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    Sister Dana sez, “It’s LEATHER WEEK! Be leatheriffic! Wear something leather! If you’re a vegan, wear rubber!”

    Sister-Dana2Sister Dana sez, “It’s LEATHER WEEK! Be leatheriffic! Wear something leather! If you’re a vegan, wear rubber!”

    We traveled back to 1987 to “HAPPY BIRTHDAY SYLVESTER!” at the latest installment of the GLBT HISTORICAL SOCIETY’s monthly MIGHTY REELS series of moving images from the archives. GLBT Historical Society Executive Director Terry Beswick introduced media preservationist John Raines, who presented a rare video of the 40th birthday celebration for iconic San Francisco disco diva Sylvester (1947–1988), with the star performing sentimental standards backed by a jazz band. We learned from Raines that it was actually his 38th birthday, but the diva wanted everyone to remark how young he looked at 40! The program concluded with very rare encore clips of Sylvester and other Megatone Records artists including Paul Parker, Jo-Lo, Billy Preston, and Modern Rocketry—all very ‘80s with big hair and big shoulder pads on the ladies, and scenes from EssEff for the boys’ videos, including leather fairs, pride parades, and street fairs with bare-chested Castro clones dancing. Sylvester was born in Los Angeles on September 6, 1947, so the program took place less than a week before what would have been his 69th birthday. Don’t miss the next Mighty Reels archive showing, A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD,” September 30 at 7 pm at the Museum, 4127 18th Street. Media preservationist John Raines will present rare videos of the 1976 and 1978 Castro Street Fairs—just prior to this year’s Castro Street Fair. glbthistory.org/museum

    STRUT, the gay/bi/trans men Castro center for health and social wellbeing is currently exhibiting “BECOMING TOM, AN INTIMATE LOOK AT TOM OF FINLAND’S INSPIRATIONS” in their gallery. At the Strut reception, Jason Bopp stood proudly on stage in his full-on leather gear with muscular thighs exposing tattoos of four of Tom of F’s characters. Jason told me he had just showed up at Strut as a fan, but he was asked to display his body art as an appropriate (handsome) addition to the showing. Strut held this reception where Strut Community Organizer Baruch Porras Hernandez introduced Marc Ransdell Bellenger, Curator & Community Development of the TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION (TomOfFinlandFoundation.org) who informed us that the house in Los Angeles where Tom lived and worked is in process of becoming an official historic landmark. We learned that Tom was first a student of music before becoming famous for his art. The exhibition shows many photos that inspired Tom and then became works of art. My favorite is the “Tom & Tomcat” 1987 silver gelatin print transformed into the slightly more homoerotic finished drawing.

    Tom of Finland’s art has always been full of powerful images, men in control, men celebrating their sexuality, unapologetically outdoors, in the day light, not hidden away in shame and darkness. He brought us gay images as heroic god-like figures that have become a crucial historic part of the gay art world. In this exhibition, we see a selection of source materials, which helped to serve as inspiration for some of his work. He combed a wide variety of recourses from all over the world. For example, Norman Rockwell’s work in the Saturday Evening Post of nineteen forties, to Bob Miser’s Physique Pictorial of the nineteen fifties and nineteen sixties, and, of course, magazines like Drummer and various others in the eighties and nineties. In 1984, the nonprofit Tom of Finland Foundation was established by the artist (birth name: Touko Laaksonen, 1920–1991) and Durk Dehner. As Tom had established worldwide recognition as the master of homoerotic art, the Foundation’s original purpose was to preserve his vast catalog of work. Several years later the scope was widened to offer a safe haven for all erotic art in response to rampant discrimination against art that portrayed sexual behavior or generated a sexual response. Tom of Finland Foundation is dedicated to protect, preserve, document, and educate the public about erotic art and erotic artists regardless of race, creed, religion, gender, sexual identity, medium of expression, or any other censoring criteria. strutsf.org

    GLAAD’s GALA SAN FRANCISCO: #THISISMYSTORY, presented at City View at Metreon, celebrated the digital media innovators who are moving acceptance forward. The theme was meant to encourage everyone—especially LGBTQ youth—to express themselves authentically and proudly, sharing that through their stories. President and CEO of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, welcomed the guests and spoke about GLAAD’s mission. GLAAD works with print, broadcast, and online news sources to bring people powerful stories from the LGBT community that build support for equality. And when news outlets get it wrong, GLAAD is there to respond and advocate for fairness and accuracy. GLAAD brings LGBT characters and plotlines to movie theaters, television sets, and even comic books—working with writers, producers, and studios to ensure accurate and diverse representations of LGBT people on the big and small screens. GLAAD works to share stories from the LGBT community in Spanish-language and Latinx media, helping to increase understanding and support among the Spanish-speaking community, the fastest-growing population in the country. GLAAD serves as the communications epicenter of the LGBT movement, equipping advocacy leaders with the tools they need to communicate more effectively. GLAAD is also reinventing the way social media moves equality forward. GLAAD had two honorees that night: YouTube star, Actor, Comic and NYT Best-seller Hannah Hart (who came out in 2012)—presented by Mamrie Hart (no relation—award-winning YouTuber) and SF native Salesforce Chairman & CEO Marc Benioff (who said we have to address any inequality anywhere)—presented by Technology Columnist known for “All Things Digital”) Kara Swisher. Monica Roberts, award-winning blogger known for educating and encouraging acceptance on trans people inside and outside the African American community, also spoke and received an award. The evening was emceed by the delightful Actor, Comic, Director, Podcaster, and NYT Best-selling author Aisha Tyler—who did some hilarious standup routine comparing L.A. to S.F. (the former her home now, and the latter as her birthplace—as a funny metaphor for a lesbian relationship breakup) as well as other queer-loving jokes. She noted her sister has come out, of whom she is so proud. She credited technology for being able to reach far more people about the message for equality.

    Two riveting poems were presented from YOUTH SPEAKS: BRAVE NEW VOICES: “Whack-a-Mole” by Melanie Harra & Cameron Sandal and “Queer Is Not One Color” by Sandal and Gabriela Martinez. Barbara Griffith of Oakland School for the Arts sang “Ring of Keys” from the musical, Fun Home. Actor, TV Star Kelly Osbourne sent a video message saying the focus these days is on acceptance, and not assigning binary roles to people. She said we have to break down the walls of discrimination and division. She concluded, “We are engineers of change.” Activist, Producer, Actor Wilson Cruz (My So-Called Life, Rent) spoke about the Orlando tragedy and how his aunt died to shield her son in the club. Cruz concluded, “This incident teaches us we [queers] are not as safe as we hoped to be, and we must end the hate.” Cruz introduced Singer, Composer Mary Lambert, who closed the evening inside the venue singing and playing keyboards to her emotional composition, “Same Love” and another original dedicated to Orlando’s victims with the audience repeating over and over “Each one had a name.” Then everyone attended the after-party outside in a tent.

    Sister Dana sez, “I’m so proud of Secretary Hillary Clinton at the “Commander-in-Chief Forum” for her extremely presidential presentation giving real plans for moving forward—as opposed to the totally not presidential blowhard egotistical Trump and his stream of negativity and mysterious hidden plans to, frankly, take the country basically backward!”

    WHAT’S THE HAPS, SISTER DANA?

    Sister Dana sez, “Here are, like, some way kewl and amazeballs events for you, like, OMG IRL!”

    You’re invited to an evening of beauty at THE EPI CENTER MEDSPA, 450 Sutter Street, # 800. You will have first-class access into luxurious aesthetic treatments to relax, restore, and rejuvenate the skin. Enjoy light bites, drinks, and entertainment plus silent auction, raffles and giveaways. Proceeds benefit ACADEMY OF FRIENDS and their 2017 Beneficiary Partners who will be announced during this party! Must be 21+. Thursday, September 15, 6:30 to  8:30 pm. skinrejuv.com

    LEATHERWALK is the official kickoff of San Francisco LEATHER WEEK that culminates every year, one week later at FOLSOM STREET FAIR. LeatherWalk raises awareness and visibility and helps to build community. The leatheriffic event benefits FOLSOM STREET EVENTS, AIDS EMERGENCY FUND, and BREAST CANCER EMERGENCY FUND. “KEEP SAN FRANCISCO KINKY” is the theme for this year’s walk. LeatherWalk takes place on Sunday, September 18. On-site registration and check-in begins at 10 am at 440 Castro. Please check in at the bar to get your collectible LeatherWalk pin. Entertainment starts at 11:30 am at Jane Warner Plaza. The walk itself plans to start moving at 12:15 pm from the plaza—making pit stops at various leather bars along the way. The walk features Master/Mistress of Ceremonies on flatbed trucks with performances by some of San Francisco’s most amazing vocal and drag talent. Leatherwalk.org

    The 32ND ANNUAL FOLSOM STREET FAIR, the world’s largest leather/fetish fair drawing nearly 400,000 attendees run by 900 volunteers will be Sunday September 25. The Fair caps San Francisco’s “LEATHER PRIDE WEEK.” The Folsom Street Fair takes place on Folsom Street between 8th and 13th Streets, in San Francisco’s South of Market district. The event started in 1984 and is California’s third-largest single-day, outdoor spectator event and the world’s largest leather event and showcase for BDSM products and culture. It has grown as a nonprofit charity, and local and national nonprofits benefit with all donations at the gates going to charity groups as well as numerous fundraisers within the festival – including games, beverage booths, and even spanking for donations to capitalize on the adult-themed exhibitionism. Various SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE members will be dolled up for the occasion, and along with their volunteers will ask for a donation to pass through the hallowed gates. It’s all for charity—so don’t be miserly. Master Sister Dana sez, “Try not to stand out as a common lookie-loo tourist. Throw on some leather or feather or rubber or other fun costume, and join the party!”

    BACK TO THE PICTURE art gallery presents A PASSION FOR THE FIGURE Opening Reception, Saturday, September 17, 7–10 pm, 934 Valencia at 20th Streets. The exhibition remains through October 16.

    THOMASINA DE MAIO invites the public to Castro Street ARTSAVESLIVES STUDIO AND GALLERY, at 518 Castro Street on September 23, 6–9:30 pm, to RENE CAPONE’S 38TH BIRTHDAY PARTY.Here attendees will enjoy art work co-curated by studio owner Thomasina De Maio and Rene Capone featuring exhibitions by Capone, Andrew Fisher, Peggy Sue Ward, Mike Staley, Carl Linkhart, Eddie Rifkind, Kay Ueda, Aaron Zonka, Jerry Frost, Donna DeMatteo, Paul Richard, Matt Pipes, Brian Moore, Simone, and John Walbinger. The art-packed evening will include artful live performances by Jose Cital, Linx, Magnolia Black, Stella Furtada, Serena, and Carl Linkhart of The Cockettes. Their performances range from music to magic to dance. As always, studio resident DeMaio will come through with plenty of wine, beer, food, performance, and incredible art. Everything complimentary! She offers weekly studio sessions with live models for sketching, sculpting, and painting. artspan.org/artist/thomasina

    September 24 and September 25, noon to 5 pm, check out ART FOR ASYLUM at Lynn Luckow’s LikeMinded Gallery, 668 Post Street for a celebration of art featuring the works of LGBTA artists Rene Capone, Travis Monson, Elliott C. Nathan, Daniel Phill and Nikki Vismara. 20% of all sales benefit THE LGBT ASYLUM PROJECT. cipsf.org

    The 21ST ANNUAL SAN FRANCISCO DRAG KING CONTEST & All Star Show is also known as “THE MANLIEST COMPETITION IN THE WORLD GOES 70’S”or “Get The Funk Outta My Face!” It’s on Thursday, Sept. 29. Doors open at 9:30/Show at 10:15 pm at Oasis, 298 Eleventh Street at Folsom. Beneficiary is PETS ARE WONDERFUL SUPPORT (pawssf.org). Dress Code: Discount at the door for 70’s Drag; Drag King & Faux King attire. Otherwise all creative drag encouraged: queen, fetish, formal, high femme, festive, fun, (no one turned away for wearing beige or open-toed shoes). sfdragkingcontest.com

    Sister Dana sez, “Did we all remember 9/11 on 9/11—or have there been far too many losses of lives to remember and honor since that awful, senseless tragedy 15 years ago?!”