Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wing Cafe

Golden Hill neighborhood, San Diego
Wing Café

Location: B Street, San Diego, California, USA

Opened: 1979

Closed: December 18, 1992

I first learned of the Wing Café on the Hillcrest History Timeline under 1979:

The Wing Cafe, a feminist restaurant-gallery-performance space on B Street in Golden Hill, opens. In 1982 Kathy Najimy and Sue Palmer take over the entertainment.

It's also listed on the Lambda Archives timeline for San Diego.

You can find more about Kathy Najimy--with a brief reference to the Wing Café--here.
Kathy Najimy in Sister Act (1992)

Karla Kirkwood also mentions doing stand-up comedy and a solo show at the Wing Café from 1980 to 1982.

This richer description of the Wing Café is taken from a memorial tribute to San Diego lesbian feminist Sara Louise Thompson (1953-2007).

A popular hangout for lesbians and feminists in San Diego at the time was the Wing Café, located on B Street in Golden Hills. It was a women-only, feminist café, offering theater performances, and giving women the opportunity to display their art, paintings, and quilts, among other things. Karen Konecky was one of five partners in the café and managed it full-time from 1979 to 1982. The café was a popular nexus for many women and women performers, a place where women could be comfortable and could discuss politics and listen to the music of piano player Sue Palmer. As Joan Capra recalls the café became a place where she and Sarah spent their free time. Karen remembers Whoopi Goldberg, a resident of San Diego around 1980 , who performed with a male companion. The women of the Wing Café told Whoopi that they welcomed only women, which inspired Whoopi to create a one-woman show for the café. This one-woman show eventually went to off-Broadway, and it later earned Whoopi a role in The Color Purple.  As Karen Kockecky remembers, "[T]his is a proud memory for the partners of the Wing Café" (Telephone Interview 2).

The Lambda Archives reports that the Wing Café closed in 1982:

The Wing Café closes December 18. The café opened 2 ½ years ago. Its Friday evening women’s open showcase provided opportunity for many women to test their talents. The Wing was the only local coffeehouse to bring a consistently high level of out-of-town women’s entertainment.

Obviously the 2 1/2 years ago is an editing error.

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