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    Beach Blanket Babylon Star Renée Lubin to Perform and Serve as Grand Marshal at SF Mardi Gras Benefit

    Renée Lubin

    San Francisco’s Krewe de Kinque (KDK) Mardi Gras club is gearing up for “Diners, Divas & Dives,” the theme for Bal Masque XVII, to be held at The Café on Saturday, March 7, 6–9:30 pm. Known for its elaborate costumed shows and creative decor, KDK has raised funds to cover production costs so that 100% of ticket sales and silent auction income will go to the Compton’s Transgender Cultural District.

    Kicking off the festivities as Grand Marshal and performing at the masked ball will be Renée Lubin, the local actor who performed for 33 years in the longest-running musical in the world, Beach Blanket Babylon. The campy show known for elaborate costumes, huge hats, and wigs, and skits exploiting politics and pop culture, recently ended its 45-year run at Club Fugazi in San Francisco’s North Beach district. Directed by Kenny Mazlow and created by the late Steve Silver, the hilarious show was enjoyed by 6.5 million people.

    A native of San Francisco and mother, Lubin has portrayed about a dozen characters in Beach Blanket Babylon, including Glinda the Good Witch and Tina Turner (wearing a two-and-a-half-foot-tall wig.) “What kept me there was the fact that the show remained fresh,” Lubin said. “We made it new every time.”

    Not long after the passing of Aretha Franklin on August 16, 2018, there was a huge swelling of fans honoring Franklin in the Castro. That night, Lubin and a group of women musicians and singers, including Dr. Dee Spencer of San Francisco State and vocalist Deborah Coley, performed Franklin’s songs in a heartfelt tribute at Beaux on Market Street.

    Lubin debuted as feature soloist for Jazz Faire IV with Quincy Jones and her theatrical performances include For Colored Girls …, Jesus Christ Superstar, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Tintypes, They’re Playing Our Song, Eubie, Twelfth Night, and Merry Wives of Windsor. A native San Franciscan who studied Environmental Biology at San Jose State University, she currently directs the SFSU Jazz Choir as Vocal Jazz Coach. She provides private vocal and audition coaching with Dr. Dee Spencer and is honored to have worked with X-Factor semi-finalist Jason Brock. Other credits include voice over work in radio and television.

    Founded in 2017, the Compton’s Transgender Cultural District is the first legally recognized transgender district in the world, encompassing six blocks in the southeastern Tenderloin area and crossing over Market Street to include two blocks of 6th Street in San Francisco. Its mission is to create an urban environment that fosters the rich history, culture, legacy, and empowerment of transgender people and its deep roots in the southeastern Tenderloin neighborhood. The district aims to stabilize and economically empower the transgender community through ownership of homes, businesses, historic and cultural sites, and safe community spaces.

    Krewe de Kinque, founded in 2004, has raised more than $100,000 for 28 charities and causes locally and abroad. Benefits have included $20,000 raised for Hurricane Katrina relief (2005), $10,000 raised last year for The LGBT Asylum Project – Center for Immigrant Protection, as well as thousands of dollars raised for victims of recent fire and flood victims in Northern California and earthquake relief in Japan and Peru.

    Club founder Gary Virginia stated, “We’re thrilled to return to The Café for this year’s ball after its major renovation that now features an elaborate light and sound system, and huge video technology on two levels. The entire cast of Beach Blanket Babylon has been invited and we’re thrilled to have Renée Lubin as Grand Marshal.”

    In Character at Beach Blanket Babylon

    The current KDK King and Queen XVII, Aja Monet-Ashton and drag persona Kelly Rose, will preside over festivities including the National Anthem performed by trumpeter Aaron Priskorn, a traditional Second Line Parade, a Southern/Creole buffet & Stoli drinks for VIP guests ($40 advance), the costumed tableaux show by club members and special guests, go go dancers, photo booth by Garaje Gooch, hurricane drink special, beads, and more. The evening will culminate with the crowning of King and Queen XVIII. General admission tickets are $20 advance and $25 at the door.

    Limited Gold VIP Host tickets ($100 advance) offer all benefits of the VIP Hosts plus reserved seating, and top recognition in the printed program. Costumes, masks, and beads are encouraged in the Big Easy or “Diners, Divas & Dives” theme. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

    The Café, 2369 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114
    Handicapped accessible. Call number below by February 22 if purchasing tickets and requesting ASL interpreting.
    More info: Gary Virginia, KDK Founder, ( ); 415-867-5004.

    Published on February 13, 2020