San Francisco journalist Ethan Watters has the wholesome looks of an all American boy but he’s also got talent and a continuing success story.
When the acclaimed author of Crazy Like Us spoke to students at San Francisco State University’s Journalism department last Tuesday, Watters modestly admitted he’d never even watched his television interview with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.
Watters is one of the founders of the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto, a group of local writers whose careers, and office size, have grown together by building a creative community that provides constructive critique and support necessary for success in the professional writing process.
Watters began his career in the bad job market of 1989. His first feature magazine piece explored how people in cultures grow beliefs and how cultural changes can manipulate them.
For his first book, Making Monsters, Watters said he had to, “look back in history and cross-culturally,” to decipher the different moments of time that sparked specific symptoms in patients that corresponded with the shifts in the popular diagnosis of the given era.
“Magazine writers take the grand scale and bring it down to the human scale,” said Watters who regularly contributes to Time magazine in between writing books.
Watters used to target his stories on the people he hated the most in order to bring them down, but he couldn’t justify misrepresenting himself to get the information he needed. In the second part of his career he has decided to write about people he thinks are fantastic, but admitted that sometimes this ends in bad feelings between him and his subjects.
Watters’ book is of particular interest to me because it is a perfect synthesis of my two areas of study: journalism and anthropology. “I’m not so interested in mental illness, I’m interested in culture,” said Watters spoken like a true anthropologist.
San Francisco’s 41st annual LGBT Pride celebration is set for the weekend of June 25th and 26th. The parade begins at 10:30 am at Market Street and Beale and proceeds downtown to Market and 8th Street.
This year’s Pride will feature 20 stages ranging from community showcases to performances of up-and-coming musical guests. In the past such big names as the B52’s and Lady Gaga have performed on the main stage in front of San Francisco City Hall. 2011’s performers have not yet been announced.
I’m personally intrigued by the Sonic Reducer stage, apply named after the 1977 Dead Boys single. This stage features DJ’s spinning punk, new wave, and 70’s glam.
If you’re planning to travel to the city in late June, now is the time to book a hotel or perhaps check craigslist for a weekend rental in your neighborhood of choice. Watch out, things get highly competitive and prices soar during the San Francisco “rite of passage.”
LYRIC is located in a lavender Victorian house on Collingwood Street, just around the corner from the happening intersection of Castro and 18th streets. For the past 23 years the community effort at LYRIC has provided a peer based youth to youth connection for LGBTQQ youth ages 23 and under.
LYRIC provides individual counseling and case management that facilitates access to housing, medical/mental health, and job seeking services. They also offer a paid internship program.
Last week I spoke to LYRIC’s Development Director Erik Schnabel about the current issues facing San Francisco’s LGBTQQ youth and what resources are available to them.
LYRIC gets funding from three different sources: the city, private foundations and community support through donations. According to Schnabel the decrease in city funding of youth programs has been felt more amongst LGBT organizations, leaving community centers such as LYRIC relying more heavily on donations.
Many of the kids that seek resources such as LYRIC are homeless due to families that disapprove of homosexuality and a lot of the time they are newly arrived in San Francisco having left home at a young age.
“San Francisco has such a great network of service providers,” said Schnabel. LYRIC gets referrals from other community organizations and local schools. They also do outreach programs with high school Gay Straight Alliances.