The Castro's rainbow crosswalks were damaged last week during the filming of an ABC miniseries that chronicles key moments from the LGBTQ struggle for civil rights. When We Rise was being filmed mainly in Vancouver but needed some on-location shots done in SF. So the production came to the Castro to shoot scenes recreating a 1979 police raid on a gay bar the night of the White Night Riot, and covered up the the rainbow crosswalks as part of an effort to give the street a little verisimilitude. Well, according to Hoodline, the process somehow ending up damaging the rainbows, and despite numerous attempts crews have been unable to restore them.
filming in the Castro today. they covered up the rainbow crosswalk, and made some 1970s storefronts pic.twitter.com/ZW6CAjMPMo— darth mauly (@mollymonster) May 8, 2016
The Castro's crosswalks went officially rainbow back in 2014 as part of the Castro Streetscape Improvement project, and the vibrant colors of the recently striped walkways served as a loud celebration of the neighborhood's past and present.
Crews with When We Rise employed a gray material, likely some sort of vinyl marley, to hide the rainbows. When they attempted to pull it up, much of that material looks to have melted or stuck in some fashion to the street.
"They initially pressure-washed the crosswalks with cold water, as directed, so as not to damage them," executive director of the SF Film Commission, Susannah Robbins, told Hoodline. "They then went again and had their street cleaners clean them with approved solvents (non-corrosive street cleaner). However, neither of these methods sufficiently cleaned the crosswalks."
The northern-most Castro Street crosswalk is reportedly the most damaged, with other fairing better. If they are unable to clean them, the production will be on the hook for replacing them. "The city agencies overseeing the film crew are committed to ensuring the crosswalks are restored, and if need be, replaced by the film crew," Andrea Aiello of the Castro Community Benefit District informed the publication. "Email communication between all parties indicates that they are committed to restoring them."
In other words, we may soon be getting an entirely new set of brightly striped crosswalks — albeit ones that look exactly like the old. How long that will take, however, is unclear.