On April 30th, 2015, San Francisco's only lesbian & queer bar, The Lexington Club, closed for good. For thousands of people the Lex has been more than just a bar - it’s been the central gathering place of an often marginalized community. San Francisco is often referred to as a Queer Mecca - but after the Lex is gone there won't be a single bar that consistently serves as a safe space to women and queers.
What We're Doing
When we heard the bar was closing we, like most people we knew, had a deeply emotional reaction. Not only did it feel like a huge loss to our community in San Francisco, but seemed symbolic of changes that people are seeing in cities around the world. We knew we needed to immediately begin capturing sounds and images of San Francisco's last lesbian bar's last days. We created the Lexington Club Archival Project to make sure the people, the stories, sights and sounds are preserved now, not 20 years from now. This project includes a website with portraits, photo archives, and video vignettes and will culminate in a full-length documentary. We've already premiered a 10 minute short called “Never a Cover” at the 2015 San Francisco International Film Festival.
“I read this quote that in biology that when a habitat dies the species dies, and I just felt that so hard looking around this place. I know my queerness won’t die, but it feels like a concentrated attack ... on the ways queers gather and imagine themselves. It is a major blow.”
- Kat Yoas, Current Lexington bartender & performance artist
Lila Thirkield opened the bar when she was just 25, and has devoted her life to creating a safe space for women and queers that’s open 7 nights a week.
For 18 magical years, people came to The Lex to flesh out their identities, begin their careers as artists and deejays, start political movements, meet friends, lovers or to just play a game of pool without getting harassed for how they present their gender or sexuality.
Who We Are
Lauren Tabak & Susie Smith Lauren Tabak & Susie Smith The project is lead by Susie Smith and Lauren Tabak, who have been friends (and Lex patrons) since meeting in San Francisco in the early 2000’s. Susie (co-producer/co-director) has lived in SF for 16 years, and earned her MA in Social Documentary Film from UC Santa Cruz in 2012. Lauren (co-producer/co-director) has been an SF resident for 15+ years, and is an experienced photographer and video producer. Touched by the collective anguish and outpouring of stories on social media, we found ourselves moved to collect and honor our community’s stories and history. With the blessing of Lila, we started production 4 months ago. In this short time, we have collected hundreds of photographs, 40+ interviews, old flyers and other ephemera and spent countless nights hanging out and capturing the magic moments during the last days of the Lexington Club.
We are asking for you - our friends, family, community, and allies to help finance the documentation of this important piece of San Francisco history. So far this project has been completely self-funded. Your donations with help defray the cost of: hard drives, equipment rentals, insurance, legal fees, crew stipends, post-production costs, domain registration and website management. While our total budget exceeds $20,000, this amount will be enough to keep us going while we apply for further grants and funding.
We are dedicated to honoring the Lexington Club’s legacy, and the importance of queer spaces. We hope that you will support us in this undertaking to make sure the Lex is never forgotten.
New!! A Gay Ol' Time
Wondering where the heck to go now that the Lex has closed? Let us show you! We'll take you out on the town: dinner...a dance party (you tell us!) and we'll make sure you get back home safe in a cab (Homobiles are our favorite!) We can talk about us, we can talk about you or we can even talk about issues facing our beloved San Francisco. We'll have a great time and we'll pick up the tab! Flexible on dates, timing, interests, food allergies, gender, sexual orientation etc etc. Transportation to us isn't included. Balloons optional.
New!! Our friends at Aesthetic Union have created this limited-edition numbered print of the iconic Lexington Club sign. 5"x 7" on heavy weight Cranes Lettra paper.
Stickers! Beer Cozies!
Book of Bathroom Portraits!
Know Better Learn Faster on vinyl with a personal message from Thao!
Autographed copy of B. Ruby Rich's New Queer Cinema
New! Elizabeth Beier draws you!
Check out her work at http://goo.gl/UmHJb7. Elizabeth is donating a few custom portraits. Also up as a thank you, her new Lexington Club comic book!
Risks and challenges
There are obvious challenges to completing a feature film, but we feel we’ve shown via the completion of the short and the website that we are committed to this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)