Friends are what make performing as Vanessa Bousay all worthwhile. I am so lucky to have a community of loving, supportive people who come out and cheer me on every time I appear. That loyalty and energy is something I most certainly DO NOT take for granted. I am a very, very lucky diva to have it.
From so many different parts of my life here in San Francisco, y’all come together – time after time – to hear me share my gift of song. It is beautiful to me how music has the power to unite people, bring joy and inspire us to keep on living. As a singer, I am grateful to be the conduit for all of that.
I thank you – each and every one of you – who attended my Sweet Street Valentine’s show with Steven Satyricon, Tom Shaw & Roberta Drake at Oasis this year. The smiles on all of our faces in these photos tell the story of one fantastic evening spent together in the cabaret. See you next on Mother’s Day at Martuni’s!
No cabaret singer is an island. Singing songs is by its nature a collaborative act, and this singer is so fortunate to have the most amazing partners to make music with…EVER. Tom Shaw is a veteran bay area pianist, singer and composer and Roberta Drake has played drums in pit orchestras and cabaret venues too many to count. The wealth of musical knowledge and expertise these two friends bring to all of our collaborations is beyond price. What an honor to make music with you, Tom & Roberta, at our Sweet Street Valentine’s cabaret this February. So grateful!
After six consecutive years of performing a February show together, Vanessa and Steven Satyricon’s Valentine’s cabaret has become an annual San Francisco tradition. Valentine’s is a holiday that is so easy to sing about. Love songs abound – both romantic and bitter – and this year’s Sweet Street theme took us all on a saccharine high with songs about candy, honey, ice cream, cupcakes, high fructose corn syrup and more.
I am so grateful for my friend Steven Satyricon. A natural and fantastic entertainer, a strong singer and a sweetheart to boot, Steven brings a wealth of stage and performing experience to every show. And with our friends Tom Shaw & Roberta Drake on piano and drums, we just have such an effortless, grand time singing up there together. Our voices – though very different – truly become one when we sing together in unison or in harmony. It is such an intimate and sensuous connection we share as friends in music. Thank you, Steven, for all the fun and joy in music. I love you!
Oh my dear LINDA LEE, how I love thee! Not only is Linda one of Vanessa’s biggest fans, she is also one of my most cherished friends. Her support of my performing and of my work with Tenderloin Tessie dinners is nothing short of astonishing. At every show, at every benefit, there is Linda with her camera documenting and archiving the magic that is our community here in San Francisco. Linda is a friend who makes love an ACTION, more than just a word. I love this pelican/pink flamingo pose from our Sweet Street show, and Linda Lee…I love you!
For almost 15 years it was my delight and joy to know Terry Gauchat. It is with a very heavy heart on this New Year’s Eve that I write this last blog post of the year, as a tribute to one of my dearest friends here in San Francisco. We lost Terry this December, just a few days after his appearance in our Christmas Cabaret show. In addition to being partner to Chris Franz and a loving daddy to their two adorable beagles, Terry was Vanessa’s exclusive photographer for the past five years and webmaster of this website that we created and built together. Words cannot express how saddened I am by Terry’s unexpected passing.
Terry absolutely loved appearing in our Tenderloin Tessie Christmas Cabaret show, and he did so the past three years. Always wanting to sing the same song each year, Terry performed a traditional Basque carol, “Gabriel’s Message”. With a sacred text about the angel Gabriel’s visitation to the Virgin Mary, it is a song of rejoicing for “the lady most highly favored”, and Terry sang it every time with such enthusiasm and delight.
That this song, sung for Tenderloin Tessie, would be the last public declaration from Terry says so much about him as a person. For Terry, the Christmas season was celebrated most authentically at Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners. He believed in our work so much and was always childlike in his preparation to perform for us. Now an angel himself, Terry will always be remembered by Tenderloin Tessie as “Gabriel”.
Terry performs “Gabriel’s Message” in 2018
Terry performs “Gabriel’s Message” in 2017
The joy of collaborating with my friend Terry as subject in front of his camera was an absolute delight. Terry was a genius with lighting and staging a photo. This website that we built together with all of the images we created is a living memorial and tribute to our work together. Although I have lost a cherished friend and a trusted collaborator, Terry’s vision lives on here at vanessabousay.com and in the hearts of those of us who had the honor of knowing and loving him. Terry’s heart was big, and his love of beauty, his friends and life is an example that I shall never forget. Rest In Peace, my angel Gabriel…Terry Gauchat.
Our Tenderloin Tessie Christmas Cabaret show each year features a dazzling array of local San Francisco performing talent. I am so proud of the diverse and eclectic mix of performers that appear for us at this show, as that diversity reflects the broad, inclusive net that Tessie casts over this community. ALL who love are welcome…and they are not only welcome, but CELEBRATED. Thank you to all of our fabulous performers who appeared for us this year to raise money for this most beautiful, over 40 year San Francisco tradition.
Absolute Empress XXX Donna Sachet singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
Kathy Holly and Jorge Martinez singing “Feliz Navidad” and “El Nino del Tambor” (The Little Drummer Boy)
Cecilia Palmtag singing “He Shall Feed His Flock” from Handel’s Messiah
Sister Bella Donna performing Whitney Houston’s electrifying “Joy To The World”
Absolute Empress LI Emma Peel performing “When You’re Good To Mama” from Chicago
Alotta Gender performing “Santa Claus Got Stuck In My Chimney”
Lily Chandrasekher & Kevin Jenkins singing “That Holiday Feeling”
Mutha Chucka performing Bette Midler’s hysterical “One Night Only”
The Singers Of The Street perform “A Boogie Woogie Christmas”
Sister Roma & Michael Gagne perform “Roma The Magnificent” – a spoof on the the famous Johnny Carson sketch “Carnack The Magnificent” written & adapted by Vanessa’s hubby, Robert McLoud
Every now and then a friend of mine really surprises me…and it definitely takes a lot to surprise Vanessa! But when John Hull told me that he had a dream of performing in drag FOR THE FIRST time at age….well, we won’t mention that…..I was thrilled and in awe of his courage. THEN he told me that he wanted to perform for our Tenderloin Tessie Christmas Cabaret this year….THEN he asked me to be his drag mother! What an honor and responsibility.
I must admit that with this very head-strong and willful daughter, Eustazia – “Euie” for short – I didn’t have a whole lot of work to do. John is a brilliantly creative artist in many areas, and I suppose the most support I gave him in his journey to discover his character was the platform of the show itself. The drag was a piece of cake for him. It was the opportunity to perform that I could provide. And boy, did Eustazia ever deliver! Her rendition of “Rudolph The Drag Queen Reindeer” was the perfect comic addition to the show, and she brought the house down with her hysterical patter. Brava Diva Eustzia!
On a deeper level, Eustazia’s presence in the show this year punctuates the magic of what make Tenderloin Tessie such a unique and real organization. We say that “all are welcome” at Tenderloin Tessie, and that is true not only with our guests who attend, but with those who choose to volunteer for us as well. Creating Eustazia gave my friend John Hull a chance to to entertain and contribute in a way that was a sheer delight to him, and in so doing he brought joy to others. That is the soul of Tenderloin Tessie, you see. Everyone is valued, because everyone has something to offer in our family.
What started as a simple, little slap-stick comic sketch has now become an inevitable tradition at our Tenderloin Tessie Christmas Cabaret show. With the mise en scene of filming a documentary movie, “Tessie’s Christmas Stuffing” chronicles the mishaps of serving anything at a Tenderloin Tessie dinner WITHOUT “The Love Spice”. Silly and entertaining as it is, the skit has a profound punch at the end that instantly brings home the whole message of the evening and of the charity itself.
This years cast included the inimitable Steven Satyricon as “The Producer”, Andrew Darling as “The Impulsive Volunteer”, Michael Gagne as “The Doctor” & Vanessa as “The Volunteer Cook”. Thank you Linda Lee for these fabulous candid shots from the skit this year.
2019 marks our third annual Christmas Cabaret benefit show for Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners. Co-hosting this spectacular evening with TT President Michael Gagne has become one of the highlights of my holiday season. It is a joy to plan the event all year, and to be assisted by so many volunteers who believe in our heart-felt mission. Special thanks once again this year to Sergio Fedasz for providing us with sound, Carla Nicholson with lighting, John Hull for providing us with props and staging needs, James Campbell & Max Schroeder for their talent at the piano, Forest McDonald on guitar, EricOsborne and Martha Veille for serving us food/drink, Terry Gauchat & Elizabeth Green Sah for publicity/marketing and Linda Ostrom and Denise Gindoy at the door.
It takes a village to put up such a fabulous evening, and Tenderloin Tessie is a 100% volunteer organization that KNOWS HOW TO MAKE BIG THINGS HAPPEN! I am so proud to be a part of this wonderful, loving group of people. Thank you all for your hard work and for sharing your talent with our cause.
What a fun evening of musical merriment with my good friends “The Singing Surgeons” Dr. Laura Esserman and Dr. Sanziana Cosanziana. Thank you, lovely ladies, for inviting Vanessa to appear with you at your annual holiday party for surgeons from UCSF Medical Center. What fun we had singing carols acapella together and bringing some serious diva elevation to the party with our holiday ensembles. I love sharing the stage with you ladies, in whatever incarnation we all find ourselves….that’s what the stage is all about, oui? Merry Christmas to all!!!!