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    Donna’s Chronicles, “With only hours to go before Pride month began…”

    By Donna Sachet–

    With only hours to go before Pride month began, Divas & Drinks celebrated SF Pride at The Academy on May 31.  Presenting Sponsor Comcast, represented by Joan Hammel, Public Relations Manager, started things off with a couple of giveaways, followed by Patrick Carney who described this year’s Pink Triangle Project. (More on that later.) Then SF Pride Executive Director Suzanne Ford and Board President Nguyen Pham took over, introducing the Grand Marshals of this year’s SF Pride Parade. (Even more on that later.) From there, it was a night of music with high energy singing and percussion by Amy Meyers and Joyce Baker and a soul-shaking set by Grand Marshal Tory Teasley, accompanied by guitar and percussion. Then DJ Olga T took over, calling everyone to dance into the night. As a final surprise, Mayor London Breed popped in to join the dancing and laughter, saying, in an aside, that she knew where the joy would be.

    The first day of June saw us at the Marine Memorial Theater hosting Heels for Hope, the annual fundraiser for Maitri, providing care for low-income individuals with HIV/AIDS and those seeking gender affirmation. On stage entertainment featured For Fou Ha, a hilarious and skilled circus drag ensemble, amazing comedian Allison Hooker, and from NBC’S The Voice Caleb Sasser, who sent the audience into ecstasy with his extraordinary range and sensitivity. In between, auctioneer Michal Tate once again drew enthusiastic bids for a host of packages, as well as leading a fabulous fund-in-need auction. Remarks from Executive Director Michael Armentrout brought everything in focus for this wonderful organization that has served the underserved for 35 years.

    Pride Month for the city officially kicked off on Monday, June 3, with the raising of the Gilbert Baker rainbow flag over City Hall. A festive ceremony followed on the Mayor’s balcony inside the Rotunda with speeches from elected officials and Pride representatives and recognition of all the Grand Marshals of the SF Pride Parade. From all indications, this promises to be the best San Francisco Pride Parade yet!

    We returned to City Hall the next day to be honored along with Gary Virginia by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and the entire Board of Supervisors for the 25-year success of Gary Virginia & Donna Sachet’s Pride Brunch. This event produced thousands of dollars for the important work of PRC, offered a chance for the Grand Marshals of the Parade to address their community, and provided a popular Pride event the Saturday before the Parade. After careful consideration, we decided with Gary to end the event after record-breaking attendance and proceeds last year. So, watch for the two of us at more and more Pride events this year!

    Wednesday brought us back to the national stage as we joined a fundraising event honoring Vice President Kamala Harris, organized by the inimitable Manny Yekutiel. As loyal readers will remember, our relationship with the Vice President goes back years and included a visit to Washington, D.C., last year for her Pride Party at her home, the Naval Observatory. Naturally, it was a thrill to see her again in person. We joined Katya Smirnoff Skye in performing at a reception at The Chapel preceding the Vice President’s appearance, enjoying all the madness backstage with White House aides, Secret Service, SF Police, and more. Katya was a delight to perform with and to share such a special experience.

    The following day started very early with an 8 am appearance in North Beach to debut Tony Gemignani’s rainbow bagel!  This creation pays tribute to Pride Month in San Francisco, celebrating the return of Sunday’s a Drag to Club Fugazi in North Beach, produced by our friend Patrick Rylee, with proceeds going to the Rainbow Honor Walk. To serve your rainbow bagel “Sachet-style,” you must use the special sweet cream cheese topping with colorful sprinkles. Stop by Toscano Brothers Bakery or order your rainbow bagels today and join Tony in this unique effort to celebrate SF Pride city-wide.

    That afternoon, we returned to City Hall for the third time that week for Supervisor Mandelman’s Pride reception. His office is currently decorated with artwork by two of his constituents, affectionately known as Two Bald Guys. Various District 8 citizens popped by, including our very own Peanut in her first City Hall appearance. She was understandably excited, but remained well-behaved.

    That night, we ended a very long day at the Westin St. Francis for the Business of Pride gathering, along with Bay Times Co-Publishers Betty Sullivan and Jennifer Viegas. The evening offered various awards and recognition of LGBTQ+ owned and operated businesses in the Bay Area. Outstanding Voices included Bevan Dufty, Breonna McCree, Jake Stensberg, Maya Setchkova, and Avantha Arachchi. The Selisse Berry Legacy Leader Award went to outspoken Kara Swisher and the Corporate Pride Award to Maya Lowe and 23andMe. Cocktails and an extensive buffet afterwards gave ample time for networking.

    Saturday was the perfect conclusion to our first week of Pride Month with the Pink Triangle Ceremony atop Twin Peaks, attended by a score of elected officials and enthusiastic supporters of Patrick Carney who started and continues to champion this iconic project. Where else can one see from miles around this symbol of hatred and exclusion turned into a powerful statement of joy and inclusion, reminding us all to never forget the past, lest we repeat our mistakes? Stand-out speakers included Juanita MORE! and the Reigning Empress of San Francisco Linda Summers. The ceremony concluded with bottles of pink champagne exploding on Twin Peaks and drenching the pink triangle below.

    Our final event of the week was the CD Release Party for Gypsy Love’s new song at Midnight Sun, produced by Gary Virginia.  The bar was packed with friends and members of Gypsy’s family to celebrate the ongoing success of this much beloved local singer and big-hearted soul, providing a fitting conclusion to the week.

    If, as you read this column, you have been counting exclamation marks, you will realize that we love this time of year and the many events it offers. Consider those punctuation marks representative of our enormous pride in the LGBTQ+ Community, its tremendous and beautiful diversity, and the many individuals who lead the charge. Never take for granted the incredible privilege of living in a place that celebrates all that we are and don’t miss your chance to join in the Parade and Celebration!

    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

    Saturday, June 15
    SF Giants Pride Game
    Oracle Park
    Pride souvenirs for first 20,000 fans
    Pre-Game performances
    Gates: 11:05 am
    Game: 1 pm
    $49 & up

    Saturday, June 15
    True Colors
    Krewe de Kinque SF Pride Benefit
    Midnight Sun, 4067 18th Street
    4–7 pm

    Sunday, June 16
    Broadway Bares SF VII: Filmstrips
    REAF charity strip-a-thon
    Also benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
    1015 Folsom
    7:30 pm
    $50 & up

    Tuesday, June 18
    All We Need Is Love
    SF Gay Men’s Chorus & SF Symphony
    Davies Symphony Hall
    7:30 pm
    $99 & up

    Wednesday, June 19
    Castro Theatre Blade Lighting
    Frameline kickoff with Another Planet
    8 pm

    Donna’s Chronicles
    Published on June 13, 2024