Friday, September 24, 2010
More than 150 supporters of the Castro Country Club converged on Everett Middle School in San Francisco on Sept. 19 to view the film “Sordid Lives” and enjoy an appearance by talented, openly-gay stage, film, and TV star Leslie Jordan, who has been performing all week at the Rrazz Room at the Hotel Nikko.
The event was a fundraiser for the Castro Country Club’s “Save the Steps” campaign, necessitated by the building’s impending sale. The mentioned steps are in front of the club and are a major center for socializing and cruising in the Castro neighborhood, continuing the tradition of local gay street culture that started in the early 70s.
The club has been a safe haven for people in recovery for addictions for over 27 years and it saves lives. Fundraising chairs Crispin Hollings and Terry Beswick have been working to raise more than $80,000 and they hoped to break the $100,000 barrier on Sunday evening.
The show started when Hollings introduced California State Senator Mark Leno. Leno began a subtle fundraising drive when he confided to the audience that he was increasing the amount of money of his own pledge.
The screening of the "Sordid Lives" overcame its lighting and sound limitations with its outrageous, picaresque, country characters. Like with the TV show “Mama’s Family,” the mostly citified and non-Southern audience member was laughing along with the characters as each loony situation unfolded. Jordan's performance is a must-see, and he has a genius for intuitively interacting with other actors.
The movie covered uncomfortable territory for many with dysfunctional families, and the all too familiar modern folk tale of the handsome country boy who moves to the big city, loses his accent, gets into show business, and then comes home to come out — even as family members feverishly try to change the subject. The audience laughed through much of the film and yelled out and screamed at some of writer Del Shore’s best comedic material.
Hollings then introduced Jordan and there was a well-earned standing ovation. His stage show was hilarious, XXX-rated, obsessively revealing, and its viewpoints and experiences had a deliciously funny but caustic edge.
The show ended with another standing ovation, a Q&A, and a VIP party at Home Restaurant. Jordan was warm and gracious as guests inched up to him to express their admiration and join him for photographs. Unlike most VIP parties where wine and cocktails are furiously being imbibed before the open bar closes, the restaurant staff did a fine job of continually filling glasses with ice water and iced tea. Home presented their quality buffet of macaroni & cheese, burgers, and incredible fudge brownies — and guests lined up for seconds.
The event was a triple helping of Leslie Jordan and he mentioned that his link with the club is a past addiction problem.
For more information about the Castro Country Club and its fundraising drive, visit castrocountryclub.org.