With passionate devotion and dauntless dedication, Jerry Pritikin installed himself in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood in the early 1970s and stayed there through the decade, recording the buoyant springtime of the gay movement and all its vicissitudes in black-and-white and color photographs. Deploying a photojournalistic approach, Pritikin went where the action was and captured the vibrant and boisterous spirit of the times, so different from today’s edgy temperament. Lest we forget what any group of suppressed people feels when it liberates itself from whichever closet, Pritikin offers up a shot in which two buxom ladies—one of them in a shift emblazoned with the injunction to “Support Lesbian Mothers”—hold aloft a large banner reading “Dykes and Faggots Anarchists!” The gents are not to be outdone; we see two men in a gentle embrace, one of them wearing a t-shirt embossed with the declaration: “Commie Jew Faggot and Proud.” Then AIDS, mainstreaming and the social conservative backlash set in, and the pride of defiant vitality gave way to patience and prudence. (Michael Weinstein)
Through August 13 at the Gage Gallery, Roosevelt University, 18 S. Michigan Ave.
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