Court Jester Reflects on Joe Lynn Memorial

Written by Harold Brown. Posted in Events, Human Interest, Opinion, Politics

Published on February 22, 2010 with 2 Comments

Joseph Michael Lynn, October 7, 1945 – December 9, 2009.
Photos by Luke Thomas

By h. Brown

February 22, 2010

(Joe made us all better people)

I jumped on the F line antique car, which is a relic from out of Philadelphia, and immediately realized I was sitting across the aisle from Bob Planthold who is probably the leading voice of the disabled in SF. It was 7th and Market in San Francisco at around 3 in the afternoon on a Saturday and we were headed for the LGBT (‘Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender’) center a mile or so up the way. Around our windows the Tenderloin noisily barked at us from the Civic Center Farmers Market on our right, to street preachers and crack cocaine sales teams all over the place. Everyone was selling something. We were headed to a memorial for the man whose very name epitomized integrity in the snake pit of double-crossing con artists, thieves and liars who dominate the SF political scene. Some of my best friends, that lot.

The weather was cloudy and around 50 degrees. The City Hall dome gleamed with its gold leaf detailing, symbolic of what former Mayor Willie Brown left as a legacy. Did you realize that the dome on our political palace is the largest in America? Really, bigger than the dome on the national capital in D.C. Something to do with a ‘who’s got the biggest one’ between SF and Sacramento back in the day. The 1906 earthquake gave us the chance to not only beat the State capital but to go ahead and top the one in Washington D.C. I believe however, that the Pope has a slightly bigger one as they say in Rome.

Bob and I immediately got into a conversation about the proposed huge MUNI fare increases for the old (me), the disabled (Bob) and students. It was a sore point for the both of us and Bob said that he and Ed Evans (a wheelchair bound activist who serves on the Mayor’s Disability Commission) … that he and Ed were determined to do some kind of civil disobedience action to tie up MUNI if the fare increases actually go into effect.

As Planthold and I moved through the lobby and onto the elevator, we talked about the center’s consideration of plans to take Medjool’s Gus Murad on as a partner in a rooftop garden and restaurant. District 8 Supe Bevan Dufty is shepherding that one and we agreed with Krissy Keefer that it’s a hell of a great idea that can make the Center solvent. This is not a boxy place full of small rooms; it has the kind of feel you get inside of a modest museum. Lots of open spaces that run to 20 and 30 feet in height with a concrete infrastructure that features lots of interior and exterior balconies. Good place for a restaurant and they’d certainly have a built-in core clientele.

The Green Party’s one man brain trust, Marc Salomon, who chaired Joe’s tribute was at the check in desk with his hubbie, George Aluska, and Donna Linden. We were early but, my lord, what a crowd.

As many as 100 friends, partisans, compadres, fans and devotees turned out for Lynn’s memorial.

Fog City Journal’s Luke Thomas was soon photographing Joe’s caregivers from his final year, Tae-Wol Stanley, David Waggoner, Oliver Luby and Marc Salomon centered by Eileen Hansen in an amazing double-breasted white fabric cowgirl jacket with metal studs glistening like raindrops off both shoulders.

Tae-Wol Stanley, David Waggoner, Marc Salomon, Eileen Hansen and Oliver Luby.

Hope Johnson who was talking to Dave Snyder of the Golden Gate Bridge District Board and D-6’s Chris Daly came over and gave me a big hug and, as usual, I almost fainted. Then Krissy Keefer came over and bumped against me momentarily and I did faint. The Dance Mission impresario always has that affect on me.

All right, I didn’t actually faint. But, I have in the past. Honest. Or, almost honest, which is as good as you’re gonna get from a satirist. A young guy with Hollywood good looks in a Giants jacket came up and told me he was Joe Eskenazi from the SF Weekly. Shit, I thought he’d be older. They’re all so young these days. Ya know?

I tried to show off by introducing Joe to all the important people I know but he already knew them all and moved into a group photo with D-11’s John Avalos, Beyond Chron’s Paul Hogarth (he’s lost weight it looks like), maestro Salomon and himself.

D11 Supe John Avalos, BeyondChron journo Paul Hogarth,
Marc Salomon and SFWeekly journo Joe Eskenazi.

I pulled Eskenazi (it’s a big deal for me to meet someone whose work I admire and I try to share – was he actually drinking a Schlitz and was that product placement?) … I introduced him to my best friends, Daniel and Becky Cohen and snagged forever perfect fox Elaine Santore into the photo.

Becky Cohen, Elaine Santore, h. Brown,
Daniel Cohen and Joe Eskenazi.

I took notes as Luke did a series of cute couple shots (you don’t have to actually be couples). He caught Salomon and his camera elusive mate, George Aluska, flanking D-11’s Avalos. Save that shot.

Marc Salomon, D11 Supe John Avalos and George Aluska.

Hope Johnson and Dave Snyder aren’t a pair, as far as I know, but lensman Thomas maneuvered to get a fabulous shot of them and then snapped D8 frontrunner, Rafael Mandelman, with new attorney and former Peskin Chief of Staff, David Owen (not a couple, Owen’s love is Erich Pearson).

DCCC and College Board candidate Hope Johnson and David Snyder.

D8 candidate Rafael Mandelman and fledgling attorney David Owen.

D6 Supe Chris Daly and Erich Pearson.

Luke’s power shot of the night had to be former Gerardo Sandoval top aide Boris Delepine with 4 sitting supes: Avalos; Daly; Mirkarimi and Campos. I’m sure there’s some kind of Brown act violation there for you insiders.

Supe John Avalos, Monsieur Boris Delepine, Supes Ross Mirkarimi, Chris Daly and David Campos.

My favorite shot was me and Keefer wedged between Unicorn Precinct’s (most amazing food always) … Unicorn Precinct’s hacker chefs, Marc P. and Julian. They were up the previous evening until 3 am cracking fresh Bay crabs with Salomon and George.

Julian, h. Brown, Krissy Keefer and Marc P.

Ali U was also part of the Unicorn food prep team and Luke got a great shot of her. The booze was amazing too. I think I brought the only bottle of 2 buck Chuck and at party’s end it was somehow still not opened.

Chefette extraordinaire Ali U.

At the podium

I did a lot of laughing. I kissed Assemblymember Tom Ammiano on the cheek and cried when David Waggoner talked about Joe’s last weeks at David’s place. I ate and drank too much as always and I fell in love all over again with the fun loving and super talented Progressive Community.

Local hero and 911 apple pie fetcher, David Waggoner, holds back tears
while talking about Lynn’s last few days spent with Waggoner at his apartment.

Keefer’s Dance Brigade led the event with a taiko drum ensemble that both awed and empowered. Their players were Richelle Donigan, Karen Elliot, Lena Gatchalian, Kim Valimore and Krissy’s own, now blonde daughter, Fredrika Keefer.

Lynn’s sidekick on the Ethic’s Commission, Eileen Hansen was MC. I recalled her narrowly losing to Leno and Dufty in successive D8 supe races and talked to a lesbian activist as we listened. “Leno got something against lesbians?” she asked. “First Hansen, then Migden and now he’s backing Theresa Sparks over Debra Walker. I decided not to write that because you know me. I’m not one to stir the pot.

Perfect pitched guitar playing by singer/songwriter, Garrin Benfield, and Joe Graham read an original Joe Lynn poem entitled Hole in the Wall and also Thom Gunn’s, Odysseus on Hermes. And, let me repeat, I cried when Waggoner eulogized the man who was and remains a mentor to everyone in the room. Joseph Michael Lynn.

Journalist Rick Knee was there with wife Carolyn whom Waggoner defended in a misguided Ethics probe aimed at discouraging public power advocates. Rick recently recovered from a brain surgery that lasted around 10 hours and has a handsome scar to show for the ordeal. Carolyn said that Rick got tired of her calling him “Frankenstein,” but I don’t see why.

Dance Brigade

Richard “Frankenstein” Knee.

Garrin Benfield.

The old Bulldog Salon which Joe hosted for several years was well represented. Janet Tandy and Michael Strickland with partner, Tony Hurd, and Vicki Leidner and mate, John Radogno, and Green Party spokesperson Erika MacDonald with husband, John-Marc Chandonia, and Susan King, and former SFUSD School Board Prez Mark Sanchez, and the ever stunning Michelle Mongan along with D6 hopeful Jane Kim and Julian Davis and the SF Bay Guardian’s Tim Redmond and Steven T. Jones (who sat with Alix Rosenthal). N Judah Chronicles author and political consultant, Greg Dewar, talked MUNI with Planthold and myself.

Matt Dorsey, Rick Hauptman, Bruce Wolfe, Terrie Frye, Doug Comstock and the Bulldog’s own, Alexandra Jones, and my favored D6 candidate, Jim Meko, and Michael Goldstein who’s running (as is Hope Johnson) for the Community College Board and the D Triple C. Patrick Monette-Shaw, who knows more about the subterfuge around the Laguna Honda rebuild than anyone, was there, as well as Jackie Collins, College Board Prez Milton Marks and D10 candidate Eric Smith who made fun of me while Micheas Herman laughed – and I loved it.

It was some party and we should do it every year. Salomon and the brainiacs are cooking up some Ethics reform legislation to be named after Joe and we almost followed Marc on a torch and pitchfork march to the Ethics Commission headquarters a mile or so down the street, but we were sated and I was drunk and stoned (Joe wouldn’t be surprised) and a bunch were party hopping to Jane Morrison’s annual soiree so he saved the torches for he and George’s backyard where Luke got some shots of them with Oliver Luby.

Thanks again, Joe

You introduced me to so many wonderful and powerful and talented people that I would have never known without you, and they might not be too grateful about that from time to time, but I sure am.

Speaker after speaker took to the podium to tell how Joe had positively affected them and their careers and their personal lives. He was a font of wisdom and kindness and generosity. He never quit and his SF family packed the LGBT meeting hall to overflow, and we won’t quit either – and we’ll keep on passing Joe’s torch. Speaking of which, Luke got a great shot of Salomon with the symbolic torches that makes him look every bit the warrior and high priest that he is.

High Priest and warrior Marc Salomon
(carrying Joe’s torch forward).

Joe loved the Giants.

Me too.

Go Giants!

You’ll always be with us, Joe.

More Photos

Ammiano, who presented Lynn with a posthumous commendation from the California Assembly
and the Governor, said former Ethics Commissioner Lynn told him
he could tell Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, “to kiss his gay arse any time he likes.”

During his eulogy, Marc Salomon said Lynn
“had an encyclopedic knowledge of the classics and the Bible,”
and quoted Bob Marley: “If you know your history, then you would know where you coming from.”

Oliver Luby: “When I first met Joe, he introduced himself as the Director of Sexual Harassment.”

Supe Ross Mirkarimi, h. Brown and Supe Chris Daly.

D6 candidate Jim Meko and Ammiano legislative aide Quintin Mecke.

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, Supe David Campos,
D6 candidate Debra Walker and D10 candidate Eric Smith.

Alix Rosenthal, SFBG Editor Steve Jones, Supe Chris Daly, Michael Stoll and Jim Meko.

Joe Lynn accolades, commendations, medals and certificates of accomplishment.

Harold Brown

h. brown is a 62 year-old keeper of, an eclectic site featuring a half dozen City Hall denizens. h is a former sailor, firefighter, teacher, nightclub owner, and a hard-living satirical muckraker. His other FCJ articles can be found here. here.

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Comments for Court Jester Reflects on Joe Lynn Memorial are now closed.

  1. Nicely written h. and great photographs Luke.

  2. Great work,Luke. I’ll alert my list now.