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On the Town: Pets, Plans, and Parties

by Donna Sachet

Patrons and their pooches at the 2017 'Petchitecture' at the Fairmont Hotel. Dede Wilsey and Memphis; Tal Tamir and Samantha; Mark Vincent, Audrey Pouligny and a cute poodle.
Patrons and their pooches at the 2017 'Petchitecture' at the Fairmont Hotel. Dede Wilsey and Memphis; Tal Tamir and Samantha; Mark Vincent, Audrey Pouligny and a cute poodle.  (Source:Rich Stadtmiller)

Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) celebrated 30 years of continuous care for pets and their sick, disabled, or otherwise homebound caretakers with "Petchitecture at the Fairmont Hotel." Once again, the sounds of barking blended with adult conversation as hundreds of supporters gathered for an elegant cocktail hour, buffet dinner, and program, emceed by State Senator Scott Wiener.

We happily socialized with John Lipp & Peter Lunny, Jerome Goldstein & Tommy Taylor, John Carillo, the Reigning Emperor Nic Hunter and Reigning Empress Mercedez Monro, Reigning Grand Duke Peter Griggs and Reigning Grand Duchess Migitte Nielsen, and many others before joining our table seated with Lenny Broberg & Paul Maluchnik.

In addition to an extensive silent auction, on display were several imaginative pet habitats, designed by architects and others and available to the highest bidder.

The program began with a rousing performance by members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. Lenny then did a fabulous job with several auction packages, assisted by spotters from Cheer SF, raising thousands of dollars within minutes, and getting the whole room involved in a spirited "fund a need" auction ranging from $100 to $10,000.

Executive Director Kaushik Roy's remarks were well-received, as always. Some may not know that Kaushik began as a volunteer for Shanti, then a staff member, and now its Executive Director. The recent merger between this organization and well respected Shanti seems to be successful for all involved, as demonstrated by professionally produced videos shown throughout the evening.

Longtime patron Dede Wilsey presented the Champion of the Human-Animal Bond Award, named after her last year, to the PAWS volunteer veterinarians, accepted by our friend Ken Gorczyca and two others with emotional and heartfelt speeches.

It's a Cinch

That fundraiser we mentioned in our last column benefiting Planned Parenthood at The Cinch last Saturday turned out to be quite successful. As we soon found out, it was the idea of Erin Doran, celebrating her birthday with friends at a fun bar while raising dollars for a charitable group near to her heart.

At the end of the afternoon, full of raffle prizes, Jello shots, and just wholehearted generosity, $2635 had been raised for Planned Parenthood! Not surprisingly, our dear friend and all-around community activist Suzan Revah was on hand and helped us to loosen up the raffle ticket seller by relieving him of his t-shirt. Congratulations all!

After that, we joined the Imperial Court for a monthly fundraiser at Beaux and then a leisurely bar crawl that included The Mix, Midnight Sun, Toad Hall, and The Edge. When the weather cooperates, one can pop into multiple events!

With so many ways to mark Mothers' Day, we were thrilled to welcome nearly 100 people to Sunday's a Drag at The Starlight Room for a special show. Attendees enjoyed a sumptuous brunch buffet followed by a dazzling drag show with performers Lady Tia, Mahlae, and guest star Saki, emceed by this humble columnist.

Young and old, male and female, straight and gay, this audience was ready to be entertained and happy to celebrate with the many Mothers present. Everyone left with a souvenir photo of the day with the cast. More than anything else, we continue to be amazed and tremendously satisfied that audiences of all kinds can be won over to drag as entertainment. Fears, confusion, and even judgement give way to smiles, laughter, and acceptance.

Upcoming Events

We are approaching one very busy, long weekend!

This Saturday, May 20, at noon, head to Jane Warner Plaza for "Live in the Castro." We'll be emceeing the outdooor afternoon, sponsored by the Castro Community Benefit District, featuring entertainment from extraordinary violinist Kippy Marks and the Castro Flaggers, spinning brightly colored fabric and joyful music. What a great way to enjoy our summery weather and our beautiful neighborhood!

That night, we hope to see you at "Spotlight on Broadway" at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel with the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band! Here's your chance to sing along to your favorite Broadway tunes, bid on auction items, and help support this wonderful group of performers who bring band music free of charge to events all year long throughout the community. We'll join Leanne Borghesi and Jesse Barrett as soloist and emcees.

On Sunday, May 21, after two "Sunday's a Drag" shows at The Starlight Room, we'll join Lu Conrad at Meals on Wheels' Star Chefs & Vintners Gala at Fort Mason. This is one of our very favorite annual events where an incredible mix of San Francisco gathers to support an essential service of providing wholesome meals to homebound individuals. You'll sample delicacies from restaurants all over the City and wines from Napa, Sonoma, and more before sitting down to a multi-course dinner prepared by well-known chefs. Finally, you'll witness astounding generosity as the crowd bids on tremendous packages and simply pledges money for the cause. It's not too late to reserve your seat.

Later that night, we'll find our way to Club 1220 in Walnut Creek where Holotta Tymes' "UnBoylievable" show is dedicated to raising money to help with expenses for Kendra Monroe, a core cast member of "Sunday's a Drag" who was diagnosed with ALS and is bravely battling its relentless symptoms. Fundraisers take many forms, but this one is personal and incredibly generous.

And on Monday, May 22, we'll be headed back across the Bay to Club 21 in Oakland for the Fourth Annual Stoli Cocktail Classic where bartenders compete in the final segment before the finale in Key West a few weeks later. Stolichnaya National Brand Ambassador Patrik Gallineaux knows how to host a party and this one you don't want to miss!

For the first time, this event is officially a part of Harvey Milk Day in California and includes as judges for the competition Stuart Milk, Carly Morrison, BeBe Sweetbriar, LaToya London, and Cecil Russell, with entertainment by Leanne Borghesi and Flawless Shade. Don't worry, you'll be able to sample lots of cocktails and have a chance to win a trip to Key West for the finale!

The following weekend will find us at The White Horse in Oakland, 3PM to 6PM, for a fundraiser for the Rainbow Honor Walk and honoring Glenn Burke, openly Gay Oakland A's player whose life will be commemorated with a brass plaque in the Castro sidewalks.

Then it's Memorial Day weekend and that crazy month of June, but we'll hold off until our next column when we'll share the highlights of SF Pride. Get ready -- it's going to be big!


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