San Francisco celebrates eccentric, gay roots at 2014 Nitey Awards

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At the second annual 2013 Nitey Awards on February 25, San Francisco proved that, despite the new wave of nouveau riche tech workers and steady rise in gentrification, its diverse LGBT culture remains fabulous and unscathed as always. Honoring businesses in the city’s ever-thriving nightlife scene, the highly-favored gay club Lookout took home two awards—including one of the largest honors of the entire evening.

Between Gays Without Borders’ announcement of its solidarity protest of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic outside Davies Hall (which will occur on March 3, in support of the recent police attacks against Pussy Riot) and “A New Look At Homosexual Marriage”—a “forward-thinking” San Francisco Chronicle article from 1970 that recently resurfaced—it’s no wonder why San Francisco is still one of the most popular gay cities in the world.

Daring to stay true to the city’s homo roots, The Niteys—co-produced by a Commissioner for the San Francisco Entertainment Commission, Audrey Joseph—were held at the iconic Castro Theatre. The popular movie palace, which became San Francisco Historic Landmark #100 in September 1976, hosts movies and film festivals that are highly focused on gay and multicultural themes. It’s located in the heart of the Castro, San Francisco’s gay district. The neighborhood was one of the very first gay residential areas in the US and is currently the largest.

Often called the “thriving marketplace for all things gay,” Castro was just that on Monday night, with members from all spectrums of the city’s LGBT (and straight) community running the streets in eccentric costumes that ranged from Roaring Twenties-style party dresses to the painted-on tuxedo donned by a hunk of a male model, courtesy of the artist Edward Martinez, who created the masterpiece live at the VIP reception.

“I love, love, love, my gay boys,” said singer Vicki Shepard, who—with plenty of good ole, glittery camp—instructed the colorful audience to “Bend over, hold your ankles, and open wide,” during her funky, pre-show performance. The “All I Ask of You” singer, who became “hooked” with performing for the LGBT nightlife scene after her gay brother encouraged her to perform at a gay club early in her career, is well-known for being the featured vocalist for one of Britain’s most sought after, mid ’90s production teams The Sleaze Sisters (also known as WAND & The Candy Girls).

“A high-end celebration of nightlife for high-end people,” according to “Mr. Original Stoli Guy 2013,” Nicolas Bettinger, the event gave honor to “Best Gay Dance Club” (won by OMG), Best Drag Queen (Donna Sachet), and Best Gay Bar (Lookout).

Lookout also took home a grand award for “Excellence in Philanthropy,” for its charitable donations to LGBT and various other organizations—raising nearly $700,000 in seven years.

Sister Roma—the “most photographed nun in the world” and a columnist for gay magazine, Gloss—showed up in full-on, nun-gone, feathery-glam-regalia, to present and to pass (or toss) her crown to 2014’s “Best Drag Queen.” However, the self-proclaimed “most notable drag queen” didn’t present that particular win.

“We brought lots of [gay]and drag to the living room tonight,” Sachet told 429Magazine. And indeed, they did.

429Magazine

About The Author

As an aspiring novelist in search of an agent for my debut, YA series, "#BeautifulUgly", I hope to be able to help the world recognize the author as an artist, as they would the painter. Currently attending Academy of Art as a photography major with hopes to improve, technically, as a visual creator.

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