|LGBT HISTORY PROJECT
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence held a beautiful memorial to the man, Jack Fertig; the former nun, Boom Boom; and the Muslim practitioner, Boom Boom XXX. Fertig succumbed to liver cancer in the loving presence of his partner Elias Trevino and dogs, Chloe and Perry, on August 5. He was known to many as teacher, astrologer, artist, and a devout and faithful scholar of Islam.
The ceremony began in Jane Warner Plaza, with Zen Buddhist Daigan Gaither creating a sacred space and reading an ancient Islamic poet Rumiâ€™s poem with the lines: â€śDonâ€™t cry for my leaving; Iâ€™m not leaving; Iâ€™m arriving at eternal love.â€ť
The Sisters spread a circle of salt around everyone for protection, incense for light, lube for ease of release, and lots of glitter (because everyone needs a little glitter in their lives). Attendees passed through a Day-Glo green veil, symbolizing penetrating the veil of death, with flags to wave, noisemakers, Boom Boom pictures, rose petals, glitter, whistles, tambourines, and banners. We chanted â€śSister!â€ť â€śBoom Boom!â€ť over and over, all along the way to the next stop at 18th & Castro Streets, which, as an ancient cruising spot, used to be called â€śHibernia Beachâ€ť when Hibernia bank was there and gay guys hung out bare-chested and emboldened.
Sister Dana and Sister Hellen Wheels spoke of the site as where the famous Dog Show with actress Shirley MacLaine was flawlessly emceed by Sister Boom Boom as the very first AIDS fundraiser (called GRID back then, when the epidemic first showed up). Actually, the wit of Sister Boom Boom outdid and outshined the actress! We then broke pieces of jewelry, ripped fishnet stockings and poured champagne down the drain as a pagan tradition (at one time, Jack was also pagan) of sending these items to the next plane where the deceased would dwell and could use them.
It was also the place where many street theater actions were held with Sister Boom2 helping to lead civil rights demonstrations. Additionally it was where B2 and The Sisters handed out buttons against homophobes and flyers advertising upcoming AIDS fundraisers.
The next stop was the Castro Country Club sober space - where Sister Dana (the best â€“ bar nun) dared not even touch the steps or be certain to be struck by lightning â€“ with a ceremony led by Sister HoneyBE regarding sobriety and community with the tossing of rose petals.
We then processed to the LYRIC building on Collingwood, across from Eureka Valley Recreation Center, where we spoke of Jackâ€™s helping queer homeless youth, and took up a collection gathering almost $700 for the worthy organization. Guard TheO Pressed reminded everyone that over 40% of youth on the streets are LGBTQ teens who have been kicked out of their homes by their thoughtless homophobic parents.
Finally we ended up in Collingwood Park where The Sisters renewed their vows to serve the community. The Sisters, family, and friends gave their fond, and oft times, funny recollections of the man and the nun.
Night fell, and we all dispersed to our homes and bars to continue reminiscing and memorializing in our own special ways.
RIP Sister Boom Boom! No, better make that: RIF: Rest in Fabulousness!