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    Donna’s Chronicles

    By Donna Sachet–

    Our weekend visit to Santa Barbara couldn’t have been more pleasant, anchored by Pacific Pride Foundation’s Royal Ball on Saturday night at the sprawling and luxurious Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel. We gathered first at the splendid Spanish revival home of our hosts Michael Loftis & Erik Nickel where we stayed with Richard Sablatura in pampered comfort and Peanut enjoyed the hospitality of Marco, Milo and Sophia. After Champagne and cocktails there, we caravanned to the hotel, where we were delighted to see so many guests arriving dressed thematically with rich costumes and even a smattering of tiaras and diadems. Needless to say, the official crown of the Imperial Court of San Francisco rested proudly on this head. The balmy weather supported the open-air setting and locals were gracious and complimentary, as we perused the extensive silent auction and purchased raffle tickets. Remarkably, even in Santa Barbara we ran into San Francisco connections and friends, like Kenny Nelson & Thomas Fant, and made new friends, including Cristi Walden, Greg Dahlen, Joseph Perulli, Rebecca Thompson and Thomas Rollerson & Michael Erickson. A short program with speakers from the leadership of the Foundation, a couple of individuals directly benefiting from the Foundation’s work, live auction and other fundraising was followed by a sumptuous buffet, continuous cocktails and lively conversation. The Pacific Pride Foundation supports an ambitious array of health and education programs, as well as their annual Pacific Pride Festival. The evening ended in the beautifully draped and lit ballroom with ensemble entertainment on stage and vigorous dancing among enthusiastic guests. The rest of the weekend was spent exploring restaurants and sightseeing in a seaside town with rolling hills, picturesque vistas and a lovely Mediterranean flavor. While the airport is infamous for delays, any travel inconveniences were quickly forgotten amid the generosity and hospitality of our hosts and their friends. Consider Santa Barbara for your next weekend getaway! 

    The Commonwealth Club last week hosted Dustin Lance Black touring with his new book Mama’s Boy, A Story from Our Americas. The Marines’ Memorial ballroom was filled with local supporters including Sister Roma, Mike Youens, Mark Leno, Anne Kronenberg and Linda Lee. Interviewed by KQED’s Mina Kim, Lance spoke movingly of his mother, who is featured throughout the book, and of how his life was shaped by family, religion and intolerance, yet transformed by courage and curiosity. This Academy Award winning screenwriter captured the audience with his candor and emotion. We can’t wait to see what is next for a tremendously talented and deeply committed activist. Manny’s hosted a post-reception, where throngs of supporters had more personal one-on-one contact with Lance.

    Saturday night found us back at The Fairmont Hotel for Equality California’s 20th annual gala joined by the dazzling Suzan Revah. At the VIP reception in the Vanderbilt Room and general reception following, we chatted with City Treasurer José Cisneros & Mark Kelleher, Tom Temprano, Patrick Carney & Hossein Carney, Gordon Crespo, David Perry & Alfredo Casuso, Mario Diaz, Ken Coelho, Joe Seiler, Leslie Katz, Bevan Dufty & Corey Lambert, Eliot Temple, Anna Damiani and many others as the room swirled with excitement. Inside the ballroom, elected officials were well represented in the crowd and on stage. Assemblymember Evan Low and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman opened the program, introducing as emcee celebrity transgender activist Carmen Carrera, who set the tone for the evening with a heartfelt plea for unity, involvement and true self-expression. Mayor London Breed gave a glowing introduction to State Senator Scott Wiener before presenting him with the Vanguard Award and surprising him with a birthday cake while lip-synching Marilyn Monroe’s infamous singing to President John F. Kennedy. John Rahaim received the Civic Leadership Award, deferring credit to his hard-working team, and Executive Director Rick Zbur gave an inspiring address, clearly identifying EQCA’s historic achievements and outlining its ongoing challenges on behalf of our community. This event was about fundraising after all, so emcee Carmen and popular personality Jai Rodriguez teamed up to work the audience in a spirited fund-a-need period.  They proved irresistible, raising thousands of dollars in a few raucous minutes.

    During dinner, we were making the usual rounds, visiting various tables, when we suddenly found ourselves beckoned over by Rita Moreno, who would later receive the Ally Leadership Award. We are honored to have gotten to know her over the years, particularly through her participation in Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation events, and this chance meeting was the perfect opportunity to introduce her to Suzan, who has long admired Ms. Moreno. Needless to say, Suzan was thrilled, Ms. Moreno was gracious and lovely, and we were pleased. When she later received her award on stage, Ms. Moreno truly brought the house down with her poignant memories of childhood discrimination, sassy and irreverent crowd-pleasing comments, and words of genuine gratitude and appreciation for the LGBTQ Community. Providing the perfect conclusion to the program, award-winning soprano Breanna Sinclaire sang “Somewhere” from West Side Story. The evening ended with the crowd relaxing a bit on the dance floor with DJ Jackie House providing classic hits and familiar anthems.

    Tonight, Thursday, May 16, 7–9 pm, we’ll be at the GLBT Historical Society Museum on 18th Street for the opening of The Mayor of Folsom Street: The Life and Legacy of Alan Selby. Curated by Jordy Jones, Jeremy Prince and Gayle Rubin, this exhibit gives proper recognition to the life of this legendary Leatherman, founder of the iconic Mr. S Leather retail store. We invite all of those who knew and loved him, as well as curious newcomers, to join us.

    As the magical month of June draws near, plan for your calendar to fill up with events galore, including the California Democratic Party State Convention, May 31–June 2; Rainbow Honor Walk’s reception at Google, Monday, June 3; PAWS Petchitecture, Thursday, June 6; Broadway Bares: San Francisco Strips IV, Sunday, June 16; SF Gay Men’s Chorus Queens concert, Friday & Saturday, June 21–22; and Gary Virginia & Donna Sachet’s Pride Brunch, Saturday, June 29, at the Westin St. Francis Hotel. Watch this column for the latest details.

    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!
    The Starlight Room
    Sir Francis Drake Hotel
    10:30 am Brunch, 11:30 am Show
    $75 inclusive

    Thursday, May 16
    The Mayor of Folsom Street: The Life and Legacy of Alan Selby
    GLBT Historical Society Museum
    4127 18th Street
    7–9 pm
    $5, free for members

    Saturday, May 18
    Spotlight on Broadway!
    SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band
    Hosted by Donna Sachet
    8 pm
    Sir Francis Drake Hotel
    450 Powell Street
    $65 & up

    Sunday, May 19
    Harvey Milk Plaza Celebration
    Music, food, & plans for Harvey Milk Plaza
    Messages from SF leaders
    Presented by Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza
    2–5 pm
    Harvey Milk Plaza
    Free after registration

    Monday, May 20
    Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic
    Annual Bartender Competition
    Hosted by Patrik Gallineaux & Donna Sachet
    Entertainment by LaToya London
    7–10 pm
    Hamburger Mary’s
    531 Castro Street