Lucas Hilderbrand is Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine, and author of
Further Tales of the City: Queer Parties in Post-disco San Francisco
In the late 1980s, San Francisco became the epicenter of a rift between the baby boomers of the gay liberation era and what would soon be called generation X. The younger generation came of age after the AIDS crisis had radically altered gay sex, socializing, and politics. New zeitgeist parties articulated a new generation defined by youth at the BOY parties; a queer politics of mixed-gender and multi-ethnic inclusion at the Box; and queer performances of deviance at Club Uranus. This surge of new events both signaled an epochal paradigm shift from gay to queer. This moment also reconstituted nightlife as queer parties instead of the existing model of everynight gay bars. These parties have remained the templates for much of subsequent queer nightlife. The subsequent interlude on Somerset County, PA examines how a rural gay bar figured as the site for contradictory late 1990s politics of gay visibility and hate crimes.