San Francisco lost a legendary figure in the arts and drag community this week with the passing of Arturo Galster. Tributes to the performer — known for his impeccable Patsy Cline and appearance in the film Vegas in Space — have been flooding his personal Facebook page since his death was announced.
Marke B. of the San Francisco Bay Guardian writes that Galster was integral in a "moment in the late '80s and early '90s when SF's drag scene unmoored itself from polite old school diva kabuki into a squall of gloriously punky, ironic camp."
Galster's exact age and cause of death are unknown, but sources say he was injured last Saturday, following a Peaches Christ production of Showgirls at the Castro Theatre. The Guardian says Galster had a head wound, but didn't see a doctor, and it may have been the result of an altercation in Dolores Park. We'll update you if any further details come to light.
Watch Galster as Patsy Cline with his band the Memphis G Spots performing "Rio Grande" on the Lavender Lounge show in 1992.
Update: Per a reader tip, Arturo Galster's family has released a statement clarifying his cause of death:
"The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the City and County of San Francisco has ruled that homicide was not the cause of Arturo Galster's death. Arturo was the victim of a violent attack 36 hours before he died, but it was unrelated to his death. The Medical Examiner has not issued his final report but has stated to the family that the most likely cause of death was congestive heart failure."