Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Stepping out

On the Town

Burn the Floor cast members Rebecca Sugden, Patrick Helm and Sharna Brugess at the Bubble Lounge. Photo: Steven Underhill
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Last Wednesday, Supervisor Bevan Dufty generously opened up his lovely home for a party to raise funds and awareness for the Harvey Milk Eureka Valley Library renovation. Honored guests included literary superstar Armistead Maupin , celebrated wordsmith Jewelle Gomez , and rapidly rising star Mark Abramson , author of Beach Reading. Also glimpsed among the wine and finger food provided by Lime were Suzan Revah , Rick LeBlanc, Lance Britain, Joanie Juster, and Joe Mack . Several guests credited the large, diverse mix of attendees to Facebook, but we give the Supervisor much of the credit for reaching out successfully to a wide spectrum of the city.

Thursday night a white limousine hosted by Bebe Sweetbriar whisked the willing from the heart of the Castro to Octavia and Market for a raucous dance party at Triple Crown, formerly Octavia Lounge. As we twirled amidst the black dˇcor, dazzling lights, and music from Adrian Taylor, it was hard to believe that Cole Porter had echoed from those same walls a few months ago. Looks like we have a new place to dance, and manager Larry Metzger tells us that the kitchen will provide delicious entrees until Midnight.

Saturday night gave us a chance to see the San Francisco Conservatory of Music's new home on Oak Street. The recently formed Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, led by guest conductor Martin Fraile , delighted the audience with classical music performed with technical expertise, bold interpretation, and subtle nuance. As their name indicates, this group emerged from our LGBT community, and drew the support of familiar faces like Mark Reisbaum , Phil Ruth, Laura Stevens, Mike Proctor, and Trauma Flintstone . The setting and the performance were splendid.

Meanwhile that same night, the new Bar on Church hosted a benefit for AIDS Housing Alliance with performers and Desperate Diva calendar models Estee Longah, Sasha Soprano, Primadonna Reed , Baby Chase, and Anita Fixx. What was once the Transfer is now a high-energy dance club with incredible lighting, unusual wall treatments, generous seating, and many faces familiar from Castro Street. State Senator Mark Leno and Supervisor David Campos dropped by with congratulations. Just a few doors down on Market St., the old new Metro (if you've been keeping up) has yet to find a new name, but was packed with party people. Whether playing pool in the back or loudly celebrating in the front, these were happy people who know how to keep an economic downturn in perspective.

Our weekend concluded with the Imperial Court's Gala at Encore, when the approved candidates for Emperor and Empress are presented and their campaigns begin. Emperor Jacques Michaels and Empress Tiger Lily emceed, providing historical notes about the over 40 reigns of Emperors and Empresses of San Francisco. After much speculation and rumor, the candidates for this year are Paul Maka Poole for Emperor and Angelina Josephina Manicotti for Empress, both with experience in the nonprofit world and within the court system. Our Reigning Emperor Jon Weber and Empress Cher A Little were joined in performances by talented members of the Imperial Family, a bounteous dinner buffet was provided, and the cocktails flowed. We were especially gratified to see visiting members of the SF Ducal Court and the Reigning Emperor and Empress of the Imperial Court of Sacramento. So begins the annual progression up to voting day on Sat., Feb. 21, and Imperial Coronation the following week, an impressive and uninterrupted tradition for 44 years.

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