Guide to the Donald Montwill Papers, Group I - Records of Valencia Rose, January 1982-1985

Processed by Susan Pastika; machine-readable finding aid created by Xiuzhi Zhou
Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California
P.O. Box 424280
San Francisco, California 94142
Phone: (415) 777-5455, #2
Email: glhsnc@aol.com
URL: http://www.glhs.org/collectn/glhsmss.htm
© 1999
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Donald Montwill Papers, Group I - Records of Valencia Rose, January 1982-1985

Accession number: 93-7

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society



San Francisco, California

Contact Information:

  • Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California
  • P.O. Box 424280
  • San Francisco, California 94142
  • Phone: (415) 777-5455, #2
  • Email: glhsnc@aol.com
  • URL: http://www.glhs.org/collectn/glhsmss.htm
Processed by:
Susan Pastika
Date Completed:
Summer 1998
Encoded by:
Xiuzhi Zhou
© 1999 The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Donald Montwill Papers, Group I - Records of Valencia Rose,
Date (inclusive): January 1982-1985
Accession number: 93-7
Creator: Valencia Rose
Extent: 1.66 linear feet
Repository: The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.
San Francisco, California.
Language: English.

Administrative Information

Acquisition

The papers (93-7) were acquired by GLHS in 1993 from Donald Montwill.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Donald Montwill Papers, Group I - Records of Valencia Rose, 93-7, The Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California.

Historical Note

Valencia Rose, located at 766 Valencia Street in San Francisco, opened its doors in January 1982 largely through the efforts of Ron Lanza, an actor, theatre lover, and business entrepreneur. With co-owner and partner Hank Wilson, Ron turned a funeral parlor into one of the city's most prominent cabarets. Lanza and Wilson heavily subsidized the Rose for the first two years of its existence, from 1982 to 1984, bringing various theater productions to the Rose and offering full- course dinners through the culinary talents of chef Ward Smith. In 1983, the life of this cabaret really took off, when Lanza hired Donald Montwill as talent scout and Dennis Powers as publicist. By March of 1984, writing a feature for the San Francisco Chronicle, Randy Shilts announced that the Valencia Rose had become "an epicenter of gay comedy." Many up-and-coming performers began their careers at the Rose, including Whoopi Goldberg, Doug Holsclaw, Lea Delaria, and Marga Gomez and local politician, the then "mother of gay comedy" Tom Ammiano. While much performance came and went at the Valencia Rose, the cabaret also became a community resource. Donald Montwill, who is largely responsible for the stellar performances there, solicited academics, politicians, and artists to give presentations on the history of the gay and lesbian community. The series, entitled "Gay and Lesbian Pioneers," ran successfully during 1984, including presentations on lesbian subculture in Paris in the early twentieth century to lectures on the history of the local leather culture. Montwill also turned the Valencia Rose into a public space for various community organizations, encouraging political rallies and other kinds of organizing to take place there, as well as hosting educational evenings on spirituality or holistic living.
During its brief life, the Valencia Rose became a dynamic cultural and political center of the Valencia Street neighborhood. However, Ron soon set his sights on other goals, notably pursuing an acting career in Los Angeles. In late 1985, the Valencia Rose closed its doors. Donald Montwill and his ill lover, Jim Mannis, moved to Hawaii. After Mannis' death, Montwill returned to San Francisco and soon began planning the opening of a new cabaret with Lonza. This time they scouted a location near Castro and began a strong campaign to obtain a cabaret licence. The result was the opening of Josie's Juice Joint on 16th Street just off Market. He then continued his remarkable career as talent scout and theatrical impresario by becoming artistic director for Josie's, which was, in many ways, the successor to Valencia Rose.

Scope and Content

This collection, consisting of Montwill's records as artistic manager of the Rose, contains a variety a materials on just about any event occurring in its performance space. These ranged from musical reviews, plays, stand-up comedy, political meetings, rallies, slide lectures, films and photography exhibits. Promotional materials compose most of this collection. Other items include business documents, correspondence, and performance reviews from the local press.
The records (1.66 linear feet) are divided into three series; performer files, administrative files, and promotional files. The performer files contain materials for performers or for specific performance events. In these files, you will probably find a collection of fliers or other kinds of advertisements for an event. Unfortunately, though we have a plentiful supply of fliers from these events, they provide very limited information. Often, only names and dates (with no year) can be found on these fliers, accompanied by xeroxed photographs of the performer. Other materials in these files range from publicity photos, press releases, occasional scripts, press reviews, and old copies of programs for the performances. Basically, anything relevant to the specific performer or piece can be found in these files. These files were already largely in existence when the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society received these materials.
The administrative files contain general business documents, monthly calendars, correspondence files, and release forms. Of the two correspondence files, the first contain letters to Ron Lanza or promotional materials which Lanza collected. The second correspondence file contains letters and materials that Donald Montwill probably compiled.
The first two promotional files are a simple collection of all postings of performances. Additional promotional files are sorted into "Music Events;" "Photo, Slide, or Film Presentations;" and "Political, Spiritual, Holistic or Other Events." Again these are mostly brief announcements of events. One of the more interesting files in this collection is the History Project file. Here there are promotional materials, and a little correspondence, from "The History Project Series" which the cabaret hosted for about a year. In the next files, a variety of materials more or less related to Valencia Rose can be found. A file labeled "Information about Possible Performances," contains materials that either Ron Lanza, Donald Montwill, or others had collected, pertaining to any performance considered as a possibility for Valencia Rose. The following file "Materials for Planned Performances" consists largely of publicity photos, with reviews and other promotional materials also occasionally included. The file "Articles about Valencia Rose" follows. This consists of reviews and other discussions of the cabaret found in the local press. The next file of this series is a collection of monthly calendars dating from December, 1981 to July 1985; this file includes miscellaneous press releases located in the back of the folder. Finally, the last file of this series contains performance placards, or signs used to announce the event in the cabaret.

Related Collections

Title: Hank Wilson Papers
Identifier/Call Number: #96-2

Container List

 

Performer Files

Box 1

Ackamoor, Idris & Rhodessa Jones

 

Ammiano, Tom

 

Anderson, Jane

 

Anderson, Lenny

 

Ashton, Kerry

 

Avery, Gwen

 

Avotcja

 

Aylesworth, Gary

 

Baum (Terry) and Tufo

 

Blackberri

 

Bly, Marj

 

Bond, Pat

 

Busch, Charles

 

Casselberry-DuPre

 

Clinton, Kate

 

Comedy Fiesta: Richard Montoya, Margo Gomez, Monica Palacios, and Jose Anonio Burciaga

 

Corine, Tee

 

Crossover

 

DeLaria & Strobel

 

Doba, Wayne/Ernesto Sanchez

 

Dombrowlski, Patti

 

Dornacker, Jane

 

Dubie, Francesa

 

Dyketones

 

Dysart, LeRoy

 

Egomanics

 

A Fine Romance (performance opening night for Valencia Rose)

 

Fink, Sue

 

Fjell, Judy

 

Flower, Robin

 

Folk, Bill

 

Fran & Charlie

 

Gannon, Kris

 

Goldberg, Whoopi

 

Gorman-Jacobs, Judy

 

Grossman, Steve

 

Habib, Martine

 

Halston, Julie

 

Hayes, Steve

 

Healey, Susan

 

Hedzolek, Soundz

 

Helen, Sandra de

 

Hershey, Christopher

 

The Hesitations

 

Hissy Fits: Doug Holsclaw, Ellen Brook Davis, Mario Mondelli, Marga Gomez

 

Hit and Run Theatre

 

Hot Flashes

 

I Wish I Had Never Met You and I Was Meeting You Now Script

 

Jasmine

 

Justin, James

 

Kasten, Kate

 

Kelly, Ned

 

Ladies Against Women

 

The Last of the Nuns Script, Joe Besecker

 

Lavner, Lynn

 

Lesbian Chorus

 

Leigh, Carol/Scarlot Harlot

 

Leishman, Gina

 

Lifeline

 

Lippman, Dave

 

Malvina

 

McCalla, Deidre

 

McDonald, Reginald and Diane Schlactus

 

McGeeHee, Peter

 

Mellotones

 

Morgan, Geof

 

Motherlode

 

Mothertongue

 

Murphy, Charles

 

Murphy & Sieber

 

Out of the Way Players

 

Over Our Heads

 

Pat Wynne Band

 

Patterson, John

 

Pecora, Donna

 

Peterson, Art

 

Pilshaw, Elliot

 

Primavera

 

Quinlan Sisters

 

Rainbow Ensemble

 

Reno, Karen

 

Righteous Mothers

 

Rogers, Robin

 

Romanovsky & Phillips

 

Rose, Betsy

 

Ross, Jae

 

Schein, David & Whoopi Goldberg, Reverence for the Dead

 

Schiffer, Harriet

 

Sheppard, Frank J.

 

Sjogren, Craig

 

Sloan, Judy

 

Small, Judy

 

Spider Woman Theater

 

Street Angels

 

Street Theater

 

Sweet Surrender

 

Sylvern, Elka

 

Tannen, Holly

 

Ten Percent Revue

 

Towe, Ronald

 

Tumbleweed

 

Tyler, Robin

 

Vaudeville Nouveau

 

Vincent, Rick

 

Vocal Minority

 

Vogl/Shaubaum

 

We Three

 

What's Burning with Judy Roderick

 

Williams, Danny

 

Wilson (or Weinberg), Tom

 

Word is Out (film)

 

Xposed: A Male Musical

 

Administrative Files

Box 1

Business Documents

 

Correspondence Files (2 folders)

 

Release Forms

 

Promotional Files

Box 1

Performance Fliers

Box 2

Performance Fliers

 

Music Events

 

Photo, Slide or Film Presentations

 

Political, Holistic, or other events

 

History Project

 

Information about possible performances

 

Materials for planned performances: publicity photos, info, etc.

 

Articles about Valencia Rose

 

Monthly Calendars

 

Performance Placards

Folder Legal Size Folder

Calendar of Events

 

Fliers