My First Dream Job

DIFFLIGHTSFX390_1My dream job after college was to work at A Different Light Bookstore in the Castro. In those days, the Castro was the center of an angry but vibrant community of artists, activists and writers in San Francisco; and ADL was the intellectual hub for much of it. Dorothy Allison taught fiction writing there, ACT UP kept signs and tables in the back, and pretty much anyone who passed by Castro St stopped inside to see meet their friends.

There was also an interesting cast of characters working there. Justin Bond, future cabaret artist extraordinaire, writers Alex Chee and Sara Fran Whisby, political drag persona Joan Jett Black, and most of all Richard LaBonte, considered by many to be the godfather of gay literature. ADL and stores like it fostered a community of writers and readers that was almost completely ignored by mainstream media.

It was a golden age for LGBT cultural growth combined with a political urgency that generated an amazing body of art and literature.