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    Donna’s Chronicles, “The reign of Grand Duke Timothy Valdivia…”

    By Donna Sachet–

    The reign of Grand Duke Timothy Valdivia & Grand Duchess Katherine Rose (extended for a second year due to the COVID pandemic) came to a grand finish at San Francisco’s Ducal Coronation XLVII, Bordello at St. Basil’s Cathedral, on September 25 at the Holiday Inn Golden Gate. Emcees Royal Grand Duke 28 of Alameda, Manny Santos, and Empress 4 of Washington, D.C., Muffy Blake Stephyns,got things off to a rousing start and the visiting Imperial Dove Court of Fresno staged an eye-popping opening number. Both Queen Mother I of the Americas, Nicole the Great, and King Father I, Terry Sidie,came to town for the event and, along with members of the International Court Council, congratulated the outgoing monarchs and presented various awards, including the prestigious Cleve Jones HIV/AIDS Leadership Award to Gary Virginia. Local elected officials attending included State Senator Scott Wiener and City Supervisors Rafael Mandelman and Dean Preston. The evening was full of amazing command performances, most notably by Mr. Gay San Francisco 2018–19, Khalil Riley, Miss Gay Virginia United States at Large, Sable Jones St. James, and Emperor 36, After Norton, John Weber. Emotional and entertaining musical numbers from Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses celebrating anniversaries gave the event a special flavor and evoked lovely memories from their followers. Reigning Emperor Mr. David Glamamore & Reigning Empress Juanita MORE! led the walk of the Imperial Family for their first time since being crowned. This was an extraordinary two years in many ways, impacted significantly by the pandemic and suffering the loss of several key leaders of the Grand Ducal Family, but these monarchs rose to the occasion and announced their grand total raised for charitable organizations of over $145,000! The community owes all who were involved their gratitude and admiration, which was demonstrated beautifully that night. The evening ended with the formal crowning of the new Grand Duke Scott Rice and Grand Duchess Bobby Friday with all the related pageantry and traditions. We look forward to great things from them. As the first Coronation attended by many in the room for nearly two years, it all felt distinctly familiar and yet oddly strange, like a reunion with good friends, but haunted by the many precautions this pandemic has piled upon us. Let’s hope it is a sign of a return to some sense of a normal world where the generous work and important camaraderie of the Grand Ducal Court may continue.

    On Monday, September 27, we joined Juanita MORE! and Gary Virginia for a rally in front of the popular Grubstake diner in the Tenderloin. Plans to build housing above the restaurant and to rebuild the diner, while maintaining its look and local flavor, have been threatened by years of delays caused by complaining neighbors. Speakers at the rally laid bare the baseless objections and called for public support for owners Jimmy Consos and Nick Pigott and the future of Grubstake. On October 19, the Board of Supervisors will decide the fate of this project. We are hopeful that saner heads will rule.

    The most recent Divas & Drinks @ The Academy was September 30, and once again, the club filled to capacity with women and their supporters. DJ Rockaway, Heather Freyer of Bacardi, and yours truly as emcee returned for the night, this time giving special recognition to women-owned and operated local businesses. We gave a special birthday celebration to Martha Asten of Cliff’s Variety Store, including cake and a presentation from the Board of Supervisors by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.  Terry Asten Bennett, also of Cliff’s, then read a list of those local businesses as representatives were recognized and the audience cheered. Paul Miller of The Academy welcomed attendees and spoke about the advantages of membership. Another spirited game of Name That Tune pitted Team Dykes on Bikes® against Team Castro Merchants and the first of those teams was victorious. Marcello’s Pizza provided food and ellaprint created commemorative shot glasses saluting Whiptail Lizard Lounge.  Guests included Chris Carnes, Gretchen Fleishman, Dr. Marcie Adelman, SF Pride’s Suzanne Ford, George Ridgely, Andrea Aiello, Kathy Amendola, Director of the SF Office of Small Businesses Regina Dick-Endrizzi, and surprise guest Alysha Lofton of the Golden State Warriors, who handed out souvenirs, introduced a raffle for tickets to a game, and announced October 28 as LGBTQ+ Night at Chase Center. Music played and guests danced into the night. Don’t miss the next Divas & Drinks on Thursday, October 21! Check the calendar a la Sachet for complete details.

    Varla Jean Merman once again amazed audiences at Oasis with her creativity, on-stage wit, and musical talent. The show, titled Little Prick, uses the COVID-19 vaccination as a launch pad for social commentary and hilarity, as always delivering her message through thinly veiled references and gut-punching statements. How lucky we are to have Oasis as the stage for so many and varied performances in such a welcoming environment! Trust us, wherever you are, if Varla is on stage, go see her! You won’t regret it.

    We ended our weekend at the Castro Street Fair in bright sunshine and surrounded by hundreds of participants. We never forget that this event originated with the legendary Harvey Milk and we were delighted to see it return this year to an in-person format. The boundaries were changed, beer and liquor booths eliminated, and entertainment limited, but we congratulate the organizers on finding a way to stage a successful street fair while following health guidelines. We saw lots of reunions of good friends, smiles, and laughter. Could it be that an end to this long pandemic is truly around the corner?

    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

    Saturday, October 9
    49th Annual Mr./Miss/Mx Gay San Francisco Pageant
    Where Dreams Come True
    Mr. Sage Sanchez Munro & Miss Gay Linda Summers complete their year
    Full judged pageant to select the new Mr., Miss, & Mx Gay SF
    The Midway, 900 Marin Street
    5 pm–9 pm
    $29, Tables of 4 for $150

    Thursday, October 21
    Divas & Drinks at The Academy
    DJ Rockaway, Bacardi specials, Bay Times partnership
    The Academy, 2166 Market Street
    7 pm–10 pm

    Saturday, October 23
    Bearrison Street Fair
    Return of in-person outdoor event
    Bears of SF and Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
    Focusing on body positivity for all!12–6 pm

    Sunday, October 31
    HalloQueen Drag Brunch
    Hosted by Sister Roma, DJ Juanita MORE!
    Performers Carnie Asada, Roxy-Cotton Candy, Nicki Jizz, & more
    Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason Street

    Published on October 7, 2021