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    Donna’s Chronicles

    By Donna Sachet–

    We can think of no better way to start the new year than with friends over lovingly prepared food honoring long-held traditions.  We attended two such gatherings on New Year’s Day. One of San Francisco’s most accomplished hosts, John Newmeyer, welcomed over 100 guests into his lovely Victorian home once again, featuring all of the dishes associated with good fortune in the coming year, eg. greens, ham, black-eyed peas, cornbread, etc. One of the most diverse crowds in recent memory took the chance to catch up on the past year and to share plans for 2019. Regular readers of our columns will know that we hesitate to report too many details of private parties, but perhaps this smattering of guest names will give you some idea of the scene: Joel Goodrich, Jeff Cotter, Matt Buchanan, David Zisser, Greg Wick, Doug Waggener and Matt Fadness.

    Next, we happily joined the party in progress at Bevan Dufty’s home, also offering mounds of delicious food and oodles of fun guests, including Sister Roma, Michael Youens, Steve Kawa, Benito Juarez, Tom Temprano and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. Maybe the conversation leaned slightly more towards politics here, but the spirit of community was equally present. With the crystal-clear skies and warm weather of the first day of 2019, it is not hard to envision a wonderful year ahead!

    Friday night, we joined Empresses China Silk and Misty Blue, Emperor J.P. Soto and a bevy of Imperial Court friends for a lively bus tour celebrating the upcoming five and fifteen-year anniversaries of their reigns. Ever-present throughout the night was the memory of the late and beloved Emperor Fernando Robles. From Lookout, The Cinch, El Rio and Pilsner Inn to The Edge, this group was out for fun! In addition to our hosts, bus passengers included Ron Huberman, Walter Vandernald, Chris Ochoa, Keith & Gladys Bumps, Nic Hunter and, of course, the Reigning Emperor Leandro Gonzales and Reigning Empress Pollo del Mar.

    Speaking of the Reigning Emperor and Empress, things are heating up for this year’s campaign for Emperor and Empress with public voting scheduled for Saturday, January 16, throughout the City. Many do not realize that the Imperial Court of San Francisco is over 50 years old and each year offers the possibility of serving as Emperor and Empress of the City to anyone who meets some basic requirements and is up to the task. This Saturday, January 12, is the deadline for submitting applications, available online ( ). Rumors have been running rampant all over the City; be at Twin Peaks from 2–4 pm this Saturday to see who steps up to run for these legendary titles! 

    Imperial Coronation LIV, Under the Sea, is Saturday, January 23, when this group is at their finest, crowning new Monarchs, distributing thousands of dollars raised during the year to worthy recipients and generally living up to their regal reputation!  We’ll congratulate the Reigning Emperor and Empress on a job well-done. Already, the City’s fabric stores report a run on aqua chiffon and sea green taffeta; so, plan your outfits now! A complete list of associated events during the preceding weeks will appear at the end of this column starting with the next issue.

    Saturday morning, we arose early to honor Sam Thoron at a memorial at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco. (It is at this event that we obtained the quote that appears with this issue’s column.) Sam & Julia Thoron will forever be associated with PFLAG, the organization created by parents, family and friends of LBGT individuals to offer loving support where there is often misunderstanding, disappointment and even rejection. When their daughter shared with them that she was Lesbian, these parents’ quiet mainstream life was upended, but they faced the news with compassion, eventually joining the work of PFLAG and serving as its national leader for several years. We consider ourselves fortunate to have known him and extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Julia and the entire family. His son Ben Thoron and niece Amira Thoron spoke personally and beautifully at the service, as did Roger Doughty of Horizons Foundation. In attendance were Kate Kendell, Al Baum, Mark Leno, Marci Adelman, Stuart Gaffney & John Lewis and many others touched by this generous soul. 

    And finally, Krewe de Kinque continued their dedication to all things Mardi Gras with a celebration of Twelfth Night last Saturday with Cajun cooking, colorful décor, and private traditions created and honored by its membership. Among the guests at this private home were Don Ho, Mark Paladini, Deana Dawn, Sister Dana van Iquity, Frank Vera, Tony Leo, Kippy Marks, Kitty Tapata & Lori Howes, Aja Monet-Ashton and Barry Miles. Gary Virginia created this charitable organization in 2004 with a group of friends who shared his love of New Orleans and the swirl of activities surrounding Mardi Gras. Each year a new King and Queen of the group is announced and the calendar fills up quickly with fundraisers for worthy causes including HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, emergency relief for natural disasters, and civil rights concerns. This year’s King XV Garaje Gooch and Queen XV Miss Chief will host Bal Masque XVI at the Café on Saturday, March 2, raising money for the LGBT Asylum Project while staying true to the New Orleans slogan, “Let the good times roll!”

    In closing, it is easy to slide into a reflective, even depressed, mood after so many events in December and a more limited January schedule, especially with cold and wet weather. All the more important to check in with those in your life who might need a little extra care. Could you send a get-well card? Could you offer to walk a dog for someone? Could you share some soup or cookies with a friend you haven’t seen in a while? Consider this a great opportunity to spend time with people you care about. We’ll all benefit in the end.                

    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

    Sunday, January 13
    Imperial Winter Beaux-Arts Ball
    Benefiting Aguilas and Trans Lifeline
    5 pm–10 pm
    Folsom Street Foundry
    1425 Folsom

    Sunday, January 13
    Roast of Peaches Christ
    With Coco Peru, Cassandra Peterson, Jinkx Monsoon
    and Mink Stole
    8 pm–10 pm
    Castro Theatre

    Friday, January 18
    Winter Onesie Party
    Benefiting Global Girls Alliance
    9 pm
    $5 suggested donation