As of June 3, 2008, Laura Fraenza was hired by the City of San Francisco as our new Events Manager for the Entertainment Commission. Laura has a long career in events including Artist Manager with Bill Graham Presents; a Castro-based production company called Two Visions as part of a team for major events for Cisco and PeopleSoft; Cirque du Soleil as Production Office Director on the European tour of Quidam and for the past 8 years as a freelance entertainment producer on events for Cisco, Google, and PeopleSoft, among others.
I think we all can agree that it is great to have her on board working with Audrey Joseph on this year’s Halloween.
Laura and I, along with Dennis Richards will be meeting on July 16 to discuss EVPA and DTNA concerns about Halloween and the Castro. Additionally, Laura and Audrey Joseph, President of the Entertainment Commission will attend our next EVPA General Membership meeting on Thursday, July 17.
Currently, Laura is reviewing information gathered across the city in neighborhood meetings and city departments and is developing a plan of action. She expects to announce formal plans by the end of July.
As of now, she informs us that the plan for this year is not to shut down the Castro as it was last year, but to let the bars and other businesses stay open. They will be continuing with the message of last year "Don't come to the Castro to celebrate Halloween, there is no event in the Castro," and will provide a list of myriad other options of things to do in the City. We want to change the perception that Halloween is a Castro event and instead present a variety of options in every neighborhood, working with merchant groups City-wide. Halloween is a Friday night this year, so there would be the normal crowd that comes into the City looking for something to do as they do every weekend. We will provide listings of events in every neighborhood and reassert the message that the party is not in the Castro. We are currently exploring an option of an event to be held in another part of the City.
It is critical that we have a plan of action for this year, and I am sure that with Laura and Audrey at the helm, we will see improved results that positively impact the neighborhood. Stay tuned as more develops on this important topic.