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    Sister Dana sez, “Why do we make such a fuss over Valentine’s Day? A day named after Saint Valentine, a 15th century martyr, who on February 14th was beaten to a pulp with clubs, then stoned, finally beheaded and buried. How romantic?! Puhleeeze!”

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity–

    Sister Dana sez, “Why do we make such a fuss over Valentine’s Day? A day named after Saint Valentine, a 15th century martyr, who on February 14th was beaten to a pulp with clubs, then stoned, finally beheaded and buried. How romantic?! Puhleeeze!”

    On January 23, ACADEMY OF FRIENDS hosted A TOAST TO THE OSCARS party at Christian Loubitin store on Maiden Lane. It was lovely, but let’s make something quite clear: I may be a Christian, but the only part of Loubitin is “bit”—as in “I can’t afford one bit for these shoes!”—where the men’s shoes started at a thou each. That’s $500+ for one shoe. Board Vice Chair Michael R. Myers spoke about the upcoming 36th annual Oscars fundraising party with Academy of Friends, A GATHERING OF ROYALS, on Oscar Night, February 28, at the San Francisco Design Center Galleria. http://www.academyoffriends.org/

    It was a bittersweet event, a reception for the final days of the venerable CENTER FOR SEX & CULTURE in the humble SOMA at 1349 Mission warehouse. There have been so many occasions when this nun has participated there over the decades. Supervisor Raphael Mandelman presented a Certificate of Honor to executive directors Carol Queen & Robert Lawrence & the Center signed unanimously by the SF Board of Supervisors for the pair’s work supporting the LGBTQ/Str8 community. The CSC entity will continue to exist but without a physical home. They couldn’t find an affordable place in SF or the East Bay. But they intend to do pop-up events and such ( http://www.sexandculture.org ). The room was still hung with the amazing works of the last artist to exhibit there, Jack Davis ‘s Faggots. Live entertainment at the closing party was provided by a handsome older nude man and possibly his partner in the form of a clothed in fur woman doing a very emotional improv being slowly discovered to them (and us in the audience) what “I want” as a repeating, almost liturgical theme. It turned out, after all this negotiating, he wanted a kiss but settled for getting a long held hand-holding. Riveting!  

    RICHMOND/ERMET AID FOUNDATION presented a fabulous fundraiser, A SEXY CIRCUS CABARET, part of a world tour, on January 28 at The Great Northern Club. This One Night Only benefit cabaret featured artists from Kinky Boots on Broadway, Paramour, The Seven Fingers, and various circus shows and alumni of École Nationale de Cirque and DECCA, L’ecole. Vladessa, the Goddess of Virginity, took us on a journey to show us how she uses her powers to make people lose their virginity. She boasted that she can remove your clothes with a snap of her finger, which is why the slogan of the event was: “If you have it, you’ll lose it.” It was sexy, it was daring, and it was like no other show I’ve recently seen!

    Before the show started, co-emcee Philippe Belanger (bare-chested, buffed, and very handsome) approached me and wrapped our heads together with the big, long, fake pearl necklace I was wearing. He joked, “Oh look, we’re both wearing a pearl necklace!” Then co-emcee Vladessa (a very voluptuous woman with Philippe on a leash) joked back, “I know where you can shove that jewelry!” It really set the tone for a humorous and clever show —not to mention highly skilled circus performers. Dancing goddesses in Greek costume joined Greek gods to introduce the cast. There were amazing, eye-popping performances with each one executing their special skill: such as gravity-defying trapeze work high up on a suspended ring or hanging fabric, or awesome acrobatics, or unbelievable unicycle tricks, or juggling high in the air with six balls at a time; or inspirational contemporary couples dancing while holding glasses of wine and flipping over and over without spilling a drop. The show closed with the entire cast receiving a well-deserved stomping, screaming, hand-clapping standing ovation from the audience. You might say, “We lost it!”

    On January 27, in downtown Oakland, in front of more than 20,000 people, SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS officially kicked off her campaign for president. In her speech she said, “It was just a couple blocks from this rally that, nearly 30 years ago, as a young district attorney, I walked into the courtroom for the very first time and said five words that would guide my life’s work: “Kamala Harris, for The People.” And that is her campaign slogan. Hoorah!

    MAYOR LONDON N. BREED delivered the STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS on January 30 at the National LGBTQ Center for the Arts, the first permanent headquarters of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. She opened commenting, “What I love about this new center is that the Chorus has invested their time and resources creating something beautiful, not just for themselves, but for the entire LGBTQ and arts communities around the country. This is a place that celebrates the best of San Francisco, and that is what I want to talk about today.” Members of the Chorus sang “Singing for Our Lives.” The Mayor addressed the usual concerns of SF residents, including affordable housing, homelessness, dirty city streets and crime. She called for San Francisco to rise to the challenges facing our city, announced an ambitious ballot measure to streamline affordable and teacher housing, set a goal to create 4,000 new placements over the next four years for homeless individuals, and named Dr. Grant Colfax as the new Director of the Department of Public Health. Colfax is a national leader on HIV prevention and was trained at UCSF. He currently serves as Director of Marin County Health and Human Services. (See page 6 for more information.)

    Dennis McMillan (aka Sister Dana) with Adam Sandler at the Academy
    of Friends (AOF) fundraiser at the Christian Laboutin shop on Maiden
    Lane

    We took a trip back to old San Francisco on January 30. Punk rock, trans legend and sultry chanteuse Bambi Lake and Cockettes songster Scrumbly Koldewyn premiered their new musical revue “TENDER IS MY LOIN” produced by Dan Karkoska at PianoFight in the Tenderloin. This sleazy, seedy, sensational show featured new songs PLUS all my old faves. This homage to the Tenderloin included classic singers Birdie Bob Watt (occasionally on piano), Kitten on the Keys (Suzanne Beignet Ramsey sometimes doing a piano duet and other times on the accordion), sexy Steven Satyricon, Hypnodrome favorite Earl Alfred Paus, the buxom Ruby Vixenn, and villainous James Jeske (who we joyfully booed for his evil real estate takeover plans). The second half of the show was devoted entirely to Queen of the Tenderloin, Bambi, and her jazzy bluesy tunes about the ‘loin. I SINcerely hope this revue runs again!  

    MAYOR LONDON BREED, as San Francisco’s first African American woman mayor, kicked off BLACK HISTORY MONTH on February 1 in the City Hall Rotunda. “As we celebrate the past, let us rededicate ourselves to the challenges of the present, be it income inequality, closing the achievement gap in our public schools, or reforming our criminal justice system,” she said. “Every day I am inspired by those who came before and committed to continuing their work for a more fair and equitable society.”

    On February 1, STRUT held a reception at their 470 Castro HQ to feature the art of Matthew Lam in his show entitled “OUR SHAPES AND COLORS.” Lam says he enjoys capturing the LGBTQ+ experience of excellence through his artwork, and he believes in empowering queer and trans people through representation. Lam commented, “As a queer person of color, I strive to share a lighthearted and positive narrative about what it means to be a young and queer person of color.” His 11 colorful pieces, with background color highlighting each figure, will be on display all month long. My faves are “Studious Sapphire” (reminding me of my college days carrying all these books around), “Authentic Apricot” (an activist protesting with a sign: “Power to the People”), and “Virtuous Violet” (a woman or a drag queen holding a fan in one hand and a microphone in the other. https://www.strutsf.org/

    Update on DarnOld Trump’s prevarications: “WaPo” tells us the Blunderer-in-Chief has made 8,158 false or misleading claims in his first two years. Unbelievable! Literally.

    Sister Dana sez, “These events coming sometime around Valentine’s Day will surely warm your heart!”

    BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, the Queen biopic, has become the highest-grossing music biopic of all time, winning Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture and Best Actor. Now, the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, invites you to the release of the new sing-along version. Costume contest! Goody bags! They will rock you! February 8, 9, 10. https://bit.ly/2MRm3H3

    FRIENDS LIVE is playing all month long at the Oasis, 298 11th and Folsom, Thursdays at 8, Fridays and Saturdays at 7. This is a hilarious adaptation of the classic TV sitcom, with which you will immediately recognize and clap along. Somehow, they have the same familiar couch of the series. Much of the time is spent in the Central Perk coffee house. Friends Live features SF drag stars as Friends characters: Nancy French, Sue Casa, Steven LeMay, Melanie Marshall, Caleb Haven Draper and Carol Walker. It is directed by Nancy French. Act I is the very first time the show premiered when Rachel is a runaway bride, Monica is a frightening neat freak, and Joey is a butt double—among other quirky revelations. Act II is years later with the whole Rachel/Ross breakup drama with Julie, and overly enthusiastic Monica helping Chandler to lose weight. Be ready with Phoebe to sing along with her notorious “Smelly Cat” song. Of course, the clever script has been “gayified” to the max. https://sfoasis.com/

    STRUT is exhibiting the QUEER ANCESTORS PROJECT again in their Seasonal Art Show space on the third floor, 470 Castro Street. A discussion and reception will be held on February 9, 7 pm. Queer and trans emerging artists are Christine Abiba, Samantha Espinoza, Benny Gordon-Murer, Lia, Maya, Fernando Miguel, Sho Nakashima, Nidhi Patel, Shannon Prasad and Queen Sen Sen, with artistic director Katie Gilmartinhttps://www.queerancestorsproject.org/

    The perfect Valentine’s gift for yourself is SOMEBODY HOLD ME: the Single Person’s Guide to Nurturing Human Touch by Epiphany Jordan. This guide will give you tools to improve your communication and negotiation skills, and get your touch needs met. While these things could help you in your quest to find a mate, that’s not her focus. Still, there are nuggets of wisdom aplenty in there for people who are in romantic or sexual relationships, and this information just might contribute to more harmonious partnerships. https://amzn.to/2UDdUc7

    Sister Dana sez, “Please don’t give me flowers or candy for Valentine’s Day. Make my heart glad and give me Trump impeachment and removal!”