|After following each other on Titter for some time, columnist Pollo Del Mar and SFGate.com culture blogger Beth Spotswood finally meet face-to-face at San Francisco‚Äôs LGBT Pride Kick-Off Party May 15 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. PHOTO BY BILL‚ÄąWI
Notorious Sainted Glamazon About Town
As I arrived for San Francisco Pride‚Äôs 40 & Fabulous Benefit and kick-off party on May 15, there was barely anyone on-hand to watch me walk the red carpet. While I normally believe in making an entrance, and generally hate going unnoticed, the lack of fanfare that night was perfectly fine with me. On this particular occasion, in fact, I showed up nearly an hour early just to avoid the crowds.
You see, it‚Äôs hard to look glamorous while lugging an overstuffed suitcase of personal belongings, a Styrofoam wig head and pile of Golden Girls scripts ‚Äď even when entering a location as chic as the Contemporary Jewish Museum (JCM). Yet despite desperately wanting to put my best foot forward in my first effort partnering with SF Pride to host one of its official events, by the time I arrived downtown for my 7:45 p.m. call-time, a schedule with even less wiggle room than my form-fitted evening gown pretty much necessitated I carry everything from an already long day with me!
My Saturday afternoon started in front of a camera, taking pictures for an upcoming military-themed ad promoting my Memorial Day RECOVERY party ‚ÄĒ Monday, May 31, 4-8 p.m. ‚ÄĒ at Lookout. My original plan was to make a cameo appearance at Trigger after the photos were taken to support the Grand Ducal Council of San Franciscoco‚Äôs big fundraiser for the Friends of the Pink Triangle, organized by Mr. Royal Baby 2010 Jason Husted.
When Mike Bonellla (Beefy Del Mar) and Andrew Slade (whose honorary Del Mar name is pending) took longer than expected rubbing each other down with baby oil, though, the photo shoot ran late. While I‚Äôm sure that translates beautifully in the ad, it put my day‚Äôs agenda in a serious pinch!
With no time to even pop in to support Jason ‚ÄĒ who ultimately raised nearly $1,700 ‚ÄĒ I decided to leave that in the more-than-capable hands of reigning Grand Duke Patrick Noonan and the Ducal Court. Instead, I raced off to a two-hour rehearsal for two all-new episodes of f The Golden Girls, which opens June 3 at Mama Calizo‚Äôs Voice Factory. When we wrapped, I quickly changed clothes and headed downtown.
Once through the serious security, and after safely tucking my belongings away inside the gorgeous and spankin‚Äô new JCM, I was ready for what I knew would be an incredible evening of fundraising. Everything about the event was upscale, from a dance set by DJ Robbie Martin, performances by Momma‚Äôs Boyz drag king troupe and Stephanie Smith‚Äôs Lesbian-Gay Chorus of San Francisco to food from the swankiest Joie de Vivre restaurants and hotels.
The guest list for this first-ever fundraiser benefiting SF Pride, of course, included the city‚Äôs glitziest, many of whom are old friends. Newly-crowned Mr. San Francisco Leather Lance Holman, the ever-stunning Donna Sashay and sexy Michael Loftis (Marcus Irons, to porn fans) were there, as were the President of Pride‚Äôs Board of Directors Mikayla Connell, Pride‚Äôs Executive Director Amy Andre, Director of Sponsorship Lindsey Jones and many more.
The event also drew plenty of notable politicos. District 8 hopeful Rebecca Prozan, Supervisor Bevan Dufty, City Treasurer Jose Cisneros and Ana Damiano from Senator Mark Leno‚Äôs office were in attendance. Despite the noticeable absence of her favorite punching bag Mayor Gavin Newsom, even SFGate.com culture blogger Beth Spotswood ‚Äď who I‚Äôve followed not only through her work but also on Twitter ‚Äď showed up looking stunning!
A definite highlight was meeting State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano. Along with City of Refuge United Church of Christ founder Bishop Flunder, Tom was one of the evening‚Äôs two recipients of the Steps of Pride Awards.
For the children reading, Tom started his career in the public eye in the ‚Äė70s as the first SF public school educator to be open about his homosexuality. He later led the movement against the Briggs Initiative, which targeted LGBT teachers and was immortalized in the Oscar-winning film MILK (in which he played himself). During his career, Tom has served on the SF Board of Education, Board of Supervisors and ran for mayor twice before being elected to the Assembly.
Not only is Tom an accomplished politician, he‚Äôs someone I consider a bona fide legend in gay rights activism. Therefore, you can‚Äôt imagine the look on my face when he walked up and not only addressed me by name ‚Äď pronounced correctly, even! ‚ÄĒ but said, ‚ÄúI always recognize your smile in the newspaper!‚ÄĚ
While that certainly put the pep in my step, I was actually most excited to lead the evening‚Äôs live auction with long-time gal-pal Tita Aida. As I told Pride‚Äôs Associate Director of Development Troy Coalman, who brought me onboard this posh fundraiser several months back, Tita and I have been friends for over a decade now!
During that time, I‚Äôve come to respect Tita as a fellow GLOSS Magazine columnist, one of the city‚Äôs most outspoken transgender activists, the undisputed face (to me) of our gay Asian community and, bar none, one of the best emcees in town! While we have partied, socialized and fundraised together for ten years, Tita and I have never officially hosted an event together ‚Äď until Saturday.
Though the auction got off to a rocky start, eventually the small but amazing crowd‚Äôs generosity kicked in. A travel package to Buenos Aires donated by LAN Airlines brought over $6,000. Cruises from Atlantis and Olivia raked in additional big bucks for Pride. Gorgeous Hilma Vassell shelled out $1,000 for a Las Vegas package to see Cher while sexy Vince Calvarese doled out nearly $700 on a pair of custom-made leather jeans by designer Troy Anicete (www.AniceteDesigns.com).
As happy as I was to help raise much-needed money for Pride, by the time the auction wrapped shortly before 11 p.m., I was wiped out and more than ready to head home. With confirmation my services were no longer needed, I grabbed my belongings and hit the ladies‚Äô room. In no time, I was scrubbed clean and enjoying the last few minutes of the party in relative anonymity.
While I went out of my way to orchestrate an incognito arrival, so none would see the drag queen with the messy luggage, that wasn‚Äôt a concern at all when I left that night. As I hauled my stuff out toward the street, except to those in the know, I probably looked like just another partier making off with something I‚Äôd bid on.
How were they to know as I rolled that overstuffed suitcase back down the red carpet, making my escape, that the drag queen who ran the auction was actually stuffed inside?
Follow ‚ÄúThe Glamazon‚ÄĚ at Facebook.com/PolloDelMar or Twitter.com/TheGlamazonPDM. Email her direct at Pollo_DelMar@Yahoo.com.