Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 49 / 7 December 2017
 

Music of the nightlife

On the Town


Fun on wheels aboard the Pride Wine Train with Simon P, Donna Sachet, PA Rep. Brian Sims, Daft-nee Gesuntheit and Adam Boyles.
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Crescendo is the annual fundraiser for the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, especially important this year as the chorus embarks on their Lavender Pen Tour, a regional trip through the Southern states in October, spreading their message of hope, inclusion, and brotherhood through song. They will be joined by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir.

This Crescendo eclipsed all others with a presentation and polish reminiscent of the fabulous galas of HRC and GLAAD. The setting was the elegant Ritz-Carlton Hotel, beginning with a VIP cocktail hour, drawing hundreds of loyal chorus fans, surrounded by tempting silent auction items. Once inside the ballroom, Michael Tate and Artistic Director Tim Seelig of the chorus welcomed everyone and media personality Wilson Cruz and RuPaul 's Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon emceed the night.

We sat with the ever-engaging Leah Garchik of the SF Chronicle and her delightfully droll husband Jerry Garchik. As always, half the fun was catching up with friends in the crowd, including Dan Joraanstad & Bob Hermann, Mario Diaz, Paul Saccone, Brian Kent, Steve Gallagher, Gregory Marks, and many others.

Entertainment was provided by members of SFGMC and country music artist and ground-breaking LGBTQ rights advocate Chely Wright, who also shared her very touching personal story. As if the huge crowd was not enough to guarantee significant fund-raising, a silent auction by Michael Tate of several tantalizing packages netted tens of thousands in generous bids.

As dinner was served, various awards and recognitions were presented, most incredibly to award-winning comedian Kathy Griffin, who delivered the expected comic relief, but then turned serious and challenged our community and the chorus to stay the course and keep up the fight in this trying political climate. She specifically named California elected officials needing our continued support, including U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and Mayor Ed Lee.

Yes, the evening ran long, but few were restless as moment after moment and speech after speech captured the revolutionary spirit of this pioneering choral group and their many supporters. Needless to say, the SFGMC has a brand new Crescendo, envisioned and produced by Executive Director Chris Verdugo, and it was a tremendous success!

Don't miss their upcoming concert Paradise Found at Herbst Theatre, March 30-31 and April 1. They promise "sublime music, dreamscapes, and ethereal beauty;" what more could one want?

        

Honorees and speakers at the SF Gay Men's Chorus Crescendo gala included Kathy Griffin, Wilson Cruz and Chely Wright. photos: Steven Underhill

Gaymes, trains and upcoming events

Looking for something new to do on a Wednesday night, we popped into the Imperial Court's Golden Gate Gaymes Night at Outlook last week and found a jovial group of people eating, drinking, socializing, and playing a rousing game of 21. Current Mr. Golden Gate Mr. Bill and Miss Golden Gate Mimi Osa greeted each attendee and made sure all felt welcome. Check it out on the third Wednesday of each month, 7-9PM, always with a new game and a batch of good-hearted players.

Last Saturday, we boarded a luxury bus in the Castro with Sister Roma, Ken Henderson & Joe Seiler, Patrik Gallineaux, Skye Paterson, Thomas Ray, Sister Dana van Iquity, Kevin Shanahan & Michael Montoya, and others to head north for Pride Ride, an annual benefit for Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train.

After a boisterous ride, we were greeted at the depot by Cheryl Stotler and hundreds of other travelers, including Richard & Terry Asten Bennett of Cliff's Variety in the Castro, Tim Seelig & Dan England, Greg Bjornstaad, John Newmeyer, and special guest Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims. We then boarded the beautifully restored Pullman cars to dine on a gourmet dinner, sample various wines, and generally enjoy travel by rail, viewing various wineries along the way and the lush scenery of Napa Valley.

A happy and full group returned to the depot for a send-off show starring Daft-nee Gesuntheit and her gogo boys, with dancing for all, before re-boarding the bus to return to the City. We highly recommend this unique experience. It is truly a relaxed trip, offering time to spend with friends, and benefits a great organization. Watch for announcements of next year's Pride Ride.

Brian Kent's Q-Tea monthly tea dance at Q-Bar in the Castro is growing into a must-attend event. This past Sunday attracted a handsome batch of smiling men and women, dancing to Brian's and Phillip Grasso's crowd-pleasing DJ skills. On the third Sunday of every month from 4-7PM, dance your heart out at Q-Bar.

Members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus sang at their Crescendo gala benefit, held at the Ritz-Carlton. photo: Steven Underhill

And if Brian's successful ventures about town are any indication, Jungle, produced by Audrey Joseph and him at the Armory on the Saturday of SF Pride, June 24, will be the party to attend! Check out the promotional video online. Advanced tickets are rumored to be hard to find, but don't miss the opportunity to experience an event that will be talked about for years to come.

Speaking of Pride, we congratulate recently announced Grand Marshals of the Pride Parade Chris Carnes, Alex U. Inn, and the SF Gay Men's Chorus! Yes, Pride must be right around the corner.

Closer on the calendar is this Saturday's 8PM performance at Marines' Memorial Theatre by the incredible Paula West, benefiting Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation. We are so fortunate to have such a gorgeous voice and presence with us here in San Francisco; don't miss her concert, My Favorite Things: The Very Best of Paula West with the Adam Shulman Quartet.

The following Friday, March 31, is the long-awaited opening night premiere of Over the Top: Math Bass & the Imperial Court of San Francisco at the Oakland Museum of California. This exclusive exhibit shows original works by Los Angeles artist Math Bass alongside 51 years of historic paraphernalia from the Imperial Court of San Francisco, started by Jose Sarria and now spanning the continent with nearly 70 chapters in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Court is rumored to be sending a large contingent dressed to the nines for the occasion. The exhibit remains through July.

Mr SF Leather Geoff Millard at Golden Gate Gaymes Night at Outlook. photo: Leather Alliance

On Tuesday, April 4, please join us at Davies Symphony Hall for Symphony Pride, featuring works by LGBTQ musical creators and the talents of Tony Award winning Audra McDonald.

This event became possible after the Symphony cancelled plans to perform in LGBT repressive North Carolina and will benefit Larkin Street Youth Services, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, SF LGBT Community Center, and the Trevor Project. We heartily applaud Michael Tilson Thomas and the Symphony on their bold decision to protest North Carolina and to bolster San Francisco's LGBTQ Community.

And on Thursday, April 6, we wouldn't miss the Bay Area Reporter's Best of the Bay celebration at Oasis at 6PM. Meet the nominees and winners in a host of categories while snacking and drinking with your friends. Who won? Who didn't? Who will be bitter? Who won't? Come and see for yourself!

A little further out, but important to remember is the LGBT Community Center's Soiree on Saturday, April 8, 5PM-midnight at Terra Gallery, featuring entertainment by the inimitable Juanita More! The following morning at 11AM, we'll cut the ribbon to the recently remodeled and revamped Center, ready for new challenges and new opportunities.

Sunday, April 9, Reigning Emperor Nic Hunter and Reigning Empress Mercedez Monro invite you to Investiture, the official beginning of another historic reign of fund-raising, party-hosting, and community building. Details will appear in this column as soon as they are confirmed.






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