Empress yourself

Pub date February 15, 2011
WriterMarke B.
SectionSuper Ego


SUPER EGO It certainly has not escaped my attention that this whole amazing Arab youth uprising thing is taking place during Fashion Week. It’s a mitzvah! But while Hunky Beau and I have been busily rooting through Reuters for inspiring pics of various hipster Egyptsters and Tunisians turnin’ in out (or, conversely, signs of any uprising under the Manhattan tents — watch out for Joseph Altuzarra, y’all), I’ve tried to have more than fast-forward fashionistas in my forethoughts and yummy Yemenis on the Bahrain.

Specifically: gay democracy. It’s time once again for an annual event that still remains charmingly underground here, yet has a heavy impact on San Francisco’s charitable community and global gay image. For serious, the wigs alone weigh like 20 pounds. Yes, it’s time to elect a new Empress of San Francisco — and this year the candidates have come out fighting, but graciously.

If you’re unfamiliar with our nearly 50-year-old Imperial Court system, which originally took ironic inspiration from beloved-yet-deranged San Francisco scallywag Joshua Norton, who in 1859 declared himself Emperor of the United States — and which first found full flower in 1965 with majestic Absolute Empress Jose Sarria I, The Widow Norton, while later helping to lead the community through gay liberation and the AIDS crisis — then hie thee ho to the newly revamped www.imperialcouncilsf.org website for a highball full of essential history.

Empress 2011 will wholly dedicate the next year of her life raising tens of thousands of dollars for good causes through nightlife affairs and traveling to regally represent our fair burg at Imperial Courts around the world. And this year’s candidates make for a feisty ballot: Saybeline, glamorous longtime luminary of the LGBT fundraising scene, and rousing dark horse Monistat, the party promoter voted Best Drag Queen in the Guardian’s Best of the Bay poll.

If elected, the youthful Monistat promises to tap her extensive database of “promoters, DJs, performance artists, and venues” to “refresh” the institution. She also invokes her considerable party stamina, promising to give us night after night (after night) of fundraising in face.

Saybeline vows to throw “open the doors to younger members of our community” and to “engage and encourage them” to become more involved in community service. She puts forth her “two decades of experience in volunteering and organizing fundraising events” as one of the main reasons to grant her the crown.

The crown is stunning, btw.

There are two great guys running for emperor as well, Frankie Fernandez and Ray MacKenzie, and voting should be hot and heavy. Everyone 21+ who lives in San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo is welcome to vote. So hit the polls and enjoy our freedoms while we wait for that exhilarating youth uprising to finally spread to Iraq! Oh wait …

SAN FRANCISCO EMPRESS 2011 VOTING DAY Sat/19, free. Noon–7 p.m. at Castro Muni Station, Castro and Market, and 11 a.m.–6 p.m. at Project Open Hand, 730 Polk, SF. www.imperialcouncilsf.org

>>Read Marke B.’s full interviews with the Empress 2011 candidates here



“Slumps” = Cali-meets-Detroit (a.k.a. Calitroit) hip-hop beats. And this massive charitable beat battle, featuring two dozen future underground hitmakers, will surely tease out more than a few sublime J. Dilla apostles.

Fri/18, 9 a.m., $10 or $7 with can of food. Club Six, 60 Sixth St., SF. www.clubsix1.com



Gotta give shouties to my fave Oakland female electro-hop terrors, rapping us up in cataclysmic Four Loko bliss. They’ll demolish the stage with the Tenderlions, Kool Karlo, and Frite Nite DJs.

Fri/18, 10 p.m.–3 a.m., $5 before 11 p.m., $10 after. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF. www.publicsf.com