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    Sister Dana Sez: Words of Wisdumb From a Fun Nun

    sisterdanaBy Sister Dana Van Iquity

    Sister Dana sez, “May 1st is May Day, which means you either celebrate by picking flowers and dancing around the May Pole, or your ship is in distress and you holler, ‘May Day! May Day!’ to the Coast Guard. Which is it?!”

    LAMBDA LEGAL is the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization working for the civil rights of queers and people with HIV/AIDS. They pursue impact litigation; cases that will have the greatest impact in protecting and advancing the rights of LGBTQ people and those with HIV. Their docket ordinarily includes about 65 open cases at a time and also supports many important cases by filing friend-of-the-court (amicus) briefs. Current cases address marriage equality in states across the US, as well as HIV and trans-rights, adoption rights, workplace discrimination, immigration equality, and rights to equal benefits, just to name a few.

    To toast Lambda’s landmark victories from over 40 years of successful impact litigation, we joined Lambda Legal’s Bay Area Leadership Council for a fabulous evening at City View at the Metreon for SOIREE 2014, in our city, where equal relationship recognition had its first beginning. We learned from Executive Director Kevin Cathcart about Lambda Legal’s fight to take these victories across the nation. Kyle Bodda (graduate of Sultana High School in Hesperia) and his former teacher and Lambda Legal plaintiff, Julia Frost spoke about homophobia in schools. “When gay students would try to seek guidance or help from our principal, he would look at us as abominations,” said Bodda. “That held true for punishments as well.” Frost was fired for being out. “Despite California law, some people in my profession are not open to having LGBT teachers. I could give up and let them block change, ignore the laws, keep our schools the way they want them,” she said. “But when we fail to act when confronted with injustice, we freely give up pieces of our humanity.”

    LAVENDER YOUTH RECREATION AND INFORMATION CENTER (LYRIC)’S 25TH ANNIVERSARY OPEN HOUSE was held at their HQ at 127 Collingwood Street, where they gave special shout-outs to their amazing neighborhood partners. With over 120 community supporters and more than 40 staff, interns, and board members, we celebrated 25 years of empowering LGBTQ youth to thrive and develop as leaders in their communities. Many of the attendees helped them celebrate their past and sustain their future by becoming a LYRIC Champion. We were given a guided tour by the young interns and witnessed the impressive Affirmations Wall and the gallery of LYRIC history going back 25 years. The theme was LYRIC YOUTH: QUEERING OUR HISTORY, DEFINING OUR FUTURE!

    THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY EASTER WEEKEND WITH THE SISTERS was very busy and well attended by nuns and nun fans. COOKIE DOUGH’S HOLY BROADWAY MONSTER SHOW at the Edge was a total riot. We had Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from all over the US, in and out of face, plus founding members in abundance. Show-nuns doing Broadway numbers from Book Of Mormon, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, and Sister Act were Sisters Dana, Dharma, Agnes, Rosemary Chicken, and others who donated their tips back to the charity. MAGNET celebrated the Sisters’ 35 years of their special brand of public ministry with HOLY THURSDAY at Magnet’s HQ in the Castro. The event featured an Archive Exhibition of the “Docu Photos” of Bill Weaver, presented by Sr. Mary Ralph, Archive Aide De Camp, with statements by the Artist, as well as Sr. Vish-Nu, co-founder and Sr. Mary Media, one of the creators of the original “Play Fair,” The Sisters’ safer sex guide. This event was also the Kickoff for the Sisters’ Easter Conclave weekend, when other SPI Orders traveled from afar (as far as Germany and France). And of course our 35th annual anniversary in Golden Gate Park was a big hit with live entertainment and Sister Roma and I emceeing the Easter Basket, Hunky Jesus, and Foxy Mary contests.

    The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence gave out charitable grants as follows: Queer Prophesies- $500 for public art work; Persist Health Project- $750 for training and start up health services for sex workers; Turn Up the Base- $1,000 for housing and other needs for trans youth of color camp; Sacred Space SF- $1,500 for Night Ministry; A Chance to Dress- $1,000 for a documentary on cross dressing; Ministry of Presence Institute- $1,000 for start up costs; Sister Barbi Fund – $2,000; and Monet Allard- $1,000 for a documentary film.

    10TH ANNUAL SPRING FLING was a festive Sunday luncheon fundraiser for OPENHOUSE, the eventual home for elder queer seniors, held at Four Seasons Hotel. Executive Director Seth Kilbourn spoke of the vision to be a community resource and point of engagement for all LGBTQ older adults and their loved ones in the years ahead. Over the next fifteen years, the number of LGBTQ older adults living in San Francisco is expected to grow by 30% or more. In October, Openhouse and Mercy Housing California will break ground. Michael Tate was emcee. The Inaugural Eva Lily Volunteer Service Awards were given to Chris Torno and John Wherry for their excellence in volunteering. As a life-long advocate and activist for LGBTQ rights, Pam David received the Adelman/Gurevitch Founders Award. The Hon. Vaughn R. Walker received the Trailblazer Award for his landmark ruling striking down the anti-marriage equality Prop 8 and making the way for state after state to follow suit. Jason Brock provided entertainment singing “Misty” and “The Greatest Love.”

    THE COUNTESS KATYA SMIRNOFF-SKYY, San Francisco’s favorite Russian redhead, mezzo soprano female impersonator, appeared at Feinstein’s for one-night-only with her hit showBACK IN THE USSR, A VOYAGE INTO THE BEATLES’ SONGBOOK. She absolutely crushed it with her string of Beatle hits sung opera-style (“popera”). There were even slides of her superimposed posing with the Fab Four. Truly fascinating was her broken -English patter about her made-up love relationship with Ringo. Especially fun was the psychedelic hippy trippy set, which included a dancing egg-man and walrus puppets (illustrating “I Am the Walrus”) and her Rocky Raccoon puppet. Sheelagh Murphy added to the joy with “Help” while Katya changed into another gown. Don’t miss Katya at her next show at Martuni’s! She is a hoot!

    100 YEARS… OF THE DOUBLE D’S was a delightful combined birthday celebration for Drew Cutler and Donna Sachet at Donna’s Imperial Palace in the Castro, where nearly a hundred friends of the 2D’s ate, drank, and made merry. I am not allowed to tell how the hundred years were divided between the two, but suffice it to say that Donna celebrated a Big One. Donna’s home was turned into a museum of their lives. Donna sang “I’m Still Here” from Follies. A midnight surprise was Senator Mark Leno appearing to wish the pair a Happy Hundred! No, he didn’t jump out of a cake.

    CUMMING UP!!!

    SWIMWEAR FOR A CAUSE is a benefit for PROJECT INFORM on Saturday, May 3rd, 2-5pm at Phoenix Hotel, 601 Eddy Street. Hosted by model/singer DQ Honey Mahogany, we return to the incomparable Phoenix Hotel poolside lounge where guests will enjoy amazing music, delicious food from Chambers eat + drink, unlimited cocktails, and striking models strutting their stuff in swimwear – all to raise awareness and support for Project Inform’s life-saving mission. projectinform.org

    Peaches Christ has planned a Mother’s Day party to die for! Since your mom is no doubt craving something different on her day, why not take her to a celebration of the most hilariously lethal fed-up mom in movie history: Beverly Sutphin, legendarily portrayed by Kathleen Turner, in cult-movie godfather JOHN WATERS’ 1994 classic SERIAL MOM! For its 20th anniversarySerial Mom is getting the full Peaches Christ treatment, including an all-new stage show inspired by the movie, plus Misty Sutphin herself, pop culture icon RICKI LAKE, live and in person for a pre-show Q&A (conducted by Ms. Christ) and merchandise signing! At The Castro Theatre, Saturday, May 10th, 8pm. Wear white shoes (and non-flame retardant clothing) at your own risk! peacheschrist.com

    SHOW YOUR MOTHER SOME LOVE on May 11th at the Midnight Sun, 4067 18th Street, 4-7pm for the fundraiser for the San Francisco Imperial Monarch’s Fund to help get Empress Misty Blue and Emperor John Paul Soto’s reign off to a great start! Bring your Mom, your Drag Mom, or that Special Person that you call Mom for a fun time celebrating Mothers and all they do for us on their day. They will be having a great show with some fantastic girls lined up for you. There will also be raffle prizes, Jell-O shots, and a beer bust. It will be one Mother of a show!

    Join ACADEMY OF FRIENDS at a very special event on Thursday, May 15th, 6:30-8:30pm at the Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square, 335 Powell Street, when the Board of Directors of Academy of Friends will present Bay Area HIV/AIDS agencies with the money raised over the past year and at their annual Oscar Night Gala. academyoffriends.org

    Join RAINBOW WORLD FUND on a HUMANITARIAN JOURNEY TO CUBA, May 16 – 25. Encounter new lands and peoples in a way that values them, deepens your spirituality, broadens your worldview and begins to heal the world. Learn about the cultural, historical, spiritual, and political realities of the developing world. Explore human rights issues with a people whose traditions span centuries of development. Experience ancient, colonial, and modern influences that have molded cultures of unique strength and deep faith. Help deliver medical and educational supplies, and be forever changed. The journey is educational – focusing on Cuba’s history, politics, and spirituality. You will learn from the Cubans about the realities of their country. You will visit projects that serve the Cuban people and meet with members of the LGBTQ community, church leadership, artists, and leaders in many fields. rainbowfund.org

    Sister Dana sez, “Happy Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there!”