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News Briefs: Drag queen to hold Polk Street Halloween party

News Editor

Juanita MORE! is ready for Halloween. Photo: MOREboy Isaac
Juanita MORE! is ready for Halloween. Photo: MOREboy Isaac  

Drag queen Juanita MORE! is bringing queer party vibes back to Polk Street for Halloween.

The neighborhood block party will be October 31, from 7 to 10 p.m. on Fern Alley, between Polk and Larkin streets. The Lower Polk Community Benefit District is teaming up with MORE! for the event, which will pay homage to Polk Street as the destination for the queer community years ago, especially on Halloween.

The party will feature live music by IndiviDúo, dancing, food and drink, a costume contest, and a photo booth.

The event is free and open to the public.

Manny's to hold anniversary party
Manny's, the cafe and event space in San Francisco's Mission district, will have its one-year anniversary and election watch party Tuesday, November 5, from 6 to 10 p.m. at 3092 16th Street.

Owner Manny Yekutiel wrote in an email that he is using the milestone event to launch a yearlong push to defeat President Donald Trump.

Honey Mahogany will be serving as hostess for the evening, which will include drink specials, guest speakers from Bay Area civic life, and Trump piñatas. Additionally, representatives from the 2020 Democratic presidential campaigns have been invited to sign up supporters and there will be voter registration cards (English and Spanish).

The evening will double as a watch party for the city's municipal election results and feature political drag, a mock voting booth, and a big physical reveal, the details of which were not available.

The party is free but there is a capacity limit. To register, visit

ALRP marks 36 years with reception
The AIDS Legal Referral Panel will mark 36 years with its annual reception and benefit Thursday, November 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchants Exchange, 465 California Street (at Montgomery) in San Francisco.

Gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman will serve as the host for From the Heart fundraiser, which is expected to draw more than 300 people.

ALRP's mission is dedicated to providing free and low-cost legal services and education to people living with HIV/AIDS in the Bay Area. It relies on nine staff attorneys and a panel of 700 volunteer lawyers, according to its website.

Bill Hirsh, ALRP's executive director, said that panel attorney Connie Hiatt, JD, will receive the Clint Hockenberry Leadership Award in recognition for her years of dedication and support to people living with HIV/AIDS.

ALRP panel attorney John E. Fasesky will receive the organization's Attorney of the Year Award. The law firm Kosinski and Thiagaraj, LLP will receive the Firm of the Year Award.

The reception is a tribute to ALRP's board members, staff, and pro bono panel attorneys who contribute their time and energy to help clients. Hirsh noted that despite a difficult economic climate for HIV/AIDS fundraising and a 66% increase in its caseload over the last 15 years, ALRP continues to provide its services to over 1,500 people living with HIV/AIDS each year.

The food and wine reception will include a silent and live auction, which will feature vacation packages to Palm Springs, Yosemite, and Sonoma; dinner party for 10 with wine pairings at Lolinda; and use of a luxury suite at Oracle Park for a San Francisco Giants baseball game.

Tickets are $100. For tickets and more information, visit

Stonewall Dems hold benefit for trans charities
The East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club will hold a unique fundraiser that benefits charities supporting the transgender community.

Billed as a night where "instead of working for candidates, our elected officials work for us," the Friday, November 8, party will feature East Bay politicos serving as bartenders. The event takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. at Spats Bar, 1974 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley.

Elected officials who are expected to be on hand include state Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, gay Emeryville City Councilman John Bauters, Hayward City Councilwoman Sara Lamnin, Oakland City Councilwoman Lynette McElhaney, bi Piedmont City Councilman Tim Rood, gay San Leandro City Council member Victor Aguilar Jr., and gay Berkeley Rent Board member James Chang.

Attendees' tips will support the following organizations: Kween Culture Initiative, Compton's Transgender Cultural District, TGI Justice Project, House of GG, and the Transgender Law Center.

According to the club, it will match tips dollar for dollar to double the total donation.

To register, visit

Karyn Skultety, third from left, accepted her award from Excelerate board members Dr. Ernest Lewis, left, Edward Dadakis, and J. Alex Sloan, board president and chairman. Photo: Courtesy Openhouse  

Openhouse ED honored
The Excelerate Foundation, a private grant-making organization that supports charities addressing problems and opportunities in American communities, has recognized Openhouse Executive Director Karyn Skultety, Ph.D., with its Leadership Award.

"Excelerate Foundation created this award to recognize outstanding progress and leadership in social change and community development," J. Alex Sloan, the chairman and president of the organization, said in a news release. "We reserve this award for the few who are making a palpable difference in the communities where they live and work, and we feel Karyn Skultety is actually helping change the landscape of LGBT aging in San Francisco."

This is only the second time in 11 years that Excelerate has presented the award, the release noted.

Skultety, who is bisexual, joined Openhouse in 2017 and during her tenure has almost doubled the size of the only organization in Northern California exclusively serving LGBT seniors with housing, housing assistance, social services, and community engagement, the release said. Prior to Openhouse, Skultety served as vice president of health services at the Institute on Aging in San Francisco.

"I am so honored by this recognition from the Excelerate Foundation and for the opportunity to work with Alex and Excelerate's board to build a strong intergenerational community with LGBTQ older adults at its center, and combat ageism wherever it marginalizes seniors and makes them feel invisible," she said in the release.

Skultety accepted the award at Excelerate's recent luncheon. The award comes with a $5,000 prize for the recipient and a $5,000 grant for the organization.

Openhouse fall feast
The aforementioned Openhouse will hold its Fall Feast 2019 for LGBTQ seniors Thursday, November 21, and people can sign up now as it's expected to fill up.

The event takes place at the Green Room in the San Francisco War Memorial, 401 Van Ness Avenue. The venue is fully accessible. The autumnal feast is provided by Mollie Stone's.

There will be two seatings, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and from 4:30 to 6.

The dinner is free but donations are welcome.

People should RSVP to let organizers know which seating they would like to attend. People need to provide their name, contact information, and the names of any guests who will join them.

To reserve a spot, contact (415) 231-5871 or

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