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    2023 Comcast Pride Afterglow Packs Castro Theatre, Benefits Equality CA and the SF LGBT Center

    Comcast, in partnership with the San Francisco Bay Times, presented Pride Afterglow on June 28, 2023, at the Castro Theatre. The event included a free screening of the film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, free concessions, photos, and a program co-hosted by Bay Times columnist and renowned film critic Jan Wahl and Absolute Empress 50 Khmera Rouge.

    Julie Newmar initially hoped to attend, but suffered a fall and was represented by her brother, winemaker and LGBTQ community member and supporter John Newmeyer. (Julie is now on the mend and will soon be celebrating her 90th birthday!)

    Newmeyer shared memories about his sister, his own life, and recollections about the film, which was the first major Hollywood release to focus on drag.

    The evening began in classic Castro fashion with David Hegarty playing a selection of film and Broadway-themed tunes on the theatre’s mighty organ. The packed house enthusiastically cheered and applauded as the organ lowered and Hegarty took his bows.

    Comcast Senior Vice President David Tashjian presented $25,000 to Equality California, accepted by Tom Temprano—the nonprofit’s Managing Director of External Affairs—and $25,000 as well to the SF LGBT Center, accepted by Jennifer Valles, the Center’s Director of Programs. As confetti rained down virtually from the overhead screen, both expressed how the funding will help sustain critical work.

    The film then took center stage, reminding attendees how magical such showings are at the beautiful and historic Castro Theatre.

    Although the movie was first released in 1995, its primary themes seem just as relevant today and perhaps even more so, given the ongoing recent attacks on the drag and trans communities.

    The Bay Times wishes to thank Donna Sachet for helping with the programming, The Academy SF for assisting with promotions, the Comcast team, co-hosts, and all who helped make the event possible. The Bay Times also thanks everyone who attended; filmgoers at the Castro Theatre often become part of the show. In this case, attendees cheered the heroes of the film, such as Noxeema Jackson, Vida Boheme, and Chi-Chi Rodriguez, and booed and hissed at the villains: Sheriff Dollard (“Dullard”) and Virgil.

    A video showing highlights from the memorable evening capping off Pride 2023 is at the Bay Times YouTube channel:

    Photos: Don Feria for Comcast.

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    Comcast Afterglow @ The Castro Theatre
    Published on July 13, 2023