San Francisco is a Drag: queens and kings to take over city streets

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Tuesday November 21, 2023
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Juanita MORE! and Honey Mahogany at a recent Peoples March (photo: Gooch)
Juanita MORE! and Honey Mahogany at a recent Peoples March (photo: Gooch)

San Francisco will become a drag wonderland on Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3, when 100 drag queens and drag kings will take to the streets of the city to offer live performances. A collaboration between local drag legends D'Arcy Drollinger, Honey Mahogany, and Juanita MORE!, San Francisco Is a Drag will include transgender luminaries, nonbinary trailblazers, and allies of all stripes. The performances will take place between 12pm-5pm on various street corners and in front of local businesses.

Manny Yekutiel (courtesy: Manny Yekutiel)  

The event is being sponsored by the Civic Joy Fund. Manny Yekutiel, proprietor of Manny's Cafe in the Mission, spoke to the Bay Area Reporter about what the Civic Joy Fund does. Yekutiel is a co-founder of this new non-profit initiative that came into being after a successful effort to light up a dozen commercial corridors around the city.

"I raised about $2.5 million to fund a set of joyful citywide civic projects to help with the economic recovery including the summer of music which brought over one thousand musicians to play on the streets this past summer," Yekutiel said.

The fund also "painted the city," according to Yekutiel. "We commissioned local artists to turn one hundred utility boxes into pieces of public art, bringing organized events during Halloween back to the Castro and more," he said.

San Francisco Is a Drag is in fact Yekutiel's brainchild.

"I came up with the idea one morning while at the gym and immediately texted D'Arcy, Honey and Juanita to get their thoughts and buy in," he said. "We met that same day. Since that first day, though, those three have been the engines of the project and it would not happen without them. Oasis for the Arts will be running the actual event, which is great."

Oasis Arts, which is partnered with Oasis Nightclub, is an organization that seeks to raise the impact of queer arts both locally and worldwide. Drollinger is the nightclub's co-founder and owner.

Both Yekutiel and Drollinger feel that visibility is particularly important in the current political climate given the anti-drag and anti-trans legislation being introduced in red states.

D'Arcy Drollinger at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House in May. (photo: Rachel Ziegler)  

"It is a bit scary at times, but being visible is so important," said Drollinger, who currently serves as San Francisco's Drag Laureate, the first such position in the country. "And when you live in one of the most open-minded cities, it's easier and we should not take that for granted. We should set an example and become a beacon for the rest of the world."

"The way we fight against people trying to silence us is to be as out, loud and proud as we can," added Yekutiel. "San Francisco is the seat of drag magic and people look to us as a counterweight to all this right wing madness. This is one way to show that we deserve that title."

The performances will cover a cross section of neighborhoods. On Saturday the shows will take place in North Beach (12pm), South of Market (1pm), the Fillmore (2pm), Union Square (3pm), and Lower Polk (4pm). Sunday's performances will be in the Lower Haight (12pm), the Haight (1pm), the Mission (2pm), Hayes Valley (3pm), and, of course, the Castro (4pm).

"This will be right on the sidewalk," said Drollinger. "Drag for the people."

Drollinger added that she would love to see San Francisco is a Drag become an annual tradition.

"A day of drag," she said. "It is my belief that at everyone's core they want to live a more authentic and fabulous life. And by allowing ourselves, as these performers do, to show up as our authentic fabulous selves, it can't help but inspire others to live the life that they're only dreaming about. The fact that eighty percent of the world is not able to live their authentic self, we don't just owe it to ourselves, we owe it to them."

San Francisco is a Drag, December 2 and 3, 12-5pm at various locales around the city. Full schedule and locations at:

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