The Stud Collective wants to teach the children well who are coming up in SF's drag scene, and they just announced that when the bar reopens in new digs this winter (or spring?), it will be hosting The Stud School of Drag.
Though it has been on an extended hiatus since early 2020, The Stud will remain SF's oldest, still-extant LGBTQ bar when it reopens at 1123 Folsom Street. And its ownership collective wants to celebrate that legacy and pass on some knowledge and history to the next generation of drag artists when it reopens its doors.
And really, no bar in the city is better suited to serve as a training ground for San Francisco drag, in all its subversive, performance-arty glory.
"It was so important [to us] that we preserve some of San Francisco’s drag legacy," says collective member Honey Mahogany, speaking to NBC Bay Area. "People like Peaches Christ, Heklina, and Juanita [MORE], and so many other people helped to shape San Francisco’s drag. And so we wanted to honor that, honor San Francisco’s drag legacy and create a formal school so that people can get a sense of the unique history."
"I’m excited to bring this art form to a new generation as the first Stud School of Drag Headmistress," Mahogany says in a statement. "[When I started out] I thought drag was just about being campy and female impersonation — which is cool — but the Stud taught me that drag can be political, dark, scary, weird, emotional and so much more."
When the school launches, it will offer weekly evening classes in the history of drag, Makeup 101, creating character through costuming, lip-synching, and marketing fundamentals.
An application process for the first class of students will be announced shortly after the new Stud reopens, the collective says — and all genders and sexualities will be welcome to apply, as long as applicants are over age 21.
The goal, Mahogany says, will be to bring a bit of structure to something that has traditionally been more informal — and in the age of social media and the internet, many young queens try to figure it all out on their own.
"People rely on YouTube or, historically, it really has been passed on in an informal way from drag mother to drag daughter," Mahogany tells NBC Bay Area. "So we want to formalize that process a little bit so that we can again preserve that rich history and legacy."
The Stud does not yet have a reopening date, but the Stud Collective has said it would like to get open this winter. They announced last month that they had inked a lease for the former Julie's Supperclub space at Folsom and Langton, most recently known as Trademark — and recently it was also host to several pop-up "experiences" like Golden Girls Kitchen. The two-building space includes a back patio and kitchen.
This will be the Stud's third location since its inception in 1966. The first location was several blocks away from the new one, at 1535 Folsom Street — most recently known as Holy Cow and Eve.
As Curbed noted after the demise of the Harrison Street location, even Dianne Feinstein stopped by the first location once on a campaign pitstop when she was running for reelection as mayor.
The Stud relocated in 1987 to Ninth and Harrison streets, and stayed there for 33 years, giving birth to club nights like Sugar, Go Bang!, and Trannyshack. In May 2020, after it became clear that the Stud Collective could not afford to continue paying rent amid an uncertain pandemic — and given that the property was slated for demolition and redevelopment — the group staged an elaborate, virtual drag funeral, though they promised the Stud itself was not gone for good.
If you want to help the Stud Collective toward this reopening, they have so far only reached a little over 10% of a $500,000 crowdfunding goal for opening expenses.