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    Donna’s Chronicles, “By the time you likely read this…”

    By Donna Sachet–

    By the time you likely read this, Sunday’s a Drag at Club Fugazi will be a thing of the past … or will it? After four sell-out crowds and multiple standing ovations and exuberant social media posts, we can confidently write that we are currently in negotiations with Club Fugazi for a 2024 renewal! It seems that those who enjoyed Sunday’s a Drag at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room for nearly 15 years are ready for a return of this popular show in a new and larger venue with endless possibilities! Thank you for that unqualified vote of support! Watch this column for timely updates.

    The show at Club Fugazi on August 13 was particularly meaningful for us, as we celebrated Erik Nickel’s birthday with his partner Michael Loftis and friends in attendance. Many of the enhancements that you see in this version of the show can be directly credited to Michael, our roommate of years ago at The Imperial Palace on Castro Street and our very best friend. We recently read a phrase about true friendship that really stuck in our mind. “True friends want things FOR you, not FROM you.”  Here is a friend whom we no longer see every day or week, sometimes being separated geographically for months, but a friend who truly wants us to be the best we can be. If that means supporting an idea that you don’t necessarily share or even understand, but know that your friend is committed to, so be it. If that means collecting hundreds of feathers and sequins and meticulously attaching them to a headdress for a stunning entrance, so be it. If that means simply listening when a friend needs a sympathetic ear, non-judgmental perspective, and constructive suggestions, so be it. Everyone, especially those who are in the public eye or as busy socially as we are, finds themselves surrounded by people with a great variety of agendas, but recognizing those who want the very best FOR us, not FROM us, is a lifelong task. And more importantly, being that kind of friend is truly the highest calling.

    The biggest news of the week and maybe the year is that Governor Gavin Newsom announced that José Sarria will be inducted into the prestigious California Hall of Fame. In 2006, California First Lady Maria Shriver conceived of this way to recognize state residents who “embody the spirit of California and the California Dream while also making a lasting, significant contribution to the state, nation, and the world; and have inspired others to further their own dreams.” The first group of 13 included politicians, athletes, entertainers, an architect, an astronaut, and a philanthropic family. Anyone reviewing Sarria’s biography will certainly agree that he more than qualifies for this great honor. This is a man who became well known as a drag performer at The Black Cat in North Beach, helping to organize the Tavern Guild and Society for Individual Rights, forming the Imperial Court, and running for City Supervisor, the first openly Gay person to do so in the United States. And this is just a short sampling of his accomplishments. 

    In San Francisco, Sarria has been recognized with a street renamed José Sarria Court and a bronze plaque in the Castro placed by the Rainbow Honor Walk. His inclusion in the California Hall of Fame has been a dedicated project of Queen Mother Nicole Murray-Ramirez and the International Court System for over 10 years, eventually gaining the attention and support of other organizations, including the Grand Ducal Council, the Victory Fund, and National LGBTQ Task Force, and elected officials, notably SF Supervisors Bevan Dufty and Rafael Mandelman, State Senators Mark Leno and Scott Wiener, State Senate President Toni Adkins, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, and so many other individuals. In addition to the success of this long campaign, the Imperial Court can claim remarkable success getting a U.S. Postage Stamp and U.S. Navy ship honoring Harvey Milk.

    Donna Sachet with Nicole Murray Ramirez, Queen Mother of the Americas, at Beaux on Saturday, August 19, for the annual Empress Tea & Fundraiser celebrating Absolute Empress I of San Francisco José Sarria’s 100th birthday and induction into the California Hall of Fame.

    The 16th class of honorees were inducted by Governor Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom at a virtual ceremony on Tuesday, August 22, at 6 pm. This year’s honorees were all recognized posthumously: actress Carrie Fisher, pilot Maggie Gee, singer Etta James, L.A. Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, actress and public servant Shirley Temple Black, Olympic gold medalist Archie Williams, and civil rights activist and pioneer José Sarria. To refer back to the qualifications this honor requires, Sarria has certainly inspired us to further our own dreams. 

    Saturday’s Empresses’ Tea at Beaux served as a wonderful opportunity to celebrate this good news, attended by SF Emperors and Empresses galore, visiting Queen Mother Nicole Murray-Ramirez, Reverend Don Fox, and many other supporters. Hosted by Absolute Empress XLI Galilea and emceed by Absolute Empress XXXIII Alexis Miranda, this was truly a family reunion with a spirited show and touching stories about Our Founder and the many memories shared among the group.

    Many dashed from there to Herbst Theatre at the War Memorial Building for the annual GAPA Pageant, one of the most entertaining events of the year, filled with creativity and energy. Nguyen Pham and Jezebel Patel served as the perfect emcees, as they have for years, combining humor, respect, and a deep sensitivity for the Asian Pacific Islander Community. The fantasy portion of the 11 competitors was over the top, followed by evening wear and question-and-answer.

    Just when you think you’ve seen it all, GAPA opens new doors, surprising us with elaborate costuming, thought-provoking vignettes, and heartwarming speeches. The illustrious judging panel had no easy task! The results seemed to delight the capacity audience: Miss GAPA Mx Kiki Brunch and Mx GAPA Lotus Party. In addition to the competition, there were beautiful last walks, anniversary numbers, and in memoriam tributes, most notably to dedicated GAPA supporter Ken Hamai. This event says volumes about the health of this organization, its encouragement of youth, its respect for the past, and its ability to entertain an audience, all while giving special attention to the often excluded or underrepresented Asian American segment of our community.  If you see a GAPA event being promoted, get your tickets and go!

    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

    Friday, August 25
    Divas & Drinks @ The Academy
    Celebrating Transgender History Month
    The Klipptones, DJ Page Hodel,
    Emcee Donna Sachet, the Bacardí team of mixologists,
    Transgender community leaders, and more
    The Academy SF, 2166 Market Street
    $15, free for Academy members

    Saturday, August 26
    The Greatest Showman
    Sing-Along film screening at the Castro Theatre
    Costume contest
    Doors 7 pm, Film 8 pm

    Sunday, August 27
    Sunday’s a Drag at Club Fugazi
    Classic San Francisco Drag
    Italian brunch by Tony Gemignani of Tony’s Pizza
    With Donna Sachet, Holotta Tymes, Mercedez Munro & Dulce de Leche
    Club Fugazi, 678 Green Street
    11 am doors, Noon show

    Donna’s Chronicles
    Published on August 24, 2023