News Briefs: AEF to honor Marlena, Brunet

  • by compiled by Cynthia Laird
  • Wednesday September 18, 2013
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The AIDS Emergency Fund will honor Empress XXV Marlena and outgoing Castro Lions President Troy Brunet at its Leather and Feathers anniversary benefit Thursday, September 26 at 6 p.m. at the Armory, 1800 Mission Street in San Francisco.

Marlena, whose real name is Garry McLain, has been active in the gay and drag communities for nearly 40 years, first as empress of Modesto in 1976 and then as the 25th empress of San Francisco. He is the retired owner of Marlena's bar, which he sold earlier this year. The bar, now called Brass Tacks, is a gay-friendly establishment.

Castro Lions President Troy Brunet

Brunet is a proud member of Sandy "Mama" Reinhardt's leather family and has been a tireless fundraiser for AEF and other causes. Disabled by HIV/AIDS and a longtime AEF client, Brunet often speaks about his life on disability.

Two other people will also be honored at the event. They are: Cynthia Hester, who served for nine years on the AEF and Breast Cancer Emergency Fund board of directors �" six as president; and Neil Figurelli, who has led AEF's Christmas Eve Dinner committee for 25 years, and has recently completed nine years of board service to AEF.

AEF/BCEF Executive Director Mike Smith noted that Leather and Feathers is a return to AEF's community roots, honoring the drag and leather communities that provided the earliest support to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the 1980s.

For those in the leather and drag communities, the evening is a chance to proudly show off that heritage. For the less adventurous, it will be a chance to experiment with your inner self and try on a new persona.

Tickets, which are $125, include cocktails and appetizers and private tours of's porn filming sets. An after-party will take place beginning at 9 p.m. across the street at Kink's new Armory Club.

For tickets, visit


HIV Story Project to show films

The HIV Story Project, in association with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Barefoot Wine and Bubbly, will present two thought-provoking films Thursday, September 19 at the Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street in San Francisco.

Both films focus on the criminalization of HIV. One is Positive Women: Exposing Injustice, a feature-length film produced by the Canadian HIV/AIDS legal Network, and the other is HIV is Not a Crime, a short produced by the Sero Project.

The films will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network; Robert Suttle, assistant director of the Sero Project; Jessica Whitbread, global chair of the International Community of Women Living with HIV; and Marc Smolowitz, executive producer of the HIV Story Project.

The event is open to the public; tickets are $10 and available at


Day with HIV returns

Fashion designer and HIV advocate Mondo Guerra and others are joining forces with Positively Aware magazine for its annual A Day with HIV photo essay campaign. On one day, Saturday, September 21, people everywhere, both HIV-positive and -negative, will join in the fight against HIV. The magazine is asking people to take a digital photograph on that day to record a moment that will focus attention on the daily trials and triumphs of people living with HIV and those who care for them.

Photos taken on Saturday need to be submitted by Wednesday, September 25 on the A Day with HIV website ( or emailed to [email protected]. The project will also have a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter (hashtag @A_Day_With_HIV), and Instagram.

For more information check out the aforementioned website.


Brunch and bowl in Alameda with LGBT Dems

The East Bay Stonewall Democratic club will hold its first Brunch and Bowl event Sunday, September 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at AMF South Shore Lanes, 300 Park Street in Alameda.

Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend. The cost is $35 per person ($25 for club members) and includes shoes, two games, and refreshments. There will be trophies, a cash bar, and raffles.

Tickets can be purchased online at


Library book sale coming up

The West Coast's biggest used book sale is returning to San Francisco with prizes for clever book lovers who unlock daily clues through social media.

The Friends of the San Francisco Public Library's 49th annual Big Book Sale takes place September 25-29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a members-only preview September 24, from 4 to 8 p.m. The sale takes place at the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason.

The Friends organization has teamed up with various arts organizations, businesses, and restaurants to provide prizes to those lucky enough to find them. Every day of the sale, Friends will send out clues via Twitter and Facebook hinting at where shoppers might find prizes hidden among the thousands of books at Fort Mason.

The sale is expected to feature nearly 500,000 books, DVDs, CDs, books on tape, vinyl, and other forms of media, in over 100 categories.

For more information, visit or call (415) 626-7500.


National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will mark National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Wednesday, September 25, at 11 a.m. (Pacific time) with a Google+ Hangout to provide the latest updates from the CDC's HIV prevention experts. Participants will also share information about the latest HIV testing strategy for couples; the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention; and the CDC's new Reasons/Razones campaign for Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men.

The event can also be viewed live on the CDC's YouTube channel.


Rainbow Toastmasters' anniversary event

Rainbow Toastmasters is celebrating its eighth anniversary with a multi-media event Thursday, September 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street.

Themed "Out and Around," the event will showcase queer leaders using communication skills to work for LGBT equality around the world. It will feature Lisa Dazols and Jenni Chang, world travelers who are searching for "supergays," showing footage from their upcoming documentary, Out and Around, which showcases the exciting people they've met and important activities during their travels. Speakers from the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance will share personal life experiences in some of the same regions.

Rainbow Toastmasters is a San Francisco-based club within Toastmasters International, and develops speaking and leadership skills in the LGBT and larger communities. Club members will be available to answer questions from people interested in the organization.

Light refreshments will be provided by Whole Foods. Admission is free.


Transbay project hosts LGBT outreach event

The Transbay Transit Center Project invites LGBT business owners and employees in the construction, architectural, engineering, trades, and professional services industries to a unique outreach event to learn more about upcoming contracting opportunities.

The session takes place Thursday, September 26 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Webcor/Obayashi Joint Venture Project offices, 175 Beale Street (at Howard) in San Francisco.

The agenda will include information on getting your business certified, preparing your statement of qualifications, and the schedule for contracting opportunities.

For more information, contact [email protected] or (415) 621-0600. To RSVP, email [email protected].