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    About Our Cover: 12.7.23

    “Gays just know how to do stuff. You know, they’re survivors.”

    —Jennifer Coolidge

    From Trans Handy Ma’am (the home repair TikToker) to Queer Eye, the LGBTQ community continues to gain a reputation for not only tackling work tasks but also doing so in style. Cliff’s Variety, the landmark Castro variety store, has forever seemed to marry form to function with ease. Even Hot Cookie often adds extra flair to its treats, such as the wintry coat of peppermint white chocolate and dash of colorful sprinkles on its December Cookie of the Month: Merry Mint.

    So it is that many homes in the Castro go beyond basic outdoor holiday lighting, reflecting the creativity, generosity, pride, and essence of both the homeowners and the season. For example, “68 Castro Street is everyone’s holiday decoration goals,” according to The San Francisco Standard. Many of us at the San Francisco Bay Times agree, and look for this stunning display each year. When an image of it was shared via Reddit, a commenter posted, “I work at the hospital in front of this house & this is the only reason I go to work every day especially during the holidays.” 45 Upper Terrace, with its unique storybook appearance, is one of numerous other homes in the area that has gained fame for its holiday decorations.

    In addition to individual homes, certain businesses in the Castro go all out with decorations during the holidays. Orphan Andy’s is a favorite stop, both for its decor and warm comfort foods such as chocolate chip pancakes. Owners Bill Pung and Dennis Ziebell live above the restaurant, helping to explain its home-away-from-home feel.

    This year is bittersweet, as it is without the memorable display at Tom and Jerry’s “Christmas House” at 3650 21st Street. Jerry—Dr. Jerome Goldstein—died last month. His husband, Tom Taylor, passed in 2020. As Donna Sachet writes in this issue, visiting their elaborately decorated house was a treasured holiday tradition for many in San Francisco. The great Norfolk Island pine in front of the home, estimated to stand 65 feet, required a hydraulic lift to decorate it. Tom led that effort, and with Jerry opened their doors to members of the community for visits with Santa, unforgettable parties, and more.

    Whether the holiday was Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Diwali, or any other in fall/winter (and the other seasons too), Tom & Jerry were happy to celebrate it with great gusto. However you observe this season, we hope that you and yours enjoy this time and urge you to support the small businesses, restaurants, nonprofits, and more in the Castro. We hope to see you at our holiday party with the Golden Gate Business Association on December 12 at The Academy SF ( and at Home for the Holidays on December 24 at the Castro Theatre ( ).

    Published on December 7, 2023