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    Sister Dana sez, “Trump said, ‘I think I’m very normal,’ which psychiatrists have diagnosed as ‘unprovoked denial.'”

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity–

    Sister Dana sez, “Trump said, ‘I think I’m very normal,’ which psychiatrists have diagnosed as ‘unprovoked denial.’ Do sane Presidents ever need to claim they’re very normal?!”

    We queer nuns hosted two glorious receptions at STRUT, 470 Castro Street on April 5th and 15th, where we featured the art of the late Ramon Pablo Vidali in a show entitled CASTRO ON CANVAS: THE ART OF RAMON PABLO VIDALI. His paintings from the early 1980s depict and celebrate The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, celebrating our 40th anniversary this year. In 1982 Ramon Vidali, a well-known street artist in SF, visited the Sisters “convent” and proposed to paint a portrait of each of the nuns somewhere in the Castro. In a little over a year he had painted 26 portraits of the sisters, and they first exhibited them at the STUD back in 1983. In 1985, we lost the artist to AIDS, and for the entire month of April we are celebrating his art. The top row depicts nuns who are deceased. The bottom row has mostly living nuns.

    PEACHES CHRIST PRODUCTIONS presented FIRST WIVES FIGHT CLUB written and directed by Peaches and Varla Jean Merman on April 7th at the Castro Theatre. This was an extremely clever live musical parody mash-up of the now-classic films, First Wives Club and Fight Club. It starred the gorgeous and incredible talents of three RuPaul’s Drag Race superstars Raja, Brooke Lynn Hytes and Ginger Minj, plus producer/actress Peaches Christ, along with local favorites Peggy L’eggs and April Kidwell. Unlike other PC Productions, no movies were screened; just the delicious live show in all of its glory! Raja (Annie) had an unexpected wardrobe mishap when her beads suddenly fell apart and rolled all over the stage, leaving Brooke Lynn (Elise) and Ginger (Brenda) to go improv and act like soccer players kicking the beads off the stage. Or was that on purpose as a foreshadowing of Showgirls when Nomi (April) took the stage? At one point, Brenda became Mama Rose in Gypsy. There were plenty of Fight Club fights, where Elise was surely the winner with her ballet moves and high-kickin’ karate kicks. The ladies also burst into “He Had It Comin'” and “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago. The whole show was hilarious. I should mention that the evening started off with Kylie Minono and friends having a raffle to raise money for the HARVEY MILK CENTER FOR THE ARTS, raising over $2,500. And I am happy to announce that the show is “aboot” to be mounted in Canada with Canadian born Brooke Lynn. That should be fabulous, eh?  

    SFFILM presented the 62nd SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL with the World Premiere of Netflix’s new original series Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City on April 10th at the Castro Theatre. The evening included a screening of the full first episode (two decades later in today’s EssEff) and a special preview of the upcoming series, followed by a lavish Opening Night Party at the Regency Center. Show-runner, writer, and executive producer Lauren Morelli; director and executive producer Alan Poul; author and executive producer Armistead Maupin; and star and executive producer Laura Linney participated in a post-screening Q&A along with six other stars. Maupin said he got many, many nasty responses from the anti-gay American Family Association. Tales of the City is especially endearing to me because I had a tiny bit part in the movie version as a Castro clone, and I hosted the opening night party, along with several other Sisters, for the live version. SFFILM has film showings all over The City through April 23. https://sffilm.org/

    Dennis McMillan (aka Sister Dana) and Juan Davila (center) lined up for a photo, during the SF LGBT Center’s Soirée 2019 held at Terra Gallery, with program emcees Katya Smirnoff Skye, Anita MORE! and a member of the event cast.

    We SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE held our opening reception of W.O.W – 40 YEARS OF HABITS, an exhibition celebrating the unique World of Wimples—coronets and wimples (headdresses) worn by Sisters worldwide. The W.O.W exhibit runs now through May 11 at the Harvey Milk Photo Center, 50 Scott Street. At the same place, visitors can experience SPI AT 40: THROUGH THE LENS OF OUR COMMUNITY, which is an exhibition of Photography from the Archive Collection of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. We held receptions for both exhibits on April 17.

    The Sisters celebrated our 40th Anniversary (among other ways) invading Polk Street and North Beach with our glitter & joy! We took a CITY-WIDE BUS CRAWL into neighborhoods often not visited. Starting at The Lookout at 7pm we had a drink, some small bites and then boarded the bus. Stopping on Polk Street first, we then headed to North Beach and then home.

    Not content to celebrate our 40th on land, we nuns from around the globe boarded the S.S. Horn Blower for a Bay cruise entitled RED VEILS IN THE SUNSET, where we all wore red (especially red veils) with our red habits to commemorate our Ruby Anniversary. Arrrr, matey!

    All of these events lead up to what will be the Grand Finale: our INDULGENCE IN THE PARK on Easter Sunday in Dolores Park with several thousands of our closest friends.

    Sister Dana sez, “House Dems just introduced a comprehensive LGBTQ civil rights bill, The Equality Act. Every Democrat was an original co-sponsor … except Dan Lipinski. Lipinski is from a bright blue Illinois district Hillary Clinton won by 15%. Yet he’s Co-Chair of the Pro-Life Caucus, opposed Obamacare and opposes a $15 minimum wage. Shame!

    CITY HALL HEARING ON LGBTQ DISCRIMINATION AND ACCESS TO SERVICES was open to the public, hosted by TLGB EQUITY NETWORK and THE Q FOUNDATION. People testified about their experiences accessing affordable housing and other services in San Francisco. THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS wanted to know if City departments were providing equitable access to LGBTQ and HIV+ San Franciscans.

    SF LGBT CENTER presented SOIRÉE 2019 on April 13 at Terra Gallery. Juanita MORE! returned as the fabulous Entertainment Director. Our host and auctioneer was the Slavic pop-opera drag diva Katya Smirnoff Skyy. Mayor London Breed lauded the Center for its service to the community. Center Executive Director Rebecca Rolfe spoke of The Center as a safe place for both newcomers and old-timers. LadyRyan debuted as Party DJ. I enjoyed live performances (sharing a couch with the lovely Donna Sachet, all in shimmering pink, not red) by House of More, dancing, dining and drinking. Soirée helped the SF LGBT Center raise over $40,000 in funds to expand programs and services for our community. http://www.sfcenter.org/programs/

    On Palm Sunday, several of us EssEff nuns attended the IMPERIAL INVESTITURE of Emperor Terrill Grimes Munro & Empress Baby-Shaques Munro of The Court of Marvel, History, Re-Connection, and Fun. The venue was Calle-11sf. The theme was “Allure of the Jungle.” Emcees included Kylie Minono, Melody De Leon, Matt Welch and Donna Sachet. Performances were by such luminaries as Miss Gay, Amoura Teese; Miss Cowgirl Mimi Mi, the reigning Empress of Reno and many of our local royalty and talent. We Sisters gave a very special blessing of the Imperials and their subjects. We know these Imperials and their court will be accomplishing great things for the kingdom and holding lots of fundraisers for many deserving charities.  

    Sister Dana sez, “Mayor Pete Buttigieg is now the first openly LGBTQ Democratic presidential candidate in American history, shattering a rainbow ceiling thought unbreakable just a few years ago. You go, Pete!” 

    The family of the late Ernie Asten (the fourth-generation patriarch of CLIFF’S VARIETY, a Castro institution) invited all members of our community to the Memorial event he requested. Folks gathered at 19th and Collingwood Streets by Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy on the afternoon of April 14. They proceeded down Castro Street from 19th Street to Jane Warner Plaza, led by a New Orleans-style Marching Band, as Ernie had requested.

    Sister Dana sez, “May Day is coming! Spring has sprung, so you May want to spring on over to these upcoming events!”

    Back by popular demand! After a sold out show earlier this year, Bambi, Scrumbly and Birdie are bringing back the witty musical revue and homage to the somewhat seedy Tenderloin, TENDER IS MY LOIN to PianoFight, 144 Taylor, April 22nd, 7:30pm. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tender-is-my-loin-tickets-

    BLOOM! is LYRIC‘s 31st Anniversary Open House: (Revolutionary Power from the Margins) on April 25, 5:30 to 7:30pm, 127 Collingwood Street. Experience the vision and voices of youth blooming and leading the future! Admission is free. https://www.facebook.com/LYRIC.LavenderYouth/

    AGUILAS will be celebrating their CINCO DE MAYO festivities on April 25 from 6 to 8:30pm at the 2nd Floor of the LGBT Center. AGUILAS provides HIV, SDI and Hep C info and testing with the SF AIDS FOUNDATION. They will be honoring Erick Arguello, who has been working with AGUILAS for 25 Years and is now working at Glide Church as their Community Engagement Coordinator. They will also be celebrating the birthday of one of their staff persons at AGUILAS, Norma, who does the scheduling and recruitment for testing. AGUILAS is dedicated to creating a supportive, culturally sensitive environment for gay/bisexual Latinos. They strive to foster knowledge and pride of the diversity of the language, culture, history and spirituality. http://sfaguilas.org/

    At this year’s annual gala, NIGHT OUT, hundreds of leaders and partners in the LGBTQ family justice and education movement will come together to celebrate the wins and gather resources to support OUR FAMILY COALITION‘s work in the future. Their mission: Our Family Coalition advances equity for LGBTQ families with children through support, education and advocacy. April 26, 6pm at the Intercontinental San Francisco, 888 Howard Street. https://www.ourfamily.org/

    Hosts Cleve Jones, John Newmeyer and RAINBOW WORLD FUND welcome you to an evening of live Cuban music, Cuba themed cocktails, wine, food and entertainment as they raise funds for PRIDE IN CUBA at Gough House—a beautiful 1889 Victorian Mansion in Pacific Heights, 2004 Gough, April 28, 3 to 6pm. http://www.rainbowfund.org/

    MAITRI presents its annual BLISS fundraiser on Sunday, May 5, CINCO DE MAYO, 4 to 8pm at the Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF, Robertson Auditorium, 1675 Owens Street. No one should have to suffer or die alone. Maitri provides compassionate residential care to men and women in need of hospice or 24-hour care and cultivates the deepest respect and love for life among its residents and caregivers. Enjoy sumptuous food, delightful music and a fun evening with compassionate friends. Don’t miss Bliss! https://maitrisf.org/

    Sister Dana sez, “Regarding his new, as-of-yet-unspecified health care plan, T-Rump said: ‘We’re going to have a phenomenal healthcare … we will be showing you at the appropriate time. It’s much better than Obamacare.’ But he has had four years to come up with a viable healthcare plan. Abracadabra! Healthcare magically disappears!”