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    Donna’s Chronicles, “San Francisco Pride Month started with a bang…”

    By Donna Sachet–

    San Francisco Pride Month started with a bang and has continued to fill our days and nights with wonderful opportunities to celebrate, to represent, and to shine!

    Jon Sims was the San Francisco visionary who, inspired by the courage of Harvey Milk, formed the first Gay-identified musical groups in the country, starting with the San Francisco Gay Freedom Band & Twirling Corps (now the Pride Band), then the SF Gay Men’s Chorus, and the Lesbian and Gay Men’s Chorus (now the Queer Chorus). All of these groups have become beloved parts of our LGBTQ+ Community and each has brought us special moments of pride. In May, we performed with the Pride Band, conducted by Artistic Director Pete Nowlen, in a lively concert featuring music from animated films and video games. On Friday, June 14, at the encouragement of Jim Oerther, we attended Pleasure Principle: A Pride Celebration of Queer Joy at the Noe Valley Ministry. Artistic Director Michael Kerschner covered music as wide-ranging as Mozart and Sibelius to Irving Berlin and Bjork with wonderfully rich full choral renditions and several precise and engaging small ensembles and remarkable soloists. Piano accompanist Barry Lloyd was outstanding.

    Later in the month, we joined Gary Virginia at Davies Symphony Hall on Tuesday, June 18, for All We Need is Love featuring both the San Francisco Symphony and the Gay Men’s Chorus, under the direction of Artistic
    Director Jacob Stensberg. The first half demonstrated the extraordinary musical excellence of both groups with complex compositions and challenging performances. Several composers were there to experience their works in person, including Michael Tilson Thomas, David Conte, and Dominick DiOrio. The second half, which we enjoyed from much closer seats, thanks to Betty Sullivan, offered crowd-pleasing modern compositions and featured the accomplished small ensembles Homo Phonics and Lollipop Guild, as well as some stand-out soloists. All three of these pioneering musical groups make us sing with pride!

    Not to miss out on the more athletic side of pride, we soaked up the SF Giants spirit at their Pride Game on Saturday, June 15, in the delightful company of Michelle Jester and a couple hundred LGBTQ+ baseball fans. It was a perfect warm, sunny day to revel in Oracle Park and watch the Giants come so close to clinching another game. In addition to drag sightings here and there, as we wore our official Giants jersey, presented to us by the team in April, we’ll admit to indulging in some good old ballpark cuisine and libations.

    Sunday, June 16, found us at 1015 Folsom for Broadway Bares SF VII: Film Strips, co-produced by the Richmond/ Ermet Aid Foundation and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and including members of the traveling cast of Company. We really owe Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and his friends for shielding us from the daunting line around the block. This revealing show always receives an eye-popping and hand-clapping response, but this year’s production was smoother and more professional than ever with tight choreography, great special lighting effects, colorful costuming, and incredible performances. At the VIP reception afterwards, many echoed our compliments as we mingled with Ken Henderson, Joe Seiler, Al Treuter, Lawrence Helman, Cameron Stiehl, Brent Marek, and others.

    Wednesday, June 19, brought together so many elements of our community, as Castro Street was closed off for the evening in celebration of Juneteenth, Frameline Film Festival’s Opening Night, and the lighting of the newly renovated and fully functional blade of the Castro Theatre. We met up with a terrific group of friends at the 440 Castro parklet, early enough to get seats and a table, but unable to avoid the cold winds. As we huddled over drinks and snacks, the crowd in the street grew in size, Drag Laureate D’Arcy
    hosted a splashy drag show at one end of the street, and Lil Nas X’s film filled the huge screen at the other end. The revelry in the Castro lasted well into the night!

    We finished up the week at two Midnight Sun events. First, we put on our disco duds for Gary Virginia’s second monthly All the Tea retro dance party on Saturday with a packed house, pulsing disco music, and smiles all around. Kippy Marks provided special musical entertainment, as only he can, and the balloon drop met all expectations! Second, we witnessed a rare Imperial fundraiser that reflected concerted cooperation and collaboration
    between the Emperors of San Francisco, led by Emperor John Weber, celebrating Juneteenth and featuring BIPOC entertainers from within the Imperial Court. Sacramento sent an enthusiastic contingent, including last year’s Empress Uneke Chanel and Reigning Emperor Spade RoyalGotti and Reigning Empress Adollyah LaRue Royal-Gotti. The second annual Soul Idol contest brought out captivating entertainers, judged by Sidra Smith, Frankie Fernandez, and Liz Jackson-Simpson. Nearly $2000 was raised for Success Centers, helping people facing difficult circumstances find employment, complete their education, and tap into their creative power for nearly 40 years.

    And finally, the rumors are true; we will be celebrating Pride Month at The White House on Wednesday, June 26, with President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. It all seems like a dream, but we will do our best to represent our City and our LGBTQ+ Community proudly and as a true San Franciscan. Surrounded by all that Washington, D.C., represents, we will hold our head high and bring back to you all beautiful memories, photos, and a full feature article of our experience. Happy Pride!

    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, June 27
    Divas & Drinks’ 4th annual Pride Party
    Bay Times event at The Academy SF Renée Lubin, Dee Spencer, DJ Rockaway, Donna Sachet Shake It! Booty Band concert.
    The Academy SF
    2166 Market Street
    6–10 pm

    Saturday, June 29
    Illuminate’s Laser Rainbow Rainbow lights from the Ferry Building to the Castro
    After dark Free!

    Saturday, June 29
    SF Pride Celebration
    Civic Center Main Stage & multiple Community Stages Vendors, food, drink
    11 am–5 pm Free!

    Sunday, June 30
    SF Pride Parade 2024
    Everything you imagine and more! 50,000 participants, floats, Grand Marshals Celebrity Grand Marshal Billie Porter
    10:30 am Free!

    Saturday, June 30
    SF Pride VIP Party
    City Hall Rotunda Food, drink, drag, art, performances

    Saturday, June 30
    Juanita MORE!’s 20th Pride Party
    Hundreds of fun people Benefits LYRIC
    620 Jones
    Noon–7 pm

    Sunday, July 7
    Sunday’s a Drag at Club Fugazi
    Featuring SF’s most fabulous drag performers
    Hosted by Donna Sachet
    Club Fugazi
    678 Green Street
    13 events from July–September
    Brunch at 11 am
    Show at noon
    $76 & up

    Donna’s Chronicles
    Published on June 27, 2024