On the Town :: Publishing, Protests and Parties
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We hope our loyal readers emerged from the recent record-breaking heat wave unscathed and ready to pore over our latest column! Don't lose sight of the fact that most of our year in San Francisco, we are wrapped in temperate weather without extremes of hot or cold; September is usually the exception and we only swelter momentarily.
The City opened its arms wide to welcome home photographer Daniel Nicoletta who now lives outside of Portland and recently released a sumptuous book titled "LBGT: San Francisco: The Daniel Nicoletta Photographs." Dan was not only a close friend of Harvey Milk, but also became a beloved member of our community, passionately photographing events big and small with a particular emphasis on those individuals who are non-traditional in appearance.
First, we attended his slideshow and remarks given at Koret Auditorium in the Main Library in Civic Center, packed to the rafters with well-wishers. As he shared the background of many of the photographs within the book, he welcomed confirmations and clarifications from contemporaries in the crowd.
Afterwards, the convivial Juanita More! hosted a reception in the Green Room of the War Memorial Building. This is where Dan's friends from nearly four decades had the chance to reunite, including Joey Cain, Marc Huestis, Dulce de Leche, Marga Gomez, Birdie Bob Watt, Allen Sawyer, Strange de Jim, Robert Potter, Christopher Vasquez, and Juanita's friends from The House of More! staffing the bar and overseeing the party.
Hanging in the air were the eerie presences of the late Sylvester, Divine, Wayne Friday, Gilbert Baker, Jose Sarria, Arturo Galster, and so many more. The photographer, seated behind a table, dedicated his time to autographing books for patient fans. Be sure to get your copy of this beautiful book full of historic photographs with a thorough and enlightening forward written by Chuck Mobley.
The following night, we joined Stoli National LGBT Ambassador and good friend Patrik Gallineaux for Carnal Productions' "Drag Queens on Ice: Bed Time Stories" at the Victoria Theater. Carnie Asada welcomed a small, but exuberant crowd with couple of songs and interactive shenanigans as free-flowing cocktails relaxed everyone.
The show featured - get ready - yes, drag queens skating on a manufactured indoor faux-ice rink, including Paju Munro, Tara Lipsyncki, and a company of other skilled skaters. Princess Chris-tea guided us through a loose story line, augmented by BeBe Sweetbriar and Mercedez Munro, all singing live and featuring frequent glamorous costume changes. The cleverly rewritten lyrics were hilarious!
Regrettably, we cannot send you to a performance, since this was a limited two-night run, but keep your eyes peeled for future Carnal Productions events and prepare to be entertained.
The rest of our weekend is a blur of memories, all centered around the incredibly empowering response to the announced demonstration by groups tied to intolerance, racism, and hatred anathema to San Francisco.
Alex U. Inn rouses the crowd with a passionate speech at Come Together, a Rally and March for Equality Rally, organized by Juanita More! photo: Gooch
The rally at Harvey Milk Plaza organized by Juanita More! was crowded with hundreds of people and speaker after speaker unified in their resolve to champion love and diversity over hate and discrimination. Standing on the makeshift stage atop a truck with Juanita, Honey Mahogany, Mercedez Munro is a powerful image we shall never forget.
Hundreds became thousands as we wound down Market Street with participants at other nearby rallies, eventually flowing into the larger rally organized by Audrey Joseph and Brian Kent in front of City Hall, where music and speakers continued to inspire and unite. Afterwards, a drink at nearby Emperor Norton's Booze Joint seemed the perfect end to the day.
Our Fall social season is now fully underway with the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club gala tonight and Opening Night of the San Francisco Opera on Friday, featuring Giacomo Puccini's "Turandot." We'll be on the dapper arm of Richard Sablatura once again and look forward to sharing the evening with you in our next column.
Saturday is "Flagging in the Park" at the AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park, 1-4 pm, with DJ Steve Sherwood benefiting GLAAD. What a great way to enjoy a San Francisco summer day with friends surrounded by swirling color and smiling dancers!
Also that day, the Reigning Emperor Nic Hunter and Reigning Empress Mercedez Munro invite you to the annual Golden Gate Games in Collingwood Park, 11 am - 3 pm, where the Imperials let their hair down (or take it off) and enjoy old-fashioned outdoor activities.
The fun continues at Beaux, 4-7 pm, with the "Bon Appetit" finale where bidders engage in the final battle to win a three-course dinner in your own home catered by prominent Imperials. This is a new event envisioned by the Reigning Monarchs, already eliciting brisk online bidding and benefiting Meals on Wheels San Francisco. The menus look delicious and the dinner party possibilities are unimaginable!
The following Friday, September 15, we heartily encourage you to head to Feinstein's at the Nikko to see and hear an amazing operatic soprano, Lisa Vroman, perhaps best known for her years playing Christine in "The Phantom of the Opera," plus her periodic appearances here in support of various charitable causes. Don't miss this lovely lady with the voice and the heart of an angel.