then come back to apologize. Maybe they do!

A 40-year-old man came up to me, and said, "Did you want to speak to me?" And I said.... what DID I say? Something about apologizing for throwing the book. HE felt I had thrown it AT him. Now this was NOT TRUE! I explicitly DIDN'T throw it at him but just generally behind the counter. I'm too damn Nice to throw it AT him. 

But I do see that if you are standing behind a counter, and someone throws a book behind that counter, it is understandable that you might take it personally even if it wasn't really thrown in your direction.He made it extremely clear that he FELT he had experienced a book being thrown at HIM. I did not press this point.

What the hell did I say? It's a complete blank! And I'm always so good at remembering dialog! It's kind of my profession, being a playwright and all that. Truly, I cannot remember one word of what I said in this momentous encounter. 

But I certainly remember what HE said: "I guess we both learned something."

So we shook hands, and I left, feeling I had accomplished my mission of apologizing. I was walking home, up the (steep) hill, when it suddenly hit me:

He said he had learned something!

My "Nice Girl" core might have felt twinges of regret.

But being rude had actually accomplished my purpose!

It made him, and probably others, look at the book, understand it was about hating women -- and get rid of it!

How about that? This really gives me something to think about. What will I do, the next time I'm filled with rage at injustice? We'll see!

Dear Bloggellinis: You cannot IMAGINE how useful a miniature spatula is! I have no idea how I lived without one. Terry

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

2 Wonderful Things Happened Yesterday!

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April 7, 2023

Wonderful Things

Happened Yesterday!













LOOK AT THIS PHOTO! You can see pro-Trump demonstrators in the foreground and anti-Trump demonstrators in the background. They are all PEACEFULLY exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.

Why wasn't there any violence, despite Trump's repeated calls for his MAGA minions to drag the whole country into chaos, rather than see their Fearless Leader arrested?


According to the March 6, 2023 report of the Department of Justice:

  • Approximately 420 federal defendants have had their cases adjudicated and received sentences for their criminal activity on Jan. 6. Approximately 220 have been sentenced to periods of incarceration. Approximately 100 defendants have been sentenced to a period of home detention, including approximately 15 who also were sentenced to a period of incarceration.

Two hundred and twenty people are in prison

for taking part in the January 6 insurrection.

Some believe that these people in prison are courageous martyrs.

Some believe that these people in prison are fascist thugs or the dupes of fascist thugs.


Isn't that wonderful? And now, because Trumpers, fascist and otherwise, know that they will be HELD ACCOUNTABLE....

Yesterday, when Trump was actually arrested

for the first time in his long criminal life...

Nobody was willing to do anything illegal to support him!

It was clear, before the blessed Arrest Day, that, as the Associated Press put it:

"May have?" "MAY HAVE??"

The desire for repeat mass unrest was not just dampened.


I am certain that Trump believed his followers would drag the country into civil war before they would see him forced to sit at that table with his attorneys.

This is the face of a deeply disappointed man.

After everything we have been through, let us give ourselves a chance to fully savor what happened yesterday.

What happened-- Trump's arrest


What DIDN'T happen -- a violent uprising by Trump's supporters.

No one is above the law. This is the way it's supposed to work in the United States. It often DOESN'T work this way, which is why this despicable man was able to rise to the pinnacle of world power. But yesterday it all worked.

Let us rejoice!


Dear Bloggellinis: Tonight I'm going to a Passover seder, the celebration of the Jews fleeing slavery under the Egyptian Pharaoh. It's always been my favorite holiday. I'm so happy that it coincides with Trump's arrest. Pharaoh has fallen! And it didn't take any miracles from God. It just took the Rule of Law being enforced. It's good to be alive. Terry

(Dear Bloggellinis: If you find this blog worthy, please consider forwarding it to someone. I have 600 subscribers, and I sure would like to have more!

Love, your friendly neighborhood Blogmistress)