Arthur Evans dies at 69


Arthur Evans, who once was a leader in the gay liberation movement but of late had become bitterly opposed to people sitting on the sidewalks in the Haight, died of a heart attack Sept. 11. He was 69. You can read an obit by Michael Petrellis here

I note his passing in part because he was a regular on, posting comments nearly every day on our politics blog. I disagreed with pretty much everything he said; he made a habit of bashing progressives and loved to attack me in particular. But he was almost always polite and engaged (he only violated our comments policy a few times) and so, in an odd way, was part of our online community. 

His last comment was, typically, directed at me, and I post I wrote Sept. 9 about nude men in the Castro. Arthur was something of a classical scholar who translated ancient Greek, and he suggested that I was wrongly using the image of a statue of Laocoon in "defending male exhibitionism." He noted: "Both the poet and the sculptors use the story to depict the destruction of raw male energy by an image of phallic power." My last response to him: Lighten up, Arthur.




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Posted by marcos on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 11:17 am

have found an appropriate emotional occasion for your gibberish generator. RIP Arthur, you were truly unique.

"They could all go home now the hole was dark

lilacs blowing across his face glad he brought you"

Posted by marke on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 11:33 am

R.I.P. Arthur.

Posted by Jerry Jarvis on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 11:29 am

The world kind of needs cranky curmudgeons to balance out the cheeriness, I guess.

I agreed with him on absolutely nothing and he sounded like a skipping MP3 most of the time, but he came by his opinions from his observations honestly.

In his honor, all the HA crust punks should wear their ragged jeans at half mast tomorrow.

Posted by Johnny A Wendell on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 11:32 am

Perhaps Johnny and Tim can lead a nude-in at Arthur Evans' life celebration?

Butt towels optional, of course!

Posted by marcos on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 11:43 am

Maybe if they have one for Arthur in LA.

More proof that acid is bad for you--Eric Burdon sang of "warm San Francisco Nights"...when were those?

Posted by Johnny A Wendell on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

Yeah, but he also wrote "Low Rider."

Posted by marcos on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

That bothered some people, who want an echo chamber, and yes he could be repetitive. But he was a true original and his contribution to the development of the early GLBT movement cannot be underestimated.

Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 11:51 am

That's so cool for you that you get to have the last word in your argument with a dead guy, via that 'I told you so' kicker at the end of your blog post.

Completely classless, Tim. But that's to be expected, coming from you and this blog.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

"I love seeing Tim Redmond, in defending male exhibitionism"
Arthur Evans on Sep. 09, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

"Lighten up, Arthur"
tim on Sep. 09, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

"Lighten Up, Tim!
... naked stoners in the Castro"
Arthur Evans on Sep. 09, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

The SF political Sistine Chapel

Adios Arthur, see you on the other side.

And, Go Giants!


Posted by h. brown on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

Joefire and Evans were two peas in pod, so I'll give you one out of three.

RivaldO started out as an idealist and sold out to the highest bidder a long time ago, so they have that in common, but as a paid hack Rivaldo was way out of Evans' league. Rivaldo was a professional. He was actually *good* at being a hack.

But Joe Lynn? Even mentioning Evans and Joe Lynn in the same sentence is insulting.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2011 @ 12:44 am

Hopefully his position will be left unfilled as a tribute.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

I absolutely agree with you, what a great tribute that would be to a great man. Would be a very classy move.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

Yes, he was maddening, repetitive, annoying. He drove us all crazy and yet, he WAS unique.

R.I.P. Arthur Evans

Posted by Lisa on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

for posting the video link.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

My pleasure :-) That's Arthur Evans discussing the love of Socrates and Alcibiades in Plato's "Symposium".

It's strange how our perceptions of people can change. When Arthur first posted that video in the comments, I thought, This dude is so full of himself, he's insufferable! Yet, now that he's passed on, I can appreciate the things I missed~ his intelligence, his spirit, and his playful sense of humor. Oh, and he was a damn good storyteller, too (always a plus in my book). Never thought I'd say this, but I'm going to miss him.

Posted by Lisa on Sep. 14, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

Here is a video of a GAA zap on the NYC Marriage Bureau in 1971:

At one point, Arthur Evans was refreshingly uncivil.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

"You can call your agents of institutionalized violence! We are here by right and we are NOT going to leave!"

"This office belongs to us. We are the taxpayers."

"Yes, this is information...
"We are in Herman Katz' office, the office of the City Clerk...
Yes, we took over the office. We're having a great party. Why don't you come down?"

Whatever happened to him?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 7:46 pm

thank you SO much for posting these.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

Arthur has a long and commendable history in the struggle for Gay Rights, especially in the early years, Tommi Avicolli Mecca, among many others, have referenced this elsewhere. Yes I disagreed vehemently over many positions he took in his later years, I make no apologies for that. I just hope that Shakespeare's prophecy is reversed, "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones". No he was not 'evil', I'm just quoting without revising, he was just a crusty opinionated old curmudgeon. Hey h, we can relate to that. I truly respect and admire that he did not 'go gentle into into that goodnight', but fought for what he believed until the end. I hope that when the end came, it came easy. Thanks for all you did with your time here Ruthie. Fly on home and rest easy.
The immediate positive might be that the rest of the "Hagfish"; Meathead; Mattie; Lucie; Snappie; nameless "Guestie"; etc; have lost their lead singer. Collectively they don't have the weight or credibility of Arthur. Let's all just try and bury the axes for a few days at least, give his spirit time to transition, before we get back into it.
I'm calling for two days of non confrontational postings in honor of Arthur Evans.
Just my 2c.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

@marcos; some 'guests'. STFU
@marke; jerry; johnny; h; Snappie; some other 'guests'. Right on. Thank you.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

Patrick, how uncivil of you!

Posted by marcos on Sep. 14, 2011 @ 8:35 am

@Tim. He's lighter than air now.
Now how about responding to my request for clarification on the recent 'layoffs'.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

There's a really good article by Tommi Mecca about Arthur - captures both Arthur's younger radical days and his more recent ones as a gadfly:

Posted by Larry-bob Roberts on Sep. 13, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

This may be posted elsewhere on SFBG but I thought it was appropriate to include it here.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 14, 2011 @ 11:19 am

For allowing someone like Arthur to post here A LOT in many disagreeable ways free of ban.

Arthur was not well and this site must have been a great source of entertainment to him in his final days.

R.I.P. Arthur

Posted by Guest on Sep. 14, 2011 @ 11:42 am

i had a few tangles w/ him on these blogs, but was unaware of his past. it's interesting to read about it/see that nyc video now. gotta respect his willingness to let it all hang out, even though i didn't agree with him. i do remember suggesting it would have been nice to actually meet instead of tangling in cyberspace (i think that was in regards to daly'd dive, which if i remember right, he put down). but it was never meant to be. sometimes i think a lot of us would find more common ground if we were to actually meet, instead of hiding behind these screens. sorry we never got the chance.
rip steadfast arthur. guess i'll kinda miss you.

Posted by Guest daniele e on Sep. 14, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

Sad to hear this.

He was truly one of our favorite customers when I worked at Castro restaurant in my early 20s. Polite, patient, kind of funny, great tipper - and just all around pleasant. Never creepy, which was actually a pretty unique attribute for our customers.

Most of you knew him/knew of him only in a political light. But as a person, he was really a good guy.

Posted by Longtime-Lurker on Sep. 14, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

RIP Arthur - pleased you chose to "Rage, rage, against the dying of the Light" you ol' bugger :)

I suspect we shall not see your like again - and that's a loss for all of us.

Posted by Brid on Sep. 14, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

Now police can arrest you for simply sitting on a public sidewalk.

Arthur Evans argued tirelessly for the criminalization of sitting harmlessly on public property, mislabeling this violation of civil rights as civility itself.

His efforts towards this, and his constant online attacks on the less fortunate and less conforming members of our community are as much a part of Arthur Evans' legacy as any of his other activism.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 14, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

and Sit-Lie had EVERYTHING to do with the state San Francisco is in today. If we'd only spent more money on Non Profit Inc. and SEIU-mandated retiree benefits then EVERYTHING would be better now!!!

Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Sep. 14, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

Between various trips, I haven't had much time to comment on the internets, but this just blew me away.

There is a tradition of eulogizing the dead, no matter what they did in life. With all due respect, I've never been a traditionalist. I'm not going to eulogize someone whose idea of "civility" was having cops round up poor people for the mere act of sitting on the sidewalks.

Arthur's contributions to the early days of gay liberation are commendable, but *that* Arthur Evans died a long time ago. Sadly, what replaced that Arthur Evans, was a miserable man filled with self-loathing, who tried to mask that misery under a thin veneer of superficial etiquette, all the while doing his best to spread his misery to others by trolling internet blogs and advocating for "civility" at the end of a police nightstick.

I wish Arthur had have been able to open his heart to love and happiness, but sadly for himself and for those around him, he was never able to do that. As someone else said above, he wasn't well. As a result, he leaves behind a sad legacy.

Posted by Greg on Sep. 15, 2011 @ 9:15 am

Every time I take a shit on the sidewalk, I'll think of you now Arthur. RIP.

Posted by Matt on Sep. 15, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

via an anonymous internet board.

Dude's dead - and a heart attack is often considered the best way to go.

And you're all still talking about him. Arthur wins. At least he got to see the initial stages of Progressive San Francisco fall apart while he was still here. Bummer he'll miss the whole show - about 4-5 years to total irrelevance.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 15, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

Not bitter at all.

Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Sep. 15, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

And Gaze Down Into An Empty Troll Hole.

Troll 1: Wow. All that energy spent trolling and spewing bile. And less than a week later, there's nothing left.

Troll 2: Yeah. Makes you think.

Troll 1: Good thing we're so much smarter and important than anyone else. That's how we know our cause is just! I'm sure a much different fate lies ahead for us.

Troll 2: Well, let's get going. Those Progressives aren't going to insult themselves! There's work to be done.

Troll 1: Troll work! Because we are classy!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 15, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

For a full month prior to his death, this message board was slammed with you guys whining about "Why haven't you banned Arthur yet?!?! This should be our very own echo chamber where we can all collectively pretend that we matter!"..

He went out pissing you guys off to the fullest, knowing the city was shifting moderate.

Bile... please, lol. Irony meter exploding with that one. You guys called him every name in the book - old, ugly, drunk, creepy - and it never shook him. Arthur wins.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 15, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

Is that really how you win?
Get a gun and shoot yourself!
You'll win!

your Troll Hero is dead.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 15, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

I'd rather be on the "losing" end, reading the obituary, rather than the other way around.

I guess the "life threatening aortic aneurism" was real, and not just a figment of his imagination.

And with that I think we'll have to retire this handle.

Posted by Life threatening erotic aneurism on Sep. 15, 2011 @ 7:09 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 15, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

Arthur technically committed suicide by refusing medical care, welcoming and inviting death by making statements along the lines that his long dead friends would wonder what that old queen was doing still hanging around.

For those so consumed with the social rituals of death, contemplate for a moment the collapse of the self preservation instinct and reflect upon how that informed political action.

What does it mean that Arthur Evans was able and willing to expend considerable energies attacking the weakest members of society yet folded when it came time to defend his own life? I bet he thought that he felt like Socrates.

Nobody gets out of life alive aside from that, success in life can be measured by any range of metrics. Arthur scores highest earliest in his life and there is a straight line decline down to the place he ended up.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 15, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

Now, now. At least PaulTeaPartyHost is good for a laugh (even though he doesn't intend to be.)

Let's at least give him that.

Posted by Billy Goat on Sep. 15, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

..only if the laughter is derisive and comments are scatological

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 19, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

Was in the Upper Haight this past weekend at a party at the home of one of Arthur Evans' favorite people.

Leaving to head back down to the Mission around 1:45, I could not help but notice the preponderance of narco nomads, druggies and drunks--lone males all--who were loitering around and--daresay--sitting and lying on the sidewalk, a real filth crisis.

I think that one of them actually urinated right on Arthur Evans' legacy! I shit you not.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 20, 2011 @ 6:56 am

Arthur Evans' former landlord!

Among Evans' many contradictions was his hypocritical taking advantage of progressive reforms while deriding the progressives who fought for them.

The only reason he could afford to live in San Francisco for 37 years while contributing nothing to the local economy, in such a desireable location no less, was that the progressives he loathed fought to create and preserve rent control. As a senior, it was nearly impossible to evict him, courtesy of another progressive reform that protected his existence. Through the years, Evans tenaciously clung to that apartment, in a neighborhood he clearly hated, because he supported every candidate and initiative that his neighbors were diametrically opposed to.

Now, ironically, his death paves the way for his landlord to jack up the rent to market rate.

Posted by Greg on Sep. 20, 2011 @ 8:05 am

take advantage of laws that benefit him even if on a personal or political level, he thinks that law is wrong or misguided.

Moreoever, it's well known that rent control makes people do very strange things. Like cling to a grubby, crappy apartment in a bad neighborhood in your silver years. Or Ellis a perfectly good building just because you can't raise rents.

Weird laws lead to weird behavior. But that doesn't mean a rational actor shouldn't take advantage of a free lunch. And people cling to homes they own for a very similar reason, Prop 13.

Posted by PaulT on Sep. 20, 2011 @ 8:38 am

This is exactly why if Warren Buffett thinks he should be taxed more he should just mail in a check, right? Right?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2011 @ 11:13 am

who derived joy from upsetting people and spreading his misery.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 23, 2011 @ 3:05 pm