It was an only-in-San Francisco event on May 23 to benefit Chilean orphans whose orphanage in Santiago collapsed in a recent earthquake, and again it was the Rainbow World Fund that had mobilized the LGBT community to help out the children. The Fund has been effective after floods in Guatemala and throughout the region when disasters strike.
Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence MCâ€™ed and welcomed the throng to the Most Holy Redeemer hall. Supervisor Bevan Dufty was also scheduled to MC, but like the hundreds of other people that day, he was also appearing at the AEF San Francisco County Fair at Kink.com that afternoon, so he arrived later.
District 8 candidates Rebecca Prozan, Rafael Mandelman, Scott Wiener, and Bill Hemenger were invited to present their versions of chili for a tasting and judging, and each brought a sizable entourage of supporters to help out with the raffle and silent auction. Prozan enlisted volunteer Linda Leu to serve her chili samples, and Mandelman brought out friendly Josh Jacobs and Kale Parker. Jacobsâ€™ bared hairy legs distracted a couple guys throughout the afternoon. Wiener enlisted cute Adam Taylor to serve, and Hemenger samples were distributed by his impressive hunk campaign manager Geoffrey Murray.
The origins of the chili was surprisingly complicated, and this journalist was happy not to have to look at calf brains on a buffet table next to the chili, as seen in the film Giant and on visits to rural Texas. Prozan served up her own recipe, Mandelman said that he had â€ślots of helpâ€ť, Wiener had the assistance of Texas friend Henry Kennedy and a Kennedy family cook-off recipe, and Hemnger said that it was a team effort with his partner Frank Lambetecchio.
The judges, who were assumed to be chili taste experts, included the Bayard Rustin Coalitionâ€™s Andrea Shorter, Triggerâ€™s Greg Bronstein, who started his hospitality empire as a waiter at Chevyâ€™s, over-the -top drag entertainer Ethel Merman, Betty Sullivan of Bettyâ€™s List, and Bebe Sweetbriar. Most of the guests liked all of the chili samples, so they did not take the judging very seriously. That also could be the result of stiff drinks served by the high energy bartenders. Mandelman and Wiener tied for first place and Prozan and Hemenger tied for second place, and a couple guests were inspired to enjoy more chili later at popular Orphan Andyâ€™s in the Castro.
There was some controversy initially in the choice of venue, since Most Holy Redeemer is a part of the Catholic Archdiocese, with its molestation scandals and escalating homophobic attacks, and the Sisters of Pertpetual Indulgence bingo game was recently evicted from the church. That resulted in sharp revenue declines for more than two dozen charities and non-profits that the bingo games benefited until a new venue at the Green Room was found. Readers can sign up at www.thesisters.org for the next game.
Resourceful Rainbow World leader Jeff Cotter was able to present the chili cook-off at the church hall at no charge, which alleviated much of the rancor.
The event was a fine example of the LGBT community getting involved to help alleviate suffering around the globe, and the Rainbow World Fund and Cotter deserve accolades for the ability to zero in and help out quickly during disasters, and to have fun doing it.