Guardian Intelligence - Page 2

Virgil's Sea Room, queer education in schools, Ron Lanza memorial, Sean Parker's nuptials ... what you need to know this week

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"Once they're done with the Tea Party in Ohio, the IRS can come out here and start investigating a bunch of senior citizens who want to save their swimming pool."

GO, KIWIS!

We have a favorite team in the America's Cup: New Zealand.

The Kiwis are the only group in the race that lacks a billionaire sponsor. They're using public money and sponsorships to try to take on Larry Ellison, who is spending a fortune on his boat, acting like a total asshole, and refusing to cover the costs (as much as $20 million) the city could wind up paying. Imagine if, after all the hype, the underfunded Kiwis took the trophy? (Amanda Witherell, Our Correspondent in Wellington, notes that sailing in NZ is "definitely not the pink pants and loafer set — much more a typical sport with low barriers to entry." Besides, she tells us, "it's sort of uncool to be rich here. Or, if you're rich you're not really supposed to flash it. No fancy cars. No champagne fountains, unless you're a member of Parliament.")

Go New Zealand.

IN THE BAR BIZ

Fans of friendly watering holes rejoice: Lexington Club owner Lila Thirkield opened the doors to Virgil's Sea Room (3152 Mission, SF. www.virgilssf.com) last week, filling the space that used to house neighborhood dive Nap's with happy tipplers. Don't worry: The small spot next to El Rio will still have karaoke. Plus a dedicated clientele, given the ardent followings of Thirkield and her co-owners, sunshine-y Nickies bartender Gillian Fitzgerald and Tom "DJ Carnita" Temprano of queer soul party Hard French and Harvey Milk Club presidency fame.

TO QUEER THE SCHOOLS

A bubbly and diverse group of LGBTQQ high schoolers assembled on the steps of City Hall last Friday, waving signs saying "Celebrate Difference" and "Queer Our Schools." The kids were part of LYRIC — the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information center in the Castro — and they were there, along SF's two queer supervisors, Scott Weiner and David Campos, to announce LYRIC's "School-Based Initiatives" which works within schools to educate students and faculty about LGBTQQ youth issues, and to celebrate a $75,000 allotment in the just-released mayor's budget. Student assembly speeches and Pride events, one-on-one meetings, training sessions for teachers, and family engagement are all part of the plan to help schools deal with anti-gay bias and bullying. LYRIC reports that an astonishing 1,000 of the 3,000 LGBTQQ-identified San Francisco Unified School District students attempts suicide annually (the ratio jumps to 1 out of two for transgender students), so the timing couldn't be better. www.lyric.org

OH, MARY!

The annual SF Opera summer season is always a treat — the programmers get a little wild, and the risks, like last year's extraordinary Nixon in China, always pay off in adventurous spirit. (Ticket prices, starting at $22, aren't bad, either). This year's season opened June 5, runs through July 7, and includes Mozart's cheeky Cosi fan tutte and Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman. The buzzy highlight is new work The Gospel of Mary Magdalene by Mark Adamo. Mary is based on an alternative gospel found by archeologists in 1896, and sprang from six years of Adamo's own research. It gives a different spin on the Jesus tale, and it bound to raise a few eyebrows. It opens Weds/19 and stars Sasha Cooke and Nathan Gunn. www.sfopera.org

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