New Exhibit Highlights “Activism With a Beat”

A new multimedia exhibit opening August 8 at The GLBT History Museum highlights the history of Real Bad, a queer dance party held in conjunction with the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco.

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“Be Bad…Do Good: Activism With a Beat” marks the 25th anniversary of the annual event; entirely produced and funded by volunteers, the party has raised nearly $1.7 million for local GLBT nonprofits.

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“‘Be Bad…Do Good’ celebrates a quarter century of Real Bad, a party with a purpose and with a global following,” says Suzan Revah, who curated the show along with Gina Gatta. “Real Bad showcases San Francisco’s distinct generosity of spirit and support for community through dance-floor tradition, ritual and activism.”

Revelry and charity have long energized San Francisco’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Do-it-yourself GLBT fundraising fueled activism and built care organizations at the height of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 1990s. Rejecting sex negativity that the epidemic amplified, the community found joy in street fairs, the collective spirit of the AIDS Dance-a-Thon and the ecstasy of dance clubs such as the Trocadero Transfer.

“Be Bad…Do Good” explores how this compassion, creativity and club culture coalesced in the Real Bad dance extravaganza starting in 1988. The exhibit will feature 1980s party ephemera; Real Bad posters, invitations and photos; a video documentary custom-made for the show; and a wall-size infographic tracing the fundraising impact of the party over 25 years.

The show is part of an ongoing series of exhibits in the GLBT History Museum’s Corner Gallery that partner community curators with exhibitions professionals from the museum to create new perspectives on Bay Area queer history.

“Be Bad…Do Good” runs August 8 through Oct. 27, 2013. An opening reception is set for Thursday, August 8, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Admission to the museum is $5.00 (general); $3.00 (California students); free for members of the GLBT Historical Society. For more information, visit www.glbthistorymuseum.org.

 

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