Audrey Joseph

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Audrey Joseph
Residence San Francisco, California
Nationality United States
Title San Francisco Entertainment Commission President

Audrey Joseph is a San Francisco-based record executive, club manager, LGBT rights activist, former President and current member of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission.[1][2][3]

She started in the recording industry as a nightclub manager and later record executive responsible for some disco-era dance hits. She relocated from New York to San Francisco and opened a popular club and event venue,[4] 177 Townsend/174 King Street, and several gay clubs at those venues including Pleasuredome, Club Universe, and others used for fundraising and events particular to the LGBT community.[2] With San Francisco's changing real estate market the lease on the venue expired and the building razed;[5] and Joseph started Mezzanine at 444 Jessie, which established itself as a premier venue for DJ talent.[6]

Joseph was appointed to the San Francisco Entertainment Commission by Mayor Willie L. Brown and took office in July 2003. She has served as the commission's vice president and president several times.

Early life[edit]

Joseph was born in Brooklyn, New York.[5] She was influenced by her father, a criminal lawyer and civil rights activist.[7]

Early career[edit]

Joseph's first nightclub job was at Dynamite, a Brooklyn night club. Soon after she moved to the Electric Circus, in Manhattan and shortly after began working in the record industry for Aria Productions and MK Dance Promotions, a company founded by Tom Cossie and Mark Kriener. Her break in music came while working as a promoter for the Big Apple Band which specialized in bar mitzvahs and weddings. The band was given a contract to write a song for a New York City promotional campaign and it came up with "Dance, Dance, Dance" for the b-side. The group renamed itself Chic and the single, on Atlantic Records, was the first gold 12-inch disc. "I was the promotion person, the hanger-on... a couple of the hand claps on there are mine," Joseph said of her role.

Joseph became the National Director of MK Dance Promotions and went on to promote over a hundred disco records that went gold[5][8] In 1979, Joseph joined Arista Records as their Director of dance music.[9]

San Francisco (1982)[edit]

Joseph relocated to San Francisco from New York in 1982. Her background in the concert, nightclub and record business in New York served her well in San Francisco. Joseph worked for Megatone Records[5] and was involved in the marketing and promotion of Sylvester.[10] She also managed David Harness.[11]

She became involved with AIDS activism organizations fighting the AIDS pandemic including hosting many fundraisers including the first leather subculture contests in San Francisco.[7]

Club Townsend[edit]

In 1992, Joseph, Bill Camillo and Les Dirks took over the struggling Club Townsend.[8] After the death of both Camillo and Dirks in late 1993 and early 1994, Joseph formed a partnership with Ty Dakota.[8][12]

To compliment the popular Sunday night gay tea dance, Pleasuredome, Dakota & Joseph founded Club Universe which became a renowned dance club and entertainment venue and hosted shows for international stars like Grace Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Chaka Kahn, The B-52's, Blondie, and disc jockeys from around the globe. Universe developed a reputation in the club scene for its ever-evolving, ever-changing themes each week.[13] Club Townsend and its counterpart King Street Garage hosted clubs like Wicked, Futura, New Wave City, Club Asia, Club Q, Electric and live performances by Sammy Hagar, The Blues Travelers, The Wallflowers, Third Eye Blind, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Reverend Horton Heat, Bootsy Collins, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.[2][8]

In November 2000, attorneys for the family of the late Jeffrey Goring, a San Jose man who died in February 2000 after collapsing on the dance floor at Club Universe, said they were filing a wrongful death lawsuit, complaining club employees waited too long to call 911 after Goring fell. Club officials denied the charges.[14] The case was subsequently settled out of court and Goring was found to have no drugs in his system and had collapsed from an asthma attack; all parties in the lawsuit were bound to confidentiality.[9][13]

Community event production[edit]

Joseph produced the dance stage at the Folsom Street Fair for many years and the main stage production for the San Francisco Gay Pride celebration.[2][7]

Entertainment Commission[edit]

Joseph was appointed to the Entertainment Commission by Mayor Willie L. Brown and took office 1 July 2003. She has served as the first Vice President 2003-2004 and the President of the Commission 2004-2005 and again as Vice President for 2005-2006. In 2007 she was elected as president again. Joseph started the San Francisco Entertainment Commission Academy, which holds interactive seminars to assist in the education and introduction of the night time entertainment economy.[15]


  1. ^ Nancy Norstad (January 27, 2005). "Rainbow relief for tsunami survivors". SF Bay Times. 
  2. ^ a b c d Entertainment Commission, sfgov Archived March 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Motion of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Archived November 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Circuit Noize Magazine, Issue 50 Archived March 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. , November 2006; Circuit Noize Magazine, Issue 32 Archived March 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., April 2001.
  5. ^ a b c d Selvin, Joel (May 21, 2002). "Club Townsend's grand finale". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 29, 2009. 
  6. ^ "EAW at Mezzanine, San Francisco" Lee Baldock, Lighting & Sound, 8 February 2006.
  7. ^ a b c Leather Street Fair To Honor Gay Activist, Musician (archived copy) Press release of 22nd Annual Folsom Street Fair (2005) being dedicated to Audrey Joseph.
  8. ^ a b c d Club Townsend's grand finale: Audrey Joseph closing doors of popular venue Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, May 21, 2002.
  9. ^ a b Ace of clubs puts her cards on the table Lord Martine, San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 2001.
  10. ^ Joshua Gamson (2005). The Fabulous Sylvester. Macmillan. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-8050-7250-1. 
  11. ^ Roseberry, Craig (2002-12-14). "Harness gets 'Loveslapped'". Billboard. 114. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  12. ^ Lord Martine (July 10, 1997). "More nightlife lessons for newcomers". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  13. ^ a b Lord Martine (November 30, 2001). "Ace of clubs puts her cards on the table". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  14. ^ Katie Szymanski & Terry Beswick (December 28, 2000). "A last look at Y2K: Part 2". Bay Area Reporter via Aegis. Archived from the original on 2011-05-25. 
  15. ^ Cynthia Laird (March 26, 2009). "News in brief: Our Family benefit April 1". The Bay Area Reporter. 

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