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    Sister Dana Sez: Words of Wisdumb from a Fun Nun

    sisterdSister Dana sez, “After the horrible Charlie Hebdo massacre, I need to quote from Salman Rushdie, who wrote “Satanic Verses:” “Religion, a medieval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam, and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty, and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.”

    The 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION FOR ELEPHANT WALK was hosted by Elephant Walk Founder Fred Rogers and Harvey’s General Manager Steve Porter in the former Elephant Walk Space, now Harvey’s. Rogers opened the Elephant Walk at 500 Castro Street on November 27, 1974. The event commemorated the 40th anniversary of the famous bar with a presentation of photographs and video from back in the ‘70s and ‘80s narrated by San Francisco Bay Times photographer Rink, Fred Rogers, and several former Elephant Walk employees. Cleve Jones was scheduled to speak, but was down with that awful winter cold we are all trying to battle. Among the notable photos were the old Star Pharmacy now Walgreens across the street from the Elephant Walk – where the first notice of a strange disease ravaging gay men was called GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency) later named AIDS; disco diva Sylvester performing for free on Sundays at the Elephant Walk in elegant female attire; lesbian performer/activist Pat Bond; Cleve Jones’ birthday party with Harvey Milk and friends; and the utter destruction of the bar (both inside and out) smashed by riot cops after the White Night Riots brought angry protesters to the Castro. Scrawled on the boarded-up windows was: “Remember May 22, 1979. Never Again!”

    On May 21, 1979, disgraced Supervisor Dan White was convicted of assassinating Supervisor Harvey Milk but only charged with manslaughter. Outraged by the verdict, the community numbering in the thousands marched to City Hall in protest. During the march, some isolated groups smashed windows, set trash cans ablaze, hurled bottles and rocks through windows, and set fire to several police cars. In response to the riots, the San Francisco police started one of their own. They targeted The Elephant Walk and began breaking the windows, damaging the property, and beating the patrons inside the bar in rebuttal to the downtown riots. While the district mourned the loss of their “heart,” they drew on strength from one another to cope with the blow to the community.

    The 40th anniversary festivities were incorporated into a special edition of “Play With Bebe,” the Castro’s longest running trivia night, hosted by local celebrity drag star Bebe Sweetbriar. Bebe’s trivia program for the night was specially 70’s and 80’s themed. My team, Krewe de Kinque, with Gary Virginia scored a miserable five out of ten correct answers. But we still had fun. One of the reasons the Elephant Walk is considered historic is because disco sensation Sylvester used to perform there before becoming an international star in the late 70’s. Therefore, the anniversary celebration included a musical performance by Sylvester cover artist Amoray singing live the diva’s classic “Do You Wanna Funk?” and “(You Make Me Feel) Mighty Real.” Stunning! Comic Marga Gomez reminisced of the old days when her friends used to take acid and enjoy Sylvester’s lively performances. The whole evening was an awesome trip down memory lane!

    ACADEMY OF FRIENDS (AOF) presented their annual TOAST THE NOMINEES AND SHOPPING PARTY sponsored by Sui Generis. This enjoyable evening was hosted by Sui Generis clothiers, 2231 Market & 2265 Market, who generously provided the venue, and is giving back 15% of all sales from now to February 22nd to Academy of Friends. AOF Board Chair Gil Padia told me about the gala theme, A CENTURY OF RADIANCE: CELEBRATING THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PAN PACIFIC EXPOSITION AND THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ACADEMY OF FRIENDS on February 22nd at the SF Design Center Galleria. Vice Chair Matthew Denckla spoke about continued efforts to raise monies for HIV/AIDS services in the San Francisco Bay Area. This year’s beneficiaries include AIDS Legal Referral Panel (ALRP), Huckleberry Youth Programs, HIV/AIDS Nightline, HIV Story Project, LGBTQ Connection, Positive Resource Center (PRC), and Project Open Hand.

    And now for my scathing commentary about the 2015 Oscars: I would call the theme “White Gold” for the mass of white nominees – yet miserably, shockingly lack of black nominees. Go ahead and count ‘em. All I see is for best film, “Selma,” which is my appropriate push on this MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY week.

    However, big congratz for GOLDEN GLOBES giving three teevee series awards of queer importance: Transparent, the show about having a M-T-F father, to the writer whose real life parent is “Fa-Ma,” her father turned mother; also to Transparent to Jeffrey Tambor for his excellent portrayal of same; and to my favorite out and proud actor, Matt Bomer, receiving his riveting supporting actor prize for the ‘80s AIDS docu-drama, The Normal Heart, exposing the truth about the emerging AIDs crisis to both the government and the gay community.

    HBO presented a red carpet sneak peek at the Castro Theatre of the world premiere of season 2 of LOOKING. Looking offers up the unfiltered experiences of three close friends living and loving in modern-day San Francisco. Friendship may bind them, but each is at a markedly different point in his journey: Patrick (Jonathan Groff) is the 29-year-old video game designer getting back into the dating world in the wake of his ex’s engagement; aspiring artist Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez), 31, is questioning the idea of monogamy amid a move to domesticate with his boyfriend; and the group’s oldest member – longtime waiter Dom (Murray Bartlett), 39 – is facing middle age with romantic and professional dreams still unfulfilled.

    The trio’s stories intertwine and unspool dramatically as they search for happiness and intimacy in an age of unparalleled choices – and rights – for gay men. Actual EssEff locations serve as a realistic backdrop for the group’s lives. Rounding out the cast are a bevy of dynamic gay men including Kevin (Russell Tovey), Lynn (Scott Bakula), and Richie (Raul Castillo), as well as a wide-range of supporting characters like Dom’s roommate Doris (Lauren Weedman), Agustín’s boyfriend Frank (O.T. Fagbenle), and Patrick’s co-worker Owen (Andrew Law).

    The IMPERIAL COUNCIL OF SAN FRANCISCO, INC., Reigning Emperor John Paul Soto & Reigning Empress Misty Blue proudly present the ANNUAL IMPERIAL GALA AND PRESENTATIONS OF CANDIDATES. Campaign season for the offices of Emperor & Empress Of San Francisco has officially begun. The ICSF Board of Directors is proud to announce the three candidates vying for your vote on February 7th. The two candidates for Empress are Deena Cartier and Khmera Rouge. The candidate for Emperor is Kevin Lisle. Meet & Greet at Balançoire, 2565 Mission Street. Congratulations, candidates!

    History in the making: SCOTUS to decide on Marriage once and for all! Following its decision last fall to effectively green light same-sex marriage in 11 states, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear six consolidated marriage cases out of Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky this term, with a ruling potentially by June. The Court’s review will take place on a transformed legal landscape, with gay couples being able to marry in 36 states, covering two-thirds of the American people, and with nearly 60 federal and state courts having struck down discriminatory marriage bans in the past two years.

    Virtually every court up until this point, including the 4th, 7th, 9th, and 10th Circuits and a 59% majority of the American people, including Republicans under age 45, support the freedom to marry. Briefs will now be filed on both sides, oral argument will be scheduled, and the Court will likely hand down a decision by this summer, potentially bringing an end to marriage discrimination in the United States. Victory!!!

    MAGNET, the health and wellbeing hub in the Castro, is currently showing WE BLAZE AWAY, which is the art of Felix D’Eon, a series of giclee prints. He is enraptured by various art-historical styles, such as Edwardian fashion and children’s book illustration, golden-era American comics, and Japanese Edo printmaking. In his work, he attempts to make the illusion of antiquity complete, using antique papers and careful research as to costume, set, and style. His goal is perfect verisimilitude. He subverts their “wholesome” image and harnesses their style to a vision of gay love and sensibility. My personal faves are “Love Rocket,” a takeoff on the classic bullet shaped rocket giving the moon a black eye; but we see through a window two men kissing inside with the moon looking on in approval; and “Moon Baby,” with a crescent moon with face making love to an ecstatic man. Check out his full gallery at

    Pornucopia: this week’s flick pick is In the Shadows,

    Sister Dana sez, “The Repugnican attack on Social Security keeps heating up. The new House Budget chair announced that he will propose cuts to Social Security. Then Senator Rand Paul attacked Americans who rely on Social Security disability benefits, many of whom are veterans. Chairman Tom Price, Senator Paul, and everyone they represent should be ashamed of themselves.”