Passionate party people
On the Town
by Donna Sachet
EqualityCalifornia shone brightly at its annual gala at the Fairmont Hotel. VIP guests like Chris Carnes, Gretchen Fleishman, Mariah Hanson, Jody Cole , Jon Ballesteros , Chris Edwards & Scott Butler, Christopher Vasquez and Stu Smith enjoyed a private reception with Senator Dianne Feinstein, who received special recognition from EQCA and delivered a passionate speech on the importance of the fall election.
The main program in the Grand Ballroom was emceed with panache by Wilson Cruz, and additional awards were presented to Dr. Royce C. Lin and J.C. Penny. Guests included State Senator Mark Leno , State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, city Supervisors Scott Wiener, David Chiu , and Mark Ferrell , city Treasurer Jose Cisneros , Bevan Dufty, Ken McNeely, Stuart Milk, Anne Kronenberg and Rebecca Rolfe . Disco diva Thelma Houston kicked off the entertainment with foot-stomping music, which led to hours of dancing by hundreds of happy celebrants.
We checked out Fauxgirls last Thursday at their new Infusion Lounge location with Michael Pagan, Holotta Tymes and Mahlae of Sunday's a Drag at Harry Denton 's Starlight Room. The elegant dining room provides an inviting home for this fast-paced, richly costumed drag show. The room was packed with other entertainers, friends and supporters who regaled the girls with applause and tips. It looks like this every-third-Thursday show is here to stay!
On Friday, we co-hosted a cabaret fundraiser for Senator Mark Leno at Trigger. The attendees were a regular Who's Who, including Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club Co-Chairs Reese Isbell and Martha Knutsen , SF AIDS Foundation Executive Director Neil Giuliano, Shanti's Kaushik Roy , Wayne Friday, Audrey Joseph, John Weber, Tom Oliver , Gary Virginia, Skye Patterson, Les Natali, and Trigger owner Greg Bronstein, his sister and her daughter. Dynamic musical entertainment came from Gypsy Love , Kippy Marks, and Connie Champagne singing clever lyrics rewritten for the occasion by Tom Orr .
Later that night, a luxury bus gave a select group of invitees a grand bar tour in celebration of the birthday of Drew Cutler , popular Edge bartender and film star. We tumbled along with Sister Roma, Ben & Terry Penn , Kevin Lisle, Mr. Pam, Fernando Robles, Ray McKenzie , Mr. Bolt Sacramento Miguel Rubio , Michael Petri and many others, anxious to show their affection for this relative newcomer to San Francisco who has made great friends quickly.
(Photo: Steven Underhill)
Sunday night, we returned with Lu Conrad to the annual Star Chefs & Vintners Gala of Meals on Wheels, this time in a new location at Pier 48, expertly coordinated by Taste Catering. This rather raw space was transformed with silver and blue fabric, giant white obelisks, and modern seating areas into an inviting ballroom where scores of culinary and wine samples surrounded the extensive silent auction. Once inside the dining room, over a thousand attendees enjoyed the best from the best, including selections from Boulevard's Nancy Oakes, AQ's Mark Liberman, Cafe des Amis' Justin Deering, Etoile's Perry Hoffman , and Fifth Floor's David Bazirgan and Nicolai Lipscomb . We are always blown away by the generosity of the guests, particularly during the live auction, where again hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised in a few short minutes. Guests included Sherri Burke, Robert Fountain , Peter Galli, Milton Mosk & Tom Foutch, Charles Zukow , and Andrew Freeman . In another of our many "pinch-me moments," San Francisco mainstay Ellen Magnin Newman graciously approached us to inquire about our silvery metallic jacket. Does it get any better than that?
You are going to be busy this weekend, starting with Friday night's fundraiser at Lime restaurant for Zoe Dunning 's Assembly campaign, Saturday afternoon's Speakeasy Shanti benefit at the Old Mint, and finishing with Sunday's SoMa Bare Chest Calendar finale at DNA Lounge and the second annual Miss Gay Northern California Pageant at Public Works, hosted by Mercedez Monro and Shangela of RuPaul's Drag Race. Next week, we encourage you to attend Monday night's Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation's Dances from the Heart at Fort Mason's Cowell Theater, featuring performances by members of Ballet San Jose, Company C Contemporary Ballet, Christy Cote Argentine tango, Diablo Ballet, Smuin Ballet, and Na Lei Hula, with a special appearance by statuesque Julie Newmar . Then on Saturday, don't miss Maitri's Silver Anniversary Gala Bliss at the W Hotel with musical entertainment by Connie Champagne and Wade Preston and a fashion show by celebrity designer Carmen Marc Valvo . Rumor has it that this intrepid columnist will be donned in one of Carmen's creations!