Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

What a Drag

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

What a Drag

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (NYT) -- A San Francisco landmark is about to pack it in -- wigs, falsies and all. Finocchio's, the world-famous Broadway nightclub where female impersonators have strutted their campy stuff since 1936, is folding Nov. 27. Faced with a big rent increase and a dwindling audience for old-style cross-dressing entertainment, the club's owner, Eve Finocchio, is calling it quits. Wherever he is, the late, legendary drag star Charles Pierce, the king of queenly impersonators, must be weeping.

"I don't want to do it, but we have no choice," said Finocchio, whose husband, Joe, created the club at 506 Broadway in the city's North Beach neighborhood. That's where countless locals and tourists first saw men in spangled dresses and heels, singing, dancing and cracking lusty jokes. "My landlord upped the rent from $4,000 to $6,000," Finocchio said, "and we have to take care of the plumbing, too. You have to collect an awful lot of money to meet the rent and pay your bills, and we can't do it. I don't feel good about it."

The club's landlord, Peter Mar, said: "She's been at $4,000 a month for 15 years. That's 8,000 square feet. You tell me where on Broadway you can find (space) for about 75 cents a foot. I think it's a more than reasonable increase."

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the famed North Beach poet and bookseller, summed up his feelings in three words: "What a drag."

The week that was

HOLLYWOOD (AP) -- Here are some entertainment highlights during the week of Nov. 7-13:

25 years ago: Dustin Hoffman and Valerie Perrine starred in Lenny, the story of comedian Lenny Bruce.

20 years ago: The Rose, Bette Midler's starring film debut, premiered in Los Angeles.

15 years ago: Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street opened, starring Robert Englund as Freddie Krueger. And Madonna released her Like a Virgin album.

10 years ago: Kenneth Branagh's Henry V opened in theaters nationwide. And Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker starred in My Left Foot. Both won Oscars.

Holiday for spelunkers

PHOENIX (NYT) -- In 1974, two spelunkers, Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen, set out in search of undiscovered caves in southern Arizona. After wriggling through a crawl space that was about 10 inches high and 2 feet across, the men discovered what today is known as Kartchner Caverns, a seven-acre cave system in the Whetstone Mountains, 40 miles southeast of Tucson. The caverns include two galleries the size of football fields, each with 100-foot ceilings and 26 smaller chambers. Twenty-five years and $28 million after the caverns were first discovered, the public is about to get its first look at them. Kartchner Caverns State Park -- named after the family that owned the land and helped preserve it -- is scheduled to open Friday.

The caves took more than 330 million years to evolve. Rock formations include thousands of stalactites; a 21-foot-2-inch-long soda straw -- the longest mineral formation of its kind in the United States; and one of the world's most extensive formations of brushite moonmilk (microscopic calcite crystals). Fossils were discovered in the caverns as well. Paleontologists found the skeletal remains of an 80,000-year-old Shasta ground sloth, the head of a 34,000-year-old horse and an 11,000-year-old bear.

First Amendment vs. Parks

DETROIT (AP) -- The rap group Outkast, which is being sued by Rosa Parks for entitling a hit song after her, says the Constitution protects them from such a lawsuit. At a court proceeding on Thursday, Joseph Beck, an attorney for OutKast, said Parks' "property rights claim stops at the edge of the First Amendment." Because music is part of the First Amendment-protected media, Beck says, no authorization from Parks was needed to name a song after her.

The group has said it only wanted to honor the civil rights pioneer with its Grammy-nominated song, Rosa Parks. …

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