Project Nunway

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Wednesday November 12, 2014
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With so many community events to attend, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence often have to worry about what they're wearing. As community leaders and spokespeople, they simply must set the fashion trends.

On November 15, Project Nunway 666: Heretics of Fashion, their sixth annual charity fashion show, will commence. As before, talented designers will team up with various Sisters in order to come up with a high fashion couture look which denotes what the 21st-century queer nun is wearing.  

First time co-hostess Peaches Christ couldn't be more thrilled about her participation.

"I've seen pictures of past shows and am always blown away by the fashions and creativity," she said. "I'll be co-hosting with Sister Roma and am exciting to be debuting an entirely new Peaches look by designer D'affney Deluxe."

And what might that look entail, we wondered?

"Sexy and furry," was all Peaches would say.

A documentary film crew will be present, interviewing guests on the red carpet for Stilettos to Shanghai, an upcoming documentary about the Sisters, according to event producer Sister ZsaZsa Glamour (aka Mark Kleim). ZsaZsa has been a nun since 1991; she's Sister Roma's only daughter.


"We have a suggested budget of about $100 and recommend using recycled, reused and unconventional materials," Kleim explained. "However, the budget is just a suggestion. We want to give the Sisters and their designers a chance to be creative any way they like."

One of Nunway's designers is a mere lad of 16. Matt Sarafa is featured on Threads, Project Runway's spin-off show for kids.

"Being a drag queen fanatic and an avid LGBTQ activist, I try my best to engage in the community the best I can," Sarafa said. "When I heard about Project Nunway, I instantly knew this was something I needed to participate in. When I found out about the 666 theme, I was like: yaasssss! My creative juices started flowing. I'm super excited to show off what I come up with."

Sarafa has just been booked to appear on the Queen Latifah Show. His airdate is November 13, the same day the busy young man will be seen on Threads.

Unlike Project Runway, Nunway will be a kinder, gentler competition.

"It is a competition with celebrity judges, but it's not at all as cutthroat as on TV," Kleim/Zsa Zsa explained. "At our show, you don't have to sit through the design process, we jump right to the runway show itself, although VIPs get a peek backstage." 

A crescent moon chapeau worn at a recent Project Nunway. photo: Wren Coe

The event, according to Zsa Zsa, has its roots in Fellini's classic film Roma.

"Sister Barbara Ganesh took a DVD copy of Roma to Sister Mary Juanita Higher Power and Sister Tuna Noodle Cocktail's pad in Oakland," explained Zsa Zsa. "The three of them watched it and got excited about restaging the dreamy Roman Catholic Runway show. Sister Mary felt strongly about Nunway being accessible and affordable to all Sisters, and not just those who have money, and thus the recycled aspect came into being. She especially advocated for exhibition and not competition." 

As with any Sisters event, monies raised will go to a good cause.

"The money goes to the San Francisco Sisters Grant Fund," ZsaZsa said. "Twice a year the Fund solicits grant proposals from any non-profit arts organization. We review the proposals and issue grants based on what they plan to do with the money."

This year's celebrity judges include Jane Wiedlin of The GoGos, and Sergio Quintana of Channel 7 news, among others. The evening's live entertainment includes go-go dancing by The Devil-Ettes and performances by Grace Towers.

666: Heretics of Fashion, Saturday November 15, 8pm (VIP 7pm). $20-$100. SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St. 863-1414.

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