Donna’s Chronicles: The Academy’s Third Annual Legends Awards – San Francisco Bay Times


Donna Sachet–

The Academy’s third annual Legends Awards took place last Friday at the Swedish American Hall and nearly 200 people showed up to celebrate and socialize, including Jan Wahl, Gary Virginia, Gareth Gooch, Bill Wilson, and Brian Kent. We co-animate with the dashing Liam Mayclem of television and gastronomic renown and Sister Roma, the “most photographed religious in the world” and always a pleasure to work with. Paul Miller and Nate bourg not only created the Academy, but they also created an awards group to recognize people who make a difference in the LGBTQ + community. The Exemplar Award was presented by the bubbly Mercedez munro to long-time champion of the Asian / Pacific Islander community Tita Aïda. The Diane jones The solidarity prize was awarded to a writer, activist and filmmaker Leo Herrera, who agreed by video. The architect’s award was then presented by a talented drag performer Miss Rahni Nothing more To Scott peterson, which made the power station such a preferred SOMA location; his words were particularly humble and moving. Between the awards, we enjoyed a remarkable variety of musical performances from Russell Deason, Melanie DeMore, and Linda Stonestreet. Finally, the Legends Archive Award was presented by Terrance Kelly, director of the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, at Dr Tim Seelig, Artistic Director of the SF Gay Men’s Chorus. Tim recently announced his retirement after an extraordinary career and particularly significant contributions to this local choir, making him a perfect selection for the evening’s top prize. In keeping with years past, Tim donated one of his favorite direction sticks, framed in photographs and historical documents, to be on display at the Academy forever, joining Sister Roma’s helmet and Juanita MORE!‘sneon “Loads of love.” The awards ended with a hilarious video courtesy of Tim and a catchy song from the members of the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. Guests strolled by the Academy for an Academy after-party with all the award winners, presenters, performers and guests for cocktails and congratulations, like Juanita MORE! provided great music.

Two recent events have given friends and associates fire Harry denton and Michel Païen a chance to collect and share good memories. First off, Harry’s Bar on Fillmore Street hosted a midweek happy hour. Having never been in this bar and not knowing enough this corner of the woods, we went there a little reluctantly, uncertain of our welcome. Within minutes of her arrival, all anxiety was assuaged as Greg August offered us a seat and a Cosmo, engaging us in a delightful conversation. The rowdy group of guests were buzzing with funny stories of their experiences with Harry Denton. At one point it was time to cut the two cakes, both with suggestive and fun designs, and sing the birthday song. Somehow we were hoisted onto the front bar with Liam Mayclem with the blessing of the CEO Charles Johnson and we led the song, ending with a toast to this extraordinary San Franciscan.

Then we joined a number of alumni Mr. Francis Drake Hotel employees and other friends and associates of Michael Pagan at Harris’s Steakhouse. Once again, the conversations centered around the man we honored. We loved spending time with Cassandra Cass, Holotta Tymes, and Robert carstensen, all of which played a crucial role in the success of Sunday is a drag at The Starlight Room, as well as other familiar faces from many years of performing at the hotel. We even had the chance to spend a few minutes with Michael’s sister, daughter and son-in-law. A big thank you to Scott Taylor for providing a comfortable setting with a bar, delicious food, beautiful flower arrangements and a photo slideshow. Each of these events was not heavy on ceremony or speech, but served an important purpose in bringing together those touched by the loss of two very caring people who touched many lives.

We ended our weekend celebrating the Absolute Empress Marlena’s birthday party with many of her friends gathered at Patricia’s Green, the little park in Hayes Valley right across from the location once known as Marlena’s legendary bar. Marlena was resplendent as she received admirers from far and near, court-bound and the like, as the cake was cut and the champagne flowed freely. We chatted with the emperors John Carrillo, Jacques Michaels, JP Soto, and Bill Bulkley, empresses Alexis Miranda and Emma Peel, Kippy Marks, Carlos Medal, Patrick Noonan, Aldy Albanes-Pearman, Bobby Sleker, Ehra Amaya, Jouke Lanning, and many others. It was an informal celebration for a wonderful community icon. As this pandemic continues to wane, we look forward to many more such events, bringing people together in person with caution, but with boundless joy.

Donna Sachet is a celebrated artist, fundraiser, activist and philanthropist with more than two decades of dedication to the LGBTQ community in San Francisco. Contact her at

Calendar w / Bag

Friday 19 November
Winter party
Have fun in your favorite onesie
DJ Rob Moore
The belvedere, 3600 16th street
9 p.m.
To free!

Monday, November 29
Castro Christmas tree lighting
Hosted by Donna Sachet
Music, elected officials and community
Bank of America, Castro Location
6:00 p.m.
To free!

Thursday 2 December
Drag queens on ice
Union Square Holiday Rink
The best drag queens take on the ice
Special guest Denali from RuPaul’s Drag Race
7:00 p.m.
To free!

Sunday 5 December
Help is on the way for the XX holidays
Richmond / Ermet Aid Foundation for the benefit of the Open Hand project
Auctions and performances
Brava Theater, 2781 24th Street
6.30 p.m.
$ 45 and over

Monday 6 December
Tree of Hope lighting
Rainbow World Fund
Origami decorated Christmas tree
Grace Cathedral, 1100 California Street
7:00 p.m.
To free!

Sunday 12 December
Birthday Cabaret & Celebration
Celebration of José Sarria, hosted by Emperor XLVIII, AN, William Bulkley
Hosted by Imperial Crown Princess Katya Smirnoff-Skyy
Martuni’s, 4 Valencia Street
4-6 p.m.

Tuesday and Wednesday 14 and 15 December
Donna Sachet Seasonal Songs
Presented by Brian Kent
Cabaret Holidays benefits RPC
Feinstein’s at the Nikko Hotel, 222 Mason Street
8 p.m.
$ 25 and more

Posted on November 18, 2021

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