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    San Francisco Bay Times Welcomes New Columnist Donna Sachet

    Entertainer and activist Donna Sachet is synonymous with the best of San Francisco. She has raised countless dollars for worthy causes, going to seemingly limitless lengths to support nonprofits, community members in need and more. Case in point: she once rappelled down 38 stories of the Grand Hyatt San Francisco to raise money for the Special Olympics! We know that many of you have your own personal stories concerning how Sachet saved the day—by stepping in at the last minute to boost a fundraiser, host an event, and through many other charitable work efforts.

    Her list of accolades and projects could fill many volumes. To mention just a few, she was the first drag personality to sing the National Anthem for a major league game. She served as Miss Gay San Francisco, co-hosts the San Francisco Pride Parade television broadcast, co-chaired the San Francisco GLAAD Media Awards for several years and stars in the weekly Sunday’s a Drag at The Starlight Room in Union Square. Sachet has served on the Boards of Directors of Positive Resource Center, the LGBT Community Center, EqualityCalifornia and the International Court Council, where she was named Absolute Empress XXX in 1995.

    She has been featured on our cover and in our pages over the years, but “Donna’s Chronicles” begins a new chapter. This will be her first ever column for the San Francisco Bay Times. Please join us in welcoming Donna!


    Donna’s Chronicles

    By Donna Sachet–

    Welcome to the very first Donna’s Chronicles, the San Francisco Bay Times’ newest column! It is our intention to bring readers a personal view of important events in our Community and San Francisco at large, to feature the people who are making a difference in our City and to show our readers some of the beauty that still shines in this magical place we call home.  

    One of our pet peeves is the monotonous drone of constant complainers who are convinced that San Francisco’s best days are behind us. While we are certainly aware of the many changes that have occurred and the frightening challenges presented to so many of us every day, we are also anxious to remind our readers of the many special events, dedicated individuals and beautiful moments that still surround us.

    We remain optimistic for the future and encourage us all to be a part of the changes ahead, refusing to be idle bystanders. We are humbled to join the prestigious group of columnists already contributing to this publication and congratulate the Bay Times on its growth, grassroots appeal and gorgeous graphic style. If you have events or ideas to suggest, please contact us as listed at the end of this column.

    What better way to begin our first column than with the event that many consider the beginning of the social season: Opening Night of the San Francisco Opera! Although the Symphony opens two nights before and is similarly swathed in glamor, last Friday’s white tie formal occasion brings out San Francisco dressed in its finest in support of one of the United States’ oldest and most respected opera companies. We arrived with Richard Sablatura for the glittering Champagne reception in the soaring lobby of the War Memorial Opera House, immediately running into former Mayor Willie Brown and Sonya Molodetskaya, Mayor London Breed, Randy Laroche & David Laudon, Ken McNeely & Inder Dhillon and the SF Chronicle’s Tony Bravo.  

    As a former employee of a high fashion retailer, we were thrilled by the unabashed color, bold prints and daring necklines of many of the gowns and equally impressed with the creative menswear, particularly patterned jackets, and elaborate decorated footwear. While in the Press Room, SF Opera’s Jon Finck introduced us to internationally acclaimed soprano Carmen Giannattasio, who will be featured in the upcoming Tosca, a production we are advised not to miss!  

    Next was the reception in the upstairs Loggia hosted by Bravo, the group made up of younger supporters of opera and the future leadership of the company. Dress here might not have been as grandiose, but everyone welcomed the chance to dress to the nines, most notably Stephan Rabinov, Andrew Nelder, Robert Saenz, Julie Hall, Talon Storm, Elizabeth Powell and Melissa Montoya in our favorite gown of the night. As the warning bells rang, we entered the theatre, beautifully festooned with flowers across the balcony, and major sponsors were thanked and the audience rose to sing the National Anthem. Finally, Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana began, full of gorgeous music, colorful sets and dramatic performances. Never doubt that the San Francisco Opera offers us world class artists and stellar renditions. 

    Intermission brought us back into the lobby for some liquid refreshment and more socializing, this time with the Chronicle’s Leah Garchik, George & Charlotte Shultz, Roselyn Swig, Victor & Farah Makras, Jorge Maumer and Carolyn Chandler. And although she had to miss Symphony Opening Night due to pressing business in the nation’s capital, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and husband Paul were there for Opera Opening Night, and we spent a few minutes catching up.  

    The second half of the performance featured Ruggero Leoncavallo’s much loved Pagliacci, remarkably, but successfully, with the same stage setting and some amusing character overlaps. Once again, the music was gloriously performed and the audience gave its unqualified appreciation. Bravo hosted a post-performance party in the Green Room of the War Memorial Building with lively music, bountiful food and drink and splendid views of City Hall across the street. As the evening ended and the lights dimmed, we soaked up the after-glow of another incredible Opening Night of the Opera and dashed to Lookout for their 11th Anniversary, just wrapping up, but proud of years of successful fundraising events and community involvement.   

    In news from the Imperial Court, last week’s Golden Gate Gaymes brought a lively group out of the bars and into the sparkling daylight as teams competed in creative games, some in drag, all in good spirits. Afterwards at Beaux, those competitors and others enjoyed a drag show, followed by the announcement of the best sellers of raffle tickets over the past few weeks. We thank Mikey T and Scarlett Menzie on their year of service and offer our congratulations to the newest title-holders: Mr. Golden Gate Robert Rushin and Miss Golden Gate Tye! They will now dig into fundraising and otherwise supporting our Reigning Emperor Leandro Gonzales and Reigning Empress Pollo del Mar, who seem to be everywhere these days.

    By the time you read this, the Celebrity Solstice will have pulled out to sea from its dock here in San Francisco, but on Monday night at Soirée on the Bay, many of us were on board celebrating the 40th anniversary of both the SF Gay Men’s Chorus and this very publication, the Bay Times! On board for the festivities benefiting the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation were REAF’s Ken Henderson & Joe Seiler; Fernando & Greg of 99.7NOW radio; Betty Sullivan, Jennifer Viegas, Sister Dana Van Iquity and Scott Tsui of this paper; Artistic Director of the Chorus Tim Seelig; Gary Virginia; Lawrence Wong; Andrew Leas; Beth Schnitzer, and many others. Members of the touring cast of Phantom of the Opera and the ship’s showroom performers entertained us as we enjoyed gourmet appetizers, cocktails and more. Thank you to Celebrity Cruises and Latonya Smothers-Lawson for giving us an inside glimpse at luxurious cruise ship living. Who’s ready for a week on the high seas? 

    Turning to the Ducal Court, this Saturday is your chance to vote for the new Grand Duke and Grand Duchess; polling is at Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro, Project Open Hand in the Tenderloin and The Eagle SOMA. The following Saturday, Reigning Grand Duke Madd Dogg and Grand Duchess Miss Shugana host Ducal Coronation, Russian Mafia, at Holiday Inn Golden Gate Gateway’s Emerald Ballroom starting at 6 pm. At the conclusion of an evening full of entertainment, pageantry and tradition, the winners of the election will be announced and then crowned.

    Oh, and as for that Roast of Donna Sachet at the Castro Theatre on Saturday, September 29, rumor has it that it may be cancelled since they are having trouble finding anyone with anything negative to say about yours truly … other than Bruce Vilanch, Heklina, Jai Rodriguez, Lenny Broberg, Cleve Jones, Sister Roma, Sharon McNight and the SF Gay Men’s Chorus. We understand completely!  

    For events on the horizon, please refer to the handy list on this page. Each column will feature our recommended upcoming events here with their dates, times and costs. And if an event looks too expensive for your budget, remember that many event organizers are always looking for volunteers; you can participate in the event and support the cause without spending as much money yourself.

    We hope to see you all over the City in the coming weeks!

    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

    Saturday, September 29
    Roast of Donna Sachet
    7 pm
    Castro Theatre
    $30 & up

    Sunday, September 30
    Folsom Street Fair
    11 am to 6 pm
    $10 donation

    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 5–6
    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
    11 am to 4 pm
    Fleet Week Emergency Dogs
    Duboce Park

    Wednesday, October 10
    TNDC 26th Annual Pool Toss
    Phoenix Hotel
    6 pm to 9:30 pm
    $125 & up

    Friday, October 12
    PRC Gala: Mighty Real
    6 pm
    Four Seasons Hotel
    $300 & up

    Every Sunday