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    Sister Dana sez, “Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Or as I prefer to call it: ‘ThanksGaying,’ because I Thank God I’m Gay: TGIG!”

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity–

    Sister Dana sez, “Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Or as I prefer to call it: ‘ThanksGaying,’ because I Thank God I’m Gay: TGIG!”

    On the eve of Halloween, October 30, SPARK ARTS held a special event, TEN CRAZY QUEENS, in honor of these men in the 90s that started doing group drag to attend the Muscle System Ball (aka MUSCLE SISTERS BALL which some of us lovingly called “The Muscle Sissies Ball”). It was a significant event in that it was to raise money every Halloween for HIV services and organizations. It was THE gym at the time. The owners had the idea of a drag event ball charging for attendance—and you were required to drag up. Two decades later, on the night before Halloween, we got to relive the dream as several original crazy queens gave us the history in talks, Q&As and fabulous art displayed by Alan C. Beckstead (also known as Mitzi). One of my faves is of “Nicole 1995” at the Eagle bar with two leathermen. Beckstead was also giving away mugs he created with some of the crazy queens depicted. Of course, I chose “Nicole.” I spoke with Nicole who reminded me of the year they found bargain bin bridal dresses designed by fashionista Jessica McClintock. Inexpensive but impressive! Some of their original gowns were also on display.

    Sister Dana sez, “This edition is all about art. All these art receptions represent artwork available for viewing all month long. You are encouraged to go to these venues and enjoy them for yourselves!”

    November 1 was the monthly, every-first-Thursday CASTRO ART WALK, a self-guided tour of Castro venues displaying art all month long, but featuring the artists in person on the 1st. Fourteen venues participated this month. I was especially impressed at Art Attack SF with Serge Gay Jr. and #30 “Safe Space” acrylic on canvas depicting a gay bar with people safely expressing themselves in drag, leather, furries, lesbian triad and other expressions. Also, a fave of mine is Tracy Piper and her bold, bright colors with several pieces including #27 “The Boys in the Band” acrylic of two men lovingly hugging; and #32 “No #1” with a person wearing a shirt with “NO” as if to say, “Don’t try to label me or give me a gender.” By the way, I am thrilled to announce Tracy told me she is now an official resident artist of Art Attack. Do check out her magnificent work! 

    BACK TO THE PICTURE hosted a glorious DIA DE LOS MUERTOS art reception on November 2, officially the “Day of the Dead,” in their frame shop at 934 Valencia Street. They exhibited traditional Mexican Day of The Dead themed art by dozens of artists, along with Mexican treats, food, wine, and more. A favorite artist of mine is Cynthia La Rosa with her very clever eight shadowboxes, including a scene of La Rondalla cocktail lounge with a Mariachi band and dancer miniature people. In another, famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo of the 30s and 40s overlooks a festive street party. Michael Roman (who died last year) was discovered by musician Carlos Santana in the mid-90s with “Bobcat” oil/mixed media on paper with a fearsome black cat surrounded by Aztec symbols. Several gorgeous sculptures by Concepcion Aguilar are displayed on pedestals.

    That same night, I attended an art reception at CITY ART SF Cooperative Art Gallery down the street at 828 Valencia. There were so many artists in attendance, but one stood out for me: the three whimsically painted life-size mannequins of Angelo Di Pietrantonio. One of them had a lobster for a spine!

    It was a busy night for art, as I next went to STRUT gallery in the Castro (470 Castro and 18th) to view the art of Jaime Cortez with his excellent exhibition entitled HORNED UP NOW. “Never in the history of humanity have so many people taken and shared photos with so many,” said Cortez. One theme I noticed was the lack of faces for any of the men portrayed—giving a feeling of anonymity. Also, the colors are pastel and not bold. I especially enjoy “This Is Not Who I Am; This Is What I Want,” a colored stencil on paper with a man’s body tattooed with various Christian symbols. Another piece was entitled “VBL, BTM, LAT, 4, HWT, MASC, POP” of a man taking a selfie, but the flash blocks out his face. The title refers to personal ad acronyms.  

    ART SAVES LIVES presented an ART RECEPTION on November 7 at Harvey Milk Photo Center, 50 Scott Street. This is an ongoing 18-person group show of mixed media, photos, paintings, assemblage, sculpture, pottery, and more entitled FALL CONTEMPORARY ART. The curators are Thomasina DeMaio (of “Art Saves Lives”) and HMPC Director Dave Christensen. The exhibiting artists I most admire are Michael Lownie, Carl Linkhart, Alan Beckstead and J.B. Higgins. Part of the show is a work in progress honoring seniors in photos and paintings—portraiture done in Eureka Rec Center and at Harvey Milk Photo Center. Entertainment was by Irene McCalphin, Dottie Lux and SuSu with her belly dancers. This continuing display closes on December 8.

    Sister Dana sez, “ Trans Lifeline, an organization that runs a crisis hotline for transgender people and staffed by transgender people, said that calls to their suicide hotline have quadrupled since Trump started trying to legally erase transgender identity. This is frightening!”

    Reminder: TDoR SF, 2018 TRANS DAY OF REMEMBRANCE is Tuesday, November 20. See details at

    The MUELLER FIRING RAPID RESPONSE rally (#protectmueller) assembled hundreds of peaceful protesters at Civic Center on November 8 in immediate reaction to Trump firing his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replacing him with pro-Trump, anti-Mueller acting A.G. Matt Whitaker who will immediately take over supervising special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation from Rod Rosenstein, the embattled deputy attorney general. Similar rallies were held that day across the nation. The slogan in SF was: “THE RED LINE HAS BEEN CROSSED!” regarding a rapid response action to hold Trump accountable for seriously jeopardizing the Trump-Russia investigation. People carried placards stating: “No one is above the law,” “Stop the slo-mo Saturday Night Massacre!” “This nightmare must end: Trump/Pence must go!” And a protester in a Trump mask held a sign stating, “Impeach, Indict, Imprison!”  

    Senator Scott Wiener gave a statement regarding the Thousand Oaks Massacre, calling it “a horrific tragedy” and “yet another reminder that we have too many guns in our society whose only purpose is to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible.” He added, “We must take firm action to reduce the number of killing machines in our country.”

    I went to CODE & CANVAS open studios to check out the B&W photos of J.B. Higgins, including his classic photo of the late Cockette Divine; the famous SF late identical twin sisters, Vivian & Marian Brown (who never appeared anywhere without matching identical outfits); and an altar to Marilyn Monroe. View his and other artists’ amazing works at 151 Potrero Avenue.

    Next, I got the pleasure of seeing Jerry Frost and his ongoing exhibition at Artitud at 1121 Howard Street. His earlier oils and putty knife techniques of abstract colors and lines are displayed as well as his fascination with water and water lilies. But I really enjoy his newest evolution into whimsical figures and stories—many with hidden or overt gay themes such as “Over the Rainbow.” There are walls and walls of Frost’s figurative, narrative, surrealism, social consciousness and playfulness to enjoy all November.

    Sister Dana sez, “Don’t be a turkey and miss out on these lovely pre-Thanksgiving events!

    On November 20, 6–9 pm at the Tenderloin Museum, 398 Eddy Street, THE TENDERLOIN MUSEUM, THE HARVEY MILK LGBT DEMOCRATIC CLUB, and Cleve Jones present KICKOFF THE KICKSTARTER for “Thanks to Hank,” an evening celebrating the life of storied Tenderloin hero and AIDS activist, Hank Wilson.

    Donna Sachet’s SONGS OF THE SEASON, benefiting PRC, returns with a new line-up of talent, curated and hosted by Billboard Recording Artist Brian Kent on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, November 26, 27, and 28 at the legendary Feinstein’s.

    THE ANNUAL CASTRO HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING is on November 26, 6 pm, in front of the Bank of America building, and the CHANUKAH MENORAH LIGHTING is on December 5 at Jane Warner Plaza.

    Join the HARVEY MILK LGBT DEMOCRATIC CLUB on November 27, 7 pm, at Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro for the 40th anniversary remembrance of the assassinations of HARVEY MILK & GEORGE MOSCONE for a candlelight march and rally. (See related cover and special section in this issue of the San Francisco Bay Times.)

    On November 29, 7–9 pm, THE GLBT HISTORICAL SOCIETY presents VOICES OF AIDS ACTIVISM in the Castro museum, 4127 18th Street. This will be 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.

    Sister Dana sez, “Donald Rump says that CA Repugnican Rep. Devin Nunes should get the Medal of Freedom—America’s highest civilian honor—for his efforts to confound the Russia investigation. More like the Medal for Meddling, riiiiight?!”