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    Sister Dana Sez, “I would have never thought to ever be in agreement with the horrible dictator of North Korea…”

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity

    Sister Dana sez, “I would never have thought to ever be in agreement with the horrible dictator of North Korea, but I have to agree with Kim that Donald Trump is a dotard. In fact, why not start calling him ‘Dotard Trump’”?!

    The 33rd annual FOLSOM STREET FAIR brought more than 400,000 of us leatherfolk, fetish enthusiasts, and friends to the streets of SoMa, for an event called the largest celebration of its kind in the world. The fair, which mainly celebrates BDSM and leather culture, featured about 200 exhibitor booths and play spaces spread out over 13 blocks with live stage acts and DJs, dancing, performance art, and fairgoers from all walks of life. Known as California’s third-largest single-day, outdoor spectator event, Folsom Street Fair supports a number of nonprofits, including Bayview Hunters Point Legal, GLBT Historical Society, and San Francisco Gay Men’s ChorusThe Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from around the world staffed the gates with their volunteer friends and said almost everyone was very cooperative in giving generous donations. Even though the venue was bigger than ever, it still was body-to-body everywhere, making it difficult to move around. My favorite area was “The Playground” that offered a dance space, a hopscotch game, and colored chalk for drawing on the ground. Especially fun was playing with the bubbles in several pools with different wands. It was so refreshing on that very hot day to get doused with cooling bubbles! A sign distinguished the Playground for: “women, friends, in a gender-inclusive space; all individuals who identify as women, female, gender-queer, gender-fluid, trans-masculine, trans-feminine, transgender, and others with identities beyond the binary or gender spectrum are welcome—including all sexualities, sexual orientations, and sexual expressions.”

    Having attended every single Folsom Fair since its inception (that’s 33 times, y’all), this leather nun has seen it all and has therefore become rather jaded. Trying to find something new under the sun was a bit of a chore. But there was some new stuff. For instance, there was a booth with The Liberal Scouts, “a troop for age-players of all kinds.” They had uniforms and badges kinda like the Girl Scouts. And there were all the old returning faves, including the Naked Twister game from Steamworks. T-shirts spied: “But first, cocktails;” “RESIST [and a rainbow striped clenched fist]”; and “We the People … means everyone [with a rainbow flag and stars].” All three messages are very close to my heart!

     

    ART SAVES LIVES CASTRO STUDIO & PERFORMANCE SPACE presented another fabulous reception for local artists and their works—now on display at 518 Castro Street. These monthly receptions/parties by gallery owner/artist Thomasina DeMaio are always free and include beverages and catered food plus live entertainment. Artists for ASL’s September show include Gregory Conover, Liam Peters, Kevin Harding-Toy, Suzanne Mailloux, Michael Staley, Ole Johnson II, Wanda Whitaker, Gareth Gooch, Francesco Cerminara, Bill Haught, Christine Costello, Jon Hearn, Jack Mattingly, Billy Douglas, David Loyd Wright, Scarlet Astrid, Jack Stelnicki, and Bob Burnside. But special mention must be given to my faves. One cannot possibly miss the largest piece in the gallery, “Rochow, Goddess of the Deep,” by David Wayne Floyd. It is three dimensional, bigger than life, and more colorful. Floyd’s next show and reception is called Transcendence. It will be held on November 3, 6 to 9 pm at Cafe du Soleil, 200 Fillmore Street. Another fave is interactive art where one can press various buttons to change the colors and frequency of flashing of different round shapes by Ole. Fascinating! Another large piece is “Kamet Buddha” by Wanda Whitaker—along with three smaller versions and interpretations. Gareth Gooch has an unusual photograph, displayed in the front window, an archival photo on metal of Harvey Milk as a sort of drag queen clown. Delightful! A frequent contributor is Michael Staley with his toaster and waffle maker—both bejeweled in colorful glass bugle beads, as well as his deer horns decorated in shining Swarovski crystals. Gregory Conover has a selection of found objects recycled into archetypal easily recognized images. Francesco Cerminara features a series, “A Walk on the Wild Side,” which includes beautiful color photos of nature on metal with high gloss finish. Gary Virginia shows off his talent with different floral designs. That night, two were entitled “September Song” and “Autumn Glory.” Christine Costello (also known as Sister Chola DeDa of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence) has two striking oils sort of addressing women’s issues, “Divorcing the Devil” and “Girl Games.”

    Entertainment that night was, as always, a joy to behold. Working the sound and also performing was Element Eclipse (Northern California Leatherboy 2013) singing “A Fool for Love.” Performance artist/dancer Angela gave a moving ballet piece with grace and strength that seemed to defy gravity. The adorable Kobi sang live “You Don’t Know Me” wearing a mask, silver claws, and a trench coat—the latter thrown open to reveal a sexy super hero costume beneath, which he later told me was what he imagined Wolverine would sing if the movie X-men was made into a musical. Tommi Avicolli Mecca took up a guitar to sing an original anti-Trump composition, “He Ain’t My President”—urging the audience to sing along that refrain. Kim Lembo continued the protest theme singing “Give Peace a Chance” and getting us to sing along that very phrase over and over and louder and louder! It was a glorious evening where once again art triumphed over Trump and company!

    SHANTI PROJECT presented its 43rd annual anniversary dinner, COMPASSION IS UNIVERSAL, at the Palace Hotel. The show opened with an impressive dance/acrobatic act from Cheer San Francisco—eventually leading the audience into a rousing cheer for Shanti. Co-Chairs were Monica and Adam Mosseri, and Honorary Co-Chairs were The Honorable James C. Hormel and Mr. Michael P. Nguyen. Presenting the Nancy Pelosi Lifetime Achievement Award was The Honorable Hillary Ronen, Supervisor for District 9, to The Honorable Mark Leno, who lauded Shanti as the perfect San Francisco model for the rest of the world; Presenting the Margot Murphy Inspiration Award was The Honorable Aaron Peskin, Supervisor for District 3, to Gerry Crowley; and presenting the James C. Hormel Community Spirit Award was Shanti founder Dr. Charles Garfield to Chip Supanich. Garfield was kind enough to give each audience member a copy of his latest book, Life’s Last Gift: Giving and Receiving Peace When a Loved One Is Dying. Shanti Executive Director Kaushik Roy said one of the highlights of the year has been the growth of their LGBT Aging and Abilities Support Network (LAASN) in partnership with the City of San Francisco’s Department of Aging and Adult Services. Currently serving nearly 150 clients in the pilot year, the program builds on Shanti’s core principles of reducing isolation in the community through peer-support volunteers and care navigation. “Many clients consider Shanti to be their sole source of compassionate care,” said Roy. “For staff, it is an honor and a humbling experience to touch the lives of individuals who might otherwise be alone and without adequate care and support.”  

    BLACK BROTHERS ESTEEM and GOOD VBZ PRESENTS gave us two floors of REBELS IN RED-HIV AWARENESS FASHION SHOW at Strut in the Castro. It was an awesome event commemorating National Gay Men’s HIV Awareness Day. “Rebels in Red” (although I saw very few folks in red) was an extravagant and free Fashion Show and Drag Show gala MC’d by Saiyohni Gray (lip synching and dancing to “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and introducing amazing comedic, singing, dance, and poetic performances along with fashions (which she called “sickening” and meaning “fabulous” by some of us) by Amora Teese, (mostly strapless and crotch-crossed designs except for the one male model in a cape) and energetic live music by local talent, DJ Lamont. We also got to hear from community leaders and groups who are on the front-lines of local issues. Some attendees took advantage of free on-site HIV and STI testing services.

    The 44th annual CASTRO STREET FAIR was in my gayborhood on Sunday, October 1. The Castro Street Fair was founded by Supervisor Harvey Milk, and the group he led, the Castro Valley Association, in 1974. It attracted over 5,000 people. The event’s popularity grew quickly and by 1977, the attendance reached 70,000. The influx of visitors helped promote the Castro district’s growing tourist industry. This year’s fair featured live performers, music, dancing, food, and beverages, and thousands of our best friends, in the most fabulous neighborhood of the City! Performers on the Main Stage included Boyfriend, Josette Melchor, Saturn Rising, Femme Deadly Venom, SirJoQ, Bitch Please, The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, The Monster Show, and Cheer SF—with emcee Carnie Asada, and featuring DJ MC2.

    Donations helped out local neighborhood nonprofit organizations, as well as helped to fund the world-famous Rainbow Flag that flies proudly over Harvey Milk Plaza. Of note, queer-loving Rev Mother Diana Wheeler and the Companions of Dorothy the Worker were at the Fair in front of the Castro Theater doing pet blessings. So, take THAT, Pope! My black and grey tabby, Panther, got a blessing. She is now holier than thou. RAINBOW WORLD FUND, the LGBTQ humanitarian aid organization, parked their famous Rainbow Bus at 18th and Castro to collect donations and distribute their Pride bracelets for hurricane relief. The Bus’ lounge was open for visitors. HARVEY MILK LGBT DEMOCRATIC CLUB provided a pie-toss booth where one could purchase a pie and throw it at their favorite (or least favorite) politician. There were all the old anticipated booths such as PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays San Francisco chapter); UCSF ALLIANCE PROJECT and their ART FOR AIDS fundraiser on October 20; OPENHOUSE reminding us that 20,000 LGBT seniors live in EssEff and need housing; the HIV CLINIC AT WARD 86 “where we care for anyone who needs us, and we treat them all with respect;” OUR TOWN SF free nonprofit expo on October 14, 12:30–4:30 pm; and the SAN FRANCISCO BAY TIMES booth giving out free copies of our stellar newspaper and other goodies. T-shirts spied regarding our Sanctuary City: “I’m local, so don’t hassle me!” and an old favorite, “Dump Trump!” It was a fabulous fair on a glorious day!

    Sister Dana sez, “October promises many fine events to attend, before it’s time for our International Queer High Holy Day, HALLOWEEN! Check ’em out!”

    POSITIVE RESOURCE CENTER (PRC) invites you to join them for the MIGHTY REAL GALA taking place on Friday, October 6, 6 pm to midnight at San Francisco’s Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market Street. This year marks PRC’s 30th anniversary—a major milestone in their history. They commemorate this achievement as they merge with two other nonprofits, AIDS EMERGENCY FUND and BAKER PLACES, to form a new $20 million integrated service agency. With your support at the gala, they hope to raise over $100,000 for critical HIV/AIDS, mental health, and substance use services and programs. Prior to dinner, they will host a hosted bar by Stoli. positiveresource.org

    Saturday, October 7, 5:30 pm is HORIZONS FOUNDATION’s ANNUAL GALA DINNER & AFTER PARTY as an evening of celebrating our fabulous community and honoring those whose significant contributions have helped us achieve so much progress in the LGBTQ movement. They’re returning to the historic Fairmont San Francisco, high atop Nob Hill. After an elegant seated dinner and inspiring program, honoring Cleve Jones and The Transgender Law Center, you can dance the night away at the After Party. horizonsfoundation.org

    Wednesday, October 11, is NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY (NCOD) and is coincidentally the birthday of our beloved veteran activist Cleve Jones. So, some of us Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are hosting a bar crawl fundraiser for hurricane relief. It kicks off at 5 pm on Wednesday at the MIX in the Castro and travels to other bars. Join the fun as we shake down the crowd for donations. Please give generously!

    Note: Tickets for the 2017 HRC SF Bay Area Gala and Auction at the Westin St. Francis on October 14 are sold out! But you can always sign up at the wait list. sfhrcgala.org/content/buy-tickets

    IMPERIAL COUNCIL OF SAN FRANCISCO, INC. proudly presents THE MR. & MISS GAY SAN FRANCISCO PAGEANT, “We Put a Spell on You, A Night of Imperial Magic,” on Sunday, October 15, doors at 4 pm, Pageant at 5 pm at 180 Eleventh at Howard Street. Tickets available at Eventbrite or at the door on the night of the Pageant. Net Proceeds Benefit the Monarch’s Administration & Charity Funds. imperialcouncilsf.org

    TRANSGENDER LAW CENTER‘s 15th Anniversary Celebration event, SPARK!, is October 19, 6 pm at The Bently Reserve, 301 Battery Street. Join them as they gather for this extraordinary event to celebrate their progress and victories over the last 15 years, igniting change to law, policy, and attitudes so that people of all gender identities and expressions can live safely, authentically and free from discrimination. This year’s Emcee is actress and star of ABC’s When We RiseIvory Aquinotransgenderlawcenter.org

    It’s time to dust off your wooden stake, get your garlic and holy water because it’s vampire season! “Into every generation a slayer is born: one drag queen in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill and the perfect shade of lip gloss to fight the vampires, demons, and the shady queens of darkness. She is the Slayer.” In other words, last year’s amazing cast is back at the Oasis with a mash-up of season 2 of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER-LIVE! Now through October 31, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, 298 11th Street. sfoasis.com

    Sister Dana sez, “As you are reading this, I am humming the National Anthem while kneeling. It’s what any other patriotic activist nun would do. Suckit, Dotard Trump!”