Sister Dana Sez: “Flowers, candy, red hearts, and romance is what VALENTINE’S DAY is all about, right? Well, maybe not—at least not in the historical sense. In reality, St. Valentine of Rome was a priest long ago when Emperor Claudius the Second prohibited the marriage of young people—based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers, because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to their wives if they died. So Valentine secretly married them despite the edict. But Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned, tortured, and beheaded in the year 269 AD for performing marriage ceremonies. He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing his last letter to a woman, ‘From your Valentine.'”
Winner of five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Musical, “FUN HOME” is based on ALISON BECHDEL’s best-selling graphic memoir. This groundbreaking production, presented at the beautifully renovated historic Curran theater, introduces us to Alison at three different ages, revealing memories of her uniquely dysfunctional family that connect with her in surprising new ways. This intimate theatrical experience allows us to look through Alison’s eyes as she reflects on the moments that made her who she is. It is a very well written and acted portrayal of a daughter’s determination to understand and connect with her volatile, brilliant, enigmatic father. The cartoonist relives her often not so fun childhood playing at the Bechdel Funeral Home, her growing understanding of her own lesbianism and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s supposedly hidden homosexuality and sudden death. The passionate production takes audiences on a whirlwind emotional ride, so bring some tissues for both tears of joy and laughter. Now through February 19 at the Curran, 445 Geary Street. https://sfcurran.com/shows/fun-home/
I attended the VIP reception for the newest exhibition at the GLBT HISTORY MUSEUM loaded with tons of works of famed bear cartoonist FRAN FRISCH brilliantly giving a living history of the bear community—”BEARTOONIST OF SAN FRANCISCO: SKETCHING AN EMERGING SUBCULTURE.” Executive Director Terry Beswick—who was celebrating his one-year anniversary on the job—introduced the curator for the show, museum director Jeremy Prince, in his first one-man curating. But not before giving us a taste of museum shows to come, including a special one for leather enthusiasts. He said he had hopes and plans for a huge, world-renowned GLBT museum in the future here in EssEff via donations for the “Vision Project.” Beswick also introduced our newly installed district 8 SF Supervisor Jeff Sheehy (revealing his possibly unknown background majoring in history—especially queer history). Sheehy noted whole portions of LGBT history before modern times that have been largely ignored and omitted. He was excited to reveal a Board of Supervisors resolution he just introduced towards establishing a legendary museum here (see page 3). He presented two Certificates of Recognition from the Board: one to Prince (who noted the bear community has raised over one million dollars for charities over the years) and the other to Frisch (who humbly accepted). On a side note, Sister Dana was one of the lucky raffle winners to attain an original Frisch cartoon drawing!
Sister Dana sez, “The handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, noted the furry rodent has “predicted” six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow at dawn. So prepare!”
The lovely new ownership of the LONE STAR SALOON requested some of us SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE to do a blessing of their space. We were only too happy to fulfill their desire. Sister Adora Penthouse View, Sister Jezabelle, Sister Nova Agra, and Sister Dana evoked the spirit of the bear while cleansing the space with burning bear root and sage. To give a very abbreviated version of our sanctifications: To the bar veneer, we said, “Oh glorious long and hard wood! Hallowed be thy presence! Your girth and length serve many to perfection.” To the bar stools: “Blessed be ye proud, ye fantastically strong! Like our fair City, you are covered in bottoms.” To the urinals: “Here is the land of elimination but also exaltation for cruising. We bless this sacred receptacle.” To the patio: “It is not lost on us that the Lone Star Saloon is indeed a bear bar. In shamanic traditions, the bear is a sacred animal. The primary meaning of the bear spirit animal is strength and confidence—standing against adversity; taking action and leadership. The spirit of the bear indicates it’s time for healing to help ourselves and others.” Then we raised our glasses in communion to the brother-and sister-hood of the bear (followed by lots of growling and roaring from the assembled crowd). Cheers & beers & bears! Bearlicious!
ARTSAVESLIVES presented an every Tuesday night open mic show at the Castro studio of Thomasina De Maio (welcoming any brave soul who wants to show off). This particular night we enjoyed the talents of Clyde Always with lively circus barker-like comedic readings and “bad” ukulele playing; Bonita Cohen with a hysterical reading of God as Holy Chicken; Debbie Dorisal giving us stirring original poetry; Kristine Wilson doing sweeet standup; Imad Bitar reflecting on life, energy, and love; and Essex with stories of his traveling with Eartha Kitt and more. Drop in any Tuesday, 518 Castro Street at 6 pm with your material, or just sit back and enjoy others performing.
Cast members from the hit Broadway show “FINDING NEVERLAND” and special guests JAI RODRIGUEZ, KIM NALLEY, and BRUCE VILANCH were onstage at Brava Theater for the latest One Night Only production by Ken Henderson & Joe Seiler for the fabulous RICHMOND/ERMET AID FOUNDATION cabaret fundraiser, “BROADWAY BACKWARDS!” This was an evening of gender reversal music and comedy—meaning boys sang what girls usually sang, and vice versa. Rodriguez sang “When You’re Good to Mama” from the musical Chicago (but he cheated and did not sing the part as a female Mama—but rather as a male Latino Papi). Nalley (with Tammy Hall on keyboard) sang the Fats Waller silly ragtime “Your Feet’s Too Big”—growling and howling, belting out and working that 15-foot long black feather boa—ending with the joke: “You know what it means if you have big feet?” Answer: big shoes! Ha! And speaking of funny, Vilanch was his usual jolly, plump, Hollywood tale-telling, SF-loving self—wearing a t-shirt depicted with Trump & Putin smoochin’ and the slogan: “Make Tyranny Great Again!” He tapped his big belly and said, “This is what Trump will look like in four years,” and added, “I really shouldn’t make fun of him, cuz he’s just a little kid.” Then continuing the political stuff, he said, “No, I’m really Kellyanne Conway in four years.” He poked fun at notorious right-wing extremist T-rump advisor Steve Bannon—and had a lot to say about the horrendous ban on immigrants as well. Vilanch also regaled us of tales fantabulosas about his dear friend, the late great Carrie Fisher.
SF cast members—young and old—of Finding Neverland treated us to such gender-reversed roles as “Valerie;” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar; “Sweet Transvestite” from Rocky Horror Picture Show (with audience encouraged to shout out in appropriate spots from the cult classic movie); “What Is This Feeling” from Wicked; “Sandy” (a girl singing the Danny Zuko part from Grease);” “On My Own” from Les Miserables; “Let It Go” from the animated feature Frozen; “I Can Do That” from A Chorus Line (complete with all the complicated choreography); “Part of Your World” from the animated movie The Little Mermaid; “It’s All Right with Me” from Cole Porter‘s musical Can-Can; and one of my faves of the reversals that night was a really handsome bearded man singing “Gorgeous” (a number usually sung by Kristin Chenowith in the musical The Apple Tree). As usual, REAF put on a fantastic show!
KIMA EXCLUSIVE ENTERTAINMENT, KIPPY MARKS, CASTRO STREET ARTSAVESLIVES STUDIO AND GALLERY invited us to celebrate the Big 50th Birthday of KIPPY MARKS and the release of his new CD “Fu+ure Posi+ive” #FuturePositive. The night was filled with Positive Vibes, Positive Love, Positive food and Spirits and a Positive Future! “The New Year has brought many changes to our communities—some negative but most positive,” said Marks. “I was inspired to write “Fu+ure Posi+ive” #FuturePositive to continue to reiterate the need for each of us to always express our God-given human gifts, especially in times of worldly negativity and imbalance.” We each received a commemorative #FuturePositive limited edition CD (signed and event numbered); Positive Cheer + Positive food + birthday cake and an open bar (where Sister Dana found her true love, Mr. Jack Daniels). Kippy gave us incredible live performances inspired from his CD throughout the birthday celebration—on his hundred-year-old violin, Isabella, rendered electric, including “Gratitude” with Damien Alvarez stomping flamenco furiously all over that stage; “Intercession” regarding his caretaking for a seriously ill friend; another original composition, “Raindrops;” and Famous Freddy Fallen doing narrative rap during Marks’ “Fu+ure Posi+ive” piece. This was an evening of full-tilt positivity courtesy of Kippy. kippymarks.com
SISTER DANA SEZ, “THE ORANGE T-RUMP CAN NEVER BE MY VALENTINE, (EW), BUT THIS NUN SUGGESTS YOU GO TO THESE VERY LOVELY HEART-FILLED QUEER EVENTS:
After you see the bearriffic “BEARTOONIST OF SAN FRANCISCO: SKETCHING AN EMERGING SUBCULTURE” at the GLBT History Museum, be sure to check out the Museum’s entire wall devoted to “NOCHE DE AMBIENTE,” showing the life of LGBT Latinex people in SF from the late ’70s to the ’90s. http://www.glbthistory.org/museum/
ARTSAVESLIVES will throw another fun monthly reception/party at the studio gallery of Thomasina DeMaio at 518 Castro Street from 6–9 pm on February 10. On display then and all month long are the creative art pieces by Jane Windsor, Fletcher, Robert Beamer, Basul Parik, Corky Engel, Kim McLaughlin, Patrick Parnell, Jim Housely, Liam Peters, Dominic, Joel Hoyer, Jack Stelniki, Ed Schnaars, Tammy Bickel, Precious aka Alex, and Peter Dolittle. The fun also includes talented live performances on stage. As always the food, wine, beer, soda, etc. are complimentary. Limited seating (but don’t you dare take Sister Dana’s chair!). facebook.com/sfartslave
KREWE DE KINQUE Mardi Gras club’s annual bal masque will rival New Orleans at The Café (2369 Market at Castro) on Saturday, February 11, 4–9 pm. Expect an elaborate costumed show, regal kings & queens, major props & balloon sculptures, live music, DJ and dancing, beads and more! In a nod to the Krewe’s 14th anniversary, this year’s theme “14 KARAT GOLD” will be featured in the tableaux show, seven-foot gold masks, and a Mardi Gras float stage. A Second Line parade dance will be led by celebrity grand marshal JUANITA MORE!—a San Francisco drag icon, fundraiser, and activist. VIP guests will enjoy a Southern buffet, hosted Stoli drinks, silent auction and raffle preview from 4–5 pm, along with their names in the printed program ($40 advance/$50 door.) From 5–9 pm, reigning King XIII Sergio Fedasz and Queen XIII China Silk will preside over Bal Masque XIV featuring a dozen dazzling performances, go-go dancers, DJ Prince Wolf, the crowning of KDK King & Queen XIV, Stoli drink specials, and professionally staged photos by Gooch ($20 advance/$25 door.) Queen VII Sister Dana will be handing out free beads. Funds raised will benefit HOMOBILES, a nonprofit committed to providing secure and reliable transit to the SF Bay Area LGBTIQ community and its allies. Fares are by donation and riders are not turned away by lack of funds. Tickets online at brownpapertickets.com/event/2767493
Cloud 9 Theatricals, in association with Lang Entertainment Group and Ray of Light Theatre, are staging the San Francisco premiere of “SILENCE! THE MUSICAL”, the hilarious unauthorized parody of The Silence of the Lambs” playing at San Francisco’s Victoria Theatre (2961 16th Street), held over, now through March 18. SILENCE! The Musical tells the story of rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling (played by Anne Norland who is a dead ringer for the Jody Foster character) as she matches wits with the brilliant but insane cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Scott Hayes) in order to catch the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill (Brian Watson). Clarice faces her own demons (oh, and by the way, these lambs are NOT silent—they’re a troupe of singing and dancing lambs) while racing against the clock to unlock Lecter’s clues before another innocent girl (Hayley Lovgren) is killed and skinned by Buffalo Bill. It sounds cray-cray, but it’s crazy funny! You don’t have to have seen the thriller movie, but it helps. Leave the kiddies home, cuz this show is bawdy! silencethemusicalsf.com
In February, KQED proudly celebrates the diversity of our community with a special BLACK HISTORY MONTH programming lineup on KQED Public Television. For info go to ww2.kqed.org/about/2017/01/23/february-2017-black-history-month
Their Most Imperial Majesties EMPEROR SALVADOR TOVAR AND EMPRESS EMMA PEEL are pleased to announce San Francisco’s 52nd Imperial Coronation, “IMPERIAL BEAUX ARTS BALL: A REGAL BLACK AND WHITE COSTUMED AFFAIR” on February 25, San Francisco Design Center, 101 Henry Adams Street. Doors 5pm, Coronation promptly at 6 pm.
Celebrate the Lunar New Year in the Castro with the GAY ASIAN PACIFIC ALLIANCE (GAPA) FOUNDATION, in collaboration with STRUT, SF AIDS FOUNDATION, AND OUR FAMILY COALITION. “ENTER THE ROOSTER” will be hosted by Reigning Miss GAPA Juicy Liu, with Special Appearance by Reigning Mister GAPA Jeffry. This event will be full of fun, food, and entertainment to celebrate the Year of the Rooster! Doors open at 7 pm. Show starts at 8 pm, Saturday, February 18 at Strut, 470 Castro Street. This event is family friendly, free and open to the public.
Sister Dana sez, “Happy Chinese New Year in the Year of the Rooster—or as some call it: Year of the Cock! Celebrate appropriately!”