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    Donna Chronicles, “When we started writing this column…”

    By Donna Sachet–

    When we started writing this column for the San Francisco Bay Times, it was our intention to cover some of the many events throughout the Bay Area that appeal to our richly diverse LGBTQ Community. We love mentioning those who are out and about and highlighting their names in the column. We pride ourselves on sharing our perspective on the social calendar with a sense of fun and whimsy, while recognizing the important missions and accomplishments they represent. Starting in March, this column was suddenly robbed of its bread and butter; shelter-in-place meant the end of a vibrant calendar of events and an eerie absence of people out and about, the very essence of our writing. Faced with this dilemma, the generous editors of this publication encouraged us to write about whatever we wished, trusting that their readership would find interest in our musings. So loyal readers have seen a definitive shift to opinion pieces, comic revelries, and other assorted essays. We appreciate the cooperation of our editors and the ongoing loyalty of our readers.

    Gradually, a new kind of calendar has developed, featuring largely virtual events, in a concerted effort to maintain essential fundraising, to provide entertaining options, and to demonstrate the ever-present persistence of our beautiful LGBTQ Community. So, in response to those efforts, starting with this column, you’ll begin to see the return of a calendar of upcoming events, coverage of recent virtual events, and those popular bold-faced names of the movers and shakers among us. We’ll continue to mix in our signature humor, diabolical commentary, and genuine affection for the community that has welcomed us so warmly.

    The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus’ Crescendo was a perfect example of how to do an annual gala fundraiser right! Even up against the first night of the Democratic Convention, Monday night’s hour of music, memories, and dreams for the future was presented in a seamless, technically skilled, and appealing format. The Chorus has been working hard to hone their SFGMC TV into an excellent communication tool and lessons learned there were adapted well for Crescendo. The addition of Brian Kent as producer was smart and beneficial. We heard from Artistic Director Tim Seelig, Executive Director Chris Verdugo, and key chorus voices encouraging financial support. Trailblazer Awards were presented to Billy Porter and to Ariadne Getty with appearances by her three children, August, Nats, and Gigi Gorgeous. Inaya Day and Alex Newell gave show-stopping performances and we also heard from Kristin Chenoweth, Tyler Glen, and Wilson Cruz. Most importantly, the mission and message of the SF Gay Men’s Chorus was clearly presented, so well that over $50,000 was raised online during the night. As more and more events are streamed online, organizers and producers should carefully study those that offer the most professional product and gain the most successful results. In our efforts to shift fundraising away from the tried and true in-person galas, beware: audiences will grow weary of slap-shod virtual events and financial support will erode.

    Kudos to the merchants and creative folks behind closing 18th Street in the Castro on Sundays for the foreseeable future! Last Sunday’s nice weather brought droves of socially starved people into the neighborhood to nosh, drink, and otherwise enjoy group activities. We caught up with Castro Merchants Board President Masood Samereie, Reigning Emperor Bill Bulkley, Gordy Boe, Kevin Lisle, CoCo Butter, Mark Paladini, Ho Tse, Alexis Miranda, MGM Grande, Terry Penn, Erin Lavery, and lots of familiars. Large crowds were particularly noted in front of The Edge, Harvey’s, and Midnight Sun with an outdoor drag show called Maskara: Drag at a Distance livening up the scene in front of Poesia restaurant and Cockatielia’s Mask Shop. Even this pandemic cannot keep drag queens down! We look forward to the extensive, comfortable outdoor seating being constructed at 440 Castro, Sausage Factory, and other establishments in the neighborhood. While we loved seeing the camaraderie and joy on display in the Castro, we caution against too sudden a relaxation of masks and social distancing lest we further extend the pains of this health emergency. Laugh, catch up, share experiences, but don’t discard your masks and indiscriminately hug!

    Our biggest recommendation for upcoming events is the viewing party for Mark Paladini’s Who Murdered Donna Sachet … Again? on Friday, September 5, 7 pm. What was once considered lost footage has been reclaimed and awaits your laughter and remembrances. So many of the events and even people of the past quickly fade into distant memory, but occasionally we can relive a historic and hysterical event through film and even catch a glimpse of beloved personalities who are no longer with us.  Don’t miss it!

    Finally, this column’s quote has a special story behind it. Years ago, Metropolitan Community Church held a fundraiser and somehow got Coretta Scott King as keynote speaker and Patti LaBelle as entertainer! Well, you know we had to be there!  On the arm of the dashing Bob Brunson, we reveled in the extraordinary talent of LaBelle and the moving remarks of King, whom we got to meet during a photo op. Few people carry so much history and national significance as the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Meeting her, peering into her weary, but resolute eyes, and sharing a few moments with her will always be a cherished memory. Her quote should serve as a clarion call to follow a higher calling of understanding, empathy, and compassion.

    Donna Sachet is a celebrated performer, fundraiser, activist and philanthropist who has dedicated over two decades to the LGBTQ Community in San Francisco. Contact her at

    Calendar a/la Sachet

    Saturday, August 29
    Mr. Cowboy & Miss Cowgirl Virtual Hoedown
    Presented by the Imperial Council of SF
    Livestream drag performances & more
    Benefits Positive Pedalers
    4–6 pm

    Friday, September 5
    Who Murdered Donna Sachet… Again?
    Live at-home viewing party of 2002 fundraising event
    Benefits The Trevor Project
    FREE, donations encouraged
    7 pm
    Sunday, September 6–13
    Oakland Pride
    Virtual events all week long

    Saturday, September 12
    Horizons Foundation 40th Anniversary Virtual Gala
    Matching grant from James Hormel & Michael Nguyen
    Contributions encouraged
    6 pm

    Sunday, September 13
    EQCA Virtual Gala
    Equality Trailblazer Award – Pete & Chasten Buttigieg
    Equality Visibility Award – Disclosure, Netflix Original Documentary
    Vanguard Leadership Award – Fiona Ma & Evan Low
    $100 & up

    Published on August 27, 2020