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    Donna’s Chronicles: The Grand Ducal Council of San Francisco hosted Coronation XLVI…

    By Donna Sachet–

    The Grand Ducal Council of San Francisco hosted Coronation XLVI, Pansies in Russia: A Garden Party at the Hermitage, Saturday night, September 28, at the Holiday Inn Golden Gate. It felt like a family reunion to many. Forty-five years ago, H.L. Perry formed this organization, originally as a rebel court from the older Imperial Court started by José Sarria. Along the way, differences have been put aside as the two organizations recognize their common purpose and close personal relationships have developed; thus, the family reunion aspect. This year, Grand Duke Ken Harper and Grand Duchess MGM Grande and their Glittering Court of Nectar & Honey raised over $110,000, distributed that night to several worthy agencies, including MAITRI, Larkin Street Youth Services, Transgender Program of the SFDPH, and Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits! In addition to the traditional pageantry of a coronation, the evening included an official State visit by Queen Mother 1 of the Americas Nicole the Great, Emperor 1 of the Americas Terry Sidie, and the Heirs Apparent from across the continent, including many special awards presented to local recipients.

    The Reigning Grand Duke and Grand Duchess gave the audience wonderful command performances, beautiful costumes, formal court walks, and additional personal awards and recognitions. Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses celebrating special anniversaries of their Reigns received special acknowledgement, most notably Grand Duke V Fred Townson, who continues to travel the court system, attend functions, and assist in fundraising with amazing commitment. On a personal note, we especially enjoyed the musical number presented in honor of Absolute Empress XXXV Suzie Wong by Absolute Empress XXXIX China Silk and Absolute Empress XL Tiger Lily. And, as is usually the case, personal ads in the printed program predict a heated race for Emperor of San Francisco in the spring; we applaud all of those who step forward! As a spectacular night of royalty came to a close, the voting results were revealed and we have two new monarchs, Grand Duke Tim Valdivia and Grand Duchess Katherine Rose; may their year be fruitful, friendly, and fun!

    Surely you noticed the prominence of Leather over the past week or so! Well, we did our best to support this diverse and supportive community, starting by joining in the official raising of the new Leather flag on the new 80-foot flag pole in the soon to be completed Eagle Plaza! Eagle Tavern owner Alex Montiel and caretaker of Gilbert Baker’s legacy Tommy Taylor deserve much of the credit for this breathtaking monument. Loyal Leather leader Ray Tilton led the festivities with a bar crawl prior and the formal flag-raising ceremony there. His brief speech encapsulated so much of the rich history of the Leather community in San Francisco and beyond, and the surrounding turnout of Leather leadership was truly amazing. City Supervisor Matt Haney was on hand, as were Honey Mahogany, Sister Roma, Joe Gallagher, Graylin Thornton, Gerry Roberts, Race Bannon, Manuel Ojeda, Troy Brunet, Michael Loftis, Paul Valente, and so many others. As that proud flag flapped in the breeze, we couldn’t help but think of all of those who were not able to see that moment, most immediately, the late and legendary Vern Stewart.

    Then, Saturday night, after Ducal Coronation, we joined the throngs at MasteurDome at Regency Ballroom with DJs Chus+Ceballos and Ralph Rosario, produced by Audrey Joseph and Brian Kent. The venue alone is outstanding, but the lasers and other special lighting, combined with these world-class DJs, made for a thrilling event.

    Finally, Folsom Street Fair, the largest outdoor event of its kind in the world, took the City by storm on Sunday and we couldn’t resist the siren call. After popping by the Imperial Court beer booth, we fortuitously ran into Gary Virginia and soon met up with friends at a warehouse in the neighborhood for a small party hosted by Tommy Taylor & Jerry Goldstein, replete with food, drink, and camaraderie. We can’t imagine a more perfect ending than standing on their roof in the open air taking in the music and revelry of Folsom Street Fair below, sipping Chardonnay as the sun dipped behind dappled clouds. Such a joyous moment, visually and emotionally, is enough to revitalize our love of this magical City in all of its rich diversity, buoyant happiness, and unstoppable optimism. If we don’t cherish these special moments, we are truly missing out.

    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 Franciscan Ballroom
    Sir Francis Drake Hotel
    10:30 am Brunch, 11:30 am Show
    $75 inclusive

    Thursday, October 3
    Compassion Is Universal
    Shanti’s 45th Anniversary Gala
    Palace Hotel Grand Ballroom, 2 Montgomery
    6 pm
    $300 & up

    Friday, October 4
    Bummers Ball 3: Rocket Dog Rescue
    Castro Theatre
    6 pm
    $50 & up

    Saturday, October 5
    Horizons Foundation Gala
    Fairmont Hotel Grand Ballroom
    5:30 pm
    $350 & up

    Friday, October 11
    Mighty Real: PRC Gala
    Four Seasons Hotel Veranda Ballroom
    6 pm
    $300 & up

    Saturday, October 12
    Imperial Council’s 47th Annual Mr. and Miss Gay Pageant
    Folsom Street Foundry, 1425 Folsom
    6 pm

    Tuesday, October 15
    Celebrity Pool Toss
    Benefits Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation
    The Phoenix Hotel, 601 Eddy Street
    6 pm

    Wednesday, October 16
    Litquake Panel Discussion
    SF Center for the Book, 375 Rhode Island Street
    Featuring Mason Funk’s The Book of Pride
    7 pm

    Friday, October 18
    REUNION: Chosen Family
    GLBT Historical Society’s annual gala
    Ohana Floor, Salesforce Tower, 415 Mission Street
    6 pm–9 pm
    $150 & up

    Friday, October 25
    This Old Bag: Buy a Purse, Change a Life
    Breast Cancer Emergency Fund’s annual gala
    Fairmont Hotel
    6:30 pm