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    Donna’s Chronicles

    By Donna Sachet–

    We often remark on the great variety of experiences available in the City and a new exhibit at the de Young Museum demonstrates that perfectly. We attended the press preview for Contemporary Muslim Fashion and found ourselves intrigued, challenged and pensive. Mannequins draped in everything from casual afternoon outfits, elaborate eveningwear and even burqa swimwear (yes!) were strategically arranged among minimal architectural elements and special lighting effects evoking a Middle Eastern environment. With only the barest understanding of Muslim culture, but a rather extensive knowledge of Western fashion, we found ourselves challenged alternatively by familiar fabrics and design treatments and foreign concepts of female beauty and modesty. Video monitors and curator notes provided insight into the emerging category of modest fashion and the nature of this truly groundbreaking display. When we ran into Dede Wilsey, unquestionably one of the City’s best dressed socialites and Board President of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, we professed our continued loyalty to the likes of Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta, although we were intrigued by the confluence of ideas represented by this exhibit, which runs through the first of next year.

    In the amiable company of Brian Kent, Drunk Drag Dizney on Broadway at Oasis provided a rollicking romp through Disney musicals and myriad drag interpretations. Elsa Touche emceed the first half of the evening, presenting drag parodies of various Disney musical tunes and featuring some amazing talents. After a brief intermission, Chyna Maykit and Peggy L’Eggs drunkenly emceed a raucous restaging of The Lion King and The Little Mermaid, mashed up and amusingly mangled. It was truly ensemble casting at its best with stand-out performances by Kylie Minono, Noah Haydon, Guicho Domingo and Crystal Liu. During the night, they also raised money for the LGBT Asylum Project, helping to ease the process of immigration for those coming to the United States to escape persecution. Watch for a return of this creative group in December at Oasis!

    Last Friday, historian and fellow columnist Dr. Bill Lipsky gathered a panel of cultural pioneers and current activists at the GBLT History Museum on 18th Street to discuss the historic 40 years of the Bay Times in San Francisco. GLBT Historical Society Executive Director Terry Beswick welcomed founding news editor Randy Alfred, founding production manager Susan Calico, founding contributor Cleve Jones, columnist and Commissioner Andrea Shorter, City Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and Dr. Lipsky, who each provided unique perspectives on the decades of the San Francisco Bay Times and its various incarnations. Originally championed as “a Newspaper by Lesbians & Gay Men,” this publication has maintained a commitment of inclusiveness to this day, regularly reflected in the breadth of its columnists and the scope of its reporting. A comprehensive slide show took us through the years and the many events that shaped the paper, leading us to this past issue and the inspiring Golden Gate Bridge and announcement of the column you are now reading. Among those attending were Ken Hamai; Bruce Beaudette, newly elected member of the SF Pride Board; Rick Mayne and Jeffrey Hall of Great Britain; famed historic photographer Rink; Bay Times columnist Sister Dana van Iquity; and columnist and Openhouse co-founder Dr. Marcy Adelman.

    The main event for us this month was the long-awaited, much-anticipated Roast of Donna Sachet, last Saturday at the Castro Theatre. To be honest, until we saw it on the marquee, we weren’t sure it was actually going to take place. Hundreds of people gathered for a well-intentioned, no-holds-barred lampoon, produced by Oasis and Peaches Christ Productions and benefiting the GLBT Historical Society. Members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus started us off as only they can with rousing music, as indeed they started the persona of Donna Sachet over 25 years ago at a chorus retreat. Then popular comedian, actor and Broadway star Bruce Vilanch set the tone for the night, launching into jokes about the Castro Theatre, the City, and the roast about to begin. We entered the stage backed by a sparkling visual of our name before a theatre packed with well-wishers, including Kile Ozier, Mike Smith, Dan Joraanstad & Bob Hermann, Gary Virginia, James Holloway, Richard Sablatura, Michael Youens, Linda Lee, Susan Fahey, Cicero Braganca, Cammy Blackstone, Larry Lare Nelson, Ken Henderson, Joe Mac, Brian Benamati & Tony Onorati, Jorge Hernandez & Ron Jenkins, Wade Crosson, and Karin Lee Jaffie & Lori Howes.

    Once seated on stage, we unpacked a few supplies for the night, including a bottle of vodka, a plastic baggie of powder, a red star emblem, our own microphone and a set of noise blocking headphones; insanity followed. Bruce introduced each roaster as a quick slide show featured them above: SF Policeman, International Mr. Leather 1992 and community leader Lenny Broberg; television, movie and Broadway performer Jai Rodriguez; infamous Sister of Perpetual Indulgence Sister Roma; former City Supervisor, State Assemblyman, and State Senator Mark Leno; community icon and historic figure Cleve Jones; San Francisco night-life impresario Heklina; and star of Broadway, theatre, and cabaret Sharon McNight—an impressive, but intimidating, panel. Each one brought their very best to the night, contributing personal style to barbs and insults to fellow panelists as well as the roastee, and keeping the audience in non-stop laughter. We can remember few nights when an audience was so consistently engaged and appreciative. Two surprise guests joined the roast, including Queen Mother Nicole the Great of the International Court Council with a few choice comments and a check for the beneficiary, and our very own brother, Adam Reeves, with historic slides, amusing childhood anecdotes and heart-warming remarks. As is traditional, the subject of the roast got the final word, so we sang I’m Still Here as a slide show reflecting 25 glorious years in San Francisco played behind us and the audience rose to a standing ovation. Everyone involved in this excellent production, including Production Manager Bobby Barber and Stage Manager Jerry Lee Abram, are to be congratulated on a stellar evening of entertainment!

    Then, fast-forward to Folsom Street Fair, which began for us with a small group of invited friends to a warehouse space of Dr. Jerome Goldstein & Tom Taylor where title-holders from across the globe and Leather aficionados gathered for brunch, cocktails and camaraderie, including Reigning Emperor Leandro Gonzales, Gerry Roberts, Ray Tilton, CoCo Butter, Anna Damiani, Ken Ferraris & Matt McColland, Arthur Mainster, Steve Gaynes & Richard Bolingbroke, Kippy Marks, Barry Miles, Patrik Gallineaux, Skye Paterson, Patrick Noonan, Dave Rhoades, Ingu Yun, and City Supervisors Jane Kim and Rafael Mandelman. On display were visuals representing the Eagle Plaza project and the current exhibit about Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag at the San Francisco International Airport. After a warm start, the crowd spilled into the huge street fair and surrounding bars and parties.

    Lots of events are coming up and are featured in the nearby listing, so we expect to see you out there joining the party, contributing to the cause and helping to keep San Francisco the amazing place it is!

    We cannot close without acknowledging the death of longtime resident of San Francisco, frequent customer of 440 Castro, and friend to so many Bob Quinn. He brightened many lives in simple ways and will be long remembered.

    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

    Thursday, October 4

    Shanti Gala: Compassion Is Universal
    6 pm
    Palace Hotel
    $285 & up

    October 4–7

    Varla Jean Merman
    7 pm
    $27.50 & up

    October 5

    Make History! The GLBT Historical Society Gala
    5:30–6:30 pm VIP, 6:30–9:30 pm Gala
    SF War Memorial & Performing Arts Center
    $150 & up

    October 5–6

    Kinsey Sicks
    8 pm
    Marines’ Memorial Theatre
    $35 & up

    Saturday, October 6

    Horizons Foundation Gala
    6 pm to 11:45 pm
    Fairmont Hotel
    $300 & up

    Sunday, October 7

    Bark at the Park: Fleet Week K9 Heroes
    Fleet Week Emergency Dogs
    11 am to 4 pm
    Duboce Park


    Wednesday, October 10

    TNDC 26th Annual Pool Toss
    6 pm to 9:30 pm
    Phoenix Hotel
    $125 & up


    Friday, October 12

    PRC Gala: Mighty Real
    6 pm
    Four Seasons Hotel
    $300 & up


    Wednesday, October 17

    Mr. International Freedom Contest
    6 pm, Show at 7 pm
    $20 General Admission, $50 VIP Seating


    Saturday, October 20

    OurTownSF Nonprofit Expo
    12:30–4:30 pm
    Eureka Valley Recreation Center