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Don't Get In The Way 

Wednesday, Sep 19 2007
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Back in 1977, Allan B. Estes Jr. helped produce one of San Francisco's earliest examples of queer theater, The West Street Gang, staged at the Black and Blue, an iconic South of Market leather bar. Appropriately, the play (written by Doric Wilson) was a coarse, rabble-rousing satire about a group of friends at a gay bar seeking egress from street philistines, including gay bashers and political charlatans. That was the beginning of Theatre Rhinoceros, which has the distinction of being the world's oldest continuously operating establishment for professional queer theater. Needless to say, the past 30 years of the organization's history have been all about pushing boundaries. Sure, you can find your quintessential drag and burlesque shows at Theatre Rhino, but aside from the requisite doses of campy comedy, the place also dishes out provocative examinations of family, AIDS, life on the margins, and other harrowing and relevant issues. Artistic director John Fisher is at the helm of Theatre Rhinoceros: The First Thirty Years, a prismatic collage of songs and scenes from the past three decades; the up-to-date takes on original pieces prove the need for bold, audacious queer theater is as urgent as ever.
Sept. 20-Oct. 21, 8 p.m., 2007

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Nirmala Nataraj

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