In Production


Stand Up, Stand Out tells the story of a unique brand of activism belonging only to San Francisco--where three gay teachers’ fight for equal rights during the burgeoning Gay Liberation Movement of the 1970s, led to the blossoming of the Valencia Rose Cabaret, Café, and Restaurant, believed to be the first and only gay-owned and operated comedy club in the USA. As AIDS ravaged San Francisco, a gay and lesbian comedy club flourished in, of all places, an old mortuary.

From 1981 to 1986, the Valencia Rose Cabaret, Café, and Restaurant blossomed as the home of queer comedy, the birthplace of many well-known careers, a de-facto community center and a gathering place for activists. At a dark historical moment, it was a locus of resistance through laughter.Stand Up, Stand Out is a one-hour video documentary that plunges into a little-known, but widely resonant, chapter of queer cultural history: the story of the Valencia Rose (1981-1986).  Through the voices and humor of the Rose’s rag-tag performers, the film explores gay comedy as an outgrowth of the rich traditions of activism and performance in San Francisco, an empowering response to the conservative politics of the era, and a valiant quest for joy and laughter amidst the horrific onslaught of the AIDS crisis.




Tom Ammiano is an LGBTQ rights activist and ground-breaking, gay, stand-up comedian and an American Politician. Tom was one of the first public school teachers to “come out” making front-page news in the San Francisco Examiner (June 12, 1975). Because of the organizing efforts and campaigns led by Tom, and fellow Bay Area Gay Liberation members and teachers, Hank Wilson and Ron Lanza, the group achieved the rights denied them of equal protections under the lawby the San Francisco School Board.

In 1977 he worked side by side with Harvey Milk, ands uccessfully fought California’s Brigg’s Initiative, the west coast version of Anita Bryant’s “Save the Children” campaign that repealed gay civil rights for teachers in the state of Florida. In 1981 Tom was instrumental in initiating the opening of the Valencia Rose Cabaret, Café and Restaurant with fellow activists and friends, Hank Wilson and Ron Lanza. In 1990 Tom was elected to the San Francisco Unified School District Board and has been a member of the SF Board of Supervisor since 1994. He ran unsuccessfully for San Francisco Mayor in 1999 and 2003 and has served as a Democratic member of the California State Assembly since 2008, and retired in 2014 when his second term ended.



Karen Ripley is a 30-year comedy veteran, and musician who is well known in the Bay Area comedy scene, also performing in Los Angeles and New York City. She has performed on LOGO and Comedy Central. Karen has taught improvisation to children and adults for over 25 years and has been the in-house improvisation teacher for the Harvey Milk Institute in San Francisco for the past 9 years.

She performed as a stand-up comedian at numerous fundraisers for many causes benefiting the LGBTQ community particularly in raising funds to fight the epidemic of AIDS. Karen “came out” in 1978and was one of the original comedians to launch Monday Night Comedy at The Rose.




Dirk Alphin is an actor and theatre director for more than three decades. He was the operations manager of the Valencia Rose Cabaret, Café and Restaurant from 1983-1985 and manager of Josies’ Juice Joint from 1989 to 1999. Josie’s is the sister and successor comedy club to the Valencia Rose Cabaret, Café and Restaurant from owned by Ron Lanza.






Paul Boneberg is an AIDS activist who rose through the AIDS movement over the last three decades. He moved to the Castro in 1979, and spent several decades living on Castro Street, witnessing firsthand the decimation of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Early on he worked with the group Mobilization Against AIDS in the 1980,s which held meetings at the Valencia Rose, and served as executive director of the Global AIDS Action Network. As friends and neighbors were lost, Boneberg devoted his life to fighting back and caring for those living with HIV.

Paul served as the Executive Director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society in San Francisco from 2007-2015. During his time at the GLBT Historical Society he safeguarded and cared for a different aspect of the gay community – its history. Paul is known for his interviews in the documentaries, I Am Divine (2013), We Were Here (2011), and as an advisor for Independent Lens (1999).

© DP Media 2010