|Sister Juanita checks anxious winneresâ cards. If they are wrong, they will be spanked. The Sisters are very serious about their Bingo. Photo by Rink.
By Sister Dana â0-69â Van Iquity
After having been removed from MCC Church because the building was condemned from earthquake damage; and after being ousted by the rabid San Francisco Archdiocese from Holy Redeemer hall; the San Francisco Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc. finally found a permanent (god/goddess willing) home - after a year and a half absence - for their monthly Bingo games at the Herbst Green Room. The nuns have partnered with the GLBT American Foreign Legion (the only queer AFL) Post #448 Alexander Hamilton lodge, so players will have access to food and beverages (including booze). Of course, federal law does not permit liquor inside the Bingo gambling area, but water and food may be taken inside.
On June 18, the nuns, each called one at a time by name, danced wildly into the room to their new theme music, 2001. Sister Barbi Mitzvah, Bingo Chairnun, was wrapped up in white cloth, symbolic of Sisters Bingo rising from the dead. DJ Jimmy Strano provided upbeat music throughout. Sister Barbi read the official Bingo rules â no booze or drugs in the room, unless already ingested; only Bingos shouted out at the last number called will be legit; and false Bingos and cell phones going off will be punished by paddling or deep kisses by Sister Dana â to name just a few guidelines. Of course the height of the evening â besides winning Bingo games â is when some-nun calls out âFree Shit!â and the crowd checks their free raffle tickets to win complimentary prizes ranging from DVD porn to toasters to iPODS to bottles of wine to âŠ oh hell âŠ just about anything imaginable. Those who confessed to being virgins to Sisters Bingo were marked on the forehead with a big, black âV,â which meant they were eligible for their own private drawing for âFree Shit.â Plus, we could readily make fun of them. Sometimes the crowd just calls out âFree Shit!â on their own, depending on how delightfully unruly they are.
Various Sisters will pair up and pull balls â and get your mind out of the gutter, because that means pulling out a lettered-numbered ball from the blower (again, stop thinking dirty, please; thatâs the nunsâ job, and it can get pretty nasty (so leave the kiddies at home). That night, the visuals werenât working, so there were no numbers or clever pictures flashed on the wall, as usual. That will be fixed before the July 16th edition. As will the sound system, which was a bit wonky. With the help of a dance contest to the tune of âMacho Manâ by The Village People and âI Donât Feel Like Dancingâ by the Scissors Sisters, volunteer dancers (haven been given a quickie drag makeover) danced in the aisles and on top of tables to receive donated dollars from the players. There is yet another fundraiser when someone calls a false Bingo or his/her cell phone goes off: the man (itâs usually a man) has to take off his shirt and race around the room, allowing players to mark him with their ink daubers all over his body â costing a buck each daubing.
Sister Timothy Simplicity nee Sister Lolita Me Not Into Temptation asked newly married queer couples to stand to receive bouquets as she read a marriage poem and blessing. Then everyone threw bunches of napkins into the air to the song, âLove Is in the Air.â
Just before intermission, The Sisters announced their need for 250 gate volunteers for their annual Pink Saturday fundraiser. Signups can be made at TheSisters.org. Volunteers are given breaks where they can take advantage of the special, private Pink Room with free bevvies (soda, water, liquor) and food. Pink Saturday is a huge SPI block party in the Castro, held every year the night before the Pride Parade. This year PS is June 28.
There are many different variations besides plain olâ Bingo, including among others, Tops ân Bottoms (you only use the top and bottom rows, yelling out whether youâre a top or a bottom each time); One Finger Bingo (using the middle finger in âbirdieâ position, everyone flips the bird to illustrate that only the third column, N, is called and used; and Sister Dana Bingo (only the bottom horizontal line is legitimate, because, as the story goes, once many moons ago the aforementioned nun passed out under the Eagle tavern urinals â face down, so there was no golden shower drinking, thank gawd). Sister Barbi joked that there was a plaque under the urinals stating: âSister Dana slept here.â Itâs all lies, I tell you, bitter lies! Barbi also spoke of a mention in the Leah Garchick Chron. column about a nun peeing in the petunias at a recent Pier 39 fundraiser, where the restrooms were all locked when nature called. I admit nothing!
The night ended with the Sister Sledge song, âWe Are Family.â Sisters Bingo can always use volunteers. Contact TheSisters.volunteerhub.com with the join code, RINGERS, to assist in the July 16 Bingo.