Who would have thought that the words “non-profit” could be so fun.
But thanks to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, non-profit almost gets lost in the background of what they do – including with their annual “Project Nunway” show Saturday, Nov. 2 from 7-9pm at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Mix in a little “Project Runaway” and a lot of drag queens and you have an evening that has been thrilling audiences for the past five years – and not just in San Francisco. While “Nunaway” started in the city, it has moved to have equally exciting events in Los Angeles, Portland, Dallas and Orlando.
The show, with a different theme each year, is a charity fashion show in which designers pair with different Sisters and create high fashion from recycled materials. This year’s show, subtitled Dissident Futures, is more star-studded than ever – featuring mistresses of ceremonies Jane Wiedlin (of the Go Go’s) and Sister Roma, the Grand Marshal of San Francisco Pride 2012. Furthermore, RuPaul Drag Race All-Star Pandora Boxx is a guest judge while Planet Booty, Honey Mahogany and SpacEKrafT will add a little of their own excitement to the mix.
“Project Nunway was born at YBCA during the Sisters' 30th Anniversary exhibition,” explains Sister Barbra “Baba” Genesh, who was apparently so exciting about the first event that it inspired Sister Baba to join the order. “I plan to work with and as a Sister for the rest of this incarnation as we take vows for life.”
She adds, “I’ve been over-the-top amazed at its growth in other cities and. I understand that Atlanta, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Phoenix are happening next year.” Sister Baba thinks the event “has been successful because Nunway is visually dazzling and Bay Area weird.”
Perhaps the most interesting dynamic about preparing for Nunway, according to Sister Baba, is the way it serves as a platform for ecstatic play and otherworldly inspiration. “Everyone involved in Nunway is turned on and in play mode. It's brilliant to hear my Sisters dreaming and discussing concept and design team about themes with their design teams. This year alone, we are going to see an X-ray habit and a radiowaves gown as in sticking with Dissident Futures theme."
The evening will also introduce audiences to a mechanical nun, which will be on display and whose purpose is to hear confessions free of judgment, making its confessor to not feel so alone. You can learn more about that – and even contribute – by clicking http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-mechanical-nun-ybca-burning-man-20...
While a fund raiser for charity for AIDS and several human rights campaigns, getting into “Project Nunway” actually isn’t very expensive. Prices start at $20.13 and go up to $99 for VIP status and all its perks. YBCA members are only $15 for general admission.
The evening at YBCA isn’t over when “Project Nunway” ends. Sister Baba says there’s also an evening screening of the cross-dressing Barbra Streisand film “Yentl.” The film in which Streisand not only stars and sings, but wrote, directed and produced was hailed by Steven Spielberg as her “Citizen Kane.” The 10pm screening is complimentary for anyone with Project Nunway show or after-party.
To learn more about the full program, go to www.ybca.org/project-nunway
And keep up with all the work the sisters do at www.thesisters.org.