June means many things in San Francisco—winter, asparagus-overload, summer street festivals—but most of all it means Pride. Leading up to 2011's Pride Weekend (June 25–26), we asked some of San Francisco's most beloved drag ambassadors to write on the question: "What does Pride mean to you?" Heklina, MC and producer of Trannyshack, wrote last week's essay, and this week, the scribe is Cookie Dough, host of The Monster Show, the longest running drag show in the Castro. We'll be publishing one essay a week until Pride weekend.
I Am Pride. As a third-generation San Francisco native, I have found that even as the city has changed for good and for bad, I am a proud San Franciscan through and through. Of course when people say “oh, yeah, I’m a native too," my question is "cool, what neighborhood did you grow up in?" Usually this is met with a “well, I’ve been here about 20 years." I want to pat them on the head, and say “that’s sweet." They want to claim this city as their own. And that makes me proud.
I Am Pride – As a gay male, sometimes my own internal homophobia can be an obstacle. I feel that some of society's definitions of what, who, where, when, and how we should be has evolved over the decades. Scars have been healed, but acceptance still seems many miles away. I have been extremely blessed with support from family, childhood friends and new-found friends. And that makes me proud.
I Am Pride. As a son, brother, uncle and grandson, I have tried to be the best family member within my powers. This has not always been the case, however, and when I wasn’t, I would correct the issue to the best of my ability. And that makes me proud.
I Am Pride. This past year, I found myself doing an extraordinary amount of fundraising for the SF gay community. This happened when I was elected as Grand Duchess of SF with The Ducal Council of SF, a 38-year old fundraising organization. When I took on this commitment, I knew I had a journey ahead of me. However, I didn’t know that this journey was going to have the impact on me that it did, and it has helped to make me the humble person I am today. As each event came and went, I saw the tireless efforts of so many people — many I knew and many who knew about my goals. But all were there for the same reason: To roll up their sleeves and help raise money, one dollar at a time, for programs in need, people in need and a city in need. And that makes me proud.
I Am Pride. As a devoted husband for over 10 years to Michael, aka DJ MC2, I have come to know myself as someone who is capable of having a loving, committed, monogamous relationship. Michael was a chance encounter at a social gathering, which then led to a three-hour discussion about our love for music, movies, and pop culture. After a few more of these ‘friendship dates," we both found more things we liked about each other. Then love came into the picture, followed by a life-long bond with someone I care about. And that makes me proud.
I Am Pride. And that makes me proud.
As a drag personality in San Francisco, Pride Month is one of the busiest months for me, and many other queens. Here are a few of my upcoming events:
Every Thursday @ 10pm, I host the longest running drag show in the Castro: The Monster Show with Cookie Dough & DJ MC2 at The Edge Bar. Each week brings you a new theme. Our Pride show, on June 23rd, will be a Donna Summer Tribute.
Sunday, June 26th (Pride Night) I'm co-hosting The Official Pride Closing Party at The Regency Ballroom, starring Taylor Dayne, Peter Paige (Queer as Folk), and from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Tyra Sanchez, Raven, JuJu Bee, Raja, Delta Work and Carmen Carrera and DJ Glowvibes. Purchase tickets through EventBrite.com (be sure to mention Cookie Dough when you book!).
More About Cookie Dough
As a seasoned veteran behind-the-scenes, Cookie Dough's over-the-top personality and wild antics on stage and screen have made her an overnight sensation 16 years in the making. Shortly after her stage debut, Cookie met her soul mate, in the aspiring Film Director and Screenwriter Michael Burton Chu. The two pooled their talent to form “Toss Your Cookie Productions.”
Their partnership sparked Chu's creativity as well, resulting in a series of horror film shorts starring Cookie. Creep, an official entry in San Francisco's 29th-Annual Frameline Film Festival, was the first. It was followed by Deconstructing Love, Evil Deeds, and the Russian River Massacre premiere of Call Me Daddy.
All the while, live performance opportunities abounded. From emceeing the main stage at the annual Castro Street Fair, Folsom Street Fair, and various events in the community, Cookie is available at the drop of a microphone, or cash if you’re daring.
From providing guest vocals for the world's first mash up band, Smash-Up Derby, or playing Sophia Petrillo in a live stage version of The Golden Girls, Cookie keeps all her options open. Whether through fundraisers for a wide array of local organizations or nonstop professional gigs, Cookie plans to remain on the stage for a long time to come.