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    Donna’s Chronicles, No Pride Parade?

    By Donna Sachet–

    No Pride Parade? No Civic Center Celebration? How could we celebrate SF Pride? Once again, this community proved that it knows how! The last week of June coincided with the modified opening up of the City after over 14 months of COVID-inflicted restrictions and our LGBTQ+ Community was ready to celebrate SF Pride!

    On the evening of June 23, Rainbow Honor Walk hosted the second of its Rainbow Reels series, highlighting individuals who have bronze plaques honoring them in the Castro neighborhood sidewalks by offering a group at-home viewing of pertinent films. The first Rainbow Reels last December focused on Divine with the film I Am Divine. This evening featured two films, No Secret Anymore and One Wedding and a Revolution, each offering unique glimpses into the lives of Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin. Board of Directors Vice-President Barbara Tannenbaum hosted a lively discussion with Marcia Gallo, a fast-paced auction followed the films, and thank you gifts were sent to donors. All in all, Rainbow Honor Walk brought well-deserved attention to Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin and supportive donors helped raise money for future bronze plaques.

    Don’t miss the Castro Walgreen’s community windows, now featuring Rainbow Honor Walk and a big thank you to long-time and ongoing donor Allan Baird. Without financial support like his, this project honoring LGBTQ+ individuals could not continue.

    The following night, June 24, the San Francisco Bay Times and The Academy hosted the second Divas & Drinks event, this time live and in-person at The Academy. This relatively new private club created by Nate Bourg and Paul Miller offers a well-appointed, intimate space for private gatherings, ranging from book club meetings, wine tastings, and cocktail parties to larger events like this one, designed to highlight the women’s community in the Castro. Two teams faced off in a playful Name That Tune game, emceed by this columnist and with the help of DJ Rockaway, with Team Olivia taking home the prize. Every luxurious and comfortable room of The Academy was full of happy celebrants, suddenly freed from masks and social distancing, spilling out onto the spacious patio with heated seating areas and firepit, and enjoying nibbles from Noe Valley Bakery, Extreme Pizza, and Kokak chocolates and specialty cocktails mixed by Bacardi representative Liz Thyken and curated by Bacardi VP Heather Freyer.

    The showstopper of the night was the appearance of Mayor London Breed! Obviously in a relaxed mood and comfortable in this club setting, she stayed long after the formal program, enjoying conversation and cocktails. Also in attendance were SF Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, SF Pride Grand Marshals Melonie Green, Melorra Green, and Clair Farley, and Dion Lim of ABC-7 News. We caught up with a multitude of friends, including Openhouse Founder Dr. Marcy Adelman, Pink Triangle creators Patrick & Hossein Carney, Derek Barnes, SF Commissioners Debra Walker and Andrea Shorter, Kate Brown of Dykes on Bikes, Beth Schnitzer of Spritz Public Relations, and of course, Betty Sullivan and Jennifer Viegas of the San Francisco Bay Times.The invitation to the night’s Divas & Drinks asked: “Where are all the women in the Castro?” Well, that night, they were at The Academy having a splendid time!

    Coincidentally, we were back at The Academy the next night for An Evening with Donna Sachet. It just seemed appropriate, as COVID restrictions were relaxing, to host an intimate evening with friends and so we did. The Academy provided a blackjack table, cocktails, and nibbles, and brought in Russell Deason to play the in-house piano. Needless to say, singing ensued. Andrew Hirst got things started with his accomplished voice applied to Broadway showtunes.

    After some pleading, we accommodated those gathered in the piano room and sang a few favorites of our own, sharing personal stories along the way. Among the cozy crowd were Cicero Braganca & Russ Fischella, Jeff Doney & Adam Their, David Hone, and too many others to name.It ended up being the perfect low-key evening with close friends and new acquaintances, sharing memories and creating new ones.

    Saturday, June 26, was the long-awaited date of Gary Virginia & Donna Sachet’s 23rd annual Pride Brunch! Although this was the second virtual annual event and we missed the in-person camaraderie, this year’s theme of A Taste of SF Pride took viewing guests on a rollicking tour of neighborhoods in San Francisco with special significance to the LGBTQ+ Community, interspersed with videotaped remarks from SF Pride Grand Marshals and other special guests, including Mayor London Breed and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Musical entertainment from the SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band and Kippy Marks, a moving tribute to long-time supporter Tom Taylor, and a photographic look back on 22 previous Pride Brunches rounded out the program. After all was said and done, over $33,000 was raised for PRC and this popular tradition continued.

    Perhaps you had a chance to watch the broadcast on Saturday, June 26, or on YouTube afterwards. As a matter of fact, four generous sponsors purchased a Friday night stay in a King Suite at The Palace Hotel, watching Pride Brunch from their room the next morning before checking out. They and other premium ticketholders received delivered gift bags and DoorDash delivered brunches of their choice, while participating in a lively silent auction for trips, dinners, gourmet baskets, and other items.

    We joined our co-host Gary Virginia at the beautiful Castro home of a dear friend for an official viewing party! The décor was over the top, the food bountiful and delicious, the drinks free-flowing, and the company extraordinary, including past SF Pride President Michelle Meow & Tookta, current SF Pride President Carolyn Wysinger, Briggs Hawley, Don Ho Tse, Eric Bernier & Mike Proctor, Ernie Hong & Fred Siegel, Deana Dawn, Joe Mac, Khmera Rouge, Kevin Lisle, Tyler Nelson, and Ralph Hibbs. What a great way to watch the end product of months of preparation and work, surrounded by a diverse group of good friends!

    We ended our SF Pride weekend as we have for many years at Juanita MORE!’sinfamous Pride party on Sunday, June 27. Over the course of 10 or more hours, a sort of SF Pride Parade marched through this sprawling space, pumped up by great music and excellent companionship, including Sister Roma, Celso Dulay & CJ Knight, Julian Marshburn, Suzan Revah, Dulce de Leche, Mutha Chucka, Christopher Vasquez, Reigning Emperor Mr. David Glamamore, and so many more. We later heard that the event again raised significant funds, over $110,000 this year for the Imperial Council and the Queer Nightlife Fund. What a fitting way to reinforce that this is indeed a resilient, courageous assemblage of likeminded people who refuse to be hindered by cancellations, pandemics, or any other adversity!

    With all this behind us, we can only imagine what an incredible SF Pride Parade & Celebration awaits us next year! But not without your involvement! Think about participating more actively in the planning and execution of SF Pride, volunteer to help your favorite organization find its place in the festivities, and don’t even think about leaving town next June, because SF Pride 2022 is going to be phenomenal!

    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

    Friday, July 16
    San Francisco Imperial Court Investiture
    Reigning Emperor Mr. David Glamamore & Reigning Empress Juanita MORE! Formation of Court of More is MORE!
    Crowning of new Imperial Crown Prince & Imperial Crown Princess
    Oasis, 298 11th Street
    7:30 pm
    $35–55
    www.imperialcouncilsf.org

    Friday, July 23
    Divas & Drinks at The Academy: Go for Gold
    Hosted by the San Francisco Bay Times and The Academy
    Opening Ceremonies of Olympics in Japan, drink specials curated by Bacardi VP Heather Freyer, DJ Rockaway, former Olympians, Japanese food and culture, celebration of local women’s softball teams, and more to be announced.
    The Academy SF, 2166 Market Street
    6 pm
    $10
    https://www.academy-sf.com/

    Published July 15, 2021