Farewell Favorites: Josie's Cabaret and Juice Joint

New College, 766 Valencia Street, former Valencia Rose location.
Tom Ammiano's grass roots campaign for mayor was the last hurrah for Josie's Cabaret and Juice Joint at 16th and Market in the Castro. Josie's was named for the grandmother of founder Ron Lanza, who opened the venue as a platform for comic voices in the gay community. Like its predecessor, Lanza enterprise the Valencia Rose, Josie's was an activist cabaret. Performers whose careers rose from Lanza's joints include Marga Gomez, Whoopi Goldberg, Lea DeLaria, Scott Capurro, Margaret Cho, Mark Davis, and the best of the City's 1990s counter culture including Keith Hennessy, Kate Bornstein, and Justin Bond. After closing with much fanfare early in 1999, Josie's reopened a few weeks later and operated for another year. During its last season, Josie's was converted into the campaign headquarters of Ammiano, the comic and political leader who broke down barriers for gay comedians after honing his talents at the Valencia Rose. QComedy is a collective that promotes new venues for comics and supports the work of emerging talent. The QComedy web site also keeps audiences up to date with with veteran Josie's performers, including one who later became Mister SF.

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Detail IV: Heart of the City 01/28/03
Detail V: Donald Montwill's Josie's memory album

Copyright 2002 Hank Donat
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