The Fairoaks Project



Frank Melleno’s Polaroid photography captured an extraordinary glimpse into pre-AIDS gay sexual culture. Melleno was part-owner and night manager of The Fairoaks Hotel, a unique San Francisco bathhouse operating from 1977 to 1979.  His candid images are remarkable, documenting the social and sexual behavior with celebration and no apology.

The Fairoaks was owned and operated by a gay commune, lending a counter-culture approach to the establishment. There were monthly theme parties including costume and “Open Door” parties, when room doors would be removed from hinges.  Many images contain nudity and erotic scenes.

The restored images, known as The Fairoaks Project, were well received at Los Angeles venues Highways and drkrm/Gallery. The Advocate and Lambda Literary have written articles on The Fairoaks Project.

The Boyfriend, a singing trio tracing its origin to performance artist Vaginal Davis, will perform at the opening.

June 7
The Fairoaks Project: Frank Melleno’s Photographs of the SF Bathhouse -1978
Gary Freeman
Center for Sex and Culture
Opening Reception: 7pm