Someones mom wearing Stud merch in honor of The Studs closing.
The Stud left behind many widows. Here's "Mark's mom," I think, wearing Stud merch in honor of the bar's brick-and-mortar closing. Twitch screenshot

The Stud, San Francisco's oldest LGBT bar, has closed. After 54 years in business and 33 years at their current location, the bar's owners couldn't afford their steep rent as they faced an indefinite closure due to COVID-19. The bar has been a colorful alternative to San Francisco's famous leather bar culture, embracing queer cabaret and drag performers long before it was mainstream.

Sponsored
Try Pick Up Farmers Markets - We’re on a mission to get more food, from more farmers, to more people.
Plan Ahead. Prepay. Pick Up. Locations in Columbia City, U District, Capitol Hill, & West Seattle.

"COVID took the Stud out," said one of the bar's mainstays and hosts, Jillian Gnarling, during an over eight-hour digital funeral service held for the bar via Twitch Sunday night, on the last day of the bar's lease. Gnarling added that "San Francisco took the Stud out," too, referring to escalating rents and a changing city.

The bar's closure is potentially a canary in a coal mine for gay bars around the country, which face similar state-mandated closures and no clear path to reopening.

Service started around 6 p.m. and ended after my late bedtime of 2 a.m.
Service started around 6 p.m. and ended after my late bedtime of 2 a.m. Twitch screenshot

The bar survived a large rent increase in 2016 and managed to convert to a collective ownership of nightlife workers, drag performers, activists, and DJs. It claims to be "the very first co-op nightclub in the United States," and has been a creative origin for countless performers over its five-plus decades, including RuPaul's Drag Race star Alaska Thunderfuck, who says she started doing "the craziest, sickest, weirdest" drag in Pittsburgh after visiting the Stud.

To mourn the change, the Stud threw an epic funeral service over Twitch last night, featuring over 90 performances from a wide range of performers and drag celebrities, including Jinkx Monsoon, Peaches Christ, and Christeene. Owner and host Vivvyanne Forevermore justified the over eight-hour runtime, yelling: "WE ARE GOING LATE INTO THE NIGHT BECAUSE WE ARE A FUCKING NIGHTCLUB."

Host Honey Mahogany started the evening by acknowledging the uprising around America against police brutality. As queers, we must never forget that gay liberation movement started with a series of riots against police brutality.
Host Honey Mahogany is one of the bar's owners, a former RuPaul's Drag Race contestant, and an activist who co-founded Compton's Transgender Cultural District. Twitch screenshot

Host Honey Mahogany started the evening by acknowledging the uprising against police brutality happening around the United States over the weekend. "As queers, we must never forget that the gay liberation movement started with a series of riots against police brutality," Mahogany said.

Mahogany mentioned that the owners wrestled with canceling the event out of respect for the protests but ultimately decided to hold the funeral and use it as a platform. Historically, she explained, “Folks left the rioting and came to the Stud to dance and to let go because they knew it was a safe space, because they knew it was a place where they felt home.” This sentiment was echoed by many performers and guests throughout the evening, with one Sister of Perpetual Indulgence saying, "When you sit at this bar, it's like sitting at your grandmother's table."

In consideration of marchers who couldn't view last night's service due to San Francisco's ongoing protests, the Stud will rebroadcast last night's funeral on their Twitch channel this upcoming Sunday.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence ended the first part of the evening by repeatedly saying thank you for your joy.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence ended the first part of the evening by repeatedly saying "thank you for your joy." Twitch screenshot

The evening was broken up into four sections. The first featured eleven of the "widows" the Stud was leaving behind, which included messages and performances from Heklina, Alaska Thunderfuck, Honey Mahogany, and Justin Vivian Bond, among others, all dressed in black. Then, the evening broke off into two sections of hosted video performances from performers who called Stud home, each section including around 40 videos. The performance portion of the night ended around 2 a.m., nearly eight hours after it began, with multiple DJ sets. I had to go to bed but I left my TV on to pay my respects.

Going forward, the Stud's strategy appears to be to keep up their Twitch channel, which will continue to host multiple shows a week, to maintain interest and community as they try to raise an estimated $700,000 to reopen the Stud. This strategy of closing down a brick-and-mortar location and maintaining community digitally will inevitably be a blueprint for many gay bars and spaces in the coming year. The Stud also has a Patreon, as well as a Stud Stories podcast that highlights the Stud's history and how it intersects with the history of San Francisco and the country at large.

Some screenshots from the evening:

Peaches Christ, one of The Studs widows.
Peaches Christ, one of the Stud's widows. Twitch screenshot

Jillian Gnarling, the youngest widow. The Ana Nicole Smith of The Stud.”
Jillian Gnarling, the bar's "youngest widow," explained host Vivvyanne Forevermore, a.k.a. "the Ana Nicole Smith of the Stud." Twitch screenshot

Christeene showed up. Another widow, she is the true source of The Stud’s lingering odor.”
Christeene showed up. Another widow, and "the true source of the Stud’s lingering odor.” Twitch screenshot

She then recreated that number. Alaskas on the right.
The werewolf on the right is RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars winner Alaska Thunderfuck, one of the Stud's widows, recreating a number she performed at the Stud. Twitch screenshot

A chorus of drag appeared to deliver a funeral hymn to Believe by Cher.
A chorus of drag appeared to deliver a funeral hymn to "Believe" by Cher. Twitch screenshot

After the widows and the eulogies and the mourning came about 80 drag numbers, including a second line from New Orleans!
After the widows and the eulogies and the mourning came about 80 drag numbers, including a second line from New Orleans! Twitch screenshot

It sure is!
Not sure what was going on here, but people in the chat said they were horny for it. Twitch screenshot

Someone said this number looked like it was filmed at the Rainforest Cafe.
Someone in the comments said this number looked like it was filmed at the Rainforest Cafe. Honestly, what a compliment. Twitch screenshot

By 2 a.m., it was time for DJs.
By 2 a.m., it was time for DJs. Twitch screenshot

Screaming for the Stud!!
Screaming for the Stud!! Twitch screenshot

Sponsored
This Monday: A New Collide-O-Scope For a World Going Off The Rails!
Watch escapist video treasures bursting at the sprockets with excitement, color, music, and laughs!