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    Sister Dana sez, “So now that Gay Pride Month is over, are we supposed to return to Gay Shame?”

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity–

    Sister Dana sez, “So now that Gay Pride Month is over, are we supposed to return to Gay Shame? Aw hell no! Gay Pride is every month, 24/7 nonstop forever and ever!”

    LGBT PRIDE PARADE was a dazzling success again this year. The Parade Committee has said that with attendees’ donations at the gates and elsewhere this year, they will most likely reach the Three Million Dollar milestone in their donations back to Bay Area nonprofit organizations. And they are already looking forward to San Francisco Pride 2019—when we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the STONEWALL UPRISING. By the way, I want to thank the glorious crowd for returning my air kisses, peace signs, and thumbs-up approval as I proudly rode atop the San Francisco Bay Times bus as a rainbow nun in the Parade. The love was truly mutual!

    THE VINE, a very queer/queer-friendly church at Grace Cathedral, presented SISTER ACT SING-ALONG PRIDE MASS on the Wednesday before Pride Weekend. We had over 800 folks singing and dancing to such Sister Act movie faves as “I Will Follow Him,” “Oh Happy Day,” and “Joyful, Joyful,” among others. I got to stand at the pulpit in my nun’s habit and say out loud, “We pray that our community continues to grow as we embrace the beautiful complexities of our diverse family. May love always win.” Amen! After the service everyone ate yummy rainbow Pride cake. What a powerful evening!

    THE SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE presented their fundraiser, PRIDE BACKSTAGE: LIGHTS, CAMERA, FASHION! on the Friday before the Parade, June 22, at the Bespoke event space in the Westfield Mall. There was delicious food and an open bar. Activities included a makeup and nail beauty setup from Bloomingdales, photo booth, a popup booth with GLAAD logo merchandise, a raffle of a prospected hotel stay, karaoke, and music. They also played SPI video/photos on several giant video screens. It was a great way to prepare for the upcoming Parade.

    The rights and existence of transgender people have been more intensely under attack since the election, so it was even more critical that activists gathered this year to fight back, resist, celebrate and create community. The mission of the SAN FRANCISCO TRANS MARCH hosted by TRANS MARCH is to inspire all trans and gender non-conforming people to realize a world where transgender people are safe, loved and empowered. They strive to create a space for our diverse communities to unite and achieve the social justice and equality that each of us deserves. This year the March started off in Dolores Park on June 22 at noon with dozens of inspirational speakers. The event lasted all day with plenty of activities and parties.

    On Pride Weekend, we celebrated at the Nourse Theater with the SAN FRANCISCO GAY MEN’S CHORUS and a brand-new world premiere musical “UNBREAKABLE.” Composed by and starring Broadway legend Andrew Lippa, “Unbreakable” chronicled the untold stories of our community and beautifully wove together LGBTQ history from the last 120 years. The 250-member San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus was joined by stars Andrew Lippa, internationally acclaimed soprano Lisa Vroman, Broadway’s Britney Coleman, rising San Francisco tenor Marcus Paige, and an exquisite chamber ensemble. “Unbreakable” was drawn from real-life stories of struggle, turmoil, and prevailing courage. Weaving together themes of awareness, activism, and hope, this groundbreaking new work raised their voices in ways never before heard. As the slogan goes, “We may bend, but together, we are Unbreakable.”

    And on June 25, in front of approximately 2,400 concertgoers, Dr. Tim Seelig, Artistic Director of the SAN FRANCISCO GAY MEN’S CHORUS (SFGMC), served as guest conductor at the MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR AND ORCHESTRA at Temple Square concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. Seelig stepped onto the conductor’s podium to lead the Choir and Orchestra in the encore number, “This Land Is Your Land.” The Choir traditionally invites a guest conductor who is well known to the community—from musicians and government officials to religious leaders and celebrities—at each of its concert stops. Kudos to Dr. Tim! (See cover and pages 12–13.)

    FRAMELINE42 celebrated another successful year of outstanding LGBTQ film and media, following a terrific Closing Night (after the Parade) screening of the documentary STUDIO 54, as performances from San Francisco legend Heklina and the Festival’s annual awards took the stage at Oasis Nightclub. With attendance numbers over 62,000, Frameline42 saw 11 days of sold-out screenings, lively parties, social events, invigorating panels, and an array of special guests. The Festival’s 153 films (52% directed or co-directed by women), presented through five venues in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland, were met with thunderous applause and meaningful dialogue amongst the LGBTQ, independent film and media arts communities. Frameline’s mission is to change the world through the power of queer cinema. Hooray for Gay Film!

    SPARK ARTS in the Castro held an artist’s reception at their studio at 4229 18th Street on July 5 for an evening of modern art acrylic on canvas paintings by Alice Desert, jazz by Ruth Asawa School of The Arts “Take The Room,” and handmade chocolate truffles by the neighbors, The Truffle Shop. Then we took off for the local Castro DOG-EARED BOOKS to enjoy a huge silver multi-media piece of Madonna in glass, mirror shards and photo equipment. Just stunning!

    ART SAVES LIVES lives on! I am both sad and angry that ART SAVES LIVES Studio, Gallery and Performance space at 518A Castro Street has closed by eviction of landlord. The manager and curator, well known artist Thomasina DeMaio, did an awesome job, activating the front area of the AHF Clinic storefront—offering models for art classes, wall space for artists’ works to hang, live performance by local talent and lovely parties free of charge to the community. For now, SPARK ARTS at 4229 18th Street is hosting Thomasina’s art classes Saturdays 1 to 4 pm. And plans are being made to have regular art receptions at HARVEY MILK PHOTO CENTER in the future. Thomasina is eventually turning the 518A Castro studio over to THE ARC for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to display their art as she clears out her studio. Thomasina said co-renter AIDS HEALTH FOUNDATION (AHF) has been extremely supportive. If you have a venue to offer or a need to display your talent, you are encouraged to contact Thomasina at

    For the month of July, STRUT, the Castro center for health and wellbeing for gay/bi men, is exhibiting the work of Katie Morton. On July 6, a reception was held. We learned that her story is both sad and encouraging. She confessed, “My work has always been about fear, confinement, and the emotional and physical violence of society. I am a queer artist, but for many years I have been making paintings about my physical surroundings, too afraid to make personal art about my queer experience. I was scared to make images of powerful naked bodies, of violent sexuality, of sexual violence. I was scared that my parents would see. Or that my extended family would see. Or that my friends would see. Or that anyone would see. I was scared to tell people that I had sex with women, had relationships with women. I didn’t know what would happen, but I was scared. Too scared to make that art.” But, she added, “This past year, I have finally started a series of work about the in-the-closet relationships that shaped who I am today. My recent drawings explore loss, sexuality and identity, often through feminist reinterpretations of canonical mythology and through dark humor. This series of work is part of my struggle to achieve honesty and authenticity in a world that is hostile to my reality. Rather than keep my work separate from my gender identity and queer relationships, I’m pushing back against that denial and fighting repression.” Two of her pieces stand out for me. Her “20/20” speaks to me as an ironic expression of a figure surrounded by many, many eyeballs but with no face to see them, so 20/20 vision is not enjoyed. But is it still felt? Morton’s second piece tells the story of an ancient god who wants to rape “Daphne,” but when she calls out to her friendly river god, he saves her by turning her into a tree. #metootree?

    Then on July 7, STRUT featured the art of Serge GayJr., in his show titled “BY THE RULES.” This show is part of Strut’s seasonal art series, separate from their monthly art shows. Serge Gay’s recent work speaks for the communities who are different, out of the norm or don’t feel equal in this world. “By the Rules” explores contemporary issues and stories people don’t talk about in the art field—things that get pushed under the rug. This Seasonal Art Show is on the first and third floors, bringing an artist into their space for an entire season. He said, “Finding out that no matter how hard you work or talented you are, some people will never find you as their equal, or see you as ‘less than.’ Knowing that you’re always going to be fighting and proving people wrong. That is the perspective I want to showcase in my work to the world. The dialogues I’m trying to show in my work are current event issues or stories people don’t talk about in the art field, things that get pushed under the rug. Seems like recently the reoccurring themes is politics and stories on self-exploring and finding one’s self. From other peoples, to my own behavior, trying to fit in or be accepted for being different in a world of unaccepted moral philosophies.” He elaborates, “Like the saying of the Golden Rule and how it relates to a fundamental human nature that is lacking in our system, I find that message enlightening. Recently I discovered that my work is a diary. This overview timeline of all my life’s experiences and the journeys that I’ve seen or felt strongly about at that moment of time. So therefore, I love to create that world for people to see visually and to be touched in some kind of way or relate to. That’s the only way I can let people understand who I really am as a person.”

    One of my faves is “Safe Space,” depicting an area where it is safe to be who you are—be it a same-sex trio embracing, a very large drag queen lounging in the nude or a guy dressed as a bunny. My second favorite is “Don’t Shoot,” with all of these black hands raised in the air around a pair of hands in cuffs with an ominous figure possibly representing death overhead.

    Sister Dana sez, “You absolutely must check out the HBO documentary, “BELIEVER,” about Dan Reynolds of IMAGINE DRAGONS, including openly gay Tyler Glenn of NEON TREES. It’s the heart-wrenching story of the “LOVELOUD” concert to embrace gay Mormons that benefits THE TREVOR PROJECT, GLAAD, and other orgs addressing gay youth suicide. (

    “Oh, and there are all of these other July events!”

    Cheer on the SF GIANTS with KREWE DE KINQUE Mardi Gras club at The Edge bar in the Castro on Saturday July 21, 4–7 pm! The tailgate pep rally starts at 4 pm with an optional $10 Bottomless Beer & Soda Bust with a plate of picnic goodies (Hot Dogs, Baked Beans, Mac n Cheese) until 7 pm. We’ll have lots of fun raffle prizes including SF Giants memorabilia, wine, vodka, etc. And a great show, Jell-O Shots & Edge Drink Specials. Get your ORANGE & BLACK gear on as the Giants take on the Oakland A’s (game in Oakland) at 6:05 pm; the game will be on the TVs at The Edge.

    Sister Dana sez, “We just got extremely unethical Pruitt, the biggest alligator in Trump’s swamp, to resign. The campaign to get a better EPA Administrator starts right now. You can bet that Trump has someone terrible in mind for the EPA. We can’t let that happen!”

    REAF’S ONE NIGHT ONLY benefit cabaret with the Broadway touring cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s newest musical based on the film by the same name, SCHOOL OF ROCK! is on July 16. Cast members from this hit Broadway show will be singing and dancing and rocking and rolling at Brava Theater on 24th Street. The kids will be rocking and the adults in the show will be singing more Broadway and pop songs in this sure-to-be high energy fun. Special guest American Idol alum and recording star David Hernandez will be joining the cast. Proceeds from this event will benefit REAF and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Tickets range from $35 to $65 with $65 tickets including the after-party with the cast featuring wine tastings, Ketel One cocktails and lite bites.

    Tony Award-Winning SAN FRANCISCO MIME TROUPE is now presenting their 59th season with SEEING RED: A TIME-TRAVELING MUSICAL now through September 9. A disillusioned Trump voter travels back in time to 1912, when her town was a hotbed of the American Socialist party, and realizes that she may have more in common with those blue-state progressives than she previously thought. All park shows are free and open to the public, running throughout the Bay Area in SF, the North Bay, East Bay, Peninsula, Sacramento, Davis, Nevada City, Merced, Santa Cruz, Petaluma, Ukiah and Northern CA. For a complete schedule and more information, call 415-285-1717 or browse

    COMFORT & JOY warmly invites you on July 21, noon to six, to the third annual PLAYA IN THE GROVE, a free fabulous afternoon of art, music, connection, and other festivities in partnership with the NATIONAL AIDS MEMORIAL GROVE for this celebration of our amazing queer community, both in the Bay and at Burning Man, and we feel the sacred Memorial Grove is the perfect magical space to revel and relax in as we honor our past and envision our future. In the collaborative community spirit, the event will also host a delicious POTLUCK, so please bring FINGER FOOD (no utensils) to share, as well as your own libations (BYOB), blankets, park fun (flagging, hoops, massage oil, etc) and love. Water, ice and cups will be provided.

    Sister Dana sez, “All this uproar about how protesters are not being civil makes me think that deserving civility only applies when one is civil in the first place. And I will quote former President Bill Clinton: ‘It’s hard to pour poison down other people’s throats and not have some of it come back up and bubble up!'”