On the Town
by Donna Sachet
As Pride 2012 fades into memory, there are several events that made indelible impressions this year and warrant a full report in this column. Do you know of any other city where the gay flag is hoisted above City Hall to herald the beginning of Pride Week? Well, on Mon., June 18, that's exactly what happened at around 5 p.m., accompanied by Mayor Ed Lee , many of the city Supervisors, most of the Community Grand Marshals, and the creator of the flag himself, Gilbert Baker, visiting from New York at the behest of the SF Pride committee. After the brief ceremony on the outdoor balcony of the Mayor's Office, the capacity crowd gathered inside for short remarks and presentations, emceed by popular community activist Tita Aida and handsome Paul Henderson from the Mayor's Office. Sparkling wine from Barefoot Cellars and music from the SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band added to the festive atmosphere. Notable among the attendees were Reigning Emperor Bradley Roberts & Reigning Empress Sissy St. Clair , Bevan Dufty, Deana Dawn, Jimmer Cassiol, Bill Barnes , Steve Kawa, Veronika Cauley, and Susan Fahey.
Sister Bella de Ball & Guard Theo Pressed's Roast of Sister Roma on Wed., June 20, exceeded all expectations! Hundreds of friends gathered at the Supperclub for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Roma took it all in stride as barb after barb came hurling from the emcees and invited roasters, including Lenny Broberg, ChiChi LaRue , Sasha Soprano, Cockatielia, Bebe Sweetbriar, Bevan Dufty, Tim Valenti, Peaches Christ (via video), and Steven Scarborough . Much to our surprise, not only was Roma the target of insults, but everyone in the room seemed eligible for roasting, resulting in an over-the-top, hilarious evening raising money for two of Roma's favorite charities, the Sisters' Stop the Violence Campaign and Tenderloin Tessie's Holiday Dinners.
Thursday night offered a panoply of choices, but we whittled it down to the Media Kick-Off Pride Party at the Clift Hotel and Swallow Your Pride, a brand new event benefiting Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation (REAF) at Harry Denton 's Starlight Room. At the Clift, we rubbed elbows with Edie of Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity, Celebrity Grand Marshal Dot Jones of Glee, Brendan Behan and Lisa Williams of SF Pride, Audrey Joseph , Eddie Shapiro, and a bevy of press hounds in an elegant, confined ambiance. At the Starlight Room, we were dazzled by entertainers Anita Cocktail , Gypsy Love, Liz Primo, DJ Christopher B, and surprise guest Sharon McNight, sampled fabulous hors d'oeuvres from award-winning chefs Jen Biesty and Tim Nugent, and partied well into the night with Community Grand Marshals Sister Roma, Gary Virginia, and Rebecca Prozan , Patrick Gallineaux , Ken Henderson, Michael Pagan, Mark Calvano, Holotta Tymes, and Mahlae Balenciaga. We'll never forget the glamorous image of Cassandra Cass as a fantasy mermaid, framed by a giant clam shell, and surrounded by fresh sushi!
(Photo: Steven Underhill)
And beyond the stupendous Pride Parade and Celebration in Civic Center on Sunday, our most lasting memory will be of the 14th Annual Pride Brunch on Saturday, where over 300 guests entered the wildly decorated ballroom of Hotel Whitcomb, echoing with music from the Dixieland Dykes + 3 , sipped Barefoot bubbly and Stoli cocktails, chose from a gourmet brunch buffet, bid on select silent auction items, and sat in awe as each Grand Marshal shared personal remarks about their Pride experience. Alec Hughes of Wells Fargo announced that, in addition to their presenting sponsorship, Wells Fargo would make a special donation of $25,000 in honor of Positive Resource Center's 25 years of service. Gilbert Baker offered one of his own original gay flags for auction, and it quickly went for $1,600. Guests included State Senator Mark Leno , Assemblyman Tom Ammiano , Mayor Ed Lee, city Treasurer Jose Cisneros, Supervisors Malia Cohen, David Campos , and Scott Wiener , Tom Horn, Walter Leiss, Lu Conrad, Tommy Taylor , Steve Adams, Kent Roger, Lance Holman, Dan Joraanstad & Bob Hermann , Michael Montoya & Kevin Shanahan , Benjamin & Terry Penn, Gordy Boe, Gary & Larry Lane , Stephen Taylor , Julian Marshburn , eight Empresses, and four Emperors. There are no words to express our genuine gratitude to all involved in this record-breaking benefit for Positive Resource Center!