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Sister Dana Sez: Happy Pride Weekend, everybuddy!

sisterdanaSister Dana sez, “Happy Pride Weekend, everybuddy! Oh hell, why not make it ‘Happy Pride Year,’ mmmmkaaaay?!”

By Sister Dana Van Iquity

As part of Gay Pride Month, MAGNET, the Castro hub of health and well being, presented GAY GREATNESS, a dramatic, lively, inspirational multimedia presentation by Gregorio Luke. Produced by Magnet volunteer Gary Keener, it celebrated the accomplishments of LGBTQ individuals in art, history, and culture. It was past triumphs of queerness as well as past discrimination and persecution. Luke showed, through the ages, how homosexuals have experienced horrible oppression, repression, and criminality. The presentation included the joyous Gay Liberation Front of the 70s but also the utter devastation of the AIDS pandemic of the 80s. And then the rallying forth of lesbians giving blood to sick gay men, and of queers acting up and fighting back with AIDS activism.

THE LESBIAN/GAY CHORUS OF SAN FRANCISCO under the direction of William Sauerland and THE SAN FRANCISCO LESBIAN/GAY FREEDOM BAND under the direction of Pete Nowlen presented the 36TH ANNUAL PRIDE CONCERT: TOGETHER STRONG at the Kelly Cullen Auditorium. Joe “Trauma Flintstone” Wicht hostessed in a rather toned down look, almost passing for Hillary Clinton sans pantsuit. She sang George Gershwin’s “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” with gusto! Jefferson Packer was the special guest soloist, along with Camerata California. “Hymn for Africa” by the Band and “Today Is the Gift” by all three troupes dramatically brought home the suffering of LGBTQ people on that continent – especially Uganda.

A commissioned piece, From Darkness to Light, by Phil Orem to words of Nelson Mandela to honor his life and legacy was very moving and also served to celebrate the appointment of Nowlen as the new artistic director of the Band. Composer Nathan Hall had the West Coast premiere of his new work I Am in Love with the World, based on Maurice Sendak’s last interview with Terry Gross on NPR radio. Equally exciting was the tribute to Jose Sarria, the Widow Norton, including “The Toreador Song” from Carmen, and “God Save Us Nellie Queens” (words by Jose) in an audience sing-along. And how best to conclude a Pride concert but with the international gay anthem, “Over the Rainbow.”

AN HOMAGE TO LA CAGE celebrated Lee Roy Reams and Jerry Herman, with special guest Davis Gaines. We got our glitz on at the Castro Theatre, received pink boas, sipped champagne, and walked the pink carpet! Donna Sachet interviewed me instead of vice versa. The incredible show helped three beneficiaries: a new LGBTQ documentary film by David Lassman entitled 50 Years of Fabulous; the Imperial Council of SF; and Camp Sunburst HIV/AIDS Youth Programs. DQs extraordinaires Cockatielia, Khmera Rouge, Patty McGroin, and Emma Peel lip-synched and danced to a delightful production number of “We Are Who We Are.” Sunburst Executive Director Geri DeLaRosa-Brooks spoke of the joyful results of running a camp for HIV kids. Reams and Gaines sang the hell outta Herman classics.

FRAMELINE 38, SF INTERNATIONAL LGBT FILM FESTIVAL, kicked off in the Castro Theatre with the five most popular movie trailers voted on by the public: Frameline 28: Kinsey Sicks dragapella girls a la 30s Busby Berkeley flicks; 19: “I Love Lucy” with a drag Lucy and drag king Ricky Ricardo; 29: hot hitchhiking dyke on a motorcycle; 22: hetero couples suddenly discovering homo love in a movie theater; and 23: Jesse (Helms) Goes to Heaven (with Sister Dana as a purple skipping-rope nun). Frameline also showed the current splashy, flashy trailer. Board President Judy Ansell introduced the new Executive Director Frances Wallace, an Aussie who has been with Frameline for over a decade. Programming Director Desiree Buford bragged about the 214 films from 31 countries showing June 19th-29th. Senior Programmer Peter L. Stein noted that among the foreign films were four brave filmmakers from anti-gay Russia. Ben Cotner & Ryan White, the two brilliant directors of the riveting opening night documentary, THE CASE AGAINST 8, brought the four famous plaintiffs vs. Proposition 8, Kris Perry & Sandy Stier and Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo, to the stage for rousing audience applause. Ironically this pro-equality film screened on the same day as the NOM anti-marriage equality rally in D.C. where SF’s Archbigot Salvatore Cordilione spoke against our civil rights. Thankfully, the event was an epic fail. Anyway, do NOT miss this astounding anti-H8 film when it comes to HBO TV soon!

PG&E 7TH ANNUAL PRIDE KICK OFF PARTY, hosted by always affable Mark Rhoades, benefited the SF LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER in support of its cultural and community and youth economic development programs. Going to The Fairmont San Francisco Pavilion Room and Garden Court, I actually became totally tourist taking the Cable Car there. As Mark told me, there were purposely no special guests or speakers – it was just us queerple (I made that up: queer people and our friends) enjoying each other’s company.

Congratz to our new Mr. & Miss Gay San Francisco Tyler Nelson & Kipper Snacks.  And a huge thank you to outgoing 2013 M&MG Robb Huddleston & Jezebel Patel on a fantastic year!

CUMMING UP!

SWEET 16! ANNUAL PRIDE BRUNCH is Saturday, June 28th, 11am-2pm, Hotel Whitcomb, 1231 Market Street. Delicious bruncheon with entertainment by Dixieland Dykes+3 Band, hosted sparkling wine and vodka, honors Pride Parade Grand Marshals and benefits POSITIVE RESOURCE CENTER. Hosts Gary Virginia & Donna Sachet invite you to this important 16th annual event – truly a party for a cause!

The 11TH ANNUAL TRANS MARCH is Friday, June 27th. It’s one of the biggest transgender gatherings in the world, and this year is going to be the biggest one yet! In Dolores Park, it is a safe and sober event, so please save the substances for after the march. Youth and Elder Brunch: 12-3 pm; Pride in the Park (Stage show): 3-6 pm; Resource Fair: 3-6 pm; March: 6 pm; End of March Event at Turk and Taylor: 7:30 pm. transmarch.org

PINK SATURDAY in the Castro is a massive (100,000 + people) annual nighttime street party hosted by the SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE, INC. on Pride’s Saturday night, June 28th. We close off the streets and set up entertainment/dancing zones with DJs, and the glorious DYKE MARCH (rally, 4pm: Dolores & 18th Street; march, 6pm) ends at Pink Saturday. “PS” is one of the largest all-ages LGBTQ block parties in the world! thesisters.org, dykemarch.org

RICHMOND/ERMET AIDS FOUNDATION (REAF) presents a special ONE NIGHT ONLY BENEFIT CABARET with company members from the national touring cast of ONCE and special guest stars David Burnham (Wicked, Light in the Piazza), Sharon McNight (Tony nominee: Starmites), and Spencer Day (Star Search finalist, jazz star), Monday June 30th, 7:30 at Club Fugazi, 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd. richmondermet.org

A selection of 72 stunning artworks drawn from the collections of the ASIAN ART MUSEUM and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), GORGEOUS challenges visitors to confront the extremes and the ambiguities of beauty. On view now through September 14th, this special exhibition features an extraordinary mix of objects – spanning more than 2,200 years and dozens of cultures to bring together artworks that, in a variety of ways, extend beyond conventional notions of beauty. Presenting these paintings, sculptures, photographs, design objects, and drawings in new and unexpected contexts using an experimental approach, the exhibition aims to stimulate viewers to examine their ideas of what it means for something to be gorgeous. Check out the DQ perspective where Heklina, Sister Roma, and moi are interviewed on video. asianart.org

THE WIZARD OF OZ is finally getting the PEACHES CHRIST treatment! Peaches will embrace her inner Judy complex in the role of Peachy Gale, and Sharon Needles will go green in a totally non-environmental way (all that hairspray is hell on the ozone layer) as the Wicked Witch. It’ll be a tornado of excitement when we gather at the Castro Theatre on Saturday, July 12th, 3 and 8pm. In addition to a screening of the quintessential 1939 movie classic, we’ll be treated to an all-new ADULTS-ONLY pre-show.

Sister Dana sez, “By the end of June, I will be so full of Pride – maybe I’ll need a little shame to balance it out! NOT!!!”