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    Donna’s Chronicles, “As planned and expected…”

    By Donna Sachet–

    As planned and expected, after our brief bout with COVID, mercifully mild symptoms, torturous self-isolation, and a return to negative status, we dove headfirst into a busy social schedule, giving us plenty to report about to our readers!

    On Friday, July 29, we continued the monthly San Francisco Bay Times event Divas & Drinks @ The Academy, this time themed around gratitude for the many who had an essential role in the paper’s contingent in the SF Pride Parade. We know full well that assembling an exciting group presence in this annual parade is no easy feat, but Betty Sullivan and Jennifer Viegas called upon friends across their network and those friends responded enthusiastically. The program started with a rousing vocal performance by SF Pride Parade Grand Marshal Melanie DeMore and introduction of Bay Times cover person and SF Marathon winner in the nonbinary category Cal Calamia. Then the thank you wishes accompanied by flowers, Kokak chocolates, and wine began, starting with Joe Shirley of Napa Cellars, Todd Parent of Extreme Pizza, Olivia Travel, represented by DJ Christie James, Warren Alderson and Rob Seide of SF Federal Credit Union, Jimmy Consos of Grubstake, Masto Foundation, and Celebrity Cruises.

    This seems the perfect place for a small aside: We are ready to hit the high seas again and Celebrity Cruises looks like the way to go! We have such fond memories of a number of RSVP Cruises we’ve taken over the years, including that unforgettable transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2.  If you too long for a return to the bucolic life of cruising, check out the specials Celebrity Cruises is offering right now!

    We heard from Dixie Horning of the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health and Robert Holgate, the widower of Al Baum and steward of his ongoing philanthropy. A special thank you went to Patrick & Hossein Carney,who received their own bright pink cake in celebration of their recent anniversary and indicative of the Pink Triangle Project that they have spearheaded for over 20 years. Contingent Team Captains and Contingent Managers all received praise and gifts and Betty Sullivan delivered a heartfelt thank you to the indispensable Juan Davila and surprised Jennifer with belated birthday wishes.  Special recognition went to Monette Shirley,who proudly bore the Bay Times banner leading the contingent. Not to be overlooked, additional appreciated volunteers received raffle tickets and six door prizes were awarded to the lucky ticket holders.

    Having produced many events over time and watched as others do the same, we are deeply aware of the value of showing appreciation to those who join the team to make things happen. Indeed, when an event becomes annual and the organizer wonders where the volunteers from the year before have gone, we often ask how they were thanked previously. When an individual, business, or other supporter(s) feels appreciated and valued, they will most often happily return year after year. Kudos to the Bay Times for making sure that their SF Pride Parade contingent supporters received the recognition they deserved.

    Then it was on to a fast-paced Name That Tune competition between returning champions Team SF Pride and newcomers Team SF Federal Credit Union. DJ Christie James challenged both teams with only a few precious notes from each song and the competition was close, but Team SF Federal Credit Union emerged the winner and Bacardí gift boxes were awarded to all participants. Great dance music resumed and the assembled crowd danced merrily into the night.

    Flagging in the Park returned to the AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park and we simply had to be there! This periodic outdoor event is a riot of colorful flagging, contagious dance music, and tons of smiling faces. DJ Kimberly S was a crowd-pleaser, evoking fabulous memories of hours spent on various dance floors, notably Fresh at Ruby Skye. The silent auction and any donations benefited the AIDS Memorial Grove. This was the perfect event for my little puppy Peanut, a favorite wherever she goes.

    That Saturday night, we headed to Feinstein’s at the Nikko in the delightful company of Sal Tovar to hear Matt Alber. We have been a devoted fan for years, having heard him perform at various venues, always with vocal precision and fresh interpretation, sometimes revising standards and sometimes treating us to original material. In addition to singing beautifully, Matt shared his passion for the work he is doing in schools to support early childhood self-confidence and creativity through music. He concluded his performance with one of my personal favorites, “Velvet Goldmine.“After such a glorious night of music, it seemed perfect to stop by Martuni’s before calling it a night. And yes, pianist Joe Wicht compelled us to sing a song and the crowd was very generous.

    We started Dore Alley Street Fair at Ray Tilton’s annual brunch at Willow’s restaurant, where around 75 enthusiastic Leather folk gathered in a long-awaited sort of reunion. Daddy Ray shared some Leather history as only he can and presented a special trophy of recognition for service to Deborah Hoffman-Wade,who was obviously surprised and pleased. Ray had requested (commanded) that we sing a song (specifically “We Can Be Kind”) and we were happy to oblige. (What choice did we really have?) From there it was just a hop, skip, and a jump to the street fair festivities.

    That night was Brian Kent’s PLAY T-Dance at 1015 Folsom and he pulled out all the stops! We have never seen this facility used to such advantage with colorful circus decor, stage video screens, flaggers, dancers, contortionists, wildly atmospheric special effects, and incredible dance music from DJ Russ Rich. Even this unassuming columnist and dance music lover was invited to join other San Francisco personalities on stage in a peak-of-the-night moment, minutes before a riotous confetti drop exploded.  What a way to end Dore Alley weekend!

    Last Saturday afternoon, we co-hosted with Emperor Jacques Michaels the monthly Starlight Show at Beaux, raising money for the Monarchs’ Charity Fund. Reigning Emperor Brett Marek & Reigning Empress Ehra Amaya gathered a generous crowd of performers and supporters, many from the Imperial and Ducal Families both here and from other cities, including the Reigning Rose Emperor of Portland Ty VanHelsing. With bids on silent auction items gathered by CoCo Butter and Empress Angelina Josephina Manicotti and tips donated by performers, the event raised a staggering $2200 in a few hours!

    Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation’s Help is on the Way XXVI: Broadway & Beyond at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre was a dazzling display of talent, including very talented emcee Shawn Ryan, Paula West, Garrett Clayton, Julie Garnye, Debby Boone, Steve Knill, Leanne Borghesi, and Sally Struthers and under the direction of David Galligan. The capacity crowd was treated to singing, dance, comedy, and even a video message from Hollywood from the legendary Carole Cook

    Extraordinary live auction items, combined with a silent auction in the lobby and a fund-in-need call during the show, all resulted in significant funds raised for Project Open Hand and the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation. This event never disappoints and this year’s Help is on the Way was back in full force. A catered reception with the stars followed at the recently opened Beacon Hotel, formerly the Sir Francis Drake, boasting a beautiful new style and a long-awaited rejuvenation of this important Union Square property, another visible sign of the waning pandemic.

    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 empsachet@gmail.com


    Calendar a/la Sachet

    Thursday, August 11
    Community Forum on Castro Theatre
    Another Planet Entertainment & Castro Theatre owners
    Information & public input
    Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street
    6–7:30 pm
    Free!

    Saturday, August 13
    Black & White Ball
    Barony of Alameda County’s Court of Many Colors, Cultures & Equality
    Hilton Garden Inn, San Francisco/Oakland, 1800 Powell Street, Emeryville
    5 pm
    $10 & up
    https://tinyurl.com/aaevmzfw

    Saturday, August 20
    Empresses’ Tea Party
    Hosted by Absolute Empress XLI Galilea
    In memory of Founder Empress I José Sarria
    The Cinch, 1723 Polk Street
    3–6 pm
    Free!
    www.sfimperialcouncil.org

    Sunday, August 21
    Imperial Chili Cookout & Open Show
    Hosted by Mx. Golden Gate John Brett, Mr. Cowboy Brandon West & Miss Cowgirl Jubilee
    The Cinch, 1723 Polk Street
    4–7 pm
    $10
    www.sfimperialcouncil.org

    Friday, August 26
    Divas & Drinks
    Bay Times party w/Donna Sachet
    Special guests: Renée Lubin & Dr. Dee Spencer
    DJ Rockaway, Bacardí cocktails, Extreme Pizza
    Name That Tune competition
    The Academy, 2166 Market Street
    6–10 pm
    $10
    https://tinyurl.com/3ymc7zha

    Published on August 11, 2022