Though a self-made gay activist, I rarely visit our bars. That's
because I'm a (batik) dyed-in-the-wool left-wing counterculture pothead
hippie-dippie non-alcohol/non-hard drug wholesome left-wing radical
street-wise pagan and anthropo-politico-faggot. And as all my readers
surely know by now, we lefties are an endangered species in all
minorities of any stripe! In fact we've been mostly gutted out except
for a few tough stragglers like myself, bravely carrying a sputtering
torch that is the Spirit of the Sixties...particularly, the LGBTQ
Spirit born thereof.
But see how crippled and dysfunctional our beloved community has
become, by taking this rude swing to the Right? Now, all you losers
come whimpering back home to us loyal commies, begging forgiveness and
your return to a warm hearth and loving souls.
But every several years or so, I go into my "bar cycle"...this time,
South of Market's "Hole in the Wall" on Eighth Street near Folsom.
Expecting--as usual--to sit alone in my daydreams, enjoying the
(non-disco/non-hiphop) brilliant collections of authentic rock in its
various genres. Plus the occasional operetta. (By the way, I don't
drink alcohol much, so I usually nurse a cup of coffee...really, just
an excuse to hang out. I am 95% teatotaler.)
I had visited this bar in a previous cycle two years ago, and found it
pleasant enough. But, this time around, I'm like: WHOAAAAA! So I fall
in love with this hot item called "Larkin", who is 41 but looks 28:
very tall (maybe 6-1/2?) lanky darkly-red haired, handsome rogue of an
Irishman. He's the star of the place, and I sure can see why! (What's
gotten into me?)
Larkin plays a hot game of pool (and those sexy moves that bring on the
drool), and puts so many smiles on so many faces of our older gay
brothers, most of whom suffer AIDS or equally immune-damaging ailments.
He is so funny, so witty, makes so many folks laugh their arses off...I
am literally stunned at this remarkable youthful man: a REAL "man" in
every best possible sense of that word!
He has such a compassionate and humorous outreach to so many! These men
who are dealing with nerve-wracking life and death issues every single
day, day in and day out, nonetheless look forward to another day of
life because of:
His loving friendship to me in the few weeks I've been there can only
be compared to a Knight in Shining Armor. He has so many wonderful gay
souls under his wing, that I can't believe he had the time and energy
to also shelter me...who is blessed to be free of AIDS, cancer, or
anything else. I am 55 and in excellent health, still (despite my loss
of medical and dental insurance), thanks to the pagan wisdom I've
acquired in regards to self-healing and prevention. (And never messing
with hard drugs or too much alcohol.)
Larkin is a great party mixer! He is very sociable with everyone, young
and old, male and female (and in between), and is also a most excellent
bouncer when need be. Yet he does this of his own devotion, his own
will, and lives in a humble room paid by a humble job in the tacqueria
next door. What's wrong with this picture?
Well, Larkin is so funny and such a great all-around guy, he could be
very well paid at gay events and parties. Or how about hiring him to
bring happiness to AIDS and other patients suffering deadly diseases?
He'd also make a most excellent big brother for troubled young adults.
This man is so talented, I can't believe Hole in the Wall has been able
to keep him secret for so long. Here, I thought I was San Francisco's
Best Kept Secret (since I am after all, "Jehovah's Queer
Witness")...but I must pass on that crown to this most outstanding and
gracious gay man among all gay men:
I think--now that I've let the cat out of the bag--the only way the bar
owner can keep Larkin from being whisked off by a talent scout, thus
losing more than eighty percent of his customers resulting in the bar's
shutting down after all these years:
The owner should put him on the payroll, with a living (not minimum) wage, complete with quality health and dental insurance.
For this bodacious dude of dudes, Larkin, has been entertaining for
free, for years, at Hole in the Wall...and he remains the main draw for
anyone to hang out there! In spite of all the excellent bartenders who
already work there. I think it is selfish of our affluent patrons to
not already have arranged for Larkin to be a professional party mixer
at least several times a month! They want to keep him all for
themselves, like a bird in a gilded cage...but instead of a bird, it's
Larkin (a human being), and instead of a cage, it's the Hole in the
Wall (a gay biker bar)!
I found a most wonderful treasure for our community, in Larkin. He has
done--and continues to do--so much good for so many with AIDS and other
difficult issues (including those restful breaks of sanity in these
virulently homophobic times). It is my wish that our Queer Family give
due recognition and honors to this incredible, unsung hero. As a
spiritual counselor for my gay buddies on the streets, I have learned a
thing or two about identifying a true hero. And Larkin is outstanding
in that department, as well as in every other!
At fifty-five, I guess I ought to consider myself yet one more aging
queer who's found shelter and warmth under Larkin's great wings. Thank
you Larkin, for being the magnanimous guardian angel that you are, for
so many! You have brought incredible happiness to my own heart, for the
good man you are. Watching you work a room is pure magic!
Coffee and Larkin: it doesn't get any better than this. Thanks, wonderful buddy!
Ezekiel Joseph Krahlin (San Francisco)
President and Founder of the Larkin Fan Club