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    Sister Dana sez: “After so many instances of defending corrupt Trump, Bill Barr should be disbarred from the bar.”

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity–

    Sister Dana sez, “After so many instances of defending corrupt Trump, Bill Barr should be disbarred from the bar. Hey, look at that! I just used the word ‘bar’ three times in one sentence! Anywaaay … remove Barr, and now please get me to the nearest bar!”

     The every first Thursday CASTRO ART WALK was once again abundant in art to enjoy on a self-guided tour of fifteen different Castro-centric venues. I always look forward to ART ATTACK (2358 Market Street) and two of my favorite artists, Serge Gay Jr. and Tracy Piper. Serge’s pieces are mostly black and grey with touches of gold. For instance, “Golden Ages” (number 33) is a depiction of metropolitan urban white city life being encroached upon by the dark jungle wilderness. “Head Start” (17) shows one racer pulling ahead of the pack, despite having a ball and chain around his foot. I also enjoy (36) “Lift” as a series of four figures embracing. Tracy has a permanent home at Art Attack. She uses her own technique of figures in extremely vivid colors, sometimes running together, sometimes dripping, blended and with outlining. Usually she has both male and female subjects, but this time, alas, only one male (23) “A Chance,” with a handsome African-American man with soulful eyes. The featured new artist is Natalia Lvova with a series of “heart” oils with rainbows inside: particularly (38) “Butterflies in My Belly,” (42) “You Are My Sunshine” with accent on yellow, and (43) “Flame of Love” with red as dominant color.

    LOCAL TAKE (3979 17th Street) has every imaginable medium (woodcuts to paintings to laser cuts, etc.) portraying San Fran landscapes, including our beloved Castro.

    DOG EARED BOOKS (489 Castro Street) features a series on same-sex animal attraction by Katy Tanis with a long sheet of paper describing each species and its instances of queerness in nature as “normal.” I thought the two giraffes were charming being caught necking. But so were the significant otters. Lions celebrated “pride” together. Male bees were getting busy.

    SPARK ARTS (4229 18th Street) has a photo show of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence “Sistory” by Heather Jacks. It is always a treat to hear the resident deejay Will Morgan spinning tunes. For a list of all the participating venues see https://www.facebook.com/castroartwalk/   

     An astronomical reception was given for QUEERS IN SPACE by GORDON SILVERIA on May 3 by STRUT at their 470 Castro Street HQ. You most likely heard about Silveria in my past columns about the many times he exhibited at ART SAVES LIVES gallery, now sadly defunct, also in the Castro just a block away. I always gave Silveria a huge thumbs-up for his distinctly artistically, occasionally sometimes 3-D, approach. But now I have to give him a double thumbs-up for this REALLY witty new point of view that (allow me to become somewhat StarTrek-ish) boldly goes beyond where no (gay) man has gone before. The exhibit (up all month of May in Strut) was created in response to the Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert’s homophobic statement that “gays should not be allowed in any space colonies.” When anger turned to daydreams, Silveria created the current clever collection themed around LGBTQs exploring the beyond. Silveria says, “I began to think what impact the LGBTQ community would have on Space Travel. My work shows how fabulous it will be when LGBTQ people do go into space.” His artwork explores color and shape, as influenced by Pop Art and 20th century pulp advertising, in which he uses digital and traditional media interchangeably. One of my faves is a space explorer in his helmet viewing this brand-new planet (I’m gonna guess gay-positive world) and expressing, “I Always Dreamed It Would Be Like This,” which is its illuminating title. Along that theme, consider the piece, “Your Secret Is Safe with Me,” from a friendly and noticeably pink & purple (gay?) alien with one big fabulous eye. Okaaay?! And be assured that there will most certainly be lesbians beyond the atmosphere because “Astronettes in Space” vividly alerts us. The final four smaller pieces at the right are totes gorge with four bangin’ depictions of sexy astro-guys floating in space half naked. Or as I like to boldly state, “In space, no one can see your pants.”

    SIGNIFICANT OTHER is a hilarious and bittersweet play now featured through June 15 at SAN FRANCISCO PLAYHOUSE, 450 Post Street Floor 2M. A slight synopsis: Jordan Berman is looking for his own “Mr. Right.” Nothing is more important to him than his close group of girlfriends; but as they get married one by one by one, he, as eternal GBT (Gay Best Friend) is left to wonder why life won’t give him the same fairytale ending. This is an unorthodox romantic comedy from award-winning playwright Joshua Harmon (Bad Jews, Admissions) that celebrates the highs and lows of twenty-something urban life—wedding after wedding after wedding. Warning: you will be forced to attend every single shower and bridal thing for all of the girls ad nauseum. Gag me. On the upside, there will be hot gay male beefcake in a bathing suit. This is a talented ensemble cast, with the happy exception of its remarkable star, the amazing Kyle Cameron, who plays the hapless Jordan, and chews up the scenery in several parts, especially notable after an awesomely delivered monologue of emotion that will make the audience shout and clap uproariously. And a few tears may be shed. https://bit.ly/30lmPTe

    On May 6, Mayor London N. Breed swore in Jeanine Nicholson as San Francisco’s new Fire Chief. Nicholson, who previously served as Deputy Fire Chief, is a 25-year veteran of the FIRE DEPARTMENT and is the first LGBT Fire Chief in San Francisco’s history. She is the second woman to run the Department, following Chief Joanne Hayes-White.

    MAITRI held its annual BLISS Gala on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) at Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF. Master of Ceremonies Michael Tate introduced Board Chair Mike Niemeyer, who welcomed everyone and thanked the attendees for helping to support such a worthy cause, now in its 32nd year of service of commitment to the community providing compassionate residential care to those living with advanced AIDS. Interim Executive Director Michael Smithwick said Maitri believes that no one should have to suffer or die alone. He said Maitri provides nonjudgmental, unconditional compassionate residential care to men and women in need of hospice or 24-hour care, and it cultivates the deepest respect and love for life among its residents and caregivers. Smithwick concluded that while there have been great advances in HIV treatment, AIDS is far from over. Two awards were given. Facilities and Administration Manager Greg Christian presented an award to Helga Sigvaldadottir. Maitri volunteer Mark Silva presented an award to “Bingo” Bob Gordon. The afternoon featured a delightful performance by jazz & cabaret singer Paula West. She adds drama and depth to every song she sings. I especially enjoy her Bossa Nova numbers.

    Mayor London N. Breed announced the appointment by the WAR MEMORIAL BOARD OF TRUSTEES of John Caldon to serve as Managing Director of the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center (WMPAC). Caldon replaces Elizabeth Murray, who will retire in July 2019 after serving 22 years as Managing Director and 38 years with the War Memorial department.

    RICHMOND/ERMET AID FOUNDATION (REAF) hosted a “One Night Only” benefit cabaret show with the touring cast of the hit Broadway show Roald Dahl‘s “CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY” on May 6 at SF Oasis nightclub. REAF provides aid for HIV programs, hunger programs, and programs for homeless and underserved youth. Producers Ken Henderson & Joe Seiler brought out the special guest emcee/performer, NYC drag diva, Ellie Monae. We did not see Willy Wonka and his gang creating tasty chocolate treats, nor did we hear numbers from “Charlie,” but we did get to enjoy the amazing cast members presenting an evening of outstanding music, dance and comedy in their own show. It opened with a medley of “candy” songs (i.e. “Lollypop Lollypop,” “Candy Store,” “Candy Man,” etc.) lip-synched by Monae and backed up by dancers David Paul Kidder & Joe Moeller. Standout numbers were “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with incredible runs by Borris Anthony York; a very funny “Summer in Ohio” by Brynn Williams; “Quickly,” a bittersweet duet about making love while you still have time left to live, by Daniel Samuel & Tanisha Moore; “Dear Theodosia” from Hamilton by Williams & Moore; a tender “Arms of a Woman” sung by David Ross Gordon (who was about to be married in 13 days); Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” belted out by Danny Guadino; and “The Greatest Star” from Funny Girl hammed up perfectly by Lily Kaufmann. And something a bit different was staged by Monae with dueling couples volunteering to “Lip-synch for Your Life” (as we see on every RuPaul’s Drag Race on TV) using the men’s arms in back between the ladies’ armpits in front with the women lip-synching “And I Am Telling You” from Dreamgirls. Both couples were so good, that it was declared a tie, and they were rewarded with free cocktails. It was a chocolate-free night, but it was still delicious!

    On May 10, Mayor London N. Breed, Supervisor Hillary Ronen and community leaders celebrated the groundbreaking of Casa Adelante—1990 Folsom, a nine-story building in the Mission District that will provide 143 permanently affordable apartments for low-income families, including 25 percent for which families choosing to relocate from HOPE SF sites will have top waitlist preference.

    ARTSAVESLIVES is well known in the art community as a huge supporter of the LGBTQ community, its performers and artists. A glorious reception was held at the Eureka Valley Rec Center, 100 Collingwood in the Castro on May 10. Before this, the last show featured elder LGBTQ people sitting for their portraits by artists. Now, they’ve had the opportunity to do a remarkable series of sittings with members of the transgender community, and do their portraits in various media. The artists of these pieces include: Thomasina Demaio (who also curated), Alexander Nowik, Billy Douglas, Steven Pomeroy, David York and Ed Terpening. To name just a few of the iconic transgenders portrayed: Donna Personna, Collette Le Grande, Veronica Fimbres, Shawn Demmons, Tita Aida, Landa Lakes, Just Shannon, Luis Guitierrez-Mock, Bubbles, Phatima Rude and Bambi Lake. These masterpieces will remain on display at least through May. Performers at the reception included Joe Tate and the Hippie Voices trio giving us “Dreamin’,” “Fools Rush In,” and “Dawning of Aquarius;” Jill McAnally yodeling to Kevin McConnelly on guitar, and stirring poetry of Llano River Blue 

     The nation’s two leading LGBTQ military nonprofits, AMERICAN MILITARY PARTNER ASSOCIATION (AMPA) and OUTSERVE-SLDN, are combining forces by merging to form MODERN MILITARY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA as the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to education, advocacy and support for LGBTQ service members, military spouses, veterans, family members and allies.

    SAN FRANCISCO PRIDE is announcing the departure of Executive Director George F. Ridgely, Jr. After five-and-a-half years in the role, Ridgely has announced that he will be stepping down after the 2019 event, which will be the sixth CELEBRATION AND PARADE under his leadership. The Board of Directors, grateful to Ridgely for his guidance and hard work, is evaluating the next step for San Francisco Pride’s leadership and will embark upon a search to fill the role. Ridgely has accepted a position with SAN FRANCISCO RECREATION AND PARKS DEPARTMENT beginning in mid-July, managing Permits and Reservations.

    Sister Dana sez, “We May be halfway through May, but there May be many more May events to check out. So Maybe try some of these!”

    HARVEY MILK’S BIRTHDAY is May 22. If you are not aware of this iconic gay activist politico (first of all: shame on you), then Google it. ANNUAL HARVEY MILK DAY COMMEMORATION is Sunday, May 19, 1–2 pm in Harvey Milk Plaza. Music, comments and a march down Castro Street to 575 Castro, the former site of Harvey’s store, Castro Camera, will take place.

    HARVEY MILK PLAZA CELEBRATION is Sunday, May 19, 2–5 pm, 541 Castro Street. THE FRIENDS OF HARVEY MILK PLAZA will be hosting a celebration of the plaza effort, where the latest renderings will be shared with the public for the first time. The event is free, but register at https://bit.ly/2vZvpt0

    BAY AREA MUSICALS presents A TWIST OF LIMELIGHT Gala on May 20, 6:30 pm­–9:30 pm, at San Francisco’s Alcazar Theatre (650 Geary Street). This year’s Gala will be headlined by Tony Award-nominee Paul Alexander Nolan (Bright Star, Escape to Margaritaville, Once, Chicago, Doctor Zhivago, Daddy Long Legs, Jesus Christ Superstar), making his San Francisco cabaret debut. https://www.bamsf.org/twist-of-limelight

    You are invited to the VIP GRAND OPENING of THE LGBT ASYLUM PROJECT to their new CENTER FOR IMMIGRANT PROTECTION’s new offices in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro District. The LGBT Asylum Project is a nonprofit organization that provides pro-bono legal representation for LGBT immigrants who are fleeing persecution and seeking asylum in the United States. Past clients of The LGBT Asylum Project will share their stories. Founders Okan Sengun and Brooke Westling will discuss the asylum process, and board members will be on hand to explain how you can help those who need us most (against the Trumpish homophobes and xenophobes who want to eliminate all immigrants). Please RSVP by May 24 to: info@lgbtasylumproject.org  www.lgbtasylumproject.org

    OPENHOUSE is seeking artists—especially muralists—to apply for a commission to paint a large-scale mural to celebrate the resilience and strength of HIV Long-Term Survivors. The deadline for submissions is May 22.

    https://bit.ly/2JFCmaD 

     SISTER ACT is now at The Gateway Theatre (formerly Eureka) 215 Jackson Street, now through June 1, Wednesday–Saturday, 8 pm; Saturday matinees at 3 pm. The famous Whoopi Goldberg movie that became the hit musical now gets the Rhino twist when a drag queen singer has to go into hiding as a nun. But she’s not the only nun in drag—not at Rhino! As a nun myself, I wholly (holy?) recommend this one!

    http://therhino.org/

    1. JAMES INFIRMARY is having its 20TH ANNIVERSARY GALA at Terra Gallery, 511 Harrison Street on Sunday, June 2, 6 pm–11 pm. It features performers including Jennifer Holliday, Marga Gomez, Lawrence Beaman and after-party performer Micah Tron. https://stjamesinfirmary.ejoinme.org/tickets

    Sister Dana sez, “Congratulations to Donald J. Rump for passing the 10,000 mark of falsifications since taking office. Donnie, you now qualify for the coveted Liar Liar Pants on Fire award.”