Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Gala gusto

On the Town

Shanti gala, earthquake & hurricane relief benefits, and Castro Street Fair

Executive Director Kaushik Roy, Mark Leno (Nancy Pelosi Lifetime Achievement Award recipient) and Supervisor Hillary Ronen at the Shanti Awards.
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We warned you of an imminent barrage of annual galas and here they come!

Shanti's Compassion is Universal, chaired by Adam & Monica Mosseri, celebrated 43 years of peer support for those with life-threatening or disabling illnesses or conditions at The Palace Hotel last Thursday. We joined the dapper Rusty Best and hundreds of other Shanti supporters for a cocktail hour, where we chatted with State Senator Scott Wiener, Rebecca Prozan, Jen Chan, Tom Nolan & Larry Friesen, Kylie Minono, Lonnie Haley, John Paul & Chris Soto, Sister Roma, and many others, followed by seated dinner and formal program.

Seated at the Bob Ross Foundation table with us were Lenny Broberg (soon to have auctioning duties), Alex Randolph, Bob Dockendorff, Christopher Wiseman & Eric Sleigh, and some other friends of theirs. Dr. Charles Garfield, founder of Shanti and present for all 43 of these galas, rose to present the James C. Hormel Community Spirit Award to long-time client, volunteer, and Board member Chip Supanich.

Kaushik Roy, Executive Director of Shanti, spoke beautifully and movingly of Shanti's history and its ongoing mission, obviously inspiring the generosity of the crowd to be witnessed when the auctioning began. Supervisor Aaron Peskin then presented the Margot Murphy Inspiration Award to Gerry Crowley, a tireless community activist who has experienced Shanti's services first-hand and applauded their compassionate work.

The final award was the Nancy Pelosi Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Supervisor Hillary Ronen to the Honorable Mark Leno, whose amazing life of work on behalf of so many is legendary. His words of acceptance, like those of the other three awardees, were humble, gracious, and uplifting.

Then it was time for Cheer SF to storm into the ballroom to raise the level of excitement and for Lenny to auction off one incredible luxury trip to Seychelles. The room burst with applause as the winning bidder hit $18,000!

The following "fund-a-need" auction offered everyone present an opportunity to pledge their support for Shanti and bidding paddles flew up representing amounts from $10.000-$100.

As we left, we caught up with Gus & Bahya Murad, Dan Bernal & Dan Burns, Peter Griggs, Migitte Nielsen, the new Grand Duchess Shug Shugana, John Lipp & Peter Lunny, Michelle Meow & Tookta Barbies Teeruk, George Ridgeley, Nguyen Pham, and so many others. It was great to see such an important organization honored by so many that night!

Jeffry Arcam, Michael T. Nguyen and Jethro Patalinghug at the LGBT Asylum Project fundraiser at Beaux. Photo: Ken Hamai

Saturday's great weather brought lots of folks out for two worthy fundraisers. We started with visiting Michael Loftis at Beaux for Mr. Gay San Francisco Jethro Patalinhug's afternoon event, featuring live singers and a lively audience, including Nathan Page, Alexis Miranda, John Weber, Bruce Beaudette, BeBe Sweetbriar, and Ken Hamai.

This was a rare chance to discover some genuinely powerful singers and to support Adam Sandel and Okan Sengun's LGBT Asylum Project. Their recently completed 2018 Mr. International Freedom was unveiled and many copies were snapped up.

In addition to some great music and over $1500 raised, several shared personal stories of discrimination and international injustice, topics so timely and so desperately needing attention. Don't miss the second annual Mr. International Freedom Contest on Sunday, October 22, at DNA Lounge. If last year's contestants are any indication, we are in for an incredible night!

Leandro Gonzales (left) is interviewed by Katie Neilsen of KPIX at cohost Khmera Rouge's Mother Nature benefit for the earthquake relief in the Caribbean, Mexico & Puerto Rico, held at The Midnight Sun. photo: Ken Hamai

After that, we headed to Midnight Sun for Khmera Rouge's MotherNature event, raising money to help those in Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean recently impacted by unbelievable weather emergencies. Sometimes it just takes one caring individual to rally others to get together and raise money while having fun; in this case over $1500 was raised and will be triple-matched, resulting in over $4500 in one afternoon!

Part of those proceeds came from the sale of 150 tamales lovingly prepared by Leandro Gonzales. Gary Virginia, CoCo Butter, and even KPIX 5 and ABC 7 stopped by with television cameras to document the spontaneous and never-ending generosity of our community. Congratulations to all the performers and thanks once again to the Midnight Sun, always ready for another community event.

From there, we made brief stops at 440 Castro and The Edge before retiring at a decent hour in preparation for the next day's annual Castro Street Fair.

Donna Sachet and Flagging in the Park's Xavier Caylor at the Castro Street Fair. photo: Xavier Caylor

What a fair it was! With perfect weather and jubilant crowds, the Castro Street Fair's founder, Harvey Milk, would have been proud of the outpouring of community spirit on Sunday. From entertainment on the main stage to a dance floor behind Walgreen's and from educational and retail booths up and down Castro to food and beverages on 18th Street, there was something for everyone. As a resident of the Castro for 25 years, we were proud to see merchants doing record business and our neighborhood looking its best!

And finally, let's all keep our thoughts with the SF Gay Men's Chorus, recently taking off on their much-publicized Lavender Pen Tour of some of the Southern States of the United States, where their music and their message are bound to resonate, but also may irritate and disturb. We applaud them to facing discrimination and close-mindedness right in our own backyard. Sing from the heart, my brothers, and return to us safe and sound.

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