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    Donna’s Chronicles: Sunday, February 14, 2021

    By Donna Sachet–

    Sunday, February 14, 2021, 18th Street in the Castro, closed to vehicular traffic, was hopping with activity as pedestrians of every stripe strolled up and down, some grabbing seats at the outdoor parklets of Midnight Sun, The Mix, Lark, or other establishments to grab a bite and a cocktail or two. In front of the Mask Shop on the ground level below Poesia, a colorfully decorated table was selling Mardi Gras styled treats, created by members of the local Krewe de Kinque. Further up the street, Harvey’s did brisk business below sun umbrellas and The Edge had hardly a seat available at their parklet wrapping around onto Collingwood Street. Further up Castro Street, Café Mystique, 440 Castro, The Cove, and others beckoned passers-by. Strolling up Market Street, outdoor seating and the best fish and chips in town lured folks into Catch and a lively drag show spilled out of Beaux to the delight of guests seated outside, all generously tipping the performers. At the busy intersection of Noe Street, Lookout served jubilant folks relaxing on the sidewalk and dangling from the balcony above. A variety of retail stores along the way welcomed customer traffic and residential windows were flung open to the crisp, dry weather. Yes, it seems that this latest easing of COVID-19 restrictions was just what many were waiting for, resulting in a pleasant revival of laughter, merriment, and socializing (largely masked and safely distanced) in the Castro.

    Much has been written about the malaise this pandemic has created, not just in terms of medical dangers, personal isolation, and health paranoia, but also in economic terms. Loss of jobs, reduced income, and gloomy forecasts have followed us for nearly a year. In addition, the dire impact of COVID-19 and all its related restrictions have devastated many otherwise thriving neighborhoods in San Francisco, as across the country. A normal morning walk in the Castro has had a completely different feel to it, absent noticeable pedestrian and vehicular traffic, faced with boarded up businesses, and reflecting on friends and family challenged as never before. Casual lunches to catch up with friends had to be carefully planned in advance, limited in size, and fraught with safety measures. Weekend nights no longer beckoned with exciting crowds, ecstatic music, and strong cocktails often shared at the many bustling bars and restaurants, as one day simply bled into another.

    Last Sunday, however, we personally felt a delightful hint of hope in the air, as we experienced first-hand the scenario described in the opening of this column. Such infinitesimal hope is thankfully contagious. Smiles beget smiles, laughter encourages laughter, and social contact outside of the strictest restrictions imposed since March of 2020 opens one’s heart to new possibilities. These dark days are hardly behind us—far from it. But when you hear of a friend who has received a first vaccine injection, when a new neighbor moves in next door where an apartment has stood empty for months, or when a short visit to the Castro shows so many familiar characteristics of better days, it is hard to avoid the promise ahead.

    We can finally begin to entertain thoughts of live entertainment, stimulating nightlife, and genuine socializing. It will take a while to determine exactly what form many of our former activities will take as COVID-19 gradually fades from the main stage of the news, leaving us with lingering concerns. But now we encourage you to begin to consciously envision your own life and lifestyle, post-COVID. Will you return to work, maybe in a remote office setting, or will a new career beckon? Will you find old habits comfortably returning or will you do some serious self-examination and make some significant personal changes? After basically a year of a drastically altered lifestyle, what do you consider still important, even vital, and is this the time to reduce certain activities and increase the pursuit of new interests and even people?

    Nothing can ever make up for the severe mauling we received in 2020 and we should never lose sight of what we have lost, including lives battered by this virus and even lost to it. But this seems to be the right time to formulate plans. We envision reformulated celebrations, reenergized demonstrations, and refocused generosity. We look forward to the calendar listing in this column, including multiple events involving a variety of organizations and causes. We look forward to a robust column full of bold-faced names of those making a difference in our community. And we look forward to a column that leaves our readers with hope, smiles, and resolve. Keep reading, dear readers; we are turning the corner and hope is up ahead!

    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

    Thursday, March 11
    SF Gay Men’s Chorus’ Angels
    When We No Longer Touch AIDS Requiem’s 30th anniversary
    Includes video premiere celebrating the Artist Portal in the National AIDS Memorial Grove of Golden Gate Park
    6 pm
    Free, contributions welcomed

    Saturday, March 13
    Application deadline for Emperor & Empress Candidates
    Details to follow

    Saturday, March 20
    Imperial Council Review Board of Candidates for Emperor & Empress
    Details to follow

    Sunday, March 21
    Imperial Council Gala & Introduction of Candidates for Emperor & Empress
    Details to follow

    Saturday, April 10
    SF LGBT Center’s Virtual Soirée
    Inspiration, entertainment, community
    Hosted by Liam Mayclem & Sister Roma
    Entertainment by Juanita MORE!
    6 pm
    Sponsorships available, donations welcomed

    Published on February 25, 2021