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    Donna’s Chronicles, “The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band delighted…”

    By Donna Sachet–

    The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band delighted a full house at the Grand Theater on Mission Street with Spotlight on Animation & Video Games last Saturday night. This talented group was in best of form for one of their few concerts for which they sell tickets after playing free for so many community events during the year. The music was surprisingly rich and varied, especially to one not terribly familiar with video game or anime music. Themes from Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda led to sumptuous emotional movements from Sheltering Sky, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke.  We joined the very popular and accomplished Leanne Borghesi in leading audience singalongs, as well as a few solo selections; she looked and sounded incredible! Also joining in on vocals was countertenor Ken Dulay, who earned a wonderful reception. As the music played, a large screen behind the band showed video game and animation visuals, as well as lyrics for the singalongs. Live auctions for a Princess Cruise and the chance to conduct the band, along with a silent auction in the lobby, added to the money raised to support San Francisco’s official band and its BIPOC commission program. All in all, it was an extraordinary evening of unusual music with a beloved San Francisco institution.

    The SF Gay Men’s Chorus hosted the final in its series of four Memory Keepers Initiatives last Thursday at their headquarters, the Chan International Arts Center. This one focused on the history of the chorus itself with three panelists led by Artistic Director Jake Stensberg. Each speaker contributed uniquely to the overall historic picture, full of beautiful memories of incredible music, painful loss, courageous social impact, amusing anecdotes, and more. Video messages from former Artistic Directors Stan Hill and Tim Seelig added additional perspectives with emotion and humor. As a former chorus member, we found the evening of particular importance, but anyone in the city should be aware of the tremendous contributions of the Gay Men’s Chorus and the Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, both created by the legendary Jon Sims and both active and continuing to bring us captivating music more than 45 years later.

    We were thrilled to have the opportunity to peek behind the scaffolding at the progress on the Castro Theatre. As most readers will remember, we were adamant supporters of Another Planet Entertainment’s proposal to remodel and refurbish this neighborhood icon, a daunting task both historically and functionally. Once inside, we were simply amazed at the extent of the work necessary to bring historic elements back to their original glory. Trained artisans are painstakingly repairing and where necessary replacing architectural elements, using original plaster molds, studying pertinent photographs, and restoring gold accents, so that when the Castro Theatre reopens next year, it will truly be the showplace it was meant to be.

    Donna and friends wtih Marlena celebrating Marlena’s 82nd birthday in Hayes Valley (2021)
    Photo by Ken Hamai

    In a few short days, our favorite month of the year begins with Pride events galore! Grand Marshals have been announced, including Billie Porter as Celebrity Grand Marshal and Main Stage Headliner, the theme has been selected, and your SF Pride committee is working overtime to make you proud! Now, it is time for you to organize your Pride schedule! Which events will you attend? Will you march in the Parade or join the thousands of observers? How can you volunteer or otherwise support organizations in which you believe? We’ll be trying some new events, as well as enjoying some favorites, like Juanita MORE!’s Pride Party and the VIP Party, this year back at City Hall. We encourage you to get your posse together and plan accordingly.  There is nothing like San Francisco 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

    Friday, May 31
    Divas & Drinks at The Academy
    “Eve of Pride” Party featuring SF Pride
    leadership and Grand Marshals;
    performance by American Idol star Tory Teasley,
    DJ Olga T, Emcee Donna Sachet
    The Academy SF, 2166 Market Street
    6–10 pm

    Saturday, June 1
    Heels for Hope
    Variety Show fundraiser for Maitri
    Hosted by Donna Sachet
    With comedian Allison Hooker, singer Caleb Sasser, & Fou Fou Ha
    VIP reception 5 pm
    Show 7 pm
    $50 & up

    Friday, June 7
    Taylor Dayne in concert
    Yoshi’s Oakland
    8 & 10 pm

    Saturday, June 8
    Gypsy Love release party
    Midnight Sun, 4067 18th Street
    6 pm

    Donna’s Chronicles
    Published on May 23, 2024