Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Oscars, Royals, and Niteys

On the Town

The crowning of Reigning Empress Mercedez Monro and Reigning Emperor Nic Hunter at the Imperial Beaux Arts Ball, held at the SF Design Center. photo: Gareth Gooch
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After so much advance promotion of Imperial Coronation, we are happy to announce that Imperial Beaux Arts Ball, A Regal Black and White Costumed Affair was a splendid success!

The theme of this 52nd annual event brought out incredible creativity and the evening was packed with great entertainment, salutes to anniversary monarchs, distribution of over $52,000 to charitable causes, a touching step-down by Emperor Salvador Tovas and Empress Emma Peel, and the thrilling crowning of Reigning Emperor Nic Hunter and Reigning Empress Mercedez Monro. Watch for exciting events, new ideas, and great community outreach from these two!

The Academy of Friends' 37th annual Academy Awards Night Gala, Shanghai Nights, once again proved that a trip to Hollywood is not necessary to enjoy all the glitz and glamour of the Oscars!

The Midway proved to be an incredible setting for a spacious telecast viewing area, extensive bars, awesome food samplings from top restaurants, rooms of silent auction items, and a distinct dance floor area, all festooned with bright orange lanterns and other Asian decor. This year's beneficiaries were Aguilas, AIDS Legal Referral Panel, HIV Nightline, Maitri Compassionate Care, Openhouse, and Spahr Center.

Attendees were as always dressed to the nines, including Reigning Emperor Nic Hunter, Emperor Kevin Lisle, Empresses Khmera Rouge, Patty McGroin, and Emma Peel, Matt Buchanan, Zac Berlik, Ken Henderson & Joe Seiler, Gary Virginia, Prosper restaurant's Bronson Macomber & Angela Denman, Patrik Gallineaux, Skye Paterson, Adam Sandel, Elliott Nathan, Joel Riddell & Robert Moon, George Ridgely, Matthew Deckla, Kylie Minono, Lily Rose, Kitt Tapata, and Jezebel Patel.

Many devotedly watched the awards being presented on multiple screens, reacting with horror as the Best Picture Award calamity threw the stage into disarray; others spent more time swirling through this elegant crowd, bidding on silent auction items, eating and drinking, and awaiting the results of the raffle grand prizes, a Mercedes Benz CLA or a nine-day European cruise courtesy of Celebrity Cruises.

Dancing to the music of Go Bang! lasted well into the night. Although it was a feat of superhuman strength for many to include this event after the craziness of Imperial Weekend and relentless rainy weather, it was a stellar evening, well worth the effort.

The annual Nitey Awards found a fabulous new home at The Armory, showcasing the sprawling, transformed central courtyard that now boasts hardwood floors throughout, state of the art lighting and sound, platform stage with high tech projections, portable bars, and spacious bathrooms.

D'Arcy Drollinger accepts an award for Oasis at the Nitey Awards, held at the Armory.

The energy-packed opening production number featured Perrish, a spot-on Frank Sinatra -style singer, and the colorfully costumed Niteys Dancers. Hostess and well-known radio personality Sterling James then guided us through a series of awards to local performers, venues and experiences, presented by the likes of international recording artist Brian Kent, voluptuous Cassandra Cass, popular D'Arcy Drollinger, television foodie Liam Mayclem, and Entertainment Commissioner Jocelyn Kane with the assistance of the elegant Kenshi Westover.

Responses to winners and also-rans were mixed, as always, but we especially celebrated the victories of Temple SF, BeBe Sweetbriar, Moby Dick, Oasis, and Asiento in the company of Caroline Lund, Leo Frappier, Philip Grasso, Grace Towers, Alex U. Inn, Louie Marco, Au Jus, creator and producer of Sunday's a Drag at the Starlight Room, Michael Pagan, Robert Taylor, and many others.

This slick, professionally produced program had San Francisco's Queen of Nightlife Audrey Joseph's signature all over it. Of particular note was the presentation of the Marquee Award to the Fillmore's reknowned jazz legacy.

A golden Oscar between two patrons of the Academy of Friends gala, held at Midway. photo: Steven Underhill

After the awards presentations, the leaders of San Francisco nightlife gave a moving tribute to internationally recognized and much beloved Sebastien, who died last year. The entire evening was a strong reminder of the importance and vitality of San Francisco's entertainment industry.

The San Francisco Bay Area Leather Alliance Weekend drew crowds of Leather aficionados from all over the country, culminating in an exciting and competitive contest last Saturday night at SOMArts Center.

We co-emceed once again with International Mr. Leather 1992 Lenny Broberg, at the insistence of producer Ray Tilton, who skillfully orchestrated an entertaining event with special recognition of the contest's 35th anniversary. Our colleague, Race Bannon, is sure to have much more detail about this in his Leather column next week, but we want to congratulate outgoing Mr. SF Leather Cody Elkin on a job well done and a very personal and inclusive thank you speech.

Out of the field of six very viable contestants, Mr. SF Leather 2017 is Geoff Millard, representing Daddy's Barbershop and now headed to International Mr. Leather in Chicago in May. If the attendance and enthusiasm at Saturday's contest is any indication, Leather in San Francisco is alive and well.


Donna Sachet (right) announces the unveiling of the Jose Sarria Castro plaque. photo: Gareth Gooch

Upcoming events

Get your tickets now for the Napa Valley Wine Train's Pride Ride next Saturday, March 18, benefiting Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation. You'll enjoy a welcoming reception at the depot, a multi-course gourmet dinner on board the lovingly restored Pullman cars, wine samplings, and after-party with entertainment and dancing, hosted by Daft-nee Gesundheit. Special guest Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims will be on board, as well as this Pride Ride Ambassador and social columnist.

We can't wait for the official grand opening of Openhouse Community at 55 Laguna on Thursday, March 23, from 3-5PM, including the unveiling of the Bob Ross LGBT Senior Center. So many have worked long and hard to bring this dream to reality.

And on Saturday, March 23, we wouldn't miss REAF's My Favorite Things: The Very Best of Paula West with the Adam Shulman Quartet at Marines' Memorial Theater. This accomplished and reknowned jazz singer gives so much of her talent to worthy causes and now offers up an entire evening of her favorite songs, beautifully interpreted as only she can do.

At the end of the month, March 31, we are thrilled to announce that the Oakland Museum of California opens Over the Top, an exhibit of memorabilia from 50 years of the Imperial Court of San Francisco, paired with original works by Los Angeles based artist Math Bass. You'll find details of the opening night reception right here; mark the date now.


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