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    Donna’s Chronicles: “At times, we are critical of those who run for office or titles in our community…”

    By Donna Sachet–

    At times, we are critical of those who run for office or titles in our community, seemingly only for the glory and acclaim, reveling in the visibility and privileges, however limited, that come with the job, parading around with that sash, crown, pin, or other marker that sets them apart. There are times, however, that rightfully serve as an opportunity to receive peer recognition, earned through public service and selfless dedication to higher ideals. Imperial Coronation is such an occasion. 

    We watched with pride and exhilaration as San Francisco Imperial Coronation LV: Disco in the Jungle gathered supporters from across the continent to the Park Central Hotel to celebrate the reign of Emperor XLVII, A.N., Terrill Grimes Munro & Absolute Empress LIV Baby Shaques Munro. For the uninitiated, this is an evening full of pageantry, tradition, and camaraderie, starting with a formal color guard and singing of the national anthems of Mexico, Canada, and the United States (all top notch vocals), the thematic entrance of the Reigning Monarchs and their attendants, and the parade of the International Court Council and Queen Mother of the Americas Nicole the Great and King Father of the Americas Terry Sidie.

    Entertainment included solo performances, group numbers, candidate presentations, and the always colorful walks of visiting courts and organizations. Sumptuous gowns, ornate costumes, and over-the-top jewelry were everywhere! Photographs elsewhere in this publication will give you a glimpse of the display. It may be known as an unusually long evening, but this one seemed to fly by, a credit to the organization and discipline behind the scenes. Of the many magical moments we will cherish were the thirtieth anniversary presentations of Absolute Empress XXV Marlena (truly beloved by so many), twentieth anniversary of Emperor XXVIII, A.N., John Carrillo, fifteenth of Emperor XXXIII, A.N., John Richard Daniel & Absolute Empress XL Tiger Lily, and tenth of Emperor XXXVIII, A.N., Stephen Dorsey & Absolute Empress XLV Renita Valdez (a sentimental favorite pair).

    And yes, this was the twenty-fifth anniversary of our own crowning as Absolute Empress XXX with Emperor XXIII, A.N., Brian Benamati, so we performed a whimsical song from Hairspray with altered lyrics and wearing a silver gown with 24-foot cape. We definitely felt the love and thank all in attendance and from far away for their appreciation and good wishes. Time moves on so quickly; don’t let petty issues damper the joys of life!

    Joining us at our table were Absolute Empress XXIX Anita Martini, Emperor Carmine Caruso of Idaho, Sister Roma, Richard Sablatura, Jeff Doney, Ducky Hiers, Mark Smith, first-time attendee Rusty Best, and Michael Loftis. Our report on the past weekend would not be complete without a huge thank you to Michael, who came to town specifically to support us in all of the Imperial appearances and to add his own special theatrical flair to the events. One could not hope for a more caring or attentive friend.

    Space limits our ability to cover all the events surrounding Imperial Coronation in detail, but suffice it to say, locals and visitors alike had a full menu from which to choose. From the in-Town Show and Awards on Wednesday night at Hamburger Mary’s and Out-of-Town Show at the host hotel on Friday to the Monarchs’ Anniversary Celebrations at The Ha-Ra Club and Lookout’s Lounge (featuring memorabilia from our Reign with Brian Benamati) and Victory Brunch back at the host hotel, we were everywhere and the San Francisco bars were very busy.

    One of the final events of the weekend was the annual Pilgrimage to Colma early Sunday morning, when many of us visit the gravesites of Emperor Joshua Norton and Empress I José Sarria, Founder of the Imperial Court. These two individuals, each historic in their own way, are buried just feet apart in Woodlawn Cemetery and decades ago the Emperors of San Francisco began this annual event, continued to this day by them and co-emceed by this Empress. When José led the Pilgrimage, it was always done with certain solemnity and tradition, but also with a generous dose of humor, in keeping with the camp and fun of drag. We are committed to continuing that unique combination of elements and so we were joined on Sunday by the LGBT Freedom Band, members of the Night Ministry, musician Robert Sunshine and Full House, violinist Kippy Marks, and co-emcee Emperor XXXVI, A.N., John Weber. We payed dutiful respect to the past and injected just enough humor to keep the crowd engaged. Don’t miss this unique event next year!

    Imperial Coronation itself ended with the announcement of the results of the previous Saturday’s public voting and crowning of the new Reigning Emperor William Bulkley and Reigning Empress Mimi Osa! Congratulations to them both and best wishes for a successful year! And thanks to candidate for Empress Migitte Nielsen, who ran a great campaign and has contributed regularly to the vitality of the City. We encourage all to watch for the new Monarchs and to join the Imperial Court in its calendar of events, raising needed funds for worthy organizations and adding to the lively pace of the City we love.

    Don’t think the clock stops after Imperial Coronation! Far from it! This Thursday, Equality California hosts a reception, 6–8 pm, at Jolene’s, 2700 16th Street, with Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and this humble columnist and former EQCA Board member. Enjoy complimentary appetizers, Tito’s Handmade Vodka cocktails, and La Crema wines while learning about the upcoming EQCA Awards and Gala in May and the important work this group continues to do fighting for full equality for our LGBTQ Community.

    Make sure to mark your calendar with all the events listed here, but particularly Saturday, March 7, when Renée Lubin and additional members of the cast of long-running Beach Blanket Babylon join Krewe de Kinque for Bal Masque XVII: Diners, Divas & Dives at the Café. KdK King Aja Monet-Ashton and Queen Kelly Rose complete a year of fun and fundraising with an outrageous party embracing the spirit of Mardi Gras right here in the Castro! The theme is hilarious, the costumes and performances will be phenomenal, and the price is right! So, join us!

    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

    Published on February 27, 2020


    Calendar a la Sachet

    Thursday, February 27
    EQCA Kick-Off Reception
    Jolene’s, 2700 16th Street
    6–8 pm

    Friday, February 28
    RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12 Premiere Party
    The maniacal competition continues …
    Hosted by Sister Roma & Honey Mahogany
    Lookout, 3600 16th Street
    8–9:30 pm

    Saturday, March 7
    Krewe de Kinque’s Bal Masque XVII: Diners, Divas, & Dives
    Fabulous New Orleans style party benefits Compton’s Transgender Cultural District
    The Café, 2369 Market Street
    6–9:30 pm
    $20 & up