A PRIDE of Corporate Lions Celebrates

While nearly one million visitors flocked to our fair City to celebrate the ROYGBIV of PRIDE, San Francisco's corporate community kicked off its celebration with the VIP Pride Party, a generally decorous cocktail party presented by PG&E. Held unironically at the site of the former Fed, the party was a benefit for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute, which educates and encourages potential political leaders. And while the Bently Reserve was a bit reserved compared to crowds of copious canoodling in the Castro or marching in the Mission, the very existence of a corporate PRIDE party reminded all assembled about how far the business barons have come out.

Corporate sponsors included AT&T President Ken McNeely and Banana Republic President Jack Calhoun, both of whom attended to wave the rainbow flag, as did numerous less recognizable but nonetheless effective corporate champions from the full range of the Kinsey spectrum. (As a disclaimer, we admit we were not privy to their scores, actual or theoretical.) Although the vibe fell closer to a Chamber mixer than a Saturday show at the Stud, the festive feeling, enhanced by Booty Call's Adrian Roberts' spinning, was still palpable. Organizer Mark Rhoades put it very succinctly, " We are a magnet for PRIDE visitors from all over, but I wanted to make sure we celebrate our hometown team," he enthused. "Embracing this community makes good business sense, for employees, for customers, and for our City." Now in its fifth year, the party included LGBT party personalities, like Chelsea Lately television personalities Heather McDonald and Loni Love, parade Grand Marshall Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda, Supervisors Malia Cohen and Scott Weiner, Public Defender Jeff Adachi, Bevan Dufty, Oakland's Sean Sullivan and Richard Fuentes, and Foodie Chap Liam Mayclem, and a number of local luminaries. Towering amongst the suits and saints, Sister Roma appeared to grant Perpetual Indulgences, while Surface magazine founder Riley Johndonnell anointed the unsuspecting with a subtle snowfall of confetti. Amidst the paper shower, a besuited boulevardier exclaimed to the dowager dame in silver sequins, "Oooo, you are wearing my favorite color: glitter!" Mutha Chucka, who toils by day under fluorescents and by night above the footlights, appeared in a rainbow frock worn directly from a function at her corporate headquarters. "I spent the whole time at that party being interviewed by Fortune Magazine for their '100 Best Places to Work' article," she grinned. "Having your boss encourage you to come to the company party in drag says a lot about your workplace."

Also scene: SFist's Brock Keeling sporting his signature satirist's sport coat, along with the Chron's hardhitting humoriste Beth Spottswood, Joel Goodrich, Mark Calvano, Alvin Ma, Arsen Ari Kalfayan, Bacca Da Silva, Lisa Harding, Sarah Bush, Ted Hannig, Jenny Georges, Alfredo Pedroza, Alex Lazar, Ye-Hui Lu, Rosalina, Martin, and Brittany Lydster, Brandon Hernandez, Claudia Ross, Maurice Kelly, a gorgeously gowned Anita Cocktail, Ann Evans, Ann Luger, Trent Norris, Gary Loeb, David Fraze, David Nash, Andrea Shorter, Larry Halpern, and a passel of the proud. However pinstriped the proceedings, the combination of corporate cool and prolific pride created a powerful frisson of feeling and force, which buoyed (and girled) all in attendance for the weekend - and the work - ahead.

Mark Rhoades's VIP Pride Party

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