Last night, I attended the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee Gala, or as I like to call it, Nerd Prom. Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin.
Held at the Fairmont Hotel, I was a guest of State Senator Mark Leno. I have to admit, I get a little nervous attending these political events as I’ve occasionally mocked many of the attendees on the internet. You know, they Google themselves. I’ve learned this the hard way.
Most of them get the joke, like my dear Mark, but I never know when some crackhead elected official might take my calling them a crackhead the wrong way.
I walked into the event with my good friends, The Brians (the married Brian Devine and Leubitz of Calitics.com) and immediately noticed the silent auction item table, where one could bid on such treasures as fancy wine and dinner with a Supervisor. By the time we made our way around the table, we noticed that no one had bid on dinner with Senator Leland Yee.
Chuckling, the Brians placed a bid in my name. What the hell am I going to discuss with the Senator? Does he watch Glee? Because I’d like to discuss Glee.
I spent the rest of the evening trying to get someone to outbid me on dinner with Leland Yee. No joke. I’m sure he’s lovely, but…
Boe Hayward, an aide for Supervisor Bevan Dufty came up to me. “You bid on dinner with Leland Yee? What’s wrong with Bevan?”
“Nothing! I love Bevan! Bevan’s fabulous!”
Bevan Dufty watches Glee.
We got in line for the bar, the Brians opting for the gratis champagne. I no longer drink alcohol, which is something I feel should be rewarded by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences much less the SFDCCC. Alas, while wine was free, Diet Coke was $7.
I sipped my water and watched the crowd, which included a mix of recognizable politicos as well as random people, much like myself. I passed a man in a wheelchair holding his dog, which prompted Brian to announce, “I wish I’d known dogs were allowed. I would have brought Popeye.”
It was finally time to sit down to dinner, Brian Devine and I joining Mark at his table and Brian Leubitz sitting with Assemblyman Tom Ammiano.
Mark’s table included the glowing Senator Mark Leno obviously, as well as Former Police Commissioner and Transgender Woman of the Year, the very charming Theresa Sparks, my seatmate and Candidate for District 10 Eric “Doc” Smith and Supervisor Sophie Maxwell (in a beret), who was seated one chair away from me and uttered not one word in my direction.
I kinda think of these events like weddings, where you’re sitting with people you don’t necessarily know so the polite thing to do is introduce oneself. Call me crazy.
Who am I to talk, tho? I find Sophie oddly intimidating. I said not a word to her either, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who found this awkward.
Right away, Aaron Peskin (whose silent auction item offering was a Bay swim with former Supervisor Speedo) began the program but no one seemed to care. Everyone was chatting, eating their salads, clinking their wine glasses. I looked across the table at Senator Leno, noting that he was to deliver the night’s closing remarks.
“You sure you wanna talk to this crowd?”
Someone on stage (I must confess I wasn’t paying attention) made a remark that Mayor Gavin Newsom, Former President Bill Clinton and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger were nearby in a room at the very same hotel.
Honestly, I thought it was a joke. But the next thing I know, Ah-nold comes walking through the double-doors with a massive entourage.
It was like a bomb went off. I thought we were under attack. The whole ballroom erupted into hysterics, mayhem, yelling and booing!
I was clearly the only attendee who was humbled to be in the presence of Detective John Kimble, hero of the cinematic masterpiece Kindergarten Cop.
Anyway, Willie Brown brought the Governator up on stage, but I could barely hear anything over the deafening screaming. Which brings me to Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who began shouting, “No, no, no, no!!!!! You lie!!!”
Then the Assemblyman, whom I assure you was not laughing, proceeded to scream “Kiss my gay ass!!!!” (and much more along those lines) until slowly rising from his chair (again, amidst a chorus of hollers and boos directed at the Governor), dramatically throwing down his dinner napkin and STORMING out of the ballroom in protest.
Meanwhile, the Governor stood onstage offering up such classics as “I sleep with a Democrat every night.”
And I was 15 feet away from both of them.
IT WAS FUCKING FABULOUS.
Quite frankly, I found the whole thing so exciting, I was barely able to contain myself. It was also really awkward, just because people were freaking out and booing the Governor like this was a baseball game. I mean, glamorous Hollywood celebrity aside, he’s the Governor of our State. I kept looking back and forth from Mark Leno and Supervisor Elsbernd aide Alex Volberding, mouthing, “OMG.”
Mark leaned back across the table. “I guess you have something to write about NOW.”
So after telling us to “enjoy our party,” the Governor leaves and everyone calms down. I asked Brian Devine, who was seated next to me, “You know, I’m all for dramatics, but how is this different from that Republican yelling at Obama?”
Brian explained that this was a private party, a Democratic event and Arnold crashed it.
When I’ve crashed parties, and I assure you I’ve crashed my share of parties, I’ve snuck in and stayed under the radar. I didn’t hop up to the podium and announce the voting habits of my hook ups.
Arnold was invited in by the organizers of the event. So were Bill Clinton and Gavin Newsom. Both of them declined.
I found the anger kind of rude. But then again, I needed a 20-year old to explain Prop D to me, so I’m not exactly as invested as the rest of the crowd.
Tom Ammiano then got onstage to accept his award and was appropriately hilarious, but I have to say, and I’m not biased at ALL, my boyfriend Mark Leno took the opportunity of his closing remarks to class up the joint. He explained why the masses were so angry at Kindergarten Cop, which to this dilettante was very helpful and also thanked the hotel staff, who’d be serving us all night. What a man of the people!
I swung by the after party in the Tonga Room and met Board President David Chiu, whom my best friend and Examiner columnist Melissa Griffin had dragged down there in the interest of getting the joint declared a historic landmark. And then I headed home.
The Brians walked me out, but as we strolled through the lobby of the Fairmont, I spotted Willie Brown walking by himself.
“I have to go say hi to Willie!” I gasped. “I love him.”
So I marched over and introduced myself (again.) I was hoping Da Mayor would give me his dicey and uncensored thoughts on the evening’s fireworks, but really, he just wanted me to be sure to say hi to my dad.
He saved his thoughts for Carla Marinucci from the Chronicle. Basically, Willie found the booing “inappropriate” and mentioned Leno’s bill for Harvey Milk Day. “Why would you think you’re impressing him into signing that bill by insulting him?”
I have to agree with the dashing former Speaker. I’m all for talking smack on the internets. But I dressed up last night. It was not the time for face-to-face brawl. Bill Clinton wanted nothing to do with us, not to mention Mayor Gavin Newsom. I mean, Jesus! It was the San Francisco Democratic Gala and he’s the Democratic Mayor of San Francisco. What the fuck? At least Arnold deigned to face the crowd. The man was in Jingle All the Way AND True Lies. He knows Tom Arnold. I could not have been more star struck.
I’ve really got to hand it to Nerd Prom, though. That shit was bananas.