PHOTOS: The Fairoaks Project
BY Mark Thompson
July 24 2010 3:00 AM ET
A day and a night at the Fairoaks could mean a lot of things. The acrid smell of popper fumes and stale marijuana smoke. The clank of an eight ball in a rear pocket, the rattle of chains. Low moans and orgasmic shouts heard over an endlessly played Sylvester tune, “Do You Want to Funk With Me?” Giggles. Grunts. And whispers. The passing drifts of another cool fog spied through a curtained bay window. The happy laughter of good friends getting together. The slapping flesh of one-time lovers lustily gettin’ it on.
Those were the times to remember, not to ever forget--as if one could in their fleeting glory. Dateline: San Francisco, 1978. Life seemed never better in this fabled City-by-the-Bay. The gay revolution was in full flower—sexy, charged with itself, admitting no shadows. This brief zenith would be over in a blink. But for the denizens of the Fairoaks Hotel and other places like it all over town, it was eyes wide-open, as if every second counted. Because they did. The ticking of the clock of youthful beauty and passion was about to chime midnight and who knew what another morning would bring?
Photographer Frank Melleno must have intuited the once-in-a-lifetime magic of the moment when he took these candid Polaroid pictures. He’d been a member of the ‘70s gay commune that went on to purchase and convert a faded but wonderfully intact Victorian apartment building on the edge of a black neighborhood into a gay bathhouse.
- Don't Miss the Message in Rome's Beautiful Christmas Lights
- WATCH: Elton John Slams 'Inhumane, Isolating' Anti-LGBT Laws In Russia
- Colo. Bakery's Refusal to Bake Gay Wedding Cake Is Discrimination, Judge Rules
- WATCH: Pastor Rick Warren's Orwellian 'Doublespeak' on Marriage Equality
- Hot Sheet: Hark the Herald Angel Swings
- WATCH: Ben Affleck and SNL Crew Go to Ex-Gay Camp
- World News PHOTOS: Don't Miss the Message in Rome's Beautiful New Lights 1:47 AM
- Travel Wedding Bells Ring Down Under December 07 2013 3:33 PM
- Religion WATCH: Rick Warren's 'Doublespeak' on Marriage Equality December 07 2013 3:32 PM
- Entertainment News Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Score 7 Grammy Nominations December 07 2013 1:32 PM
- Marriage Equality Washington's Weddings Were 17 Percent Gay Last Year December 07 2013 8:00 AM
- Marriage Equality Colo. Bakery's Refusal to Bake Gay Wedding Cake Is Discrimination December 07 2013 7:00 AM
- Art In the Galleries: Transformer December 07 2013 4:00 AM