San Francisco Artist Joseph Abbati
The archetypal Drag Queen spans nations, tribes, palaces, empires, discos and the darkest clubs in cities across the globe for millennia.
Over the last few decades, from Stonewall to RuPaul, She has put her high-heel imprint on society and culture, at once dangerous and dazzling, nocturnal and nurturing.
San Francisco artist and designer Joseph Abbati celebrates the culture and the history of Drag with his recent show, Larger Than Life, oversize portrait tapestries of some of San Francisco’s most legendary drag queens and iPhone portraiture of the scene, bold, bright and hot!
Enjoy the video interview with Joseph, a sampling of his wonderful iPhone work. A gallery of his tapestries and bios of the divas and a video from the Larger Than Life showcase. Wish we could have been there!
Juanita MORE! is a denizen of the limelight. For two and a half decades, the tireless hostess has blitzed San Francisco with high glamour, drag irreverence, danceable beats, culinary delectables and a philanthropic heart that has illuminated the entire city. She travels San Francisco by day with her trusty sidekick French Bulldog Jackson and at night with a bevy of the cities most handsome boys. Miss MORE’s annual Pride Party bash is simply touted as “the best party at Pride.” She has also been called “the Oprah of the drag community” and “the Muhammad Ali of Drag”. Juanita has been bestowed awards from every spectrum of our community.
Juanita has worked and supported over the years:
The Q Foundation, LGBT Asylum Project, SF LGBT Center, AIDS Housing Alliance, Transgender Law Center, The Harvey Milk City Hall Memorial, Queer LifeSpace, GSA Network, BAY Positives, Visual Aid, AIDS Benefits Counselors, Academy of Friends, Larkin Street Youth Center, Lyric, Quan Yin Health Project, Magnet, Huckleberry Youth Program, outLoud Radio, and TARC.
Creme Fatale is an artist who pushes the notion of what a drag queen is in this gender fluid era. In 2016 she was featured on Bustle.com’s “13 Female Drag Queens to Follow” and in 2015 she was on WERRK.com’s top five list of the “Best Bio Queens Of The Year”. She gained a career as a makeup artist through the art of drag. Her drag character remains recognizable through its ever changing incarnations. Creme hosts Bedlam at Beaux every third and last Wednesday of every month and as well the Broni Mitchell Show returning to the Stud in March!
Creme supports LGBTQ youth and Women’s Rights through organizations like the Happy Hippie Foundation, Planned Parenthood as well as local organizations and community projects.
Honey Mahogany is a drag performer, entertainer, singer, and television personality. She first came to national attention on the fifth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, followed by releasing her debut EP Honey Love. Honey has also been involved in a number of theatrical productions and the collaborative drag/performance art show Work MORE! In 2011 she was voted Best Drag Queen by readers of San Francisco Weekly. Honey joined Trixxie Carr for her show The Right to RULE in 2012 in the United Kingdom at the Abandon Normal Devices Festival. In 2013 Honey joined Peaches Christ’s The Craft… of Drag! Also that year she joined the cast of the16th Annual Showgirls performance, based on the 1995 film Showgirls. Miss Mahogany played the character of Nomi. In both 2013 and 2014, Honey emceed Topsy Turvy: A Queer Circus Extravaganza. In 2014 Honey hosted the Castro Street Fair. She continues to headline and emcee Mahogany Mondays, a drag and cabaret show held at Midnight Sun. Honey is part of a collective that saved The Stud bar by taking ownership of it in December of 2016.
Honey interned at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and was admitted to the University of California at Berkeley where she earned a Masters in Social Work. Using that degree, she works as a social worker in Contra Costa County during the day. Some of the clients that she works with are people with HIV and homeless LGBT youth.
Heklina gained fame as the creator, promoter, and hostess of the legendary Trannyshack! She is a premier hostess and DJ for hire around San Francisco and has enjoyed success with her outdoor party at El Rio, Daytime Realness. She has been seen on the E! Entertainment Network, NBC’s Trauma, The Cho Show, VH1’s Playing it Straight, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, BBC Television’s Around the World in 80 Raves, the Scissor Sister’s Filthy Gorgeous video, and as a guest on the Jerry Springer and Ricki Lake shows. In 2011, she introduced Britney Spears for Good Morning America. Her film credits include the festival favorites Baby Jane? and All About Evil. Theater credits include a starring role in the 2006 Theater Rhino production TROG! and producer and featured actor in the popular San Francisco Golden Girls plays. She was voted Community Grand Marshal of the 2004 San Francisco LGBTQ Pride Parade, and was the subject of two documentaries in the 2005 Frameline SF Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. In 2009 she won the Pride Creativity Award for outstanding artistic contribution to the LGBT Community. She contributes every Wednesday on the CBS Radio Sideshow Podcast. Heklina now co-owns and hosts the new venue at Oasis and launched her new weekly show, Mother.
Heklina supports Pets are Wonderful Support (PAWS), Community United Against Violence (CUAV), Project Open Hand, AIDS Housing Alliance, The ARC, and Tenderloin Tessie.
Grace Towers is head Madame of the Haus of Towers. HOT is a collective of artists with interest in curating opportunities for intergenerational, intentional queer exchange through the arts. She blurs the lines of what drag and gender mean. She hosts Wednesday night at Moby Dick Bar in the historic Castro for dickATnite as well as her dance party SirMa’am at Lone Star and Slumbersexual among others. Grace’s drag questions the normative binary of gender which she believes “is one of the most debilitating and efficient ways that society uses to treat people unequally”. She firmly believes that we as a community must remember to acknowledge our past, as we plan for our future, while remaining present. Also don’t forget to ‘ follow your own weird’. – James Broughton #BeardedLadiesForABetterTomorrow
Grace Towers is on the board of directors for Queens of the Castro. QOC is a non profit that focuses on supporting LGBTQI youth. To date they have granted over $45,000.00 in scholarships to LGBTQI youth who wish to pursue post secondary opportunities in California. She has initiated The Grace Towers Scholarship for the Arts, a scholarship created to nurture LGBTQI youth that are QPOC.
Sister Roma has trademarked the phrase “The Most Photographed Nun In The World” and it is true.
One of the of most outspoken and highly visible members of the infamous Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence, she is recognized around the globe as an activist, fundraiser, public speaker, Master of Ceremonies, and gay icon. Sister Roma is most recognized as the creator of the Sisters’ Stop The Violence Campaign and she gained international attention as the originator of the #MyNameIs, a movement in protest of Facebook’s “real” name policy fighting for the right of everyone to self-identify on the world’s largest social networking platform.
One of San Francisco’s most colorful (and often off-color) Master of Ceremonies, Roma has graced the main stages of SF Pride, Folsom Street Fair, Castro Street Fair, and Easter in the Park where she hosts the infamous Hunky Jesus Contest. Roma travels the U.S. speaking at rallies and hosting events from coast to coast. Internationally Roma has hosted HustlaBall in Berlin, LifeBall in Vienna, Pride in Shanghai, China, and this year was honored to serve as Grand Marshal of Prague Pride in the Czech Republic.
Since taking her vows, Roma has been on the front lines in the war against HIV and AIDS helping to raise over $1 million for the LGBTQ global community.
Peaches Christ is a filmmaker and cult leader living in San Francisco. Her infamous cult-movie events are self-produced at the Castro Theatre and regularly draw over 1,000 attendees to each new production. Events have featured special guest stars John Waters, Cloris Leachman, Appolonia, Barry Bostwick, Pam Grier, and more. Peaches regularly tours these shows and has performed her “Return To Gray Gardens” parody co-starring Jinkx Monsoon and Mink Stole to San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York City, Provincetown, Manchester and London. Peaches is the alter- ego of Joshua Grannell, the writer and director of the feature film All About Evil. The award-winning dark comedy gore film stars Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Dekker, Cassandra Peterson, Mink Stole, and Peaches Christ herself. Peaches Christ has been featured in the films Milk, I Am Divine, Diary Of A Teenage Girl, and on VH1’s Totally Gay!, AMC’s “Movies That Shook the World”, HBO’s Looking, and her own Midnight Mass television show for HDnet produced by Mark Cuban.
Peaches Christ Productions works closely with the non-profit community groups Shanti and P.A.W.S., and have annually raise over $10,000 for the groups.
Juicy Liu is a drag entertainment activist living in San Francisco. She is the current reigning Miss GAPA (Gay Asian Pacific Alliance), representing the GAPA Foundation, whose vision is to achieve a nationally influential API LGBTQ community that provides and amplifies our collective voices to promote equality and positive social perception. GAPA Foundation is a grassroots philanthropic organization that provides funds and leverages resources to empower the Asian/Pacific Islander LGBTQ community. Juicy regularly performs as a guest with the Rice Rockettes, an all-Asian drag troupe, as well at other shows in the City. Juicy has also brought her message of equality and positive identity to the heart of Central Texas, performing at her alma mater at Southwestern University, just north of Austin. Juicy is the alter-ego of Michael Nguyen, a patent attorney who specializes in computer and software-based inventions. Michael also serves as the chair of GAPA organization, the oldest social welfare organization dedicated to furthering the interests of Queer Asian and Pacific Islanders in San Francisco. Follow Juicy on Instagram and Facebook: @juicyliurealness.
Juicy has personally raised over $30,000 for various charitable organizations, including the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
The LTL Showcase
Joseph Abbati has lived in San Francisco for 38 years. In the 1980’s he started a menswear collection called Saxon. In 1985 he was named Menswear Designer of the Year by San Francisco Magazine.
In the 1990’s he turned his attention to digital arts and began working with photography. He worked as an art director and designer during this period.
The 2000’s brought him into the marketing retail world where he worked as a Creative Director for three Fortune 500 companies. His passion in photography, composition, and form translated well in the commercial sector. Concurrently, he was working on more personal work through photography.
In 2010 he left the corporate world and started his own business, D Quarters, to fuse his love of photography with decor. He came across a new digital technique that allowed him to transform his work into woven tapestries. He started first by creating large scale wall art and, later, pillows.
Joseph has also used his business to promote other artists (Rex Ray, Toban Nichols, Terry Rosen, and Jenny Scharaf ) and non-profit organizations. In 2011 he worked with Visual Aid to create a series of pillows with artwork from their roster of artists and raise money for their mission to help artists with AIDS. He also worked with Creative Growth in Oakland to create a collection of pillows from the artwork of their artists with developmental challenges.