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    Donna’s Chronicles: “One quick glance at this issue of the San Francisco Bay Times and you’ll know that all those events listed in our last column were well attended and successful, but we expanded with a few more along the way!

    By Donna Sachet–

    One quick glance at this issue of the San Francisco Bay Times and you’ll know that all those events listed in our last column were well attended and successful, but we expanded with a few more along the way! In addition to those listed, we emceed the SF AIDS Foundation inaugural ACTivate breakfast on Tuesday morning, December 3, where thousands of dollars were committed for the future of important programs and under-served individuals. We then attended the premiere of The L Word: Generation Q and Work in Progress at The Castro Theatre that night and joined Terence Taylor for Broadway’s touring show of Donna Summer, The Musical at the Golden Gate Theatre on Wednesday.

    But let’s start with Drag Queens on Ice! The frequent rainstorms held off for the night on December 5, and crowds began to circle the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square around 6 pm. By 8 pm, hundreds had gathered to spectate and the VIP Area was packed as well with guests and hospitality hostesses Sister Roma and Queen Dilly Dally. We joined our enthusiastic co-emcee Robert Keith and rallied the crowd for the ensuing program of all sorts of performances by drag queens on ice, including BeBe Sweetbriar singing live, audience favorite Mutha Chucka in tennis shoes, Olympic quality skating by Kylie Pop, a spectacular debut by Khmera Rouge, Mahlae Balenciage as The Grinch, a duet by Dusty Porn & Prince Richard, skillful skating by Paju Munro, and a dazzling group finale that included yours truly on skates in public for the very first time!  This tenth anniversary Drag Queens on Ice left Union Square begging for more! The after-party at Bei Hotel lasted well into the night.

    The very next night, we joined Rusty Best for Home for the Holidays, a benefit cabaret benefiting Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners at the First Unitarian Universalist Center. Vanessa Bousay and Michael Gagne are both big supporters of this cause and had gathered an eclectic group of performers to share their talents, including Emma Peel, Kathy Holly, Alotta Gender, Jorge Martinez, Terry Gauchat, Cecilia Palmtag, Max Schroeder, Sister Bella Donna, Lily Chandrasekher, Kevin Simpson, Mutha Chucka, Steven Satyricon, the Singers of the Street chorus, and James Campbell on the piano.  The sanctuary was filled with music, laughter, and love and over $4000 was raised for Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners!

    Friday, Saturday, and Sunday saw creative and crowd-pleasing performances by the Official Band of San Francisco, the Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band in Dance Along Nutcracker: Nutcrackers in Space and the SF Gay Men’s Chorus in The Holigays Are Here: Ring Them Bells! Audience members of all ages know they depend upon these performing ensembles to deliver the spirit of the season with a generous dose of humor. How lucky we are in San Francisco to have access to such world class performances! And on Sunday, after quick stops at Cliff’s Variety and Target at the Metreon for toy purchases, we dashed into The Fairmont Hotel for the annual Toys for Tots party where gifts for less fortunate children were piled to the ceiling of the Grand Ballroom and handsomely dressed guests mingled amiably. With a bit of energy to spare, we swung by DNA for Extreme Holiday Tea Dance with DJs Wayne G and Tony Moran. We love filling our holiday season with a wide variety of activities!

    Monday brought Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation’s Help is on the Way for the Holidays XVIII at Marines’ Memorial Theater, a veritable cavalcade of talent raising money for Project Open Hand and AGUILAS. Shawn Ryan demonstrated amazing versatility as he emceed, auctioned, and performed music and comedy. Other stand-out performers included Jessica Corker, Sony Holland, Makeena Lee Brick, Cameron Anika Hill, David Hernandez, Steve Knill, Christopher Henry Young, Lisa Viaggiano, Kim Nalley, Erick Pinnick, Darnell Abraham, and a truly powerful and moving finale by Broadway legend Sheryl Lee Ralph. Ben Prince served as Musical Director and live auction items from Celebrity Cruises, the Broadway show Hamilton, and Celebrity Chef James Stolich raised additional thousands of dollars. Much of the crowd ambled over to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel afterwards for a VIP reception with the cast and more holiday merriment.

    Miraculously, we flew by the Bay Times/Freedom Band’s holiday party at Beaux on Tuesday night to salute cover story honorees Jerry Goldstein & Tommy Taylor, the Freedom Band members, and all the writers, advertisers, supporters, etc. of this historic publication. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to thank Jen Viegas and Betty Sullivan for their tireless efforts to support the community with the Bay Times.

    Then, it was on to two nights of Donna Sachet’s Songs of the Season presented by Brian Kent at Feinstein’s at Hotel Nikko.  This club is the perfect setting for our intimate holiday cabaret benefiting PRC, and as always, it gathered a loyal, supportive crowd of friends together. Performers included Leanne Borghesi, Frenchie Davis, Breanna Sinclairé, Dan O’Leary, Kenny Nelson, Kippy Marks, and Russell Deason as Musical Director with percussionist Roberta Drake and bassist John Greitzer. And, of course, Brian Kent and this humble columnist sang a few songs and shared a couple of stories. Sharing that stage with such incredible and giving individuals, applauded by the most generous and loving audiences, is an experience as magical as the holiday season itself. We thank the many sponsors and ticket buyers for giving us two great audiences and we owe Brian such a debt of gratitude for keeping this much beloved and financially necessary fundraiser going for the last two years. We can’t wait to see what he has in mind for future years.

    With so many commitments behind us, we couldn’t resist kicking our heels up a bit the following night! We started at the Imperial Family Holiday Party at Lookout, where we met Brian Kent to head to Golden Girls at the Victoria Theatre, followed by the Mr. S Holiday Party at The Folsom Street Foundry. If anyone tells you that there is nothing to do in San Francisco, please refer them to “Donna’s Chronicles” in the Bay Times!

    So, all the best to you and yours for the remainder of the holiday season! Get out there and take part in the many events our loving LGBTQ Community produces! And whether you are busy every night or only once or twice a week, choose to share your experiences with those near and dear to you. As Armistead Maupin says, the best things in life are best spent with sometimes your biological family and sometimes your logical family, but family nonetheless. Here’s to a magical 2020!

    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 empsachet@gmail.com

    Published on December 19, 2019

     

     


    Calendar a la Sachet

    Sunday, December 22
    Sunday’s a Drag! Holiday Show
    10:30 am Brunch, 11:30 am Show
    Donna Sachet, Lady Tia, Mahlae & Kylie Minono
    The Franciscan Ballroom of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel
    $75
    https://starlightroomsf.com/sundays-a-drag

    Tuesday, December 24
    Holigays Are Here: Ring Them Bells
    SF Gay Men’s Chorus Christmas Eve concerts
    Castro Theatre
    5 pm, 7 pm, 9 pm
    $35 & up
    www.sfgmc.org