Last-minute talks could save SF queer institution
If anything, the week of demonstrations has drawn San Francisco's queer community closer. And there is hope that the crowd can stay together in the spot they claimed for themselves. One white-horse possibility is Mark Frazier, owner of a Dallas bar also named the Eagle — and also home to a leather crowd.
Seth Munter of Herth Realty in San Francisco said Frazier has been eyeing the SF Eagle for more than a year, and that he is "interested and able to participate in continuing the Eagle as it has been, either with partners or on his own."
Reached by phone in Dallas, Frazier told us he's dreamt of the business since before his own Eagle took flight in 1995. "I think the San Francisco Eagle has a lot of history and a core base of support," he said. "Any time you go into a business with so much support, it's going to be successful."
Frazier stressed that like the SF original, his Eagle has raised substantial sums for charity. Though he acknowledged that the bottom line of all businesses is to make money, "the successful ones continue to give back to the community — and not only monetarily."
So far, Frazier said he has "exchanged e-mails with the powers that be" and that he is confident the Eagle's troubles stem from a "communication gap" he could help fix.
Hennis expressed hope about the possibility of working with Frazier in addition to pursuing other options like historical preservation.
Demonstrators have penned more than 100 hand-written letters to the Historic Preservation Commission urging it to assign the Eagle landmark status. Commissioner Alan Martinez said such a process could cost thousands of dollars and would not "grant the right to dictate businesses or tenants."
Still, he announced publicly that giving the building historic status is not "about turning the city into a museum — it's about our history."
Though landmark status protects the physical property, it would also provide legitimacy, an instantaneous way to tell the building's story and bind the community together. And no matter what happens with the sale of the Eagle, that's one possibility that flies.