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    Sister Dana sez, “How ironic that First Lady Melania Trump is rallying her ‘Be Best’ campaign against online bullying, while First Ogre President Trump has posted over 450 (and counting) bullying tweets since declaring for that stolen office! Yikes!”

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity–

    Sister Dana sez, “How ironic that First Lady Melania Trump is rallying her ‘Be Best’ campaign against online bullying, while First Ogre President Trump has posted over 450 (and counting) bullying tweets since declaring for that stolen office! Yikes!”

    The BRIDGEMEN, a part of SAN FRANCISCO AIDS FOUNDATION and STRUT, the home of health and wellness in the Castro, held a night out on Cinco de Mayo to find out what the Bridgemen do for the community. We were encouraged by Community Organizer Baruch Porras-Hernandez to join the organization as volunteers, and we enjoyed SpeedFriending (which is like SpeedDating, but not for hook-ups but rather to meet queer men as friends). The Bridgemen has collaborated with Gay Men in SF to put on this event several times before. We participated in several ice-breaker exercises including a scavenger hunt and other getting-to-know-you games. Then we went to the third floor where a bunch of board games awaited our pleasure. My favorite was Cards Against Humanity, the most un-politically correct game imaginable. But tons ‘o fun, and a great way with humor to play with new friends.

    MAITRI presented BLISS 2018 (their 31st Year Anniversary) in the Julia Morgan Ballroom, raising $210,000 in total. Maitri says no one should have to suffer or die alone. Maitri provides compassionate residential care to men and women in need of hospice or 24-hour care and cultivates the deepest respect and love for life among its residents and caregivers. Maitri honored former Executive Director Bill Musick for his 20 years of service, and Kirsten Havrehed for 20 years of supporting Maitri with her time and donations. Musick had all the past and present board members stand to receive applause. He then introduced the relatively new executive director (the first female Maitri E.D. ever), Anne Gimbel, to speak about the long process of moving from the tiny, underserved Hartford Street headquarters to the now spacious space at Duboce. She summed it all up, saying, “Maitri is good karma.” Amen! We also found out that Development Director Toni Newman would be moving on to become Executive Director of St. James Infirmary. They then screened a video of staff and clients speaking about what Maitri meant to them personally and as a whole. Auctioneer and host was actor Dale Johannes.

    Special Guest was Grammy Winning vocalist and original Dreamgirl Jennifer Holliday, who spoke of the early days of AIDS and losing so many of her dear friends in the entertainment industry to this “new virus.” Then she belted out her more than famous Dreamgirls number, “And I Am Telling You” to the shouts and screams of the audience. Also entertaining were guitarist/ vocalist Jonny Zywiciel, hysterical comedian Jason Stuart (addressing the yeas and woes of being gay and Jewish), pianist Tammy Hall accompanying vocalist Frenchie Davis (who will be joining the cast of Dreamgirls) who sang Otis Redding‘s “The Dock of the (San Francisco) Bay” and Lady Gaga‘s “Born This Way.” We all got to sing the “Happy Birthday Song” to Ms. Davis. This truly was a night of Bliss!

    Each year Juanita MORE!‘s annual nonprofit event focuses on supporting some of SF’s most needy organizations. This year Juanita has chosen TRUTH (TRans yoUTH), a joint program between TRANSGENDER LAW CENTER and GSA NETWORK. This program seeks to amplify the voices of trans and gender non-conforming young people by offering a safe place to share struggles, learn empathy, and build public understanding. These youth have attempted suicide, experienced harassment or discrimination in school—some so severe, they had to leave elementary or high school. TRUTH is allowing these youth to lead the way to end the isolation and stigma that trans youth face so these statistics can reach zero. These are the youth of our future and they have the power to change both minds and policies through their stories. Juanita held a fundraiser for TRUTH, QUEER LENS, an art reception at Ian Stallings Design, 1100 Sutter Street, which will be open through Pride month.

    In her 25-year drag history, Juanita has collaborated with artists from San Francisco to New York, working as both muse and art director, to address issues within the community and shine and highlight the talent of some the country’s most talented artists. Featured at “Queer Lens” is a caricature of Juanita by artist Koak, who lives and works in SF. I see a resemblance in this cartoon to the drawings of Al Hirschfield depicting Hollywood stars in the 50s. In the window one can see a sizeable, elaborate gown that is an art piece in itself designed by Mr. David Couture. Mr. David has been a prolific costumer and couturier for over four decades. One of my fave artists, Davy Fiveash, has a fresh, contemporary look at the Dutch still life genre of paintings. They are also a bit erotic, if you have a pervy outlook on life. Another is David King with an exploration of the profound interest in the metaphysical using intricate collage on paper. The artist duo, BLECHMEKI, is a portmanteau derived from their last names of Max Blechman & Kazu Umeki with a new way of looking at ordinary objects consisting of vintage American pottery. One of the white porcelain Deco ladies I do believe I have in my home. Daniel Samaniego has hyper-detailed graphite installations of a meditation on queer persona—melding the beautiful with the grotesque. You have to see these queer masterpieces to really appreciate what genius Juanita has assembled! Now through June Pride.

    Celebrating 31 years of maintaining the human-animal bond for our most vulnerable neighbors was PETS ARE WONDERFUL SUPPORT (PAWS)’ signature event, PETCHITECTURE! This event, held at the Fairmont SF on May 9, was unlike any other in San Francisco—bringing together humans, animals, and premier Bay Area architects to create a spectacular evening of fun, fundraising, and pet-friendly architecture (which was available for bidding). There were passed dog treats for the canine guests and hors d’oeuvres for their humans, plus a buffet supper, followed by a formal program and awards presentation. We wore our classy cat or top dog attire, many being accompanied by licensed and vaccinated pups (on leash). Alas, cats were not allowed (and my black & grey tabby Panther will be bringing a lawsuit for feline discrimination). Proceeds from the event funded the critical support services PAWS provides to the community. Through the generous support of individual donors, private foundation grants, corporate grants, and business supporters, as well as the annual Petchitecture fundraiser, PAWS is able to provide needed companion animal services to hundreds of low-income San Franciscans so they continue to benefit from the healing power and unconditional love of their beloved pets. Former State Senator Mark Leno (and my next SF mayor) held his dog while giving a blessing to the evening’s awardee, Shireen McSpadden. She is honored to lead the City of SF in providing landmark supportive community services specifically to LGBT seniors and their pets. McSpadden has more than 25 years of experience providing services to people with disabilities and seniors, in both the nonprofit and public sectors. She received the Dede Wilsey Champion of the Human-Animal Bond Award from Dede Wilsey herself. Wilsey is president of the board of trustees of the Fine Arts Museums, among her many titles (including proud owner of outgoing dog idols Twinkle, Dazzle, and Eliza Wilsey). PAWS screened a video of the many thankful ill clients and their beloved animals that helped make life a lot more endurable. Executive Director Kaushik Roy noted that PAWS has been by the side of those in need to ensure that no person had to choose between the care of themselves or their pet. And 31 years later, they are proud to serve more than 600 clients and 800 companion animals annually. Openly proud and gay auctioneer Lenny Broberg had the crowd laughing and giving donations: first for a cat owner to have his fabulous feline become 2018 Petchitecture Cat Idol (the owner gave $4,900 for that honor) and second to be 2018 Petchitecture Dog Idol (whose owner gave $6,700 for that coveted title). Lenny also drew raffle prize winners for specially designed habitats for birds, cats, and dogs. Lenny also auctioned the Fund-A-Need portion for audience members to pledge various levels of donations, while cheerleaders from SF Cheer encouraged the crowd. Doggone it, that was fun!

    Castro Street ARTSAVESLIVES Studio and Gallery presented the MAY SHOW OF 15 LOCAL ARTISTS at 518 Castro Street on May 11. Lively live entertainment was courtesy of Thoth and Lila Angelique of TRIBAL BAROQUE, with contemporary dancer Kyra. It was a tribal dance beat with tango overtones on dual violins. Lila hit the highest notes imaginable—reminiscent of the late great Amy Camus aka Yma Sumac (her real name spelled backwards).

    Fifteen artists’ works will be on display throughout May. In the window is ArtSavesLives curator Thomasina De Maio‘s impressive, large black and white oil painting of Harvey Milk. Inside the walls are covered with art. Gordon Silveria ( has bigger than life, cut-out comic cartoons, as well as nude drawings from his class at Eros every Wednesday from 7–9 pm. By the way, he is really cute, folks. Ciel James has a series of humorous female pen and ink prints. Lance Scott has framed nude males from De Maio’s figure drawing class held every Thursday at her studio from 1–4 pm. Smithy Blackwell has black and white watercolor figures. Marvin Lehrman displays matted color botanical photography. Paisha Rochlin has framed watercolors of either nature or peoples’ faces. Carl Linkhart has a series of clever colorful oils, “Broken Dreams,” with my favorite being “The Fetid Inauguration” with Trump on his throne in hell, surrounded by demons. Perfect! Rene Capone depicts young gay boys in love in his beautiful paintings. I am so fortunate to have received that night as a gift from him a lovely framed “Archer No. 2.”  Adam Eisendrath has framed photos. Toby Wiggin either goes big or goes small, with tiny boxed miniatures or large modern art pieces (my favorite being “Bozo on Black” with Bozo the clown featured). Chelsea Zhu, originally from Shanghai, China, displays digital animated illustrations. Gabriel Garbow has a series of attractive men in watercolor. Bonita Cohn has a display of pottery, “63 Bowls, 63 Years.” I really prefer her gorgeous oils, but she has taken a break to work with clay. All of these talented artists’ pieces should be enjoyed in person all month long at ArtSavesLives studio, 518 Castro and 18th Streets.  

    Each year EQUALITY CALIFORNIA presents EQUALITY AWARDS to honor the inspirational leaders and organizations whose selfless work helps create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. The ceremony was held at the Westin St. Francis on May 12 with event co-chairs Hon. Bevan Dufty, Kristen Kavanaugh, Hon. Rebecca Saltzman, Hon. Scott Wiener, and Laura Zagar. The always hilarious Dana Goldberg was emcee, using lesbian Jewish humor to comment on politics with scathing remarks against Trump. Introducing award recipients were Kavanaugh and Zagar.

    Congressman Mark Takano, the first openly LGBTQ person of color elected to Congress, was presented with the Amplify Equality Award by Honorable Evan Low. Congressman Takano urged everyone to “join the resistance” and especially to get out the vote. EQCA screened several videos showing past victories and present challenges. Former State Senator Mark Leno lauded the importance of EQCA to keep the movement for equality for all moving forward. LaVerda Allen and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) received the Equality Trailblazer Awards for their inspiring work prioritizing local, small, disadvantaged, and women-run businesses and the historic recent expansion of this program to LGBTQ businesses.

    EQCA Executive Director Rick Zbur gave accolades as successor to former E.D. Geoff Kors to how much Kors accomplished on his watch and emphasized that equality for all does not mean just LGBTQ rights, but rather to all human civil rights. Senator Scott Wiener proudly honored Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the Senate who consistently fights for equality for all. She urged everyone to speak the truth to power in a time when truth is scarce in Congress and the Administration. “It’s about freedom and opportunity for all.” And she warned not to be overly concerned with past progress but to press forward for victory. “This election is our chance to turn things around,” she concluded.

    Sister Dana sez, “MAY I suggest these great events for the month of MAY? And don’t forget that May 22 is statewide Harvey Milk Day!”

    STRUT is featuring the art of Anand Vedawala in his show titled “HOT CHACHAS.” His recent work highlights South Asians, a group that isn’t really talked about in any media whenever the topic of queerness is mentioned, making them seem nonexistent or invisible. He depicts “chachas” (i.e, “uncles” or “daddies”) in his work so that other people of color can see they’re not alone. The art is beautiful, but so is the clever, delightfully verbose verbiage he writes with each piece of art as vivid, witty illustration. These are on display on the second floor all month long.

    Sister Dana sez, “Monday, May 21, is a critical deadline for registering to vote or updating your voter registration for California’s June 5 primary elections. Let’s make a difference and Queer the Vote!”

    NCLR is celebrating its 41ST ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION which includes a three-course dinner and a fabulous after party for 2,000 guests at the Innovation Hangar at Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon Street on May 19, 8:30 pm. Welcoming and dinner at 5 pm with party at 8:30 pm. After a tenure marked by unimaginable leaps of progress—legalization of same-sex marriage, expansion of LGBTQ adoption and parental rights—executive director Kate Kendell will leave an organization that is stronger, louder, and more determined than ever to rise up to defend the rights of all LGBTQ people.

    Sister Dana sez, “May 15 marked the tenth anniversary of the California Supreme Court’s historic ruling in “In re Marriage Cases,” which recognized the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. (See page 7 for more information.)

    The 7th annual DRAGATHON fundraiser, SCREAM QUEENS, is sinful fun with lip-syncs, fashion, and death-drops that you can’t miss. Dragathon is bringing you some queens that will truly slay the runway, brought to you by the SAN FRANCISCO GAY MEN’S CHORUS DIVAS. Featuring TV’s Ru-Paul Dragrace Superstar, Sasha Velour. Some of these guys will be their first time in drag. Personally, I will be rooting for my good friend Ammy Thest (Edwin Bautista) from the House of Split Ends. She is going for her title of third top fundraiser in a row. Be a part of this killer fundraiser by donating to your favorite queen and celebrate their success with a fierce competition on May 19, 7–10 pm at SF Oasis, 298 11th Street. All proceeds go towards Ryan’s Fund: the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus financial assistance network helping Chorus members who can’t afford to participate with the ability to do so. Free, but suggest a donation at the door.

    The 6th annual LGBTQ Community Connection Fair, ATMOSQUEER, will take place on Sunday, May 20, from 1 to 5 pm at STRUT, 470 Castro Street. AtmosQueer connects members of the San Francisco Bay Area LGBTQ community to organizations, groups, and events that provide them with personal enrichment, fulfillment, and an opportunity to give back to, and be personally involved in, the community. There will be complimentary food and beverages, a live DJ, raffle prizes, and more.

    Legendary screen goddess Kim Novak will be queried by the TCM TV’s “Czar of Noir” Eddie Muller on the making of the Alfred Hitchcock classic VERTIGO (filmed here in EssEff and celebrating its 60th Anniversary) and more. This gala event on Sunday, May 20, 7 pm at the Castro Theatre also features legendary Kim Novak video clips, tribute performances by some of SF’s finest talent, a screening of VERTIGO, and an after event “nosh & mingle” dessert reception with Ms. Novak (no autographs or photos). This once-in-a-lifetime Castro event is produced by MARC HUESTIS PRESENTS. Partial proceeds benefit SF SUICIDE PREVENTION. As of this writing there are just a few balcony seats left.

    BACK TO THE PICTURE at 934 Valencia Street has an opening reception for TASTE OF THE WORLD on May 26, 6–9 pm. Bringing you some of the best emerging artists from around the world, the exhibit will take you on a tour showcasing original, contemporary paintings alongside the artists’ stories, collected during their visits to their studios.

    23RD SAN FRANCISCO SILENT FILM FESTIVAL will screen at the Castro Theatre, May 30–June 3. The festival will begin on Wednesday, May 30, with a special presentation of Universal Pictures’ new restoration of Paul Leni’s 1928 The Man Who Laughs. Leni’s adaptation of Victor Hugo‘s 1869 novel about a man disfigured from childhood stands with the great masterworks of the silent era. This presentation also marks the world premiere of a commissioned score by Berklee College of Music’s Silent Film Orchestra. Complete information is available at

    THEATRE RHINOCEROS presents the return of last year’s hit after a 2017 Sold-Out Run, an encore production of PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT – THE MUSICAL with book by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, directed by John Fisher in a limited engagement of 5 weeks, May 26–June 30. Opening night: Thursday, May 31, 8 pm (reception to follow). This way gay drag play ABBAriffic and more is at Gateway Theatre, 215 Jackson Street at Battery.

    Sister Dana sez, “As all these T-rump butt-kissing Repugnicans are saying the Mueller investigation has gone on too long, let us reflect back on Nixon the crook stating in 1974: ‘One year of Watergate [investigation] is enough.’ Yep. Crooks of a feather flock together!”