Look Out for Out/Look: New Exhibition to Spotlight Groundbreaking Queer Journal
by Mark Sawchuk

E.G. Crichton has been involved in the Bay Area queer art scene for over 40 years. She's currently working on an innovative exhibition set for the GLBT History Museum in 2017 focusing on the history of Out/Look magazine, which Crichton cofounded and for which she served as art director. A groundbreaking queer journal that ran from 1988 to 1992, Out/Look had a passionate following and sparked vigorous debates. In each 100-page issue, it bridged academic inquiry and community discussions, embraced gender and racial diversity, addressed political and cultural topics, and emphasized graphic arts along with scholarly and literary writing.
Funded by a $40,000 grant from the Creative Work Fund, the exhibition will feature interactive audiovisual installations and an ambitious program series. Its most distinctive component is a "matchmaking" process inspired by Crichton's earlier project with the GLBT Historical Society, "Lineage: Matchmaking in the Archive." Creative people will be matched to back issues of Out/Look and invited to invent a response. By both documenting the history and sparking fresh artistic and scholarly work, the exhibition will bring the legacy of the magazine to a new generation. History Happens sat down with Crichton for a chat about this exciting upcoming exhibition and her seminal work with Out/Look.
How are the GLBT Historical Society's archives helping you as you set about curating this exhibition?
The archives preserve the organizational records of Out/Look, so I've  spent this autumn looking through them for ideas. I'm literally researching the archives of my own experience! But the point is that we were very systematic about regulating gender balance on articles in an era of extreme gender separatism in queer magazines, creating a racially diverse editorial board, and addressing complex and often controversial subject matter. The majority of the organizational records speak to our desire to diversify the magazine as much as possible. I want to find ways to incorporate this organizational process into the exhibition. For example, I'm going to craft a dramatic piece based on letters to the editor, which despite our almost mathematical efforts frequently complained that Out/Look was either "too male" or "too lesbian."

How will your matchmaking process for the show spark new creative work in different media?
As a matchmaker with "Lineage," I matched up personal papers in the GLBT Historical Society to a variety of people and asked them to craft a response. It was a literal way of connecting the living and the dead, and was a useful model for participatory work that drew new creative people to the archives. But the idea for doing this with Out/Look didn't occur to me until I realized that it could work this time to connect across generations, to stimulate new forms of intergenerational dialogue. The plan is to match two people to each of the 17 issues of Out/Look , and ask them to respond. We'll be inviting people who come from different demographic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, but also people who work in different media: writers, artists, performers, poets, filmmakers, comic artists.
How will this exhibition engage with contemporary struggles for social justice?
One point is that in the art world over the past decade or so, support has been building for art that serves as a catalyst for social engagement, not just as a product that gets bought and sold. This notion drives my own sense of process as I think about who to match, how to work with people, how to bring them into the sphere of the GLBT Historical Society to create living history. I want to stir things up with this project, encourage more complex community debate than I feel has existed in recent years. I like the idea of reengaging with controversial issues from 30 years ago, a time when Out/Look inspired debates that even included passionate tangles of graffiti on bathroom walls in bars. I think we need more of that now.
FromEDFrom the Executive Director 
Learning From Our Past, Creating Our Future
by Terry Beswick  
The elections of 2016 have left so many of us disappointed and worried about what's next, and while we at the GLBT Historical Society share these concerns, we recognize that we have a special role in creating the change we'd like to see.

Our unique responsibility is to help put our contemporary challenges into historical context. In this way, we as a community will be better prepared to overcome obstacles, avail ourselves of promising opportunities and, ultimately, build a better future for LGBTQ people and our allies. This process begins with an understanding of our past and of the ways that understanding can inspire a society of greater respect for all.

Over the last year, the Historical Society has made great progress in preserving, protecting and sharing our history:
  • With strong support from our members and donors, we moved our archives and offices to a new, spacious location in the mid-Market neighborhood of San Francisco. We now have over twice as much room for our archives, allowing us to process a backlog of donations and to acquire new collections.
  • Our volunteer-staffed GLBT History Museum celebrated its five-year anniversary in the Castro, and over the course of 2016, we expanded the calendar of new exhibitions and programming. We're especially proud of our continuing efforts to ensure the museum better reflects the great diversity of our community.
  • If we meet our year-end fundraising goal, our 2016 budget will surpass the previous year by 50 percent. Some of the sources of this growth: We brought back our fabulous annual gala, raising more than $60,000. And thanks to strong support from the community, our membership increased by 30 percent.
Of course, we have a lot more work to do, both within the LGBTQ community and with the general public. I believe our community is in a unique position to build cultural awareness and understanding among all our families and communities of origin, not only about gender and sexuality, but also about issues of racial, economic and social justice that inevitably affect LGBTQ people.

That's why the GLBT Historical Society recently launched Vision2020, our four-year campaign to establish a New Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture in San Francisco. We're working to create a full-fledged educational institution to support dialogue and discovery for locals of all ages and for visitors from around the globe.

We're aiming to raise $75,000 for our Vision2020 campaign by the end of the year, with the first $30,000 in new donations matched dollar for dollar by three generous donors. We are more than halfway there -- and with support from the community, we'll not only meet the goal, we'll exceed it. All funds raised will be used to help prepare us to launch a full-fledged capital campaign for the New Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture. Here's where to make your donation.

As we look forward to exciting plans for 2017, we're immensely grateful to all those who make our work possible. As always, your ongoing support will be crucial to our success.
Terry Beswick is executive director of the GLBT Historical Society. 
UpcomingUpcoming Events   
Staged Reading
Rhino in the Castro: Juanita's Statue
Monday, December 5        
7:00-9:00 PM 
The GLBT History Museum 
4127 18th St., San Francisco 
Free  |  $5.00 donation welcome 
Theatre RhinocerosSan Francisco's groundbreaking queer stage company, has teamed up with the GLBT History Museum to present "Rhino in the Castro," a series of readings of plays reflecting the LGBTQ community and our allies. The museum provides the space, and Rhino provides the scripts and actors.      
This month's offering is Juanita's Statue by Ann Garcia-Romero -- a queering of the style of farce produced in 17th-century Spain. A woman caught in bed with a young man betrothed to a suitable fiancée disguises herself in the young man's clothes to escape the wrath of his father. Spending the day as a man, she attracts the amorous attentions of the young bride-to-be, a gay couple and her own female best friend. Join the Facebook conversation here.  
History Talk
A Writer Investigates: When a Killer Stalked the Castro
Thursday, December 8      
7:00-9:00 PM 
The GLBT History Museum 
4127 18th St., San Francisco
$5.00; free for members  
Journalist Elon Green presents an illustrated talk about the Doodler murders, when an apparent serial killer stalked the Castro neighborhood and took the lives of at least five gay men in San Francisco in 1974-1975. The case was never solved, in part because witnesses declined to cooperate with the San Francisco Police Department, fearing its reputation for anti-gay crackdowns. Green's lengthy feature article on the case appeared in The Awl in 2014, and he's now researching a book on the Castro in the 1970s. Join the Facebook conversation here
Panel & Exhibition
In Memory of Historian Horacio N. Roque Ramírez
Saturday, December 10       
2:00-5:00 PM 
Galería de la Raza  
2857 24th St., San Francisco
$5.00 suggested donation   
In honor of the life and scholarship of Bay Area LGBT Latinx historian Horacio N. Roque Ramírez (1969-2015), La Colectiva: LGBT Latina and Latino History Collective presents "Una Tardeada de Remembranza for Horacio N. Roque Ramírez" -- a panel discussion and display of photographs, audiovisual material and ephemera on the collective's evolution as participants in and historians of Latina/Latino LGBTQ culture. Bring your memories to share in the ongoing process of recording personal herstories and histories. Join the Facebook conversation here
Author Talk
Lesbian & Bisexual Stars: Inside the Hollywood Closet
Thursday, December 15       
7:00-9:00 PM 
The GLBT History Museum 
4127 18th St., San Francisco
$5.00; free for members  
Author Boze Hadleigh takes a look inside the classic Tinsel Town closet to highlight the careers of women stars who were lesbian or bisexual. He'll draw on his recent e-book, Hollywood Lesbians: From Garbo to Foster (2016), a much expanded edition of his pioneering 1994 book Hollywood Lesbians. He'll also include details about Marilyn Monroe's bisexuality from his all-new volume, Marilyn Forever: Musings on an American Icon by the Stars of Yesterday and Today, released in October. Hadleigh's lively talk will assess the lives of performers and the role of the media in an era when Hollywood kept the lesbianism and bisexuality of stars under wraps even more than it does today. Join the Facebook conversation here
Curator's Talk
Magnus Hirschfeld: Through Knowledge to Justice
Monday, December 19        
7:00-9:00 PM 
The GLBT History Museum 
4127 18th St., San Francisco 
$5.00; free for members 
Curator Gerard Koskovich will lead an informal tour of "Through Knowledge to Justice: The Sexual World of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld," an exhibition running through the end of December at the GLBT History Museum. Koskovich will offer an overview of Hirschfeld's life and legacy, will highlight the significance of the historical materials on display, and will show and discuss a sampling of further rarities from his personal collection. The talk is sponsored by the Calamus Fellowship as part of its ongoing series "Faggot Sensibility: An Exploration of Gay Consciousness." Join the Facebook conversation here
VisitVisit Us    
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-1107
Monday & Wednesday - Saturday: 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday: Closed
Sunday: Noon - 5:00 PM

Christmas Eve (December 24): 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Christmas Day (December 25): Closed

New Year's Eve (December 31): 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
New Year's Day (January 1): Closed

The GLBT Historical Society
989 Market St., Lower Level
San Francisco, CA 94103-1708
(415) 777-5455

Please call to schedule a research appointment.

CREDITS: Photo of E.G. Crichton by Lenore Chinn. Photo of Terry Beswick by Gareth Gooch.

Gerard Koskovich      Design: PEPEcreatives.com 
Copyright © 2016 GLBT Historical Society