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    Sister Dana Sez, “So we suffered through T-rump’s State of the Union speech.”

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity–

    Sister Dana sez, “So we suffered through T-rump’s State of the Union speech. More like ‘State of the Onion’—because we had to peel away the layers of reality from rhetoric, lies from truisms and pomposity from policy. Also, because peeling onions makes us cry, and I was shedding tears of sadness and anger. I needed more than my usual dose of medicinal cabernet sauvignon to ease the pain!”

    Senator Scott Wiener speaks out against Trump’s made-up emergency. “The President’s declaration of a non-existent ‘state of emergency’ is illegal and an abuse of power. This action is nothing more than a temper tantrum by the President due to his failure to persuade Congress to fund his useless and immoral border wall. The only state of emergency at the border is the human rights violations the Administration is committing against refugees seeking asylum. This unconstitutional abuse of power reflects a President trying to be an autocrat. We live in a constitutional democracy, and this illegal appropriation of funds will not stand. There will be no border wall—period.” Right on, Senator Scott!

    PLAYING DETECTIVE was the stage reading of a new play by Jerry Metzker, directed by Kieran Beccia, at Sparks Art Gallery on February 5. Joey had a one-night stand with a man he met through an app. Then the police showed up, because Joey’s mysterious date, who has vanished into thin air, might be connected to a homicide. Against the advice of his gal pal, Sukie, and hunky roommate, Buck, Joey couldn’t help investigating.

    Every Thursday of the month we get to step through the creativity of THE CASTRO ART WALK on a self-guided tour. February 7 was delightful because it featured my three favorite venues. ART ATTACK, at 2358 Market Street Suite 1, had two of my fave artists’ paintings in grand array. Tracy Piper displayed her loud and proud figures in head shots of vibrant, striking, anything but pastel pieces. Her show, WORTHY, will happen on March 7 there as well. Also at Art Attack is VALIDthe imaginative works of Serge Gay, Jr., with the dramatic use of black and grey and just a touch of gold. My second stop was at DOG EARED BOOKS, 489 Castro, where I saw my dear friend and Cockette star Bill Bowers, with his lovely, unusual mixed media jackets and hangings and such in buttons and beads and feathers (one of which I wished I had been carrying—the handmade purse he made for me with porn stars, Sister Dana, and other nuns in patchwork photos). My last stop was SPARK ARTS, 4229 18th Street, where the theme reflects Black History Month. I especially enjoyed the owner/curator, Aviva Kanoff, with her not quite dry paintings and the amusing warning: “Careful! Wet Paintings! They didn’t wanna miss the party!” Also on display are acrylic on canvas painted head shots by Kate Razo (my pick being “Becoming” of Michelle Obama). A special treat at the reception was rapper Dante aka Taydamada raising the roof. Kanoff said he was her Uber driver who gives rap performances to his clients, so naturally she begged him to come and perform for us. DJ Courtney Helms was spinning lively tunes as we danced for hours. All these venues, plus those listed at the end here are showing art all February.

    STRUT is now exhibiting through the month the series of linocuts by LGBTQ youth entitled QUEER ANCESTORS PROJECT. Strut held a reception on February 9 at their HQ at 470 Castro Street, 3rd floor. Queer and trans emerging artists are Christine Abiba, Samantha Espinoza, Benny Gordon-Murer, Lia, Maya, Fernando Miguel, Sho Nakashima, Nidhi Patel, Shannon Prasad and Queen Sen Sen. Strut Community Organizer Baruch Porras-Hernandez introduced artistic director Katie Gilmartin, who spoke about the Project and how ancestors could be actual people in their lives or famous queer deceased people they identified with or perhaps a cultural influence. Gilmartin then let each artist give a short explanation of their work. My three favorites are “Let Me Be Me,” “Read My Lips,” and “Get the F*** Out!”—and the latter I am pleased to say I got to take home as a print. Live entertainment was provided by Miguel giving a dramatic dance interpretation.

    RAINBOW WORLD FUND, the LGBTQ Humanitarian Aid organization, gave its annual volunteer/donor/supporter party on February 10 at Gough House, a beautiful 1889 Victorian Mansion in Pacific Heights, for libations and hors d’oeuvres. This was an opportunity to meet new people and for RWF Executive Director Jeff Cotter to thank the incredible volunteers, friends, and supporters who have given so freely of their time, energy and financial support this year and in years past.

    A new exhibition opened February 15 with a reception at the GLBT HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM highlighting the extraordinary vitality of queer nightlife in San Francisco’s South of Market district during the darkest years of the AIDS crisis, an era that simultaneously marked the peak of AIDS activism and queer militant organizing in the City. “SOMA NIGHTS: THE QUEER CLUB PHOTOGRAPHY OF MELISSA HAWKINS” focuses on the work of Melissa Hawkins, a young photographer for the San Francisco gay weekly The Sentinel (where I was a staff journalist back in the day) and other publications from 1986 to 1994. Her black-and-white images vividly capture the scene with a combination of frankness and intimacy reflecting her dual roles as journalist and nightlife participant. There are powerful images documenting parties at 177 Townsend, 1015 Folsom, The Eagle, The End Up, The Rawhide and The Stud in SoMa, as well as The Box in the Western Addition. All of which were and are my stomping grounds. Senior Advisor for Public History Gerard Koskovich remarked to me, “This crowd tonight is larger than some of those clubs in the ’90s!” Executive Director Terry Beswick spoke about the museum and its need to expand into larger quarters, and then introduced Hawkins. Co-curated by Hawkins and nightlife historian Marke B., the GLBT Historical Society Museum show features dozens of these never-before-displayed photos, along with memorabilia including flyers, posters and decorative artifacts selected to recreate an indelible moment in San Francisco and queer nightlife history. I did have to offer a correction: the nun in the club was not Sister BoomBoom but rather Sister Luscious Lashes (both of whom are now deceased). This fascinating exhibit will run through May 27.

    “We like BIG BALLS & we cannot lie!” was the theme of KREWE DE KINQUE—bringing Bourbon Street to The Edge for our monthly Beer Bust benefit on February 16. The theme referred to both the big ball necklaces we wear for Mardi Gras and also the big ball we are producing March 2nd. We joined King & Queen XV Gareth Gooch & Miss Chief for a fun show with live and lip-sync entertainment. We raised funds for THE LGBT ASYLUM PROJECT. It was also Voting Day for the next Emperor & Empress of the Imperial Court of SF with a poll in the Castro, which we happily took advantage of. Raffle prizes included tickets to the BAL MASQUE XVI at The Cafe, Saturday, March 2, 6–9:30 pm. “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” No cover, 21 +

    Celebrate FAT TUESDAY on Tuesday, February 28, with SF’s Krewe de Kinque! This annual bar crawl aboard the KDK Party Bus is always a night to remember with elaborate costumes, masks, beads, hurricanes (or a vodka cocktail) on the bus, yummy snacks, Jell-O Shots, authentic music and fun bar stops with photo taking and other shenanigans. (BYOB is allowable; no host at visiting bars.)

    Sister Dana sez, “Happy Lunar New Year: the Year of the Pig! But you don’t have to be a pig to enjoy these upcoming events.”

    THE IMPERIAL COUNCIL OF SAN FRANCISCO, INC., with TMIM Emperor Leandro Gonzales and Empress Pollo Del Mar, invite one and all to CORONATION 54 “UNDER THE SEA” on Saturday, February 23, 5–11 pm at San Francisco Design Center Galleria, 101 Henry Adams Street. Doors at 5 pm and Coronation starts promptly at 6 pm. Tickets and more info available at the Imperial Council SF website:

    Join ACADEMY OF FRIENDS for their 39TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS NIGHT GALA with funds raised benefiting HIV/AIDS services in the San Francisco Bay Area. This year’s Neptune’s Fantasy theme will delight all in typical Academy of Friends’ fashion, and offer a fun way to watch the 2019 Oscars. The venue is the City View Metreon on Oscar Night, Sunday February 24.

    THE BOYS OF BEARLESQUE & MR. FRIENDLY SF present THE WIZARD OF POZ, a theatrical benefit for Mr. Friendly on Tuesday, February 26, at SF Eagle, 398 12th Street. Doors: 7 pm, curtain: 8 pm. 21+, $5–10 sliding donation. Somewhere over the rainbow is a magical place filled with flying puppies, queer nuns, leather lions, bearded queens and unconditional love. We just have to believe that this place exists. This exciting production blurs the lines of theatre, cabaret, drag and burlesque. The night’s events will benefit the Mr. Friendly organization, an international, yet grassroots movement to reduce the stigma of HIV, encourage testing for HIV and improve the quality of life in friendly ways for those living with HIV.

    Senator Scott Wiener and Joseph Abbati (curator) will showcase 27 San Francisco Bay Area artists who identify themselves as part of the Asian diaspora for “EAST ON WEST, with a reception of the exhibit on March 1, 5–7 pm, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 14800, State of California Building. The artwork displayed at “East on West” reflects how artists of Asian origin from the Far East, Southeast Asia, South Asia or the Pacific Islands contribute to enrich the arts and cultural diversity on the West Coast. The work will include painting, mixed media, video, photography, drawing and ceramics. Exhibition dates: March 1–April 26.

    For those who did not catch it the first time, there will be an added screening of sing-along BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY on February 25 at Castro Theatre. They will rock you!  Now my two favorite musicals up for Oscar grabs are Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born, which I recently viewed also at the Castro Theatre. I go gaga over Gaga! And I really love how the Castro has been showing Oscar-nominated films!

    Meet the artist at this opening reception for the exhibition, “IN SEARCH OF THE GLASS SLIPPER: SAN FRANCISCO, 1974” with amazing photographs by Perci Chester focusing on the pre-AIDS era of laissez-faire. Chester is a visual artist known for dynamic sculpture, painting, prints and photographs. Her work explores notions of identity, play and freedom. Reception is Thursday, February 28, 6–7:30 pm, at the Hormel LGBTQIA Center of the Main Library, 100 Larkin Street. The exhibit will be viewable through May 16.

    THE RICHMOND/ERMET AID FOUNDATION (REAF) presents a special One Night Only Benefit Cabaret featuring cast members from the touring cast of the Tony Award-winning musical, HELLO, DOLLY! AN EVENING OF BROADWAY & MORE, with special guest emcee EssEff drag personality Countess Katya Smirnoff-Skyy, on Sunday, March 3, 8 pm at Brava Theater, 2781 24th Street (at York Street).

    Sister Dana sez, “We should still be shuddering upon hearing criminal Trump’s Shame of The Union statement: ‘If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.’ And he added the frightening phrase: ‘ridiculous partisan investigations.’ There is nothing ‘ridiculous’ about the Mueller Investigations, you ignorant thug!”