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    Donna’s Chronicles, “One of the unique frustrations about writing a column…”

    By Donna Sachet–

    One of the unique frustrations about writing a column with a firm deadline is the fact that events may occur between deadline and publication that cannot be reflected in that column. Such is the case as we write these words, full of hopeful optimism about the results of Election Day, but unable to predict with any certainty. Perhaps that is one thing that COVID-19 has taught us, that no predictions are sufficient when so much is uncertain. We just hope our readers have exercised their civic responsibility, not just by voting, but also by doing your own research and educating yourselves on candidates and propositions, so that yours is an intelligent vote. By the time you read this towards the end of the week, surely we will know definitively what direction the nation, the State, and the City will take in 2021 and beyond!

    Although the current pandemic and all the restrictions related to it may force us to question the future, no one can question the formidable role San Francisco has played in the movement for LGBTQ civil rights. From blockbuster films like Gus Van Sant’s Milk and ABC’s When We Rise by Dustin Lance Black to locally produced and award-winning documentaries like David Lassman’s 50 Years of Fabulous and Susan Stryker’s book and Donna Persona’s play about the Compton Cafeteria Riots, many of the stories from the early days of protest in San Francisco have recently seen national exposure. Add to those the HBO-Max mini-series Equal.

    This brand-new series combines rare vintage footage and press reports with dramatic characterizations and re-enactments, bringing famous and lesser known events and participants to light. The unmistakable voice of Billy Porter guides us through four episodes and they are chock full of San Francisco references, events, and personalities. From the very first episode, we hear the recorded voice of José Sarria, local icon, first openly Gay person to run for political office in the country, and founder of the Imperial Court, saying, “United we stand; divided they catch us one by one.” In a later episode, we hear much more about his life and contributions with Emmy Award-winning Jai Rodriguez playing the part of José, having carefully studied his voice and mannerisms. Indeed, many of the actors featured throughout are members of our LGBTQ Community, including Samira Wiley, Cheyenne Jackson, Sara Gilbert, Isis King, and Gale Harold. 

    The decades-long story of legendary Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin is brought into focus with archival materials and actress portrayals, as are Harvey Milk, Harry Hay, Lorraine Hansberry, and Bayard Rustin, all of whom have San Francisco connections and several of whom are recognized with bronze plaques from the Rainbow Honor Walk in the sidewalks of the Castro. As we watched all four episodes back-to-back, we found ourselves jumping out of our seat as we recognized featured and incidental characters and remembered seminal moments from the past. With laughter, tears, and everything in between, we felt fully engulfed in a modern civil rights movement that had many of its roots right here. And we count ourselves very lucky to have known many of those participating by virtue of living right here!

    Take it from us! This is a series well worth watching or even binge-watching! You too will be caught up in the excitement of watching events transpire on screen and realizing that many of those very events happened outside our doors.

    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

    Saturday, November 7
    MIGHTY REAL: PRC’s annual gala
    Online event with special guest THE Patti LaBelle
    Absinthe Brasserie & Bar delivered food & wine
    6 pm
    www.prcsf.org

    Sunday, November 8
    ‘S Wonderfully De-Lovely with Vanessa Bousay
    Feed your drag appetite with a talented singer & personality
    Featuring the music of George Gershwin and Cole Porter
    6 pm
    Free!
    https://studio.youtube.com/video/2MdsWLcdjb0/livestreaming

    Tuesday, November 10
    Queer Nightlife Talks: How Do You Live Without the Party?
    Panel discussion with Angelique Burke and Ralph Bruneau
    SF Bay Area Queer Nightlife Fund sponsored
    7–9 pm
    Free!
    https://zoom.queernightlifefund.org/

    Published on November 5, 2020