Margo St. James' San Francisco Masquerade Ball Poster, printer's proof
Margo St. James' San Francisco Masquerade Ball Poster, printer's proof
Margo St. James' San Francisco Masquerade Ball Poster, printer's proof
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Margo St. James' San Francisco Masquerade Ball Poster, printer's proof

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Item details

Vintage from the 1970s

Margo St. James' San Francisco Masquerade Ball Poster, printer's proof. San Francisco: Seen Sal Inc. for Victoria C. Woodhull Foundation; Tea Lautrec, 1979. 23x29 inch poster for the series of events held in Hollywood, New York and San Francisco as fundraisers for the prostitution legalization organization; design by Randy Tuten and Daddy Bread (Bill Bostedt); fine condition. Untrimmed, with color registers still present at edges. In other years this event was advertised as the 'Hookers Ball'.

Mounted in poster frame with plexi cover. But will ship out of state rolled in a heavy tube.

Such a great piece of history from the early years of the woman's rights and LGBT movement. Plus, it is displayable and attractive.

Margaret Jean (Margo) St. James (MStJ) was born in 1937 in Bellingham, Washington, and graduated from Mount Baker High School in Deming, Washington, in 1955. She worked on her father's dairy farm, married, and had one son. She was later divorced and in 1959 moved to San Francisco, where she worked as a waitress, process server, gardener, carpenter's assistant, and dance instructor, and was founder of Margo's Miracle Maids, a domestic
service. Following her conviction for prostitution, MStJ studied law at Lincoln University in San Francisco (1963-1964) and succeeded in getting her conviction overturned. In 1976 MStJ was licensed as a private investigator in California.
Seeing a need for a dialogue between feminists and prostitutes, MStJ organized WHOM (Whores, Housewives, and Other Mothers) in 1971 to bring together "straight" women and prostitutes to identify and work toward common goals. Although WHOM met only a few times, it became the forerunner of COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics), which MStJ founded on Mother's Day in 1973. A civil rights organization for prostitutes, COYOTE called for the decriminalization of prostitution and sought to provide legal and medical services for prostitutes. It also offered employment, health, and financial counseling, and worked to educate the public about prostitution through publications, speeches, and seminars.
In October 1974 COYOTE sponsored its first Hookers' Masquerade Ball in San Francisco, a fund-raising event that was billed as "the social event of the year for heterosexuals, bisexuals, trisexuals, nonsexuals, homosexuals, and other minorities who feel discriminated against." A film entitled Hookers documented the ball, which became an annual event in San Francisco for a number of years and inspired similar functions in other cities.
Although it was widely perceived to be a prostitutes' union, in 1975 only 60 of COYOTE's 8500 members admitted to being prostitutes; most members were educated, white, middle-class women. Within two years of its founding, two sister chapters were formed: ASP (Association of Seattle Prostitutes) and PONY (Prostitutes of New York); by 1979 there were nearly twenty sister organizations in the U.S. and abroad. A newspaper entitled COYOTE Howls appeared irregularly between 1974 and 1979.
In 1976 feminist Florynce Kennedy founded the Victoria C. Woodhull Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit corporation. MStJ served as its executive director and Priscilla Alexander became chair of one of the VWF's ad hoc committees, the National Task Force on Prostitution. VWF was "designed to be a funding tool for decriminalization of prostitution and related issues: violence, rape, incest, abortion, child care, welfare, etc." With COYOTE as the lobbying arm and NTFP charged with establishing international networks, VWF set up Masquerade Corporation to produce balls and other fund-raising events.
After a fire destroyed the COYOTE headquarters in August 1978, many of its functions were absorbed by the NTFP. A national network of prostitutes' rights advocacy organizations, the NTFP worked for the decriminalization of prostitution and "the removal of stigmas associated with female sexuality." It sought to influence state policy makers, conducted research and compiled statistics, and prepared position papers on topics related to prostitution. The VWF achieved non-governmental organization status at the United Nations late in 1979, and in October 1980 the NTFP was adopted as a project by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. In 1984 the NTFP held its first national convention in San Francisco, coinciding with the Democratic National Convention. Most active chapter members were prostitutes or ex-prostitutes, although some non-prostitute advocates also participated. A similar network in Canada, CORP (Canadians Organized for the Rights of Prostitutes), worked with the NTFP on a variety of projects.
In 1985 MStJ and Gail Pheterson formed the International Committee for Prostitute's Rights (ICPR), based in Amsterdam. The NTFP and its affiliates were members of the ICPR, which sponsored the World Whores' Congress in Amsterdam in 1985 and in Brussels in 1986. MStJ moved to Europe in 1986 to continue her work. Priscilla Alexander, a former schoolteacher who had worked with MStJ in various capacities since 1976, and Gloria Lockett, a former prostitute who joined the organization in 1982, continued the work of the NTFP in San Francisco as co-directors.
Reflecting a growing concern about AIDS during the 1980s, members of COYOTE formed CAL-PEP (California Prostitutes Education Project) in 1985 "to provide public education on prostitution, and to provide education and counseling to prostitutes, ex-prostitutes, and sex workers within the San Francisco Bay Area." Its first project, funded by the State of California Department of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and Project AWARE, was an AIDS-prevention project that culminated in the publication of Prostitutes Prevent AIDS: A Manual for Health Education in 1988 (see #508-514).
In the late 1980s PA left the NTFP to work with the World Health Organization in Geneva. In the mid 1990s MStJ returned to San Francisco, where she continued her work as a member of the city's task force on prostitution and the mayor's drug advisory board.

A great historical link to MStJ and the Masquerade Ball - good reading: 'Hookers had Balls', by Jerry Seltzer http://rollerderbyjesus.com/2010/08/30/hookers-had-balls/

Randy Tuten is the only poster artist whose work spans five decades of design for The Fillmore. The 23 year-old San Francisco native was hired by Bill Graham in January, 1969, and their mutual taste for traditional, readable design style led to a long-lasting work relationship. Although influenced by the compositions of "Fillmore Five" artists Mouse, Kelley and Griffin, Tuten avoided "... Heavy meaning in my posters." Tuten's style reflected his skill as a draftsman, and his designs evolved into an eclectic mix of graphic imagery, lettering and photographs.