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    Sister Dana Sez, “Happy Mother’s Day.”

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity

    Sister Dana sez, “Happy Mother’s Day (May 4) to all you mothers out there, and that definitely includes drag mothers as well!”

    Joining more than 600 cities worldwide, an estimated 15,000 people gathered at Justin Herman Plaza on Earth Day in the SAN FRANCISCO MARCH FOR SCIENCE to celebrate and stand up for scientific research and promote the use of evidence-based science in public policy. The crowd chanted, “Science not silence!” as they moved down Market Street to end at Civic Center to hear speakers. One of my favorite placards simply succinctly stated, “Defiance 4 science!” Another pictured a cartoon of our planet wearing sunglasses and saying, “Make earth cool again!” Even the kids were marching, where a trio was spotted wearing red Trump-like trucker hats inscribed: “MAKE FACTS GREAT AGAIN!”

    LYRIC held its annual OPEN HOUSE, “QUEER NATION. QUEER MIGRATION,” at their LGBTQQ youth center, 127 Collingwood. It was a delightful evening of community, connection, and inspiration—showcasing LYRIC youth creativity with art and more in the “Purple House of Love Gallery.” The patio was decorated in rainbow stripes and butterflies everywhere. We were told the butterfly was a symbol of a safe space for undocumented queer and questioning youth there—many of whom told their emotional, sometimes heartbreaking stories. A large map indicated from where each had traveled to arrive here. LYRIC’s purple buttons given to us said it all: “QUEER YOUTH CREATE CHANGE!”

    In one of the biggest MAY DAY demonstrations ever, on May 1, thousands of community members joined a powerful rally and march in Oakland in celebration of this year’s INTERNATIONAL WORKERS’ DAY. It was packed with fiery speeches, civil disobedience, cultural performances, art exhibits, and trainings on how to defend community members targeted by state violence. Given the Trump administration’s heightened threats and attacks against immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ communities, environmental protections, and working class people, the massive mobilization carried signs using the slogan of “Organize and Defend our Communities!”

    Also on MAY DAY, hundreds gathered at San Francisco’s ICE Building to say no to the Trump Administration’s divisive, racist, and ignorant policies that target some of our most vulnerable people. This action took place in coordination with actions in Oakland against the Sheriffs collaboration with ICE, across the Bay Area with nationwide marches, and a general strike against the new administration’s support for mass deportations, attacks on working people, and the planned construction of a wall on the U.S. Mexico border.

    Sister Dana sez, “All around the world, on May 17, advocates and activists are observing and participating in the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOT).”

    OPENHOUSE‘s SPRING FLING – BRUNCH & AUCTION was held Sunday noon at the Fairmont Hotel in honor of this year’s award recipients, Dr. Marcy Adelman and Cleve Jones. Everyone took portraits holding frames behind our proud faces declaring: “We refuse to be invisible!” #LGBTQEldersCount. But after that, Master of Ceremonies comedian Marga Gomez introduced Co-Chairs Neil Sims & Minna Tao—who remarked that this was the largest attended Spring Fling ever. Gomez loudly shouted, “Hello my generation!”—then joking, “It’s a hundred days of Trump, and we definitely need cocktails!” She said, “WE grew up to respect our elders, and now WE ARE the elders!” and continued to do a highly amusing standup act.

    Executive Director Karyn Skulety joyfully announced that in August they will be breaking ground with 79 more new units of housing for LGBT seniors, as well as programming for the same. “I assure you, you will not be forgotten in this Trump era,” she guaranteed. She led us in a stirring chant: “Welcome home! Aging is a battle for ALL of us! Whose streets? OUR streets!”

    For the Eva Lilly Service Awards, Marilyn Howard was not able to accept in person, as she had suffered a bad fall the night before, but MJ Isabell was there to stand and quietly accept.

    Dr. Marcy Adelman proudly presented the Founder Award (herself a founder) to veteran activist Cleve Jones—mentioning all of his activism back from the early days of Harvey Milk to the present with Jones’ inspiration and consultation for the When We Rise TV docu-drama and also his latest best-selling book, When We Rise: My Life in the Movement. Jones paid special attention to the servers that day as an advocate on behalf of the hospitality workers’ union, UNITE HERE!, regarding homophobia in the workplace. He is a driving force behind the Sleep with the Right People campaign, aiming to convince LGBT tourists to stay only in hotels that respect the rights of their workers. By the way, Jones has recently been evicted from his rent-controlled apartment and warned, “We are being rapidly dispersed! This is wrong!” It needs to be mentioned that Jones co-founded the SAN FRANCISCO AIDS FOUNDATION in 1983, and founded the NAMES PROJECT AIDS MEMORIAL QUILT in 1987—among his many other achievements.

    Former Senator Mark Leno presented the Trailblazer Award to Dr. Marcy Adelman, who called her “a magician and a miracle worker … with fierce commitment—who is still fighting today if not tomorrow.” In the mid 1980’s Dr. Adelman founded Openhouse with her late partner, Jeanette Gurevitch, to develop a hub of LGBT welcoming elder housing and service for LGBT elders citywide. Adelman spoke of the early days of mere grassroots support for LGBT aging seniors. “But we are finally a part of the larger community of America!” she exclaimed. She concluded, “The miracle of Openhouse is to have taken a dream of living and thriving together into old age—and making it real for all of us.”


    PETCHITECTURE 2017 is a celebration of 30 years of PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) in preserving the human-animal bond for our most vulnerable friends and neighbors. It’s hosted by SHANTI PROJECT on May 4, 6 pm at the Fairmont Hotel. Bring your pups or come pet-less for your chance to bid on this year’s one-of-a-kind pet habitats and other pet-friendly items.

    This year’s EQUALITY AWARDS—presented as a fundraiser for EQUALITY CALIFORNIA (EQCA)—will honor California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, columnist and commentator proudly gay Jonathan Capehart, business leader Michael Dunn, and reality TV personality and author Jazz Jennings for their leadership, courage, and visibility on behalf of the LGBT community. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will also join the program. This year’s co-chairs, State Senator Scott Wiener, California Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy and Equality California Boardmembers Andrea Casalett, and David Tsai will help us celebrate our heroes and allies. Saturday, May 6, 6–11 pm, Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell Street.

    MAITRI is hosting BLISS 2017, the 30th anniversary celebration, on May 7, 5–8 pm at the Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop, San Francisco, presented by Sutter/CPMC and The Dorian Fund. Come prepared to celebrate and support Maitri as they commemorate this milestone and raise critical funding to meet their mission!  For 30 years, they have helped those with HIV/AIDS pass on with dignity. Until there is a cure for all, they will remain steadfast in this effort—and they so appreciate your help!

    CASTRO STREET ARTSAVESLIVES STUDIO AND GALLERY, 518 Castro Street & 18th, is once again giving us a magnificent MAY ARTISTS RECEPTION at the gallery—open to one and all, free food, drinks, and entertainment on May 12, 6–9 pm. Two of the featured performers have wowed us before: Scarlet Astrid and Kim Lembo, and others—who unfortunately are forced to go without sound and microphone because of the constantly complaining upstairs neighbors who apparently need to go to sleep at 8 pm in the Castro. WHAAAAAT?! I know—it’s the freakin’ Castro already! Anyway, some of the artists on display that night and all month of May include: Liam Peters, Vicki Kieban, James Windsor, Suzie Curtiss, Mark Gebhart, Thomas Hyman, Jay Davidson, Garaje Gooch (and who doesn’t love his amazing photography?!), Mark Arnold, Bob Burnside, Harry Leaf, Paul Arnold, Greg Conover, Brad Lublin, Donna De Matteo (I gave my last edition a great review for her incredible show), Michael Lownie (another of my returning faves), Lorraine Grassano, Jack Stelnicki, and Butch. There will also be art by THOMASINA DE MAIO, the owner and curator of ARTSAVESLIVES, who is throwing open her studio monthly for these fabulous receptions/parties. De Maio is proud to be representing remarkable window displays for the HARVEY MILK BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY commemoration—along with all the other Castro merchant/ organizations.

    The play that spawned the huge cult comedy phenomenon comes to sordid life! Three generations of a dysfunctional small-town Texas family gather after their elderly matriarch dies during a tryst with her much younger, much married neighbor. Fireworks are set off and bizarre truths exposed as the town prepares for what could be an embarrassing funeral. Sooo gay! Sordid Lives plays May 12–June 11 at NCTC, 25 Van Ness Avenue.

    BOYS BITE BACK is an evening of powerful performance about navigating queer & trans masculinities, trouble, conformity & resistance—featuring Sean Dorsey Dance, The Singing Bois and Amir Rabiyah. Saturday 8 pm performance includes Gala Reception. Sean Dorsey Dance’s all-new dances offer a sneak peek of the company’s upcoming show BOYS IN TROUBLE (premieres in 2018). As the shadow of T-rmp’s rule falls over LGBTQ communities across the U.S., Sean Dorsey Dance bites back with full-throttle dance, luscious queer partnering, highly-physical theater, and storytelling that celebrate expansiveness and reject compulsory conformity. May 12 at 8 pm to May 13 at 10 pm, Z Space, 450 Florida Street. (See page 33 for more information about this event.)

    DRAGATHON 2017 (SHEROES VS. VILLAINS) will help raise funds for the SAN FRANCISCO GAY MEN’S CHORUS‘ FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE NETWORK (FAN). FAN provides grants to chorus members who are unable to meet performance mandatory expenses. Please help give these beautiful individuals this affirming and life-changing gift, to be a part of The Chorus! In addition to donating, the Grand Finale of this fundraising campaign culminates in a fierce RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE-styled event where fundraisers will battle it out to earn the title of Ms. Dragathon 2017. Join the Sheroes and Villains on Saturday, May 13, 6 pm to 10 pm at The Oasis, 298 11th Street (at Folsom Street). This incredible show will have appearances by Courtney Act from RuPaul’s Drag Race, the gorgeous stripper men of Baloney, and these amazing SFGMC divas (including last year’s winner, Ammy Thest)! This event is free, but you must be at least 21 years old. Your donation is tax-deductible, so give freely!

    SECOND ANNUAL SPOTLIGHT ON BROADWAY is a rousing Sing-Along Concert Fundraiser, so come with me to hear the SAN FRANCISCO LESBIAN/GAY FREEDOM BAND for the second annual fun-filled audience participation concert on May 20, 8 pm, at the beautiful Sir Francis Drake Hotel Empire Ballroom on Union Square. Take your shower-time singing skills to the next level as we belt out some of Broadway’s most beloved show tunes from throughout the decades! Artistic Director Pete Nowlen will lead the fun as the Band musically transports us to the bright lights of Broadway with tunes from classics such as My Fair Lady, West Side Story, Hairspray, Chorus Line, Shrek the Musical, Sound of Music, and more! Special guest artists Donna Sachet and Leanne Borghesi will emcee the evening and sing some of our favorite tunes, some of which with OUR help! Joining them will be popular vocalists Jesse Barrett and Frank Federico. Enjoy drinks at the no-host bar, tasty snacks, raffles, and a live auction to conduct the Band.

    Sister Dana sez, “May Day! May Day! SOS! Save Our Ship! We must demand that Repugnican and Blue Dog Democratic Congresspeople reject any tax plan that eliminates or weakens Social Security’s dedicated funding stream in order to cut taxes for T-rump and his wealthy friends! Otherwise we will surely sink into the drink!”