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Sister Dana Sez: Words of Wisdumb From a Fun Nun

sisterdanaSister Dana sez, “May I be the first to wish everybuddy both a very happy, lucky St. Patrick’s Day, and also the Ides of March – if you celebrate that! If so, either wear green or a toga, and if both – a green toga!”

I know I celebrate the fact that newly elected NYC Mayor DeBlasio refuses to march in his city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade because they won’t allow gays to openly participate. Right on!

S**T & CHAMPAGNE has thankfully been held over at Rebel until the end of March. This campy, corny, kooky comedy dance musical stars D’Arcy Drollinger (Sex and the City Live!, Project: Lohan) as Champagne White, Matthew Martin(The Golden Girls, Baby Jane?) as Dixie Stampede, Steven LeMay (Friends Live!, Roseanne) as Brandy, Champagne’s best friend/roommate/adopted half-sister and calf model, Nancy French (Friends Live!, Pearls Over Shanghai) as Debbie the dancer and placard holder (to indicate scene changes), Alex Brown as Detective Jack Hammer and Tony the thug, and Peter Griggs as Sergio and Johnny the Gun. Directed by D’Arcy Drollinger & Laurie Bushman. Before the show begins, the audience is entertained by several pole dancers: two hot go-go boys, a drag queen, and a drag king – not to mention a comical, gum-chewing, extremely bored lap dancer full of ennui during her dirty duties. Rebel nightclub, 1760 Market Street, has been turned into the Sha-Boom Room. Onstage comes stripper extraordinaire Champagne, who witnesses her fiancé shot to death by gangsters. The plot thickens as Champagne gets more and more involved, and more and more people are murdered. Champagne has to go undercover to discover what the evil villain Dixie is up to, including running a low-price escort service, corporate takeovers, and manufacturing of crystal meth taken via booty bumps. As can be expected by the title, there are plenty of poop jokes, as well as cleverly choreographed sex and violence with bizarre sound effects. There is lots of mugging (with the face) by the actors. This “white exploitation” send-up is full of laughs and chances to cheer the heroes and boo the bad guys. Will revenge be had? Will justice be served? Find out every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm. For tix: rebel.com and eventbrite.com/o/catfights-and-shoulderpads-productions.

AND MY ROOM STILL ROCKS LIKE A SHIP ON THE SEA (CARUSO’S DREAM) was part of a dramatic unveiling of many upright and grand piano sculptures by Brian Goggin with Dorka Keehn, featuring conductor Mauro Ffortissimo and opera singers Zoltan DiBartolo, Michelle Jasso, and Mark Nassar, aerial choreographer Karl Gillick with artwork lighting designer Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte in the musical world premiere of  “Sogno ad Occchi Aperti di Caruso” by Veronika Krausas. This all took place at 55-9th Street, where the lit sculptures are now a permanent art exhibition cascading from the front wall. Aerialists Alayna Stroud, Ariellah Winther, Esther Wrebel, and Shannon Collier slowly, gracefully descended from the 17-story high-rise to unveil the brilliant art, ripping away the white sailcloth while over a dozen pianists played below. Later, the Extra Action Marching Band added pizzazz with their horns, drums, and flags. Go see this amazing artwork!

THE HOMO FILE SALON celebrated the life of queer iconoclast Sam Steward aka Phil Andros (his pen name). This fabulous affair featured food, champagne, performances by the Homo File cast, special guests and speakers, and enchanting live accordion music of Ben Creed. This was held in the magnificent home of Mark Garrett and Eric Smith with their Queer Art collection like no other. All proceeds supported the premiere of HOMO FILE in the National Queer Arts Festival in June at CounterPULSE.

The Homo File Salon gave us a sneak-peek of the upcoming show by Seth Eisen and an installation of ephemera and rare visual treats. One snippet from Homo File had Gertrude Stein outing Steward and welcoming him to “The Family.” Another snippet had Alice B. Toklas typing a letter to Steward regarding his “Stud File” of over 600 homosexual conquests – featuring tattoo illustrations made with light-writing on a trick’s bare chest as projector screen. Go see this fascinating play in its entirety!

Eisen is a performing and visual artist who uses a hybrid of contemporary performance: Butoh, puppetry, theater, circus, drag, and performance art. Special guests were Joey Cain – queer historian on the legacy of the Great Gay Succession from Walt Whitman to Edward Carpenter to Allen Ginsberg; Michael Williams – executor of Sam Steward’s estate, speaking about their friendship in the latter days; and Will Grant – LGBTQ educator and historian on Queer History as activism. Tax-deductible donations and information can be found at homofile.eyezen.org.

Congratulations and best wishes to Their Most Imperial Majesties JP Soto and Misty Blue at the IMPERIAL CORONATION. We look forward to working with them and the 49th Reign of the Founding Mother Court of the International Court System - San Francisco. Heartfelt thanks to the other candidates Ray Tilton and Danielle Logan on a great campaign. Their professionalism and willingness to serve speaks volumes to their character. We know we will continue to see great things from them. Cheers and props to Emperor Drew Cutler and Empress Patty McGroin, who stepped down with grace and style, and their Wild Kingdom Court on an amazing year of fun and fundraising. Due to their dedication and hard work, along with the generous community that supports the good deeds of the Imperial Court founded by Jose Sarria in 1965, nearly $60,000 was raised and distributed to local charities here in the Bay Area! Kudos!

The people in charge of EssEff›s nightlife industry gathered at the Castro Theatre for the 2ND ANNUAL NITEY AWARDS, celebrating clubs and people who entertain us, a slightly gayer version of the Oscars, with LGBTQ and str8 attendees. It was overseen by Entertainment Commissioners Jocelyn Kane, Audrey Joseph, and event producer Negar Siadatnejad, distributing awards in 23 categories judged by industry professionals during visits to the nominated places: Best Hotel Bar: Chambers at the Phoenix Hotel; Best Happy Hour: Mars Bar and Restaurant; Best Venue for Sound: Audio Discotech; Best Gay Dance Club: Club OMG; Best Irish Bar: O’Reilly’s; Best Neighborhood Bar: The Riptide; Best Sports Bar: Hi Tops; Best Late Night Food: Golden Boy Pizza; Best Beer: Mikkeller Bar; Best Cocktail Lounge: Trick Dog; Best Adult Entertainment: Hustler Club; Best Wine Bar: Bluxome Street Winery; Best New Venue: tie between Wild Hare and Beaux; Best Club Promoters: Sunset Promotions; Best Drag Queen: Donna Sachet; Best Mixologist: Kate Bolton of Maven; Best Gay Bar: The Lookout; Best Variety of Offerings: Madrone Art Bar; Excellence in Philanthropy, Individual: Gary Virginia; Excellence in Philanthropy, Business: The Lookout; Best Small Dance Club: Monarch; Best Large Dance Club: Mighty; Best Small Live Venue: Bottom of the Hill; Best Large Live Venue: The Regency Ballroom; Iconic Person Award: Joel SelvinSF Chronicle. I didn’t agree with over half the winners, but then again, I didn’t get to vote. I will add my categories of Best Voddie Served: Stoli; and Best Caviar Served: Tsar Nicoulai.

BAY AREA LAWYERS FOR INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM (BALIF) is the nation’s oldest and largest bar association of LGBTQ persons in the field of law. Founded in 1980, BALIF represents its members’ interests in the wider San Francisco Bay Area. BALIF members and supporters include San Francisco Bay Area judges, lawyers, law students, and legal workers. BALIF held its 34TH ANNUAL GALA, “Standing Proud,” at the Bently Reserve. They honored Judge Vaughn Walker with the Legal Service Award for his years of service on the bench and for penning the initial decision in the Prop 8 case, which prevailed before the Supreme Court and lifted the same-sex marriage ban in California – paving the way for such similar repeals nationwide. BALIF also presented LYRIC (Lavender Youth Recreation & Information Center) with the Community Service Award in celebrating their 25th anniversary as a beacon of light and hope by providing a safe and supportive environment for Bay Area LGBTQ youth to explore their identities and live authentic lives.

KREWE DE KINQUE, a Mardi Gras themed charitable organization, celebrated Fat Tuesday at the Eagle bar with our masked ball, MARDI GRAS MAGICK, benefiting San Francisco Night Ministry, serving needy people on the streets after hours. King X Kippy Marks and Queen X Kitty Tapata stepped down and made way for King XI Joseph Nunez and Queen XI Li’l Kim Chee aka Don Ho to reign. Fabulous entertainment was provided by Empress 43 Cher-A-Little, Ethel Merman, Ana Mae Coxxx Grand Duke 39 Moses Garcia, comedian Valerie Branch aka Pia Messing (you know: PMS), recording artist Xavier Toscano, and Marcy Playground, as well as Kippy and Kitty. Emperor 36 and Empress 36 Chablis emceed and Patrik Gallineaux was Grand Marshal. We truly “Let the Good Times Roll,” as they say in New Orleans.

ACADEMY OF FRIENDS presented RETURN TO THE EMERALD CITY on Oscar Sunday at Terra Gallery. It was the 34th annual Academy Awards Night Gala for the 86th Academy Awards. Academy of Friends has distributed over $8.6 million from ticket sales to Bay Area HIV/AIDS services over the past 30+ years. Living gold painted Oscar statues greeted us at the door, and the classic Wizard of Oz quartet of Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion circulated the party. Most everyone wore green, of course. Best Picture went to 12 Years a Slave, which I have yet to see. But the entire room let out a roaring cheer – as did I – when Best Actor in a Leading Role went to Matthew McConaughey and Best Actor in a Supporting Role was Jared Leto (both in Dallas Buyers Club, which reminded me of the first years of Project Inform, when AIDS activists had to go to Mexico for AZT, which wasn’t approved back in the Reagan era). Best Actress in a Leading Role was Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, which I agreed with. And I was happy that Best Costume Design went to The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin).

Rest in peace, my dear dear departed SISTER BARBI MITZVAH of THE SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE. Sister Barbi’s presence – much like her schnoz – was larger than life and made an impression on everyone around her. Sister Barbi was one of the founders of the Russian River SPI House, and devoted herself to her House and her community. She then moved to San Francisco where she was welcomed with open arms. She used her considerable business experience as the House’s board chair, working on a number of projects that helped SPI, Inc. evolve into a more mature corporation. Her revolutionary work on Pink Saturday resulted in the most profitable event in the Sisters’ history while ensuring a safe and fun event for all. Sister Barbi was also an invaluable help with Folsom Street Events, tirelessly working the Up Your Alley and Folsom Street Fairs for 19 years.

Sister Barbi spent many long hours working with the City and the Alexander Hamilton Post 448 to resurrect the Sisters’ Bingo in the Green Room at the War Memorial Building. This event ran for several years, bringing fun back to fundraising and drawing sell-out crowds. She also helped several Houses around the US start their own bingo games. During her tenure with the SF House, Sister Barbi acted as mentor and guide to numerous potential members, sharing her wisdom and experience. She also worked with many of the newly-forming Houses, helping them with the critical first steps in becoming a House of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Sister Barbi eventually relocated to Portland where, in true Sister Barbi fashion, she had already started cultivating relationships in the community and was beginning to get involved with the Portland House. Sister Barbi leaves behind her loving, devoted husband, Sister Celeste L Powers as well as the Sisters from the Russian River, San Francisco, and Portland Houses, all of the many, many Sisters whose lives she touched, and the countless members of the community whom she worked, laughed, and played with over the years. I will miss her dearly.

CUMMING UP!

Don’t miss PUTTING ON THE RITZ GALA at the Castro Theatre, Saturday, March 15, 8pm, by producer Marc Huestis, with the hysterical film, THE RITZ, starring Rita Moreno (who played Googie Gomez in the film) live in person, all about a wacky mix-up in a famous NYC bathhouse. This 1976 Terrence McNally classic is a fundraiser for Let’s KickASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome). Note: the very first time I saw this film, I wore nothing but a white towel in an actual bathhouse. Tix at ticketfly.com and (415) 863-0611.

PORNUCOPIA: this week’s flick pick is CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ from falconstudios.com.

Sister Dana sez, “The good news is the Obama administration indicated that Social Security is safe; the bad news is Medicare is still on the chopping block – because, you know, old people should just get sick and die.”