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    Sister Dana sez, “Someone please tell me why in our electoral system we have so-called ‘battleground states.”

    Sister-Dana2Sister Dana sez, “Someone please tell me why in our electoral system we have so-called ‘battleground states.’ And for that matter, why have an electoral college? Have these people even graduated high school–let alone college? Oh yeah, and why should Florida decide the race? And finally, when are we ever going to have ‘one person: one vote’?!”

    THOMASINA DE MAIO presented VIBRANT VISIONS, new works by the ARC SAN FRANCISCO artists at DeMaio’s ARTSAVESLIVES GALLERY in the Castro. The mission of The Arc San Francisco is to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by promoting self-determination, dignity, and quality of life. The name, once an acronym for the Association of Retarded Citizens, now represents The Arc of Achievement. With the right support, and over time, people with developmental disabilities can fulfill their highest potential, achieving personal goals and lifelong success, however it is personally defined. Their vision is a community where disability is a distinction without a difference. The gallery was filled with Arc artists’ artwork. My faves are “Story Pieces” by Robert Garcia–taking his inspiration from “mysterious things,” like about a zillion tiny images of space ships; a gigantic depiction of various skulls on wood by Xavier Thompson; “Famous Things,” various different boards pasted with cut-out letters listing famous people, places, and things by Cindy Lam; and filling the room with large mixed media sculptures are works by Karim Pullock, also displayed in the gallery window. Live entertainment was provided by The Arc Unstoppables’ Damien aka drag queen Serena Jackson doing “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift, and by Access SFUSD’s teacherMiss Faux Queen 2014 Linty doing the bizarre “Folding Chair” by Regina Spektor. Watch for a new category of artists’ works coming to ArtSavesLives Gallery in latter August.

    STRUT, the gay/bi/trans men’s Castro center for health and wellbeing, is currently displaying artwork by MOHSIN SHAFI entitled ONE DOES NOT LOOK THROUGH A WINDOW UNPUNISHED. Shafi is a visiting artist from Lahore, Pakistan. He describes his series as a multidimensional collection of art capturing the struggle of developing a queer identity in a hetero-normative world. As a gay man who grew up in a country intolerant to LGBTQ people, Shafi and his art explore themes of restriction, repression, and intolerance. His mixed-media compositions are elaborately constructed, layered,  and complex–making use of images collected from newspapers, magazines, and photographs–all purposely covering up faces in every instance. This is Shafi’s first queer-focused art show and first show in the United States. Among my faves are “Blissed Out Bombshell,” sort of a drag queen; “Pot Heads,” with the witty pun illustrated by three figures having heads made of pots; “Teddy Fancy Pants,” just because of the rainbow phallic imagery; and “Psycho Bitches on Poppers.” Those are just four of 17 amazing pieces, not counting the many Inkjet prints.

    The SAN FRANCISCO BAY TIMES, FEINSTEIN’S SF and cabaret star LEANNE BORGHESI invited Bay Times staff and friends to a reception at Feinstein’s stylish Kanpai Lounge within elegant Hotel Nikko for a champagne toast to thank us for our support and to celebrate the new Bay Times/”Betty’s List”/Feinstein’s music series. Joining us were distinguished members of our Pride Parade contingent as well as Borghesi, the bi-coastal cabaret star who has sold out shows in both San Francisco and NYC. We were also offered complimentary tickets to Borghesi’s new show, BDSM: BEAUTIFUL DIRTY SEXY ME, which I would have snapped up–having been to many a Borghesi performance as a big fan–but my date had broken his hand and sprained wrist that day, and I just didn’t feel like seeing a show. But I know she absolutely blew the roof off the place! Do catch her when she next appears in EssEff!

    HARVEY MILK LGBT DEMOCRATIC CLUB held its historic 40TH ANNIVERSARY DINNER & GAYLA at SOMArts in the Mission. Harvey Milk founded the Club in 1976 to politically mobilize San Francisco’s queer progressives. Today, the Club continues Harvey’s legacy through political activism, electoral organizing, and building progressive power across communities and issues in San Francisco. The keynote speaker was Bao Nguyen, Mayor of Garden Grove, CA, and candidate for California’s 46th Congressional District in the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress. Mr. Nguyen is the first Vietnamese Democratic mayor in the United States, and the first openly gay elected mayor in Orange County. For 40 years, the Harvey Milk Club has continued Harvey’s legacy of political activism. The Club’s 2016 political agenda includes: electing queer and progressive candidates to local and state elected office; police accountability, reform and transparency; solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement; housing affordability; addressing the homelessness crisis; and fighting for economic and environmental justice. Several awards were given: Hank Wilson Activist Award to Coalition on Homelessness, AntiHomelessness Activist Organization; Bill Kraus Leadership Award to David Campos, SF District 9 Supervisor; Bayard Rustin Civil Rights Award to Isa Noyola, Program Director, Transgender Law Center; Sylvester Pride in the Arts Award to Galería de la Raza, Nonprofit Art Gallery in the Mission; Howard Wallace Labor Leadership Award to Kimberly Alvarenga, Political Director, SEIU Local 1021; Community Ally Award to Matt Haney (President) and Lyndsey Schlax (Teacher and fellow San Francisco Bay Times columnist), SFUSD; Harry Britt Lifetime Achievement Award to Sally Gearhart, Pioneering Radical Feminist & Activist; and Eileen Hansen Social Justice Hero Award to Roma Guy, Co-founder of The Women’s Building.

    The GAY ASIAN PACIFIC ALLIANCE (GAPA) FOUNDATION’s RUNWAY XXVIII: INTERGALACTIC made a crash landing into the newly renovated San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre. GAPA Foundation is a grassroots philanthropic organization that provides funds and leverages resources to empower the Asian/Pacific Islander LGBTQ community. Hosted by Miss GAPA 2012 Jezebel Patel and Mister GAPA 2013 Whitney Queers, five Miss GAPA candidates and six Mr. GAPA candidates vied for the coveted titles. Guest judges were Tita Aida, Associate Director, API Wellness Center; Khmera Rouge, Absolute Empress 50, Imperial Council of San Francisco; Carol Gillespie, Executive Director, Asian American Donor Program; Robynn Takayama, Producer, APEX Express on KPFA radio; H.P. Mendoza, Filmmaker; and Sean Howell, Founder & Chairman, Hornet Gay Social Network. The candidates were Mr. Danoobae, Miss Aniah Le’Shon, Mr. Gilbert; Miss Juicy Liu; Mr. Jeffry Arcam; Miss Labyah Minerva; Mr. Neo Dalas; Miss MoLi Hua; Mr. Orlando; Miss Verizon Lijarde; and Mr. Vincent Gatdula. Among my favorite talent moments were when Juicy sang live; Jeffry’s solving a Rubik’s Cube right before our eyes; Orlando’s moving tribute to the Orlando shooting victims; and Verizon’s gorgeous, elegant, golden angel wings performance arts dance. The audience voted: Boy Next Door was Jeffry and Girl Next Door was Juicy. Favorite Fantasy was Jeffry; and Most Photogenic Mister was Orlando and Miss Photogenic was Juicy. Congeniality Award (voted by contestants) was a tie between Jeffry and Juicy–but they both decided to give the trophy to Miss MoLi. The judges returned with the final three ladies resulting in Second Princess MoLi, First Princess Labyah, and Miss GAPA 2016 is Juicy Liu! The final three men were Second Prince Vincent, First Prince Orlando, and Mister GAPA 2016 is Jeffry. For their final walk, Mr. GAPA 2015 Dez Kwok gave a truly inspirational speech about achieving unity under the rainbow flag, and Miss GAPA 2015 D’Lady Ito sang live an emotional “I Am Changing” from Dreamgirls–and towards the end of her song, lit up her gown in glowing red lights. The perfect finale!

    WHAT’S COMING UP, SISTER DANA?

    Sister Dana sez, “Checking the medal count, USA is utterly CRUSHING IT in the Olympics! Winning first place! Here follow some other winning events.”

    SHOWGIRLS! The Musical! is making its West Coast premiere at San Francisco’s Victoria Theatre (2961 16th Street). Originally scheduled to close on Sunday, August 20, tickets are now on sale through Saturday, August 27. Performances are Wednesdays–Saturdays at 8 pm. Tickets range in price from $32–$45 and are available at the Victoria Theatre box office or by visiting peacheschrist.com Based on the 1995 so-bad-it’s-good “cinematic masterpiece,” SHOWGIRLS! THE MUSICAL! tells the story of the beautiful drifter, Nomi Malone, as she goes from stripper to showgirl in Las Vegas. Catching the glittery eye of Stardust Casino’s superstar stripper, Cristal Connors, Nomi sees an opportunity for her desire to become real. But there is only room for one star on the marquee as the battle of the showgirls begins. Starring APRIL KIDWELL–direct from the New York engagement–as Nomi Malone (who can dance up a storm and work the stripper pole like a pro) and legendary drag queen PEACHES CHRIST as Cristal Connors, SHOWGIRLS! The Musical! will have audiences singing, dancing … and thrusting in their seats! Written and directed by composing team Bob and Tobly McSmith, SHOWGIRLS! The Musical! made its debut in New York City in 2013–where the critical and audience response was overwhelmingly positive. This off-off Broadway spoof of the 1995 film that won seven Razzie Awards, including Worst Actress (Elizabeth Berkley), Worst Director (Paul Verhoeven), Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple, stays true to the unintentionally campy nature of the film. Under the direction of Joshua Granell (Peaches Christ), also in the cast are Marcus Deison as both Molly and the fabulous dancer James (from the original off-Broadway show), Tim Wagner as handsome Kyle MacLachlan, Bobby “Barnaby” Bryce as Gay the really really gay dance instructor, Raya Light as villainous Andrew Rapersoon, Rori Nogee as Labia, and Anna Muravitskaya as Mittens—bare breasted backup dancers. The creative team for SHOWGIRLS! The Musical! includes Peter Fogel (Music Director), Ric Ray (Set Designer), Amie Sarazan (Costume Designer), Sharon Boggs (Sound Designer) and Rory Davis (Choreographer). This makes the 19th Peaches production of Showgirls, and I think I have seen every single one—from the old days during her Midnight Mass at the Bridge Theatre to those in the Castro Theatre. But this ain’t your Castro drag show. The only drag queen is Peaches, and the entire cast are excellent dancers. The show contains bare boobs, strong language, and mature themes. It is age restricted to 18+ only. No exceptions.

    Castro Street ARTSAVESLIVES STUDIO AND GALLERY, 518 Castro Street, invites the public to CASTRO STREET LOCAL ARTISTS art work by Rene Capone, Andrew Fisher, Thomasina DeMaio, Peg Sue Ward, Mike Staley, and the late Morris Taylor. The evening includes performances by Scarlet Astrid, Grace Towers, Alotte Butte, and Nandi–emceed by the always flawless and fabulous comic extraordinaire, my dear pal, Marga Gomez. Studio resident DeMaio always promises wine, beer, food, performance, and incredible art.

    Set in 1940s New York, FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS is the delightful movie telling the true story of the legendary New York heiress and socialite (played to perfection by Meryl Streep) who obsessively pursued her dream of becoming a great singer. The voice she heard in her head was beautiful, but to everyone else it was hilariously awful. Her “husband” and manager, St. Clair Bayfield (acted superbly by Hugh Grant), an aristocratic English actor, was determined to protect his beloved Florence from the truth. But when Florence decided to give a public concert at Carnegie Hall, St. Clair knew he faced his greatest challenge. Sister Dana sez, “Don’t miss this beautiful movie. It brought me to both tears of laughter and tears of sadness!” Florence Foster Jenkins opened in theaters August 12.

    The summer’s biggest benefit show produced by RICHMOND/ERMET AID FOUNDATION benefiting AIDS LEGAL REFERRAL PANEL and MEALS ON WHEELS OF SAN FRANCISCO is taking place on Sunday, August 21, at the Herbst Theater and Green Room. Tickets are on sale through the website at reaf.org or by phone at 415-273-1620. While the overall event theme is “On the Red Carpet,” the actual show theme will be “Idols & Icons” and will pay tribute to a number of entertainment icons including Prince, David Bowie, Natalie Cole, Stephen Sondheim, Whitney Houston, and more. They will have almost the entire cast of BEAUTIFUL (the Carole King musical) joining this year’s lineup. Four fabulous American Idol alums will be returning including Tony nominated Constantine Maroulis, Kimberley Locke, La Toya London and Melinda Doolittle. They will be joined by Donna McKechnie–TONY award-winner (A Chorus Line), Emmy award-winner Jai Rodriguez, the grand diva Carole Cook, as well as Sally Struthers paying tribute to All in the Family, the TV show she co-starred in as Archie and Edith Bunker’s daughter Gloria. Michael Walters as the unstoppable Dame Edna will add his comic touch as well. Star Search Grand Champion Jake Simpson and Branden James, a finalist on America’s Got Talent, will perform with his husband James Clark. Local favorites in the cast include X-Factor finalist Jason Brock, jazz divas Paula West and Sony Holland, and 14-year-old concert cellist, Tristan Bourgade, whose sister Lea performed for REAF last year. Michael Orland (musical director on American Idol) will be returning as musical director, and David Galligan will be returning as director. reaf.org

    Join the GLBT HISTORICAL SOCIETY board of directors and staff for a special VIP opening reception of the new Community Gallery exhibit “THROUGH KNOWLEDGE TO JUSTICE: THE SEXUAL WORLD OF DR. MAGNUS HIRSCHFELD (1868-1935),” Friday, August 19 from 6–7 pm at the GLBT History Museum (4127 18th Street). Wine, refreshments, and hors-d’oeuvres will be served. “Through Knowledge to Justice” offers an introduction to the German physician’s life, work, and legacy through first editions, vintage periodicals and ephemera largely drawn from the collection assembled by curator Gerard Koskovich over the past three decades. In addition, the exhibition will include historic film documenting Hirschfeld’s impact and the fate of his work. “Through Knowledge to Justice” runs through November 23 at the GLBT History Museum. glbthistory.org

    Have a ball with KREWE DE KINQUE Mardi Gras Club every THIRD SATURDAY OF THE MONTH FUNDRAISER at The Edge Bar, 4149 18th Street, from 4–7 pm! Let The Good Times Roll with KdK. Your Hosts & Emcees for August 20 will be Queen 4 Joan Crawford Texas & Queen 11 L’il Kim Chee, with Beer/Soda Bust, Jello Shots, Live performances & many more surprises! Queen VII Sister Dana will take your $$$ at the door.

    From Broadway to Magic to Stand-up Comedy, ZSAZSA LUFTHANSA & FRIENDS will thrill you with powerful singing, stinging comedy, and spellbinding magic starring ZsaZsa, Terry McLaughlin, comedian Nick Leonard, magician Bradmagic, and Ryan Engstrom–with the ZsaZsa Lufhthansa Orchestra. All this happens on Saturday, August 27, 7–8:30 pm at Martuni’s, 4 Valencia Street. rbct.us

    Sister Dana sez, “Those who say something bad about Trump? Hit them. Those who protest against Trump? Torture them. Those who dare to run against Trump? Kill them. Is this in any way presidential?!