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    Sister Dana sez, “Now that Pride is over, are we supposed to feel shame? Just kidding! Pride is every day!”

     

    Sister-Dana2By Sister Dana Van Iquity

    Sister Dana sez, “Now that Pride is over, are we supposed to feel shame? Just kidding! Pride is every day!”

    Sister Dana thoroughly enjoyed being the rainbow nun in the San Francisco Bay Times contingent #099 of the Parade. Our contingent included board members and volunteers of the RAINBOW HONOR WALK organization, highlighting legendary LGBT community leaders represented in the sidewalk plaques installed in the Castro neighborhood, where Rainbow Honor Walk founder David Perry rode as well. I was on the top of the double-decker bus with the OAKLAND INTERFAITH GOSPEL CHOIR. Joining our team were city officials, such as Oakland City Councilmember at-Large and San Francisco Bay Times columnist Rebecca Kaplan and her wife, Pamela Rosin. Sister Dana loved blowing kisses to the crowd and flashing peace & love signs—and receiving the same back from those loving people! I even got four seconds of fame on the KOFY-TV broadcast!

    Just before the City came to dismantle the Orlando victims’ memorial in the Castro, several of us SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE held a CLOSING RITUAL AT THE ORLANDO MEMORIAL on the corner of 18th and Castro—known back in the day as Hibernia Beach. “I hate to see it go, as we are still raw from this act of violence, but the recent accidental fire has made it necessary for it to be dismantled,” said Castro Business District executive director Andrea Aiello. The memorial went up immediately after the shooting two weeks prior, which claimed the lives of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

    Sister Merry Peter acted as host for the ceremony, which drew close to a hundred people. Cleansing sage and smudge were distributed by Sisters, ministers, and leaders. As the majority of the Orlando people murdered were Latinx, it was appropriate that Ruben Martinez of  INSTITUTO DE LA RAZA open the circle in Spanish, with translation following in English. Rev. Megan Rohrer from Grace Lutheran (wearing a rainbow t-shirt with the punny phrase: “This is the gay that the Lord has made” proudly emblazoned) invited the community to share from their hearts (words, song, movement). Politicians, community leaders, and ministers were all invited to join in. Jerry Skittles noted that three of his cousins, all of whom were planning on attending San Francisco Pride Parade this year, had died at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. “They couldn’t come, and now they’re up there, watching over us with Pride,” he said. Cleve Jones was beautiful in his presence and his gentle reminders of Harvey Milk and a time when these memorials to grieve were all too frequent. The Rev. Rohrer handed out signs for people to hold up—”Keep Dancing;” “Keep Kissing;” “LGBTQ Lives Matter;” “Latinx Lives Matter;” “Say No to Islamophobia;” and more. We all sang Michael Jackson‘s “We Are the World” including the inspirational lyrics: ” We are the world, we are the children; We are the ones who make a brighter day; So let’s start giving; There’s a choice we’re making; We’re saving our own lives; It’s true we’ll make a better day; Just you and me.” We chanted in unison: “Disarm the hate! Disarm the haters!”

    Community members who wished to take a memento from the memorial were encouraged to do so. Sr. Merry Peter closed the ceremony with people ringing bells and shaking rattles to release the spirits of the victims from our grieving, and then we all joined in a loud cry from the heart to release all that has been built up and brought to that space. Sisters and ministers distributed handfuls of glitter to people as they were leaving to sprinkle the site and thereby re-open and re-consecrate the space and our hearts to JOY and JUSTICE. The Castro Safety Patrol passed out whistles so that now over 100 more people know how to stay safe.

    After the ceremony, Sisters and ministers respectfully disassembled the space separating out into various bags: photos/images of the dead; flowers/organic matter; posters/letters/notes; and memorabilia (beads, flags, toys, sculpture) to either be given to the GLBT History Museum or burned reverently. LGBTHS Executive Director Terry Beswick took photographs and mementos (including the large rainbow flag with 49 black ribbons pinned to it) to make sure our history is preserved and this story is told.

    The next day, several of us Sisters and our friends assembled in Pink Triangle Park in the Castro to be led by Sister Kitty Catalyst in a First Friday Darshan Parade down Market Street—offering ritual blessing, love, and peace in the gayborhood.

    GARY VIRGINIA & DONNA SACHET’s annual PRIDE BRUNCH has grown to be one of the most popular events of Pride weekend. We joined them in their 18th year to honor the 2016 SF LGBT Pride Parade Grand Marshals in the historic grandeur of the Hotel Whitcomb as we helped raise funds for POSITIVE RESOURCE CENTER. Presented by Wells Fargo, the event featured rousing musical entertainment by the Dixieland Dykes+3. The Grand Marshals’ speeches were truly inspirational.

    MAN DANCE COMPANY (MDC), America’s premier GLBT Dance Company, performed to an enthusiastic audience in Jane Warner Plaza. Founded in San Francisco, Artistic Director Bryon Heinrich designed MDC for dancers who can express their athleticism, sensuality, and compassion free of restraint. MDC presents inspiring male-themed dance performances, focusing on historically triumphant and GLBT-related stories.

    In celebration of San Francisco Pride, SAN FRANCISCO GAY MEN’S CHORUS (SFGMC) conducted by Dr. Timothy Seelig, Artistic Director, presented the final concert of the 2015/2016 season—HEARTTHROBS: BIGGEST BOY BAND EVER at Nourse Theater. Guest artists Well-Strung, the singing string quartet, joined the Chorus. The group last performed with SFGMC in 2014 for the Dancers, Prancers & Vixens holiday show. Well-Strung’s members—Edmund Bagnell (first violin), Christopher Marchant (second violin), Daniel Shevlin(cello) and Trevor Wadleigh (viola)—put a modern twist on universally recognized classical pieces while singing pop music hits. Gorgeous! Their new CD, entitled POPssical, debuted at #8 on Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart. In the past year they performed for both former President Clinton and Secretary Clinton. They have also appeared on The TODAY Show and Watch What Happens Live on television.

    The second act of Heartthrobs: Biggest Boy Band Ever included highlights from each of SFGMC’s vocal ensembles: The Lollipop Guild, Vocal Minority, SWAG and HomoPhonics. Additionally, SFGMC presented a 25-minute set of music showcasing the Chorus’ “best of the best,” which they also performed early July in Denver, CO, at the international GALA Festival 2016. The Festival is a quadrennial event that brings together over 175 LGBT choruses from North America and beyond for a week of music making and performances. Generally boy bands range from three to five members, but on Pride Weekend, the Chorus became the biggest boy band the world has ever seen when they brought over 250 singers to the Nourse Theater stage. Heartthrobs: Biggest Boy Band Ever featured infectious pop music from yesterday and today. The show’s first act included hits from every decade since the 1960s, ranging from The Beatles and The Beach Boys to Journey and Boyz II Men, and then continuing to Mumford & Sons, One DirectionMark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

    THE LGBT ASYLUM PROJECT is the only Bay Area nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to providing pro-bono legal representation for LGBT immigrants who are fleeing persecution and seeking asylum in the United States. The LGBT Asylum Project is a program of the Center for Immigrant Protection. The Project hosted its Official Launch Party at Oasis. The festive Pride week fundraiser featured special musical performances: Juliano Wade and Velocity Circus, as well as Adam Sandel‘s song “Give Them Hope” performed by Arthur Scappaticci, accompanied by Alan Choy—all to support our international LGBT brothers and sisters who need us most. The success rate for legally represented asylum applicants is 75% nationwide. The success rate for the Center for Immigrant Protection—now launching the LGBT Asylum Project, founded by immigration attorneys Okan Sengun & Brooke Westling—is currently 100%. cipsf.org

    FRAMELINE40: The King of Queer Film Festivals, the SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL LGBTQ FILM FESTIVAL, closed its historic 40th anniversary on Pride Sunday with a sold-out World Premiere of Andrew Haigh’s LOOKING, proudly presented by HBO, who gave us the series. Joining Haigh at the Premiere were stars Jonathan Groff (Glee, Broadway’s Hamilton), Russell Tovey (Being Human, The Pass), Murray Bartlett (August), Frankie J. Alvarez, Raúl Castillo, Lauren Weedman, Daniel Franzese (Mean Girls), and producer/writer Michael Lannan. Be sure to catch this movie when it comes out nationwide.

    WHAT’S HAPPENING, SISTER DANA?

    Sister Dana sez, “Just because Pride month is over, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be proudly supporting these fine upcoming events.” 

    PEACHES CHRIST PRODUCTIONS presents SHE-DEVIL with an all-new, all-drag pre-show parody the insolent and infernal likes of which you’ve never seen before! Starring Sharon Needles as Mary Fishy; Peaches Christ as Ruth Ratchett; Heklina as Doris Fishy; Tim Wagner as Bob the Husband; Mario Diaz as Garcia Diaz; Holotta Tymes as Pooper; and many, many more of your SF-drag favorites. Don’t miss the World Premiere of Peaches Christ’s latest movie send-up, taken from the wild, unabashed and take-no-prisoners cult film SHE-DEVIL, starring Meryl Streep, Rosanne Barr, Ed Begley Jr., Linda Hunt, and Sylvia Miles. The live show will precede a rare screening of the 1989 film, SHE-DEVIL. WARNING—this show has heavy use of stage fog and strobe lights. Will Call tickets for the 3 pm show available for pickup at 1 pm at the Castro Theatre and for the 8 pm show for pickup at 6 pm. Doors open 1.5 hours before shows for VIP ticket holders, and 1 hour before shows for General Admission. peacheschrist.com

    Before there was The Birdcage, there was La Cage. Come experience the Broadway musical that made history with two men kissing. BAY AREA MUSICALS presents LA CAGE AUX FOLLES: “The BEST of times is now!” Winning 9 Tony Awards—including Best Musical and Best Revival! Playing July 9 (opening) through July 31 at Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th Street, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 pm, matinee performances: Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm, Closing: Sunday, July 31 at 2 pm. La Cage Aux Folles centers around Georges and his lover Albin, who stars as Zaza at their St. Tropez drag nightclub, La Cage aux Folles. Albin is the club’s star female impersonator while Georges is the club’s Master of Ceremonies. Problems arise when Georges’ 25-year-old son Jean-Michel, a result from a brief encounter years back, announces that he is engaged to Anne Dindon, who is the daughter of a well-known homophobic politician, Edouard Dindon. Hilarity ensues. La Cage Aux Folles is known for having one of  Jerry Herman’s best scores, including such songs as “The Best of Times is Now,” “Song In the Sand,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” and “I Am What I Am.” bamsf.org/boxoffice

    BROADWAY BARES SF: TECH TAILS is not your typical RICHMOND/ERMET AID FOUNDATION benefit show. If you don’t like looking at hot naked bodies, this may not be a show for you. But for everyone else, get ready for a hot, summer night made hotter by these hot, sexy dancer/strippers. Broadway Bares has been a major fundraiser for BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS in New York for many years now—raising over $1 million annually. They’re starting a little smaller but hope to build their San Francisco version into one of San Francisco’s biggest and most fun benefit shows as well. This special benefit show will take place on Monday, July 11, 7:30 pm at Club Fugazi, home of Beach Blanket Babylon. Tickets are available by calling the Beach Blanket Babylon box office at 415-421-4222 for general admission ($45) or 415-421-4688 for VIP main floor ($65). reaf-sf.org

    Take a nostalgic trip back to a time when gay men had to sneak peeks at Playgirl magazines, or even earlier, when they had to hide “physique pictorials” under their beds. An era of parting glances, sculpted torsos, erotic wall-art, and very short satin shorts. Come “get physical” at the GLBT HISTORY MUSEUM‘s latest exhibition: STROKE: FROM UNDER THE MATTRESS TO THE MUSEUM WALL, July 21–October 16, The GLBT History Museum, 4127 18th Street and Castro. Opening Reception: July 21, 7–9 pm, $5; members free. glbthistory.org

    CASTRO STREET ARTSAVESLIVES STUDIO AND GALLERY‎ is presenting CASTRO STREET LOCAL ARTISTS curated by well-known artist Thomasina DeMaio in her spacious gallery at 518 Castro Street on July 8, 6–9 pm. Complimentary wine, beer, food, and always lively entertainment. facebook.com/sfartslave

    BACK TO THE PICTURE’s Valencia Street Gallery, 934 Valencia Street, is pleased to present six renown California artists and their commentary on the current political climate in MY BROTHER’S KEEPER? EXPRESSIONS OF OUR WORLD TODAYArt Hazlewood, Jesse Aguirre, Kathy Aoki, Consuelo-Jimenez Underwood, Mark Harris, and Robyn Kralique will be showing works from July 3–31, with an opening reception with the artists, Saturday, July 9, from 7–10 pm. backtothepicture.com

    Have a Ball with KREWE DE KINQUE Mardi Gras Club every Third Saturday at The Edge, 4149 18th Street, 4–7 pm. Special Guest Host & Emcees King 2 Mark Paladini & Queen 2 Deana Dawn. $10 Beer Bust with Door Whore Queen 7 Sister Dana collecting $$$ & many other goodies! There might even be an underwear contest. As they say during N’arlins’ Mardi Gras, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” or “Let the GOOD TIMES roll” with KDK! sfkinque.com

    STALE MAGNOLIAS: THE MUSICAL is playing July 21–August 6, every Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 7 pm, Oasis, 298 Eleventh Street @ Folsom. Imagine a sequel to Steel Magnolias, a lost season of Designing Women, and a second helping of Fried Green Tomatoes all rolled into one!  Stale Magnolias is every 80’s “Southern lady’s comedy” and now it’s set to music! Book and lyrics by Sean Owens, music by Don Seaver, directed by Cora Values. Six women in a small town, circa 1985, prove they have the big hair and padded shoulders to overcome any adversity—but when they’re trapped together at the local hairdresser’s, their barbed tongues fly, and nobody’s dignity is left un-shredded! Featuring the drag talents of Marilynn Fowler, Jef Valentine, Robert Molossi, Michael Phillis, ‘Drew Todd and Jerry Navarro, plus show-stopping wigs by Jordan L’Moore. Two audience members nightly will be selected for a makeover, and a chance to appear in the show’s finale! sfoasis.com

    Sister Dana sez, “Did everyone have a nice Independence Day on July 4th? Speaking of which, I would love to see America have independence from plutocracy, oligarchy, and theocracy one day soon! Puh-leeeze!”