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John Keane: To those offended by rainbow flags

John Keane | Other Voices

In 1973, I found Nevada City to be a dowdy shadow of its former self. The heart of downtown was barely kept beating by antique bars, great restaurants and a lively music scene.

Among other venues was The Jacks, a fine dining eatery and bar operated by two gay men named Jack, thus the name.

The Miners Foundry was to be a museum, which also spawned the great, world renowned leader in the world of listener-supported community radio — Victorian Museum Radio, or KVMR 89.5 FM. That also was also started by two gay men who later owned the Teddy Bear Inn.



I was tending bar at the National Hotel, supervised by chef Gordon Smith, a gay man and friend.

About this time, a contingent from the LGBTQ+ community in San Francisco were looking for a place in the foothills to get away from the constant city drama. To this end they decided to support a gay candidate for mayor of Markleeville, a dowdy little town not so, so far from here.



Well, fire and brimstone rained from the sky over the town and the good people of Markleeville begged their friends and relatives far and wide to establish residency to vote and save the town from its impending descent into hell and damnation. The gay mayor lost the election.

I queried chef Gordon: “So what are you all going to do now?”

“We’ll just buy Nevada City,” said he. “It has good bones.” Quietly over time, the boarded-up storefronts were renovated and small shops began opening up, and Nevada City became what it is today.

So, to all who are offended by rainbow flags (of all things), I invite you to untwist your tighty whities and go back to your mono-colored little lives, while those so inclined celebrate and thank our colorful and vibrant LGBTQS community. The “S” stands for straight.

John Keane lives in Grass Valley.

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