Friday, May 22, 2009

Belated Recognition of CHUTZPAH for a Good Cause

Reviewing this year's Best of San Francisco, included with this week's SF Weekly, I encountered one item that stood out (so to speak) from all the rest:

Think bingo is just a social outlet for dauber-wielding geriatrics? Honey, please. On the third Wednesday of each month from 7 to 10 p.m., San Francisco's favorite queer nuns, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, host a bingo night that requires a keen appreciation of the eccentric. With themes like "Leathers & Feathers Bingo," players compete for prizes for the best costumes as well as bingo to benefit local nonprofits. You win "free shit" in raffles, and are serenaded by the "Pitch Bitches" during breaks. If you're naughty (and male), you may be forced to strip off your shirt to become a dancing "dauber boy." Pay $20 for discount tickets online, or $30 for general admission at the door or at Cafe Flore on Market. Pay $40 for VIP admission to claim your seat first and beat everyone to the cocktail bar on the second floor, since Sisters Bingo is no sober affair.

My wife and I have been fans of the Sisters ever since we got into the habit (again, so to speak … it seems to be irresistible) of attending the opening performance of the summer season of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, at which the Sisters deliver a benediction, presumably for both the season and the audience. This may be the closest thing to a religious ritual that I practice, perhaps because I can always count on this particular prayer to end with the same text, "Go forth and sin more."

I do not know how long the Sisters have been running these bingo nights, but it took SF Weekly to get them on my radar. Clearly, the Sisters' attitude towards organized religion in general and nuns in particular would be chutzpah enough; but their adoption of one of the Catholic "standards" for fund raising, particularly when the beneficiaries are probably worth causes deemed not worthy enough by other charitable organization, struck me as excellent grounds for a positive-connotation Chutzpah of the Week award. (It also felt irresistible to invoke Hebrew/Yiddish on behalf of society of drag nuns.) Note that Sisters Bingo has its own Web site, which is where one can both discount and VIP tickets.

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