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    Donna Sachet, “Include a visit to Grace Cathedral in your holiday plans…”

    Donna Sachet–

    Include a visit to Grace Cathedral in your holiday plans to view the Rainbow World Fund’s Tree of Hope standing proudly in the Keith Haring Chapel and covered in paper origami ornaments and twinkling white lights. We were happy to emcee once again the lighting of this tree on December 4, joined by the Founder of the Rainbow World Fund, Jeff Cotter, origami expert Linda Mihara, Dean Malcom Young of Grace Cathedral, and Ayae Yoshimoto representing the Consul General of Japan. The crowd was treated to choral music from the San Francisco Boys Chorus directed by Artistic Director Ian Robertson and the Queer Chorus directed by Artistic Director Michael Kerschner, angelic solo vocals from Leberta Loral, and remarks fromReigning Emperor Michael Chua & Empress Cameron Stiehl-Munro, Manny Yekutiel, and State Senator Scott Wiener. After the reading of several wishes by young students Amy Bottome and Katie Kitsuda, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence blessed the tree and it sparkled with white light, a potent reminder of the power of hope.

    The 31st annual Songs of the Season, December 5 and 6, at Feinstein’s at Hotel Nikko was a labor of love, produced by Brian Kent, introducing several new singers, as well as past favorites. The last-minute addition of Dr. Dee Spencer on keyboard to join Roberta Drake on percussion and David Sayen on bass provided an excellent instrumental ensemble. Over the two nights, loyal supporters and new attendees relished gorgeous vocals from Brian Kent, Kenny Nelson, Shawn Ryan, Charles Jones, Margaret Belton, Brian Justin Crum, and Johnny Orenberg and the masterful violin talents of Kippy Marks. We are so proud that this personal benefit event continues thanks to Brian Kent and that PRC continues as its beneficiary.

    December 7, Drag Queens on Ice returned to the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square for the 14th year and hundreds showed up to experience the hilarity in person. We co-emceed with Pride Radio’s Christie James an amazing demonstration of ice-skating skill and drag perfection. Skaters included Paju Munro, Baby Shaques Munro, Tara Lipsyncki, Helixer, Dusty Porn, Major Hammy, Curveball, Jubilee, Jota Mercury, and Amoura Teese. After such exhausting work, we were happy to join the cast and their personal supporters for an after-party at a nearby hotel’s rooftop bar.

    Donna Sachet with Lawrence Wu at 440 Castro

    Emperor William Bulkley has made it his mission to recognize each anniversary of the birth of the late José Sarria, Founder of the International Court System, with a special event. This year on Sunday, December 10, supporters gathered at Midnight Sun for a lively show, emceed by Honey Mahogany and starring many of José’s friends. What a worthy legacy William has chosen!

    The Bay Times and the Golden Gate Business Association teamed up for a holiday party, Toast to the Season, at The Academy SF on Tuesday, December 12. As always with Bay Times events, food was plentiful, thanks to Extreme Pizza, Orphan Andy’s, La Méditerranée Noe, and Hot Cookie; drinks flowed, including Bacardí specialty cocktails; and music abounded, thanks to DJ Rockaway, courtesy of Olivia Travel. City Treasurer Jose Cisneros stopped by, as did Ana Tellez, representing Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan; Luis Zamora, representing City Attorney David Chiu; and various sponsors, who provided door prizes that were distributed throughout the night. In the venue’s East Wing, well-known singer Renée Lubin and Dr. Dee Spencer presented a concert of holiday music. All night, we saw old friendships rekindled and new ones formed in a spirit of holiday revelry.

    Veering slightly from our prescribed routine, we took two nights off from holiday obligations, first heading to New Conservatory Theatre’s production of Ruthless and then to the Castro Theatre for Kiki & Herb’s holiday show. Back in 2005, we co-starred in a production of Ruthless with the originator of the mother character, Joan Ryan, and Erin-Kate Whitcomb, who played the teacher, so it was great fun to attend this current version with Erin-Kate. We reminisced about our experiences and thoroughly enjoyed Katya Smirnoff-Skyy and the cast in this NCT production. 

    The following night, in the excellent company of Eddy Skees, a former roommate and now resident of Sacramento, we joined a throng of loyal supporters for the Kiki & Herb experience. What an experience it was! Creative writing, perfect timing, and physical humor combine to deliver a professional show with fast-paced, uncensored jokes and contradictory mood changes that are not for the faint of heart. Our reunion with Eddy and his accompanying friends was a delight.

    Last Saturday was truly a test of mettle with four important events back-to-back. From indefatigable Ray Tilton’s Roast of Graylin Thornton at The Eagle, packed with the Leather Tribe and itching for humor, to Cockatielia and Olivia Hart’s Slay Ride Imperial and Ducal benefit at Toad Hall to Krewe de Kinque’s monthly event at Midnight Sun and finally to The Academy’s annual holiday party, we somehow appeared at all four, completing our assigned responsibilities and then some. This was a day that reminded us clearly of the many opportunities to engage with and contribute to this vibrant LGBTQ+ Community.

    Imagine, if you will, playing on an amateur baseball team for years and being given the chance to play in the big leagues.  Imagine singing in a church choir with occasional solo opportunities and then suddenly being asked join a concert on a major stage. Imagine us being welcomed onto the legendary stage of Club Fugazi with our successful Sunday’s a Drag! That is how it has felt to put together a series of shows this year at Club Fugazi, culminating in last Sunday’s holiday extravaganza!  Joined by Khmera Rouge, Mercedez Munro, and Ehra Amaya, we brought wonderful drag performances back to North Beach where the success of places like Finnochio’s and The Black Cat still resound.

    Donna on stage at Club Fugazi during the Sunday’s A Drag Holiday Show.

    With the assistance of professional sound and light technicians, the encouragement of House Manager David Dower, the tireless support of Producer Patrick Rylee, and a packed and loving audience, we dazzled hundreds of attendees with our holiday show, marked by a prolonged standing ovation. We entered this venture with nagging doubts about our own talents and this untried leap into a different neighborhood and level of performance, but somehow, that Miracle of Powell Street magically became the Miracle on Green Street and we are tremendously grateful to all involved. As the confetti snow fell and the applause echoed out, we smiled looking back on an extraordinary holiday season. We encourage you to cherish such magical moments and to steer into 2024 with renewed hope. Happy Holidays!

    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

    See more about Songs of the Season by clicking the link.

    Donna’s Chronicles
    Published on December 21, 2023