Sister Dana sez, “Did we remember to file our tax returns on April 18? Oh no, not you, ‘special’ Donald! You don’t bother to do such things, do you?!”
On Tax Day Saturday, as part of a nationwide series of protests, thousands gathered at Civic Center for the peaceful “TAX MARCH,” demanding President T-rump release his tax returns. House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi and SF Supervisor Jane Kim called out the rump for hiding his tax returns. “It’s a transparency issue,” said Danelle Morton, organizer of the San Francisco march. “We need to know if he is benefiting from any of the decisions he makes while he’s in office.” More than a million people signed a petition at WhiteHouse.gov asking the Pre$ident to release his taxes. Morton says that 74% of all Americans—Democrats and Republicans alike—feel that Rump should release his taxes.
Last Friday night was a busy busy busy one for art reviewer Sister Dana. I had to cover three art receptions—all in the Castro—in one night. I started at the GLBT HISTORY MUSEUM VIP opening, where they have mounted a new exhibition, “LAVENDER-TINTED GLASSES: A GROOVY GAY LOOK AT THE SUMMER OF LOVE.” I dug up several of my peace sign pendants for the occasion. Since this is San Francisco’s anniversary of the 1967 Summer of Love, curator of the show, Joey Cain, a San Francisco-based activist and historian, has put together an entire wall of “groovyness.” The exhibition tells the stories of four queers: gay poet and activist Allen Ginsberg, gay filmmaker Kenneth Anger, bisexual astrologer and philosopher Gavin Arthur, and bisexual singer Janis Joplin (whose lover, Jae Whitaker, was present that night at the opening). All of these were significant players in what came to be known as the San Francisco Summer of Love. Those were just four of the many artists displayed. Cain also examines how the City’s homophile movement of the time responded to the social and cultural uprising in 1967. “I think the story of Gavin Arthur will be the most surprising,” Cain said. “He’s certainly the least known of the four people I focus on. He started out as the grandson of U.S. President Chester A. Arthur and ended up being a guiding presence and influence in the Summer of Love. In many ways, he was the queer grandfather of the hippies.” You will discover at the end of the exhibition: homophiles and hippies were pretty much peas in a pod. And forgive my John Lennon ’69 song pun: “Give Peas a Chance…” I interviewed museum Executive Director Terry Beswick, who noted, “This exhibit quintessentially defines the spirit of San Francisco. When people talk about how San Francisco is changing and not the same as it used to be, I don’t believe that.” He continued, “I believe San Francisco has the spirit that goes back many many years, and the queer origins of the Summer of Love is what this exhibit is all about.” He pointed out the other Summer of Love celebrations going on citywide do not talk about queer origins. He said the current resistance movement against the T-rump administration has its roots in ’60s protests and sit-ins. This fascinating exhibition at 4127 18th Street runs through September 27.
Second on my reception night treks was the monthly ART SAVES LIVES Castro gallery and performance space with 18 different artists displaying their pieces curated by studio owner Thomasina De Maio. Her oils are on display in the front left window. Some of my other favorite artists’ works were the sculptures of Irene Martha Feiks; a series called Rainbow Inspiration with portraits of everyone from David Bowie to Bette Davis to Elizabeth Tayor and even SNL‘s Roseanne Rosannadanna—all by Jim Williams; two large paintings centering around the Statue of Liberty and the freedom she offers to immigrants, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, and resistance by Donna De Matteo; Diane Nutting displays bottle cap and wire wearable people pins; and Jay Davidson uses letters and words from signs to spell out clever messages such as: “It’s a scandal; therapy costs more than a gun.”
Emcee Kristine Wilson introduced Kim Lembo, who performed on acoustic guitar and sang beautifully and emotionally, although it was sometimes hard to hear over the annoying buzz of rude audience members in the front of the studio. Why are some people so inattentive to performers on stage? Take your chatter outside, please! In homage to the Summer of Love, DeMaio painted with brilliant day-glo colors under glowing blacklight using men’s bodies (my fave, Jose Cital) as the canvases. Psychedelic, man!
My third opening reception was at STRUT for “KUMALICIOUS” (pronounced KOO-MAH-LISH-US), which is what you get when you mix bigger queer men of color with gay Japanese manga (cartoons) drawn by artists from across the globe to celebrate the allure and beauty of bigger queer men of color. KUMALICIOUS—curated by E. Salvador Hernandez—took shape in the Summer of 2016 as an art exhibition commissioned by San Francisco’s QUEER CULTURAL CENTER for its 19th annual NATIONAL QUEER ARTS FESTIVAL. It continues developing as an art brand and traveling exhibition showcasing the work of over two dozen artists selected from across the globe. The artworks depict a celebration of the allure and beauty of larger gay men of color inspired by gay Japanese manga. From gachimuchi (“chubby muscle”) to BDSM eroticism, KUMALICIOUS explores various visual works influenced by gay Japanese manga genres popularized by canon artists including Jiraiya, Gengoroh Tagame, and Seizoh Ebisubashi. This exhibition seeks to provide a rare glance at underrepresented populations often neglected in mainstream art. One of my favorites is “Dorito Dios,” depicting a chubby sexy happy god gloriously holding up a holy Dorito chip. strutsf.org
It was the 15TH ANNIVERSARY SOIRÉE at Terra Gallery held for the LGBT CENTER as a delightful evening celebrating the completion of their remodel, which breathes new life into their physical space and creates a sustainable home for future generations of LGBTQ people. Juanita MORE! returned as Entertainment Director along with several dozen delicious drag queens all in white and silver playing toy musical instruments and marching around and into the crowd that was enjoying an open bar, food, performances, music, and lots of dancing! One of the handsome go-go boys wore nothing but a jock strap and high heels. I couldn’t help but comment to him how I admired his lack of an outfit, and he quipped, “I know, I spent hours getting it together!” Executive Director Rebecca Rolfe welcomed everyone to the dinner and spoke about the Center’s achievements and community’s civil rights—and those we have yet to achieve. She acknowledged the founding members from two decades ago. “We must resist and persist,” she urged. Sophie Kass, a 29-year-old transgender woman, gave a moving speech (I totally wept) about escaping the Middle East after having been captured and kidnapped in Beirut; but thanks to an international student program at Berkeley University, she was able to arrive there safely where she interned and later came to the LGBT Community Center, “where I truly found myself as my true self.” State Senator Scott Wiener presented a Certificate of Recognition from the State Senate to the Center and reminisced back to the days when a Center did not exist, and then Supervisor Mark Leno got him involved with making a Center a reality. I flashed back to the time I helped break ground and later in the process got a tour of the building as it was being built, and finally the festive ribbon-cutting for the Grand Opening hosted by Donna Sachet. We’ve come a long way since then!
The celebration continued the day after Soirée on Sunday April 9, as they rededicated their renovated home. We joined them at the Center for a RIBBON-CUTTING CEREMONY AND OPEN HOUSE at 1 pm. Following the ceremony, the open house featured Center programs, tenants—including AGUILAS, Bay Area Legal Aid, and API Wellness—and lively performances from local LGBTQ artists, musicians, and performers.
PEACHES CHRIST PRODUCTIONS and FUDGIE FROTTAGE presented the West Coast premiere of Lady Bunny in “TRANS-JESTER!” Direct from a sold-out New York engagement, Trans-Jester starred the legendary Lady Bunny of Wigstock fame at The Verdi Club in EssEff. Her show is often described as “offensive, vile, brilliant,” and always “hilarious.” Soooo true! But I would add: “thought-provoking, especially regarding our tendency to overly politically correct everything and everyone.” Plus, she got some juicy jabs at T-rump. Bunnylicious!
The 38th annual Easter with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, “SANCTUARY: UNIVERSAL JOY,” was held in Hellman Hollow of Golden Gate Park. We had a great turnout despite the rain. Our glorious drag emcees were Mutha Chucka, Cruzin d’Loo & Kit Tapata. Amazing entertainment was provided by Bitch, Please! with Grace Towers; the cast of Ain’t Yo Mama’s Drag Show; Mutha Chucka; Fou Fou Ha; Carlotta Sue Kay; TrashKan Marchink Band; Pearl Teese, Rebel Kings of Oakland, Juanita More& Morehouse; and Zbörnak. Of course, there were the annual favorites: Easter Bonnet Contest, Foxy Mary Contest, and Hunky Jesus Contest—all judged by Sister Roma and Sister Dana. There were saintings, vow-takings, grants distribution, and appearances throughout the afternoon representing the undocumented community, as well as SF icons (Tom Ammiano, Mark Leno, and Ehrya Amaya), luminaries, and our hardworking politicians. There was even an exorcism of terrible T-rump, Blunderer-in-Chief! And as Kit Tapata wittily noticed: “We are exorcising a hollow hellman in Hellman Hollow!”
SISTER DANA SEZ, “DOES 4/20 MEAN ANYTHING SPECIAL TO YOU? HOW ABOUT 420? ANYWAY, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE HIGH TO ENJOY THESE UPCOMING EVENTS!”
“NOISES OFF” is an uproarious comedy about staging a comedy, Nothing On, by a second-rate British theatrical troupe played by a very talented troupe in real life. The best part is when we get to see backstage and all the hysterical farce that ensues behind the scenes. Doors get stuck or slammed shut, there’s plenty of slapstick and pratfalls, and a plate of sardines is the downfall of all. Now playing through May 13 at SAN FRANCISCO PLAYHOUSE, 450 Post Street. sfplayhouse.or
Songstress Irene Soderberg is finally coming to SF for her 15th anniversary of visiting us from Hollywood. Irene will be singing at Martuni’s, 4 Valencia Street, in “COCKEYED OPTIMIST; FROM BROADWAY TO THE BEATLES” on Saturday, April 22, 7 pm. It will surely be a gathering of old friends (moi included) and newly becoming fans!
LYRIC‘s annual “OPEN HOUSE” at 127 Collingwood Street in the Castro is Thursday, April 27, 5:30–7:30 pm, as an inspirational night showcasing LYRIC youth creativity. It will be an evening of community, connection, inspiration, and more. Free food and free event. Please invite your friends and community. Kid Friendly. facebook.com/LYRIC.LavenderYouth
“SPRING FLING” promises to be the biggest celebration in OPENHOUSE‘s 18-year history! As Openhouse’s biggest fundraising event of the year, monies raised at Spring Fling are essential to support the quality programs and services Openhouse provides. The Spring Fling offers local entrepreneurs, community members, advocates and City officials a unique opportunity to showcase their support for the only organization in San Francisco whose mission specifically targets LGBT seniors. This year they will be honoring Openhouse founder and fellow San Francisco Bay Times columnist Dr. Marcy Adelman and LGBT and HIV/AIDS activist Cleve Jones. Spring Fling is Sunday, April 30, 11 am–2:30 pm, The Fairmont Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, 950 Mason Street, SF. openhouse-sf.org/fling
Sister Dana sez, “Spring has sprung, so don’t forget to love your mother earth on Saturday, April 22, Earth Day. Hey Trump, try not to blow it up!”
PETS ARE WONDERFUL SUPPORT (PAWS) invites you and your canine companion(s) to join SHANTI PROJECT for PAWS’ signature fundraiser and 30th anniversary celebration, “PETCHITECTURE.” This unique San Francisco event will feature one-of-a-kind, locally designed pet habitats, a silent auction, and fun for both canines and human guests alike. Thursday, May 4, at The Fairmont. shanti.org
Sister Dana sez, “Trump excels at exactly two things in his first 100 days: golfing and vacationing!”