Garry ‘Marlena’ McLain Discusses His 20th Year Owning Drag Bar Marlena’s

Photo: Rich Trove

Hayes Valley gay institution Marlena’s will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary in the neighborhood, having opened in the shadow of the collapsed Central Freeway not long after the Loma Prieta quake. Proprietor Garry McLain (a.k.a. Marlena, Empress XXV of SF’s Imperial Court) spoke to the Bay Times about his three decades in town, how he became Empress, and his international fame as both bar owner and drag impresario. “I was in Italy with friends, and this guy came running across the street saying, ‘Marlena!’ He used to live here in Hayes Valley years ago… It’s such a small world - but such a wonderful world.”

If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to check out the Hayes Valley Follies, every Saturday at 10 p.m. — it’s sort of the less Tenderloin-y version of the Hot Boxxx Girls at Aunt Charlie’s, but just as old-school.

Marlena Celebrates 30 Years in San Francisco
[SF Bay Times]

Garry ‘Marlena’ McLain Discusses His 20th Year Owning Drag Bar