Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Bare Chest Calendar Auction: A Night of Restrained Debauchery

Mr. February Michael Rubinstein with hostess Donna Sachet

"Visual splendor" and "fine altruism" best describe the array of handsome men, generous donors, and resourceful party coordinators who enjoyed the 2012 Bare Chest Calendar Men auction benefit for the AIDS Emergency Fund (AEF) and the Positive Resource Center (PRC) at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on August 23.

Distinctive men included handsome filmmaker Philippe Gosselin, whose movie "The Rescue" was a hit at this year’s San Francisco Int'l LGBT Film Festival, and the devilish young Seth Watkins, who has overcome numerous obstacles to reach a new healthy point in his life.

Mr. December Philippe Gosselin

Guys chosen for the Calendar must agree to spend an enormous amount of time and effort at events where they promote the sale of the Bare Chest Calendar. Some guys such as Christopher Humphreys and Jay Laude have had extensive experience volunteering with non-profits. Humphreys is famous for going shirtless to make quick sales of Jello-O shots for charity.

Each of the men was lavishly presented by emcee Donna Sachet, who wore a golden goddess gown. Then masterful tuxedo-ed auctioneer Lenny Broberg pitted fans and the besotted in the audience to bid on the guys. They appeared first in hilariously boyish ensembles donated by Citizen/Body. And then Anya Montiel and Gerri Beauvais—helpful women who were beautifully gowned and accessorized—stripped off the Calendar men's shirts. There was a moment for the yelling-and-applauding crowd to run their eyes across the expanse of gym-toned muscles before a red bow tie and a leather vest from sponsor Miller Beer were slid onto the men's sweating bodies.

Lance Holman, Troy Anicete, [name and likeness removed by request] and friend

The competition was fierce, but also fun. Last year it was guided by the blinding fear that a magnificent and predatory Mr. SF Leather was trying to “buy” non-single studs. It went smoothly this year until the overtly primal Will Swagger assumed an athlete’s pre-pounce position and a seemingly mesmerized Sachet mounted the stage in response, but she was expertly led back to her seat by auctioneer Broberg. Stunning Andy Cross’ friends, a straight couple, astounded the other donors with a $10,000 winning bid, the highest of the evening.

The event featured two stylized climaxes. The first was when the winning bidders were joyfully invited onto the stage to join the Calendar men. The second climax shocked and pleased the audience, and only a glamorous Donna Sachet could seize the moment so well when she glided down the runway to Broberg in a luxurious satin bridal gown and veil.

Mr. October Will Swagger and Mr. December Philippe Gosselin

It was the best of San Francisco with the professional fundraising talents of Donna Sachet and Lenny Broberg and the expert guidance of coordinators Thom Grant (Mr. December 2007) and Mark Hollenstein (Mr. June 2006), along with the good-natured and alluring 2012 Calendar men in the historic and accommodating Sir Francis Drake Hotel, all for two wonderful charities.

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The 2012 Bare Chest Calendar men with hostess Donna Sachet (center) and host Lenny Broberg (right)

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