Matchbooks, Photos, Misc
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you help me obtain any program I am missing, or scans of them?....:)
was a nightclub and bar in San Francisco. First opened in the basement
of 406 Stockton Street
as a speakeasy called the 201 Club in 1929, the club moved upstairs
in 1933 with the repeal of prohibition,
and started to offer female impersonation acts; after police raids
in 1936, the club relocated to 506 Broadway,
above Enricos Café in North Beach. The term "Finocchio"
is Italian for fennel but is often used as a slang term
for homosexual by Italian speakers.
Joseph "Joe" Finocchio, the creator of the club, had the
idea of a nightclub with female impersonators in
costumes when a patron jokingly went on the stage of his club and
did a routine that the crowd enjoyed.
The club was not advertised as a gay club; it was advertised as a
place for entertainment and fun. Both gay
and straight performers worked there. The acts included varying ethnic-inspired
performances such as
geisha-style performances, which may have helped encourage tourists
and contributed to the racially diverse.
was little trouble at the club over the years, though military authorities
declared Finocchio's "off limits"
for selling liquor to WWII military personnel outside of authorized
hours. That temporary sanction was lifted
New Year's Eve 1943 after Joe Finnochio and other bar owners signed
an agreement to limit liquor sales to
military personnel to between 5 p.m and midnight. Beer could, however,
be sold between 10 a.m. and midnight.
was a favorite tourist spot in San Francisco from the 1930s to the
1990s, but as cross-dressing
became less unusual, the crowds dwindled.
nightclub was the long-time venue of LaVerne Cummings, and Lucian
Phelps, the legendary "Male Sophie
Tucker," who appeared there for 27 years.
Finocchio, widow of the founder, decided to close the club in late
1999 because of a major rent increase
and dwindling attendence. The club closed November 27, 1999. Beat
poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti's only
comment upon hearing of the closure was:"What a drag."
drink menu / flyer from Finocchio's
Postcard (circa 1974), Left to right: The Eve-ettes (in green),
Carroll Wallace, Val DeVere, David de Alba, Russell Reed, (front-center)
Click here: and here
to see pics of David DeAlba at the club.
Finocchio's entrance, photo courtesy of Mister
SF , Check out his neat site!
I spotted on eBay (June 2013) these two door being sold by a
dealer in Kansas. They were decorated with designs from
Finocchio's programs, and the dealer stated:
"This is a new fun take on the old Glory
Hole from Finocchio's 406 Club
in San Francisco, CA . The men would go to the doors , open the
smaller doors and be "entertained " anonymously from the
I need to add a disclaimer. As my esteemed SF
Gerard Koskovich stated: Ahem, no such thing as "Finocchio's
406 Club" and what "glory holes"? Nothing of
the sort at the
actual Finocchio's in either its speakeasy incarnation or its long
run from 1936 to 1999 as a female-impersonation cabaret. I just
love how dealers fabricate queer history out of thin air to sell