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    Sister Dana sez, “Congratulations and cheers to the brave firefighters for finally containing the California wildfires!”

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity–

    Sister Danasez, “Congratulations and cheers to the brave firefighters for finally containing the California wildfires!”

    Forty years ago, Supervisor Harvey Milk was shot five times and succumbed to his wounds inside San Francisco City Hall. As one of the first openly LGBTQ elected officials in U.S. history, Harvey Milk’s life and death became a stirring symbol of the LGBTQ movement’s determination to secure equality through political representation in government. Forty years later, 596 openly LGBTQ leaders are in elected office nationwide, a testament to Harvey’s impact and legacy.

    THE HARVEY MILK LGBTQ DEMOCRATIC CLUB in partnership with Supervisor Rafael Mandelman‘s office held their annual vigil in honor of slain Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. On November 27 in Harvey Milk Plaza, at 7 pm, members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus opened the ceremony performing “Singing for Our Lives.” There followed reflections from Tom Ammiano, Harry Britt, Gwenn Craig, Carol Ruth Silver, Cleve Jones, Anne Kronenberg, Danny Nicoletta, Medora Payne, Debra Jones and Michael Wong. About an hour later, the crowd marched to City Hall, where we were welcomed by Mayor London Breed. Unfortunately, the scheduled speakers could not speak due to rain. So, we missed all this: reflections on George Moscone by Willie Brown, Jr.; and words on the movement that Milk founded in today’s context from Milk Board Presidents Carolina Morales & Honey Mahogany, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, DCCC Chairman David Campos, Persia, Felicia Flames Elizondo, Donna Personna and queer labor speakers Jessica Etheridge and Brandy McDaniel. Instead, Cleve Jones called for a moment of silence, and sent us all energized to our homes.

    Earlier at 5 pm, the Nasser family and the Castro Theatre had shown an encore presentation of Robert Epstein‘s The Times of Harvey Milk free of admission to the general public.

    Donna Sachet’s SONGS OF THE SEASON, benefiting PRC (formerly Positive Resource Center), returned with a new line-up of talent, curated by Brian Kent on November 26, 27 and 28 at Feinstein’s at the Nikko Hotel, a legendary venue. The show delivered (as usual with Donna’s events) an evening filled with a variety of locally and internationally recognized and spirited entertainers; all determined to usher us into the joy and excitement of the holiday season. We smiled, laughed, applauded and even shed a nostalgic tear or two as a talented group of performers and friends joined Brian Kent in sharing the magic that is Donna Sachet’s Songs of the Season. Performers in the three-night spectacular included Donna Sachet (of course); Brian Kent, Billboard recording artist; Franchie Davis, American IdolDavid Hernandez, American Idol (Monday & Tuesday); Leanne Borghesi, NY/SF theater & cabaret artist; Effie Passero, American Idol (Monday & Tuesday); Breanna Sinclaire, opera singer (Wednesday only); Kenny Nelson, singer/songwriter; Kippy Marks, electric violinist; and Dan O’Leary, SF vocalist and actor.

    CASTRO MERCHANTS ANNUAL HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING took place quite merrily on November 26 at the Rainbow Tree in front of Bank of America at Castro & 18th Streets. It was emceed by Donna Sachet and featured Holiday Music and a Sing-Along led by members of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco and Golden Gate Men’s Chorus. There were remarks from special guests from City Hall and other local dignitaries, including Castro Merchants President Daniel Bergerac, Senator Scott Wiener, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, SF District Attorney George Gascon and a rousing Blessing and Response by The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Then, Santa and his Elf lit the Tree. Candy canes were distributed to the kiddies by Mr. Claus and his very cute elf. The night concluded with (naturally) “Oh Christmas Tree” by the choruses and audience singing, followed by “We Wish You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” So, believe it or not, the holidaze are here, queer!

    LISTEN UP! VOICES OF AIDS ACTIVISM was hosted by THE GLBT HISTORICAL SOCIETY on November 29 at the GLBT museum in the Castro. This was the first public showing of video interviews from the GLBT Historical Society’s ongoing San Francisco ACT UP ORAL HISTORY PROJECT documenting the history of direct-action AIDS activism in the Bay Area. The full videos will eventually be made available to researchers and will form the basis of an exhibition in the society’s museum, providing new insights into the contributions of activists as LGBTQ people and people with AIDS fought against the epidemic and the lethally slow response of the government. Executive Director Terry Beswick introduced current project manager Eric Sneathen, who facilitated a lively discussion after the screenings and video clips were shown. Particularly capturing my attention was reliving that horrible “Castro Sweep of 1989” when we ACT UP protesters were being harassed and clubbed and arrested under what the police chief called Martial Law. I was not allowed to return to my home just half a block away. Ugly.

    On November 29, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) announced his intent to re-introduce a bill to exempt compassionate care programs from paying state commercial cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions. Well, it’s high time!

    Sister Dana sez, “If Jack Frost is nipping at your nose, go inside these venues for these events, and enjoy the warmth within!”

    The hilarious 1930s pastiche musical DAMES AT SEA is now on deck through December 16 at San Francisco’s Gateway Theatre, 215 Jackson Street (formerly the Eureka Theatre). This is 42nd Street Moon’s production.

    It’s 42ND STREET meets ANYTHING GOES meets Busby Berkeley in Hollywood. It is a pearl of a show that opened Off-Broadway in 1968 and helped to launch the career of Bernadette Peters. Sweet, innocent Ruby arrives in New York with big dreams and lands in the chorus of a new show—but the theatre is about to be torn down! Can sailor-turned-songwriter Dick find a new venue for the show while juggling temperamental diva Mona, frazzled producer Hennesy, and starry-eyed ingénue Ruby? Full of vim, verve and tap-dancing, this show will charm its way into your heart. Tickets can be purchased through the Box Office at 415-255-8207 or online

    In BRASSY & SASSY, the SAN FRANCISCO GAY MEN’S CHORUS welcomes guest star coloratura soprano Marnie Breckenridge (San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Los Angeles Opera), who will bring her own sass and class to the stage. Along with a brilliant brass quintet, there will be everything from glorious classical fare to swing to big band sounds. And a few new twists on holiday classics. Sing along with your favorites and delight in the breathtaking sound of men’s voices performing everything from “Silver Bells” to “Sleigh Ride,” and a striking rendition of “Silent Night.” Join the fun as SFGMC brings the holiday spirit to life. December 7 & 7 at Nourse Theatre, 275 Hayes Street.

    Golden Girls Live: The Christmas Episodes returns to the Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th Street, now through December 23. The holidays are on their way and the Girls are back! Take four talented drag performers, cast them in two Xmas episodes of the uproarious TV show The Golden Girls, and you have the perfect holiday event for the entire family. In what has become a yearly tradition, this drag send-up and loving tribute to the characters the entire world has come to know and love, features local drag stars: Heklina (Dorothy), Matthew Martin (Blanche), D’Arcy Drollinger (Rose) and Holotta Tymes (Sophia).

    The annual DANCE-ALONG NUTCRACKER is Saturday, December 8, 3 pm & 7 pm; Sunday, December 9, 11 am & 3 pm at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, 701 Mission Street. Each year, the SAN FRANCISCO LESBIAN/GAY FREEDOM BAND blends Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker Suite with a fun theme. The result: a fun-filled musical production brimming with wit, artistry and ingenuity. The talented cast sings and dances their way through a parody version of the Nutcracker. And when the “Dance-Along” sign flashes, the audience is invited to tug on their tutus and sashay along with the cast. Even audience members who don’t want to dance have a blast! This year’s show, with a somewhat fractured Harry Potter theme, centers on the magical adventures of Clara Potter and her friends at Fogwarts School, as they search out the long-lost Elder Baton on a quest to save their school music program.

    THE SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE again give you an alternative to anti-LGBTQ Salvation Army with SALVATION SISTERS BELL RINGING on December 8 @ 18th and Castro Streets, 6–8 pm. We’ll jingle your bells as we protest the Salvation Army for their impish ways! And mark your calendars for the 1ST ANNUAL KRAMPUS FEST PAGEANT on December 15, 2018 @ El Rio, 4–7 pm.

    Always a holiday favorite, HELP IS ON THE WAY FOR THE HOLIDAYS, presented by RICHMOND/ERMET AID FOUNDATION (REAF), will feature an amazing cast singing many holiday favorites as well as songs that reflect the spirit of the holidays—Love, Hope, and Compassion. And, as if this concert weren’t enough, the VIP after party with the cast at the Clift Hotel will feature a wonderful assortment of holiday drinks, appetizers and desserts, as well as a chance to meet and mingle with cast members.  They’ve got Tony nominees, Grammy winners and nominees, cabaret and musical theater stars and much, much more. Happening at the Marines Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter Street on December 10, 7:30 pm, it benefits PROJECT OPEN HAND and POSITIVE RESOURCE

    Sister Dana sez, “It’s not enough he put migrant children in cages, but now Trump is spraying them with tear gas. Welcome to AmeriKKKa, children!”