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    Donna’s Chronicles

    By Donna Sachet–

    One weekend, we find ourselves immersed in at-home projects, e.g. paring down the wardrobe, rehearsing new songs, reviewing personal finances, etc.; the next weekend, we are swept up in a plethora of events across the City, e.g. those about which you are about to read in this column. Such is life in San Francisco! And so, this past weekend started on Thursday with a brief, but spirited, Bon Voyage at Midnight Sun for Khmera Rouge & Travis Wise, departing the next day on their first cruise. With stops in Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai and throughout Japan, and with theme nights, top entertainment and idyllic days aboard Atlantis Cruises’ Norwegian Jewel, these two are sure to create memories of a lifetime and to gather salacious stories to share with us when they return. Joining in this send-off were Gary Virginia, Tyler Nelson, Kevin Lisle, CoCo Butter, Patty McGroin and others, generously served by the sexy staff of Midnight Sun.

    The next day, Disco Coalition returned to The Lookout, this week recognizing Queero Alok Vaid-Menon, gender non-conforming performance artist, writer and educator. Remember, this event happens every Friday for 13 weeks, hosted by different local luminaries, honoring various Queeros and raising money for a different cause each week. 100% of bar proceeds from 5–8pm, matched by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, goes to that cause! Every week, Lookout has been packed and the overlapping of a variety of different groups within the larger community has been surprising and refreshing. This Friday, look for high profile hostess Sister Roma, listen to music from Adam Kraft and know that you and your friends are supporting the many activities of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

    Saturday morning, we were up bright and early to help set up a welcome booth for the SF International Film Festival goers in front of the HRC Store on Castro, where volunteers from the Rainbow Honor Walk provided information about this project and offered free pours of Spike’s coffee with the purchase of RHW mugs. Thank you, Michael Micael and Bill Lipsky for hours of hospitality at the booth and the entire staff at HRC for their assistance. With sunny weather above and happy visitors and smiling locals stopping by to chat, this was the Castro we have come to love! Truly one of the best Castro forays yet for our little pooch Peanut! The SF International Film Festival always draws crowds of film lovers to the Castro and with the sneak preview of Netflix’s adaptation of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City on opening night, this looked like a record-breaking festival week.

    Later in the afternoon, we popped into Beaux briefly for the Imperial Court fundraiser there, featuring a wide-ranging display of talent, a tantalizing peek at what the next day’s Investiture would hold. But with no time to waste, we dashed home for a quick change from Castro casual to gala finery for the SF LGBT Community Center’s annual Soiree at Terra Gallery. We shared a family-style dinner with table-mates Chris Carnes, Mark Leno, Nick Jimenez, Chris Edwards, Frank Woo and others as a tightly organized and inspirational program unfolded on stage. Hostesses Juanita More! and Countess Katya Smirnoff-Skyy laid to rest any concerns that we had about being over-dressed, guiding us through a lively auction and introducing the speakers. Executive Director Rebecca Rolfe outlined a dynamic response to negative news and unenlightened leadership in a speech that confirmed her clear grasp of the ongoing challenges of our community and the incredible ways that the Center responds. The statistics she shared dynamically demonstrated the success of this community asset and its very genuine role in changing lives. Well-deserved awards and other recognitions aside, the high point of the program was a heartfelt testimonial delivered by Jamie Wiles recounting a life of seemingly impossible obstacles, yet heroic resolve, and ultimately life-changing outreach and services provided by The Center. That speech left the room in tears and then uproarious applause. Then it was time for revelry and celebration as the crowd moved from the dining area to the downstairs party room to join additional guests for entertainment, curated by Juanita, and dance music from DJ LadyRyan. Performances by Dulce deLeche and Mr. David brought the house down. Somewhere during the evening, we chatted with Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, Gregory Marks, Marla Jurosek, Russell Roybal, Derek Barnes, Okan Sengun, Deb Stallings, Roberto Ordenana and too many others to name, all stalwart supporters of The Center.

    Donna with Kevin Lisle and Manny Ojeda at the Imperial investiture held at Calle-11 on April 14.

    And on Sunday, after a fun-filled Sunday’s a Drag at The Starlight Room with Holotta Tymes, Lady Tia and Mahlae Balenciaga, we simply had to pop into 440 Castro for Joe Mac’s annual Bonnet Sale. This loveable character pours every ounce of his quirky sense of humor, love of San Francisco and gregarious personality into creating outlandish Easter bonnets that are passionately snapped up by friends and casual shoppers. We did not leave empty-handed! On Easter Sunday in Dolores Park, pan the crowd and when you see a white dome on two stately columns swathed in red fabric bobbing in the distance, it may be this humble columnist. Leah Garchik will be green with envy!

    We ended our fast-paced weekend in the company of our loyal Emperor Brian Benamati at Imperial Investiture at Calle 11, where Their Most Imperial Majesties Emperor Terrill Grimes Munro and Empress Baby Shaques Munro formally vested their Court of Marvel, History, Re-Connection, and Fun. The announced jungle theme brought out animal prints galore, even on this Empress, creating a photogenic assembly of courtiers and supporters. We were particularly pleased to see attendees from courts outside of San Francisco, as well as a strong Leather presence, led by Mr. SF Leather Jawn Marques and Ms. SF Leather Bobbee. This was the final night of a year of service for Imperial Crown Prince William Bulkley and Princess K, noted with stage presentations and touching acknowledgements. These two honored their titles while pushing them in new directions admirably. After distribution of court titles, specially requested entertainment and more, the evening ended with the announcement of our new Imperial Crown Prince Brent Marek and Imperial Crown Princess Electra Cute. Expectations are high for a year of extraordinary activity as new leaders emerge and traditions are honored and evolve.

    Donna with friends at the SF LGBT Center’s Soirée at Terra Gallery on April 13.

    Finally, we must join with so many in the Castro and throughout the City in saluting Ernie Asten, whose life recently ended, but whose memory will last long into the future. We were unable to join the Sunday New Orleans style march through the Castro in his honor, but can’t think of a better way to celebrate a life well lived, a heart widely shared and a devoted ally to the LGBT Community.

    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!
    10:30 am Brunch, 11:30 am Show
    The Starlight Room
    Sir Francis Drake Hotel
    $75 inclusive

    Sunday, April 21
    Easter in the Park: The Sisters’ 40th Anniversary
    Dolores Park
    Celebrate Easter like no one else!

    Saturday, April 27
    SFGMC’s Crescendo Gala
    Fairmont Hotel
    Kristin Chenoweth and Adam Rippon!
    $250 & up