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    Donna’s Chronicles

    By Donna Sachet–

    This edition’s column presents the entire schedule preceding Imperial Coronation, so that those who follow all things Imperial may properly plan for a host of activities and events. As you may know, the Imperial Court of San Francisco is the Founding Mother Court of the International Court System with nearly 70 chapters in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. It was started over 50 years ago by José Sarria and continues to this day with a new Emperor and Empress publicly elected each year. We produce creative events, raise thousands of dollars for worthy charitable organizations, provide a variety of volunteer opportunities, champion equal rights for all members of the LGBTQ Community and encourage the development of community leaders. As Absolute Empress XXX, we are happy to share the goings-on of the Imperial Court with our readers all year long, but especially during February, when one reign ends and another begins.

    On Saturday, January 12, Twin Peaks hosted the Imperial Council as the deadline for official applications for Emperor and Empress neared. Some years, there are several applicants for each title, but we have never had a year in over 50 when at least one person did not apply to run for each title. This year’s applicants were Terrill Grimes for Emperor and Baby Shaques for Empress, who were officially approved shortly afterwards, becoming our candidates. Watch for two innovative campaigns all over the city, leading up to voting day on Saturday, February 16.

    Later that night, we were thrilled to join Bevan Dufty at the book tour event for Senator Kamala Harris at the Curran Theatre. Hundreds of enthusiastic San Franciscans welcomed her warmly as she was interviewed on stage for over an hour by Mayor London Breed. Their personal friendship and mutual admiration were evident throughout. Afterwards, we joined a small politically connected group at the Redwood Room of the Clift Hotel. We report on this evening not with political motivation, but simply to celebrate the success of one of our own, a local San Francisco success story and a genuinely lovely individual. However you reacted to her later Martin Luther King, Jr., Day announcement of her Presidential campaign, many in this city consider her a friend, including us, and we wish her the very best.

    What makes a successful event? As one who has attended more than her share of events, we believe that certain elements combine to create success and the recent Imperial Crown Prince and Princess Winter Beaux Arts Ball is a perfect example. First, the location of Folsom Street Foundry offered a spacious warehouse space, not often used by our community, with lots of seating and standing room, a long bar on one side and full kitchen. As the event began, only the front room was open for early arrivers, but after an hour, a floor to ceiling curtain was whisked aside to reveal the main room, festively festooned with silver balloon arrangements and a loop of slides portraying Monarchs from the history of the Imperial Court. Don’t you just love a “reveal”? 

    Second, the entertainment ran the gamut from well-known drag performers to newer talent, ballads and anthems to dance numbers, and represented a rich variety of gender presentations; there was something for everyone! The trio of dancers from GAPA was a particular favorite. And finally, the attendance was not just large but represented a wide cross-section of the LBGTQ Community, including all ages, leather, drag, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Bare Chest Calendar modes, gender non-conforming, title-holders and not. Imperial Crown Prince William Del Toro y Flor and Imperial Crown Princess K of the White Rose are to be congratulated on a splendid event, not to mention looking fabulous all night! The success of the Winter Beaux Arts Ball says volumes about their work this year and their generous contributions to the Imperial Court. And from all reports, it was also financially successful, raising nearly $8000 for Aguilas and Trans Lifeline. Glimpsed among the crowd, besides a bevy of Emperors and Empresses, were Keith & Gladys Bumps, Ehra Amaya, Mimi Osa, Ben Wong, Kippy Marks, Jimmy Strano, Juan Davila, CoCo Butter, Lawrence Wu, Migitte Nielson, Ken Hamai & Jack Henyon, Jouke Lanning and Andrew Hirst.

    The House of Glitter and Grand Ducal Council’s 10th annual California Gold Pageant on Sunday presented three wonderful contestants at El Toro Nightclub, emceed by Reigning Empress Pollo del Mar and Grand Duchess Landa Lakes. We were pleased to join Diana Wheeler, Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez and Miss California Gold 2012 Alina Malletti on the judging panel. Ours was not an easy job as Elsa Touche, Primadonna Moore and Rexy competed in categories of creative dress, eveningwear, talent, and question and answer. Each brought unique strengths to each category, but the talent portion gave us and the audience amazing performances. In addition, former title-holders Vanity Ytinav, WooWoo Monroe and Alina Malletti each delivered memorable performances, and stepping-down Miss California Gold Dusty Porn blew the crowd away with a carefully produced and thoroughly enjoyable number. Among those attending were Reigning Grand Duchess MGM Grand, Mr. California Gold King Buster Riteopen, Colette LeGrand, Kylie Minono, Miss Shugana, Madd-Dogg 20/20, Todd Barron, Jimmy McConnell and Sophilya Leggz. When all was said and done, Elsa Touche emerged as the winner and was crowned Miss California Gold 2019.

    We ended our weekend with the Imperial Court’s Gala Presentation of Candidates, named earlier in this column, at Encore Karaoke Lounge, followed by part of Baby Shaques’ bus tour of several bars, and finally a birthday celebration at Powerhouse for Nic Candito, host of the monthly Shag party there and DJ at Sunday’s a Drag at The Starlight Room. As we have often said, there is always something going on in San Francisco!

    Coming up, the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation presents a brand new show featuring artists from Broadway’s Kinky Boots, The Seven Fingers and various circus shows and alumni of L’Ecole Nationale Du Cirque and DECCA, L’ecole. A Sexy Circus Cabaret will be at The Great Northern, 119 Utah Street, this Monday, January 28, 7:30 pm, hosted by Vladessa, the Goddess of Virginity.  REAF never disappoints with first class entertainment, raising money for great causes. We’ll see you there!

    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

    Monday, January 28
    REAF’s Sexy Circus Cabaret
    7:30 pm
    The Great Northern Club
    119 Utah Street
    $40 & up

    Saturday, February 16
    Emperor & Empress Voting Day
    Project Open Hand: 11 am–4 pm
    Powerhouse: 1 pm–5 pm
    Harvey Milk Plaza: Noon–6 pm

    Sunday, February 17
    The Earthquake Party
    4 pm–7 pm
    Aunt Charlie’s Lounge
    133 Turk Street

    Wednesday, February 20
    In Town Show
    Details TBD

    Thursday, February 21
    Anniversary Monarchs’ Reception
    6 pm–8 pm
    HA-RA Club
    875 Geary Street

    Friday, February 22
    Out of Town Show
    Details TBD

    Saturday, February 23
    Imperial Coronation 54: Under the Sea
    6 pm
    SF Design Center Galleria
    101 Henry Adams Street

    Sunday, February 24
    Annual Pilgrimage to Colma Cemetery
    Host Hotel Bus: 8 am
    José Sarria Plaque at Castro & Market: 8:30 am

    Sunday, February 24
    Victory Brunch
    1 pm
    Details TBD