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    Donna’s Chronicles

    By Donna Sachet–

    Spring must be right around the corner! Daylight savings time has begun, weather is warming up and the Castro Farmers’ Market is officially open. We were on hand last Wednesday, as we have been for the past nine years, for the official ribbon-cutting signifying the return of this delightful Farmers’ Market at the intersection of Market and Noe every Wednesday from 4–8 pm. 

    When it first began, those many years ago, we wondered about the potential of what we expected to be another fresh-vegetables-at-the-crack-of-dawn market, but the genius is opening this one in the middle of happy hour in the Castro! Thank you, former Supervisor Bevan Dufty! Joining us for the program and brief remarks were City Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, Daniel Bergerac of the Castro Merchants’ Association and Sister Gaia from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to offer a blessing. 

    After a quick snip of the ribbon, assisted by two charming girls from the neighborhood, popular chanteuse Connie Champagne sang a couple of tunes. The crowd then proceeded to shop the market, offering a rich variety of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, eggs, nuts and more, as well as popping into Flore and other surrounding businesses. This is how you invigorate a neighborhood!

    Last Saturday, we had the opportunity to visit two locations we’ve heard great things about but had not yet seen for ourselves.  First, we joined a boisterous group of friends organized by Chris Carnes for some comedy with Jennie McNulty at Manny’s, 3092 16th Street. Now when Chris gathers friends for a night on the town, it will be memorable … and it was. Included were Gretchen Fleishmann, Susan Fahey, Paula Ryan, Kelly Harris, Chris Edwards and Rive Nestor. The laughter was non-stop and this place is amazing. 

    We’ve known Manny Yekutiel for some time and he had shared his concept of a gathering place; the result is welcoming, diverse and needed. According to his online mission statement, “It combines a café, restaurant, civil rights themed bookstore and a community gathering and programming space.” The night we were there certainly demonstrated the desire of many of us to get off the computer and get out with each other, enjoying entertainment, engaging in political and civic discussions, and sharing our common experiences. We’ll be back soon and often!

    Afterwards, our group was thirsty for cocktails, so we meandered a couple of blocks over to Jolene’s. The neon sign as you come in says it all: “You are safe here.” Their publicity emphasizes that this is a space that welcomes women and gender non-conforming people and the night we were there it was packed with what appeared to be a largely Lesbian clientele.

    But more importantly, co-owners Ashleigh Wilson, Jolene Linsangan and Shannon Amitin offer a full kitchen, great sound system, spacious area and various special party nights to the entire open-minded community. While speaking to Jolene and Shannon that night, they mentioned being inspired by the film documentary Last Call at Maud’s and what a treat it was to introduce them to longtime Maud’s bartender, supporter and activist Susan Fahey! As we continue to witness the shuttering of various bars and businesses tied to the LGBTQ Community and the evolution of queer spaces, what a refreshing addition to the scene is Jolene’s! Once again, we’ll be back soon and often!

    As you undoubtedly read in last issue’s column, this is not the time of year for grand galas, but in preparation for them, we attended several smaller kick-off and house parties. PRC is busily preparing for the opening of their new headquarters on 9th Street and we popped into a welcoming house party graciously hosted by Joe Freund & Kenneth Poudrier, where guests learned more about PRC and its ambitious and targeted plans. You don’t want to miss PRC’s grand opening event in May! 

    Earlier, we attended a rally at the home office of Lift for the upcoming Equality California gala on May 11. Speakers included California Assemblymember Evan Low, Board member Jeren Miles and Co-Chairs of the gala Leslie Katz and Laura Zagar. Having served on that board for several years in the past, we can attest to the determination and resolve of EQCA not to stop until the full rights of the LGBTQ Community are secured. This is time to get involved behind the scenes in the season’s major upcoming galas and fundraisers, not to mention SF Pride in June. It will all be here before you know it.

    And speaking of SF Pride, we are pleased to confirm rumors that the popular Pride Brunch that we co-host with Gary Virginia on Saturday, June 29, has a new home: the historic and luxurious Westin St. Francis in Union Square! Watch here for details!

    Finally, we applaud the many efforts we see going on in our community to support those tremendously impacted by flooding north of San Francisco. So many of us have enjoyed memorable times in the Guerneville area; how fitting that we now rally to offer them support!

    Donna Sachet is a celebrated performer, fundraiser, activist and philanthropist who has dedicated over two decades to the LGBTQ Community in San Francisco. Contact her at


    Calendar a/la Sachet

    Every Sunday
    Sunday’s a Drag!
    10:30 am Brunch, 11:30 am Show
    The Starlight Room
    Sir Francis Drake Hotel
    $75 inclusive

    Thursday, March 21
    Culture for Community Free Day at SFMOMA
    10 am–9 pm
    SF Museum of Modern Art
    151 3rd Street
    See the museum collection and special exhibits

    Friday, March 22
    The Brits Are Coming!
    8 pm
    SF Gay Men’s Chorus concert
    Davies Symphony Hall
    $25 & up

    Sunday, March 24
    25th Anniversary Party
    4–7 pm
    Aunt Charlie’s Lounge
    133 Turk Street
    Come support one of the Tenderloin’s last and most generous bars

    Friday, March 29
    SF Disco Coalition Premiere
    5–8 pm
    The Lookout
    3600 16th Street
    New weekly benefit with hostess Juanita More!