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    Donna’s Chronicles

    By Donna Sachet–

    It is hard to explain the immense gratitude we feel to those who enabled Songs of the Season to continue last week for three nights at Feinstein’s at Hotel Nikko. For 25 years, this was a personal labor of love, a vision made real by people like Bob Brunson, Philip Turner and Richard Sablatura. And after an official end last year, Brian Kent came to the rescue, offering to produce the event. Within a few weeks, performers volunteered, sponsors signed up and supporters bought tickets so that Donna Sachet’s Songs of the Season hosted by Brian Kent could again raise money for PRC while ushering in the holidays. Thank you all, and may those holiday tunes ring through December, bringing you lovely memories of treasured friends.

    Light in the Grove, the AIDS Memorial Grove’s annual pre-World AIDS Day outdoor evening gala, filled the last day of November with stunning visual images and haunting memories. There is something truly magical about following twinkling lights down a winding path in the middle of darkened Golden Gate Park to find the Circle of Friends gently glowing by candlelight, honoring 2500 of those “touched by AIDS, including those who have died; those who loved them; and donors to the National AIDS Memorial,” according to their website. The pathway continued through flickering shadows and performance artists, leading to the giant clear-walled tent, where food and drink, as well as welcome heat, awaited. Once inside, we had some challenges summoning the usual conviviality, haunted by solemn memories and faded faces. Nonetheless, Co-Chairs Eric Ciasullo and Pat Christen and Rick Pasano of Quest Diagnostics reminded us of successful struggles of the past as they addressed the crowd. The usual din of the socializing assembly quieted noticeably as Mike Shriver received the Lifetime of Commitment Honor; he has obviously made a tremendous difference in the movement and touched innumerable lives in the process.  Executive Director John Cunningham then rightfully silenced the crowd as he related ongoing challenges and a vision for the future. As Josh Klipp and the Klipptones brought the attendees to their feet with lively music, we caught up with Matt Buchanan, Paul Margolis, Patrik Gallineaux, Ira Olney & Troy Arnold, Suzan Revah, Lau Ra, Wayne Thomas Ice, Lizzi Dierken, Ken Henderson, Larry Hashbarger, Gary Thackeray, Kevin Shanahan & Michael Montoya, Larry Lare Nelson, Tim Seelig, Beth Feingold and Xavier Caylor.      

    The first Miracle on Powell Street at Sunday’s a Drag at The Starlight Room went off without a hitch, bringing smiles to the faces of a full house in attendance. We can’t give it all away, but suffice it to say, you shouldn’t miss this annual special event. Only 3 Sundays in December remain, so make your reservations now!

    Immediately after the show, we made a quick costume change before heading to the Castro and 440, where Rita Rockett was welcoming friends during her recent visit. Years ago, during the darkest days of the AIDS pandemic, this angel among us brought joy to the AIDS Ward of San Francisco General Hospital. For 16 years, she would dress outlandishly and act wildly, bringing Sunday brunch, entertainment and affection to patients whose symptoms frightened others and rendered them nearly untouchable. “To be able to be a positive light in the darkness, that’s all I wanted to do,” explains Rita. What an example of unrestrained love! For more of her story, check out the important documentary film 5B.

    For 14 years, a well-heeled group of generous individuals from within the LGBT Community has supported Toys for Tots with an annual gathering, known as much for its dashing and eligible guest list as for the hundreds of toys donated for needy Bay Area children. Having outgrown The Starlight Room, The Green Room and the St. Regis, this year’s event happened in the Grand Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel. Visiting this hotel during the holiday season is a San Francisco essential! The always elegant lobby is transformed into a winter wonderland with boughs of greenery, sparkling lights and a genuine, life-sized gingerbread house on site. We glided down the main staircase, ambled down the hallway and spilled into the ballroom, where DJ Christopher Berini provided crowd-pleasing music as guests mingled amiably, with donated toys piled up in one corner of the room. It appeared that Macy’s, Costco and even Cliff’s Variety had been emptied of toys! We socialized briefly with Joel Goodrich, Mark Calvano, Lance Holman, Michael Shilling, Xavier Barrera & Kirk Hahn, Jeff Doney and others, but it was difficult to manage the crowd with our new family member Peanut in tow. Yes, she will be making periodic appearances since separation anxiety is an ongoing concern, and, so far at least, she seems to be quite well received and well behaved.

    If you’ve gotten this far into the holiday season without any music, that has to change now! We’ll see you at Brassy & Sassy, the SF Gay Men’s Chorus holiday show with special guest Marnie Breckenridge; Dance-Along Nutcracker: Clara Potter and the Elder Baton, the Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band’s hilarious show; Help is on the Way for the Holidays XVII, REAF’s splendid cabaret; and Jingle All the Way, the Golden Gate Men’s Chorus’ concert. Become immersed in the best of holiday music from the best in our community, encouraging live entertainment while supporting great causes! That’s our idea of a happy holiday!               

    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 in December

    Sunday’s a Drag: Miracle on Powell Street

    10:30 am Brunch, 11:30 am Show

    The Starlight Room

    Sir Francis Drake Hotel

    $75 inclusive


    Thursday, December 6

    Drag Queens on Ice

    8–9 pm

    Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square



    Friday–Saturday, December 7, 8

    Brassy & Sassy, SF Gay Men’s Chorus

    8 pm Friday; 2:30 pm & 8 pm Saturday

    Nourse Theater

    275 Hayes Street



    Saturday–Sunday, December 8, 9

    Dance-Along Nutcracker: Clara Potter & the Elder Baton

    SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band

    3 pm & 7 pm Saturday; 11 am & 3 pm Sunday

    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts



    Monday, December 10

    Help is on the Way for the Holidays XVII

    7:30 pm

    Marines’ Memorial Theatre

    609 Sutter Street

    $60 & up


    Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, December 13, 15, 16, 18

    Jingle All the Way, Golden Gate Men’s Chorus

    8 pm Thursday; 3 pm Saturday, 3 pm & 7 pm Sunday; 8 pm Tuesday

    St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church

    3281 16th Street



    Saturday, December 15

    The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

    Mr. Cowboy & Miss Cowgirl 2018

    3 pm–6pm

    Tenderloin Museum

    398 Eddy Street



    Saturday, December 15

    Cecil Russell’s Pose Winter Party

    8 pm–2 am

    1501 Folsom Street