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

We're so glad for GLAAD!

On the Town

TV's gay Judge David Young interviews hot DeMarco Majors at the SF GLAAD Media Awards. Photo: Steven Underhill
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The Imperial Court of San Francisco hosted a reception for Judy Shepard at Harry Denton 's Starlight Room last Friday night, and the plush room overflowed with supporters of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. It has been 10 years since the tragic murder of this young man, and his mother has turned a tragedy into an activist movement to raise awareness of violent hate crimes, and to address the rage behind them. The US House of Representatives recently passed the long-debated hate crimes legislation which includes the LGBT community, and Dan Bernal was at this event representing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Alex Randolph from Mayor Gavin Newsom's office and State Senator Mark Leno were also on hand, with official certificates of recognition for Judy Shepard.

Reigning Emperor Paul Maka Poole and Empress Angelina Josephina Manicotti greeted guests at the door, Executive Chef Jen Biesty and Pastry Chef Tim Nugent presented a variety of edibles, and the attentive staff kept the cocktails flowing. Among the crowd were the B.A.R.'s own Tom Horn, GLAAD President Neil Giuliano, TV's Judge David Young , Juan Barajas, Mark Murphy and David Allyn, Ben and Terry Penn, Richard Sablatura and Norm Claybaugh, Raymond MacKenzie and Matthew Homier , John Hemm, and Lu Conrad. This event represented a new affiliation between the Matthew Shepard Foundation and the International Court System, including courts in over 60 cities in the US, Canada, and Mexico, many of whom will be hosting fundraisers on behalf of this worthy organization. From $10 donations at the door, $100 contributions from host committee members, and a generous grant from the Bob Ross Foundation, the Imperial Court of SF raised over $5,000 that night. Development Director Andrew Tweedie then announced a challenge grant from MillerCoors to match all additional contributions for the next 48 hours. It's amazing what our community can do when we unite behind a cause!

The following night was the 20th annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Hilton Hotel, with over 700 well-heeled guests in attendance. The night began with cocktails and an extensive silent auction, as Hollywood celebrities such as Calpernia Addams, Michelle Clunie, Wilson Cruz , and Suze Orman walked the red carpet for photographs and interviews with the press. Inside the ballroom, auctioneer Lenny Broberg masterfully kicked off the program by raising tens of thousands of dollars with only four live-auction items. The Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing party package alone sold for $22,000! Then Chelsea Handler of TV's Chelsea Lately took over, emceeing the evening with her signature irreverence and humor. The stage overflowed with memorable moments, including musical performances by Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra and the rhapsodic Matt Alber , Mayor Newsom's presentation to Geoff Callan and Mike Shaw for their movie Pursuit of Equality, Oscar-winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black's personal reflections, and Robert Gant 's presentation of the Davidson/Valentini Award to Chad Allen. Yes, this was a star-studded affair! Our table included GLAAD Media Award nominee Darren Perron , a news anchor from Vermont, Phillip Sabbagh, Eric Forbes , Michael Loftis , and Richard Sablatura. Also supporting this great organization were city treasurer Jose Cisneros , Chris Carnes, Jim Hammer, John Lipp, Jim Carroll , Leslie Katz, Walter Leiss, Dr. Jerome Goldstein and Tommy Taylor , Mark Calvano, Joel Goodrich, Xavier Barrera, Nanette Miller , and Gus and Bahya Oumlil-Murad. This was GLAAD President Giuliano's final awards ceremony, since he has announced his departure after five years. Co-chairs Betty Sullivan , Scott Miller, and Troup Coronado deserve accolades for a beautifully orchestrated evening of laughter, tears, and unity.

Don't miss the comedy pairing of Bruce Vilanch and Sharon McNight at the Rrazz Room this weekend. We know they are hilarious separately, so get ready for a laugh-fest when they team up! And on Mon., May 18, Sean Ray presents his eighth annual Cabaret to Fight AIDS, also at the Rrazz Room, with a richly diverse cast of singers, including talented friends and three members of the cast of the hit SF production of Wicked, namely Kendra Kassebaum, Natalie Daradich, and Angel Reda . This humble columnist emcees, and may be convinced to sing a song or two.

Then, next week is nonstop, with AIDS Legal Referral Panel's Advocates Club Thank You Party on Wednesday, the Gay Men's Chorus concert Tune In, Turn Up, Sing Out, with special guest star Joan Baez, at Davies Symphony Hall on Thursday, and The Edge anniversary party all day long on Saturday. Thank, sing, drink, repeat: not a bad mantra!

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