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    Sister Dana sez, “Be careful not to leap over Leap Year, because this February we add the 29th to the month!”

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity–

    Sister Dana sez, “Be careful not to leap over Leap Year, because this February we add the 29th to the month!”

    Love was in the air at RAINBOW WORLD FUND when we celebrated VALENTINE’S DAY at Gough House, a beautiful 1889 Victorian Mansion in Pacific Heights, for lovely libations, hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Our host was RWF Executive Director Jeff Cotter. The theme of the party was “Cuban,” because we had a very special guest, Elena Schwolsky, who was in San Francisco for the release of her book WAKING IN HAVANA – A Memoir of AIDS and Healing in Cuba. Elena read from her inspirational, evocative, and emotional book and invited questions. She touched on both the history of AIDS first appearing in Cuba when homosexuality was illegal and no medicine was available, and the current policy regarding HIV/AIDS, shelter, and medicine. She and I have a special connection in the dreadful pain of torn rotator cuffs: she had surgery for that years ago, and I had surgery a month ago and am still in a nasty, painful sling. This night was a great opportunity to learn about RWF’s work in Cuba and to meet other people who are working to make the world a better place. Elena gave a dramatic reading of sections from her book. In 1972, when she was a young, divorced, single mother, restless and idealistic, Elena made a decision that changed her life: leaving her eighteen-month-old son with his father, she joined hundreds of other young Americans on a work brigade in Cuba. They spent their days building cinderblock houses for workers and their nights partying and debating politics. The Cuban revolution was young, and so were they. Twenty years later, she was drawn back to this forbidden island, yearning to move out of grief following the death of her husband from AIDS. And the story builds vividly to the present.  

    KREWE DE KINQUE held our fabulous MARDI GRAS MAMBO BENEFIT at the Edge in the Castro on February 15 as a beer bust and New Orleans (Nawlinz) original Creole food fest. This was all about our yearly fundraiser for COMPTON’S TRANSGENDER CULTURAL DISTRICT. As everyone knew that FAT TUESDAY was just 10 days away, we distributed flyers for the BUS CRAWL & THE BAL MASQUE. KDK member Sir Thomas brought scrumptious jambalaya & cornbread. KDK member Erin Lavery was emcee, with Jack Rojo as DJ & sound and Cassie Blythe was at the door replacing the usual KDK Queen VII Sister Dana—stuck behind this wretched, burdensome sling. Lively entertainment was provided by such KDK kings and queens royalty as currently reigning KDK Queen Kelly Rose, past KDK royals King Kippy Marks, Queen Miss Chief/ Mahto Marcus, King John Weber, and King Mark Paladini, to name just a few. Plus, we enjoyed entertainment by running Imperial candidates that day to vote for our next Empress and Emperor, Migitte, Mimi Osa, and William Bulkley 

    San Francisco’s Krewe de Kinque (KDK) Mardi Gras club is gearing up for “DINERS, DIVAS & DIVES,” the theme for BAL MASQUE XVII, to be held at The Café on Saturday, March 7, 6–9:30 pm. Known for its elaborate costumed shows and creative decor, KDK has raised funds to cover production costs, so that 100% of ticket sales and silent auction income will go to Compton’s Transgender Cultural District.

    Founded in 2017, Compton’s Transgender Cultural District is the first legally recognized transgender district in the world, encompassing six blocks in the southeastern Tenderloin area and crossing over Market Street to include two blocks of 6th Street in San Francisco. Its mission is to create an urban environment that fosters the rich history, culture, legacy, and empowerment of transgender people and its deep roots in the southeastern Tenderloin neighborhood. The district aims to stabilize and economically empower the transgender community through ownership of homes, businesses, historic and cultural sites, and safe community spaces. spaces.

    Representatives from the NATIONAL AIDS MEMORIAL and Golden Gate Park’s 150th Year-Long Anniversary Celebration announced on February 18 a major display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in Golden Gate Park in 2020. This is the largest display of the Quilt in San Francisco history. Some of the first truckloads of the nearly 50,000 Quilt panels began arriving to the Bay Area from Atlanta, where the Quilt has been under the care of the NAMES PROJECT FOUNDATION since 2001. The Quilt, in which its first panels were created 33 years ago in San Francisco at the height of the AIDS epidemic to remember the names and lives of loved ones they feared history would forget, is being relocated to San Francisco under the care of the National AIDS Memorial, which is located in the heart of Golden Gate Park. Speaking at this auspicious event were John Cunningham, Executive Director, National AIDS Memorial; Phil Ginsburg, General Manager, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department; Cleve Jones, Mike Smith & Gert McMullin, founders of the AIDS Memorial Quilt; and Rafael Mandelman, San Francisco Supervisor, District 8.

    Sister Dana sez, “DarnOld Trump’s latest Presidential budget, like every other budget his White House has released, includes massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. And yet, he has been explicitly lying to the American people, claiming in his State of the Union address and elsewhere that he will never cut Social Security and Medicare. Liar, liar, pants on fire!”

    On February 18, Mayor London Breed celebrated 50 years of LGBTQ Pride and kicked off the 2020 festivities with a press conference at San Francisco City Hall, along with Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, San Francisco Pride, the Office of Transgender Initiatives, and City officials. San Francisco Pride and community partners are planning anniversary events throughout 2020, culminating in SAN FRANCISCO’S PRIDE CELEBRATION AND PARADE (“Generations of Hope”) in latter June. More than a million people are expected to join the celebrations.

    We truly “Let the Good Times ROLL” (as they say in New Orleans) with San Francisco’s KREWE DE KINQUE Mardi Gras charitable club rolling on FAT TUESDAY, February 25, on a luxury bus loaded with libations, snacks, music & beads! We kicked off the party at The Edge bar with great Happy Hour drink specials. Then we boarded the bus at 7 pm to celebrate at Trax bar in the Haight. Next we headed to Aunt Charlie’s Lounge in the Tenderloin to make a surprise bar stop before de-boarding at the fabulous 440 Castro for a blowout closing party until 2 am. At each bar we had special live entertainment (and, of course, drunken singing on the bus all along the way). Naturally, costumes, masks, beads, leather/fetish, drag attire were all encouraged! Well, how else would one properly celebrate Mardi Gras!?

     Sister Dana sez, “It’s getting ugly out there in the Democratic Presidential debates! Two candidates who have shied away from direct conflict in past debates, Senator Warren and former Vice President Biden, mounted a sort of tag-team onslaught on February 19 against Mr. Bloomberg—several times leaving him visibly annoyed and straining to respond.”

    I came to Central Perk to hang out with all of my favorite Friends! By “friends,” I mean classic TV sit-com’s Friends—Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey. And that annoying Janice. You can see them in FRIENDS LIVE on the Oasis stage performing two brand new parodies of our favorite episodes, such as the “friend bracelet” one. Hilarious! It is playing now through March 13 at 298 11th Street, 7 pm Thursdays and Fridays. Sing with me the title tune: “I’ll be there for you.” And as Joey would say, “How YOU doin’?”

    A group of unemployed steel workers go THE FULL MONTY in this hit Broadway musical inspired by the Oscar-nominated film. In this Americanized stage adaptation written by Terrence McNally and David Yazbek, six men decide to raise some much-needed cash by staging a striptease act. But as they aren’t exactly your typical beefcakes, what they end up creating is the most unforgettable display of pale, flabby flesh that their blue-collar town has ever seen—all while conquering their inner demons, improving their self-esteem, and learning some important lessons about friendship. Now through March 15 at Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th Street.

    On Saturday, February 29, at 2 pm, March to Remember and Reignite Hope in The Castro District will assemble LGBTQ leaders, neighborhood organizations, historians, activists, and community members at Harvey Milk Plaza and will march through the Castro, laying black wreaths at the sites of shuttered queer spaces in the historic LGBTQ district. Participants will call on elected officials, foundations, and philanthropists, venture capitalists as well as residents and lovers of San Francisco, to both commemorate the City’s LGBTQ vibrant past and to inspire a brighter future. Hosts include Juanita MORE!, Cleve Jones, Ken Jones, GLBT Historical Society, The SF LGBT Center, D8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, and Castro Cultural District.

    The Castro Farmers’ Market Grand Opening is on Wednesday March 11, with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5 pm. The Market, located on Noe Street between 16th and Beaver Streets, will be open 4 to 8 pm Wednesdays through November 18.

    Sister Dana sez, “Post-impeachment, Trump has declared himself the ‘chief law enforcement officer’ of America. So apparently it is now okay to be ‘above the law.’ On happier news, A.G. Barr is considering quitting over the president’s tweets about Justice Dept. investigations!”

     Published on February 27, 2020