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    Donna Sachet: First and foremost, the results are in and after months of planning…

    By Donna Sachet–

    First and foremost, the results are in and after months of planning, a major change of venue, increased expenses and all of the other details that go into producing a major annual event, we are happy to report that Gary Virginia & Donna Sachet’s 21st Annual Pride Brunch made a record-breaking $45,000 for PRC! Those unrestricted funds will go a long way in supporting the vital and far-reaching work of PRC, providing advocacy and opportunities to thousands of underrepresented individuals across the Bay Area. We thanked many of the contributors in our last column, but we’ll add here that much of the credit for our success must go to our longstanding partner and co-creator Gary Virginia, whose tireless attention to detail, flawless creative concepts, infectious enthusiasm and genuine community commitment have sustained and grown Pride Brunch into the anxiously anticipated and financially successful event it is today. Did this event really start over 21 years ago at popular Stars restaurant after a spirited and alcohol fueled conversation with chef Rusty Gaspard at The Edge in the Castro? Every big idea starts somewhere!

    Although large events are fewer and far between after such a crazy Pride schedule, we’ve enjoyed smaller, more personal events recently with delight. Such an example was our recent foray up to Santa Rosa for Evan Wright’s Diamond Jubilee milestone birthday, splendidly catered by CoCo Butter with able assistance from Deana Dawn and Cockatielia. Guests varied in age, gender, geographical home and background, including John Brosnan & Chad McLaughlin, Kevin Lisle, Gary Virginia, John Folmsbee, Ken Ferraris & Matt McLelland, Tyler Nelson & Carl Birks, Leandro Gonzales, Ben Wong and Chuck Ramsey. Evan’s comfortable, relaxed cottage and ideal summer weather combined to create the perfect setting. We especially loved John Hershey’s ongoing slide show projected in the living room of decades worth of photos and charming memorabilia.

    Another example was the recent joint birthday dinner for community activists, leaders, and friends Race Bannon and Suzan Revah. Julian Marshburn and Shawn Hassler & Carlos Buenrostro astounded their guests with a gourmet menu, elaborate table setting and generous libations in their charming and historic home. Conversation was fast-paced and non-stop among Steven Satyricon, Joanna Parks, Rusty Best, Amp Somers, Leo DaSilva and others, reviewing common interests, discussing current challenges and sharing their love for the two birthday celebrants. We were reminded of how few ever entertain at home anymore. Whether limited by space, unsure of entertaining or culinary skills, or otherwise hampered, we encourage you to partner with other friends, use your space creatively, and schedule some in-home get togethers. It needn’t be overly burdensome to share your home with close friends, creating life-long memories.

    At long last, the San Francisco International Airport unveiled Harvey Milk Terminal One with a VIP/Sponsor Preview Party last Thursday, where we appeared, and a Community Day on Saturday. In response to vocal responses to earlier iterations, signage at the terminal boldly and clearly commemorates Harvey’s name! The sparkling new terminal features sweeping views of arriving and departing airplanes, spacious and varied seating arrangements, eye-catching Micro Lounges and notable art installations. An extraordinary wall memorializing the life and contributions of Harvey Milk captures passers-by and invites closer attention. In a short program, Airport Director Ivar Satero and Vice President of the SF Airport Commission Linda Crayton thanked the many contributors to this lengthy and complex project and then introduced Gregangelo & Velocity Circus in an amazing musical production with elaborate costumes, animated dancers and quaint San Francisco references. Throughout the terminal, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from a variety of establishments, including several who will have outposts in the terminal, tempted attendees. Our community was well-represented by Sister Roma and several other Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, DJ Juanita MORE!, Neil Figurelli, Bill Wilson, Liisa Cohen and many other familiar faces.

    This past weekend was a mix of traditional fundraisers, bold departures from predictable events and a welcome revival of drag in a much-loved location. The Edge hosted Krewe de Kinque’s monthly fundraiser on Saturday afternoon, raising $645 with raffle tickets, a beverage bust and performer tips. The indefatigable Gary Virginia was there once again guiding producer Cadillac Barbie through her first event of this kind. A cooperative bar, loyal supporters and dependable volunteers; this is fundraising the old-fashioned way.

    That night, Imperial Crown Princess Sadyst Payne and the Imperial Court hosted a new Black & Blue Ball with proceeds going to Bay Area Leather Alliance. Despite challenges with the sound system, bothersome program delays and a limited and soon exhausted bar, this event successfully brought drag in its most current iteration and the Leather community together in startling new ways. It seemed well attended with costumes, musical numbers and conversation reflecting the theme and the repurposed venue. Imperial title-holders were in obvious attendance, as were friends from neighboring Alameda Ducal Court and new faces with indeterminate connection. Reigning Emperor Terrill Grimes Munro and Reigning Empress Baby Shaques Munro, faced with the ever-present challenge of keeping things interesting, appear ready to relax old strictures and to try new ideas.

    Finally, Sunday night, we made a point of popping into Bond on 16th Street, once the well-known Esta Noche, favorite hang-out of the Latino LGBTQ Community and home of long-running drag shows. Alexis Miranda was back at her old haunt, bringing drag back to this venue. The bar has been polished to a new appealing look while maintaining the beautiful central bar and architectural arch above. While changing neighborhood demographics may generally necessitate other activities at Bond, Alexis is determined to bring drag back to where she led so many shows for so many years. Attendance on a late Sunday night was sparse, but the cast was fresh and talented, the owner and staff seemed supportive, and no one should underestimate a persistent drag queen! Watch for upcoming opportunities to join Alexis at Bond!

    Yes, sometimes nothing works as well as a tried and true fundraising technique. But sometimes, the routine and predictable no longer draw a crowd and it is time to try something new. And at other times, everything old is new again. We don’t have all of the answers, but we applaud all of those who continue to keep our community and our city full of opportunities to participate, to give back and to belong.

    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

    Every Sunday
    Sunday’s a Drag!
    The Starlight Room
    Sir Francis Drake Hotel
    10:30 am Brunch, 11:30 am Show
    $75 inclusive

    Sunday, July 28
    Up Your Alley Street Fair
    Dore Alley & Folsom Street between 9th & 11th
    11 am–6 pm
    Voluntary gate donation

    Sunday, July 28
    Join Alexis Miranda
    Drag show with Carla Gay, Alicia Marie and Diana Miranda
    Bond Bar, 3079 16th Street
    7 pm & 9 pm
    $5 cover

    Sunday, July 28
    PLAY T-Dance
    Brian Kent Production, fetish dance party, DJ Russ Rich
    City Nights, 715 Harrison Street
    $60 & up

    Saturday, August 3
    Playa in the Grove
    Comfort & Joy’s outdoor gathering
    AIDS Memorial Grove, Golden Gate Park
    Noon–6 pm

    Saturday, August 17
    Empress Show
    Misty Blue hosts this all-Empress show
    Benefiting the José Sarria International Scholarship
    Beaux, 2344 Market Street
    4–7 pm

    Sunday, August 18
    Help is on the Way XXV: Celebrating Broadway
    Silver Anniversary Gala
    Herbst Theatre, War Memorial Building
    7 pm
    $150 & up