Vanessa's Words of Wisdom

These are the musical moments of my life…

AAM Holiday Luncheon At The Metropolitan Club

Monday December 10, 2018 was a delightful day for the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco’s annual docent holiday party. Thank you to Elizabeth Green-Sah for the invitation to perform for this lovely group of people at a most elegant venue. At Elizabeth’s request, Vanessa transformed into Erik Chalfant right before the audience’s very eyes, with the keen assistance of Jay Xu, Director of AAM San Francisco. This special moment only punctuated the gender-fluid aesthetic of numerous Asian deities housed in the museum’s collections. The program ended with a rousing audience sing-along led by Erik, which included familiar Christmas songs, Chanukah tunes and even a Kwaanza folk song. Tom Shaw at piano was as articulate and fabulous as ever. Happy Holidays to all of my new friends at AAM!

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Tenderloin Tessie Christmas Cabaret Spectacular 2018

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go…” Indeed, the season of giving arrived in the most fabulous packaging at the doors of Tenderloin Tessie’s 2018 Christmas Cabaret show, last Friday November 30. With my dear friend and co-host Michael Gagne (President of TT), we featured an array of local performing talents who ushered in the holidays with humor, variety and generosity of spirit and funds. A big, heart-felt Tenderloin Tessie THANK YOU to Sister Roma, Sister Bella Donna Summer, Bebe Sweetbriar, Mutha Chucka, Absolute Empress LI Emma Peel, Grand Duchess XXXVI Davida Ashton, Kippy Marks, Terry Gauchat, Steven Satyricon, Forest McDonald, Laura Simpson, James Campbell, Sergio Fedasz and John Hull for contributing your time and talents to our show this year. And of course, thank you to all of our friends and TT family who came out to support our cause so generously. To donate to Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners please send your contribution to: TTHD 2261 Market Street, #494 San Francisco, CA 94114

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Tenderloin Tessie Thanksgiving Dinner 2018

Singing for Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners is always the best part of my holiday seasons. Thanksgiving Day 2018 was no exception. I am simply amazed by the energy of this over 40 year, 100% volunteer organization that makes its sole mission to feed the homeless and most marginalized members of our community. The joy is in giving, my friends, and the love that flows between all of us volunteers with each other and with our guests is a sight to behold. My personal delight is standing at the microphone on stage and watching the afternoon unfold, table by table served family style, one life touched at a time. If you have not had the unique opportunity of giving of your time and heart to Tenderloin Tessie, please contact our President Michael J. Gagne at tenderlointessiedinners@yahoo.com for information about how you can be a part of our great big loving family.

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24 Hour Fitness ZUMBA IN PINK!

Thank you so much Robert Melani and Norma De La Fuentes (General Manager, Castro 24 Hour Fitness) for inviting Vanessa to entertain at Saturday morning Zumba class this weekend, in celebration of Party In Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month. What a gas! And I can officially check off performing at a gym from my bucket list! At Robert’s request, Vanessa sang Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” and “Colors Of The Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas — each song reminding us of how much stronger we are together. It was a delight to be part of this fun event, and I did not miss the chance to mount a cardio machine in my crystal stilettos before leaving the gym — no pain no gain, darlings!

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Hair To Stay on the Runway

It was my great honor to appear as both an entertainer and model for the first annual Hair To Stay on the Runway fundraiser this October, at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. A wonderful organization that allows low-income chemo patients to keep their hair during treatment, the Hair To Stay crew knows how to throw one FANTASTIC party! In addition to all the delectable food and libations, the evening featured an incredible live auction that raised over half a million dollars.

My dear friend, Dr. Laura Esserman, invited me along for the evening to join her in singing a duet from the musical Hairspray, to which she wrote chemo-specific lyrics for us to dazzle the crowd. The standing ovation was most delightful!

But the highpoint of the event was unquestionably the brilliance of David More’s sensational runway couture. I was blessed to wear three of his fabulous looks throughout the evening. The sumptuous fabrics and the genius of his draping technique are hallmarks of his clothes, and the aesthetic beauty of his designs is matched only by his magnificent heart. At every step of the process David was magnanimous, fun-loving and so generous of spirit. I was mesmerized by his love of each and every one of us who modelled for him and how that translated into the most amazing backstage comradery. Truly this was a splendid evening not soon to be forgotten!

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Witchy Friends

No witch can do it all alone — no matter how powerful her spells! And Vanessa was joined at our Martuni’s Bewitched! show this month by two of the BEST fellow witch sisters any diva could wish for. Thank you to the fabulous Carol Hull for so expertly inhabiting her role as our BEE Witching door hostess — you know that I absolutely adore you, Carol, as we all do. And brava to the exceptional Vandana Bali for dazzling us with her amazing vocal prowess. Power was at every turn of this show with my witchy friends always at my side. I love you ladies!

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Bewitched! 2018

“Like something that seeks its level, I wanna go to the devil. I wanna be evil…” And indeed, a most bewitchingly glamourous Vanessa appeared at our 2018 Halloween bacchanal, Bewitched! at Martuni’s.With songs from the spookier side of the American songbook, the show was rich with mysterious harmonic color and lots of startling vocal surprises. Special thanks to the amazing Tom Shaw on piano and Roberta Drake on drums for setting the eerie atmosphere so well. I cannot get enough of singing and jamming with you two lovely ones! And a call out to the wondrous Vandana Bali for sharing her powerhouse vocals with us a guest soloist. A delightful evening was enjoyed by one and all. Thank you everyone for coming out!

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DIVA 101 at Oasis

Back-To-School has never been so much fun as at my Oasis debut show with Tom Shaw piano & Roberta Drake drums. Special thanks to Heklina & D’Arcy Drollinger for inviting me to appear at the club, and to my adorable Steven Satyricon for playing the perfect “Teacher’s Pet”. I hope everyone remembers our fundamental lessons in divahood: be gorgeous, be cultivated and be KIND! Divas are goddesses, so keep the standard celestial, darlings. See you back at Oasis soon!

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Feinstein’s Debut: Erik & Vanessa’s Big Night

On the Thursday evening of San Francisco Pride weekend 2018, Vanessa, Erik and Tom Shaw at piano debuted at Feinstein’s nightclub at Hotel Nikko to a sold-out house. What an extraordinary moment! I shall never forget walking into that room full of friends and fans and feeling all of that genuine love and support. We keep it real, darlings! I love you — every single one of you — and I cannot thank you enough for giving me the opportunity to sing for you, time and time again.

Special thanks also to my dear friends Steven Satyricon and Krissy Dorn for your beautiful guest soloist appearances. What a lucky diva I am to be surrounded by such talented people. “Forever Friends, bound by love that time can’t take away, Forever Friends, caring in a special kind of way. Heart to heart and hand in hand, we will stand until the end. Love’s forever when you’re Forever Friends…”

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Beyond The Sea

“Somewhere beyond the sea, somewhere waiting for me, my lover stands on golden sands and watches the ships that go sailing…” Act Two of our April H2O show took us to the beach – what fun! With fabulous TOM SHAW at the keys, I sang some of my very favorites songs to perform — certainly while wearing a swimsuit!  “The Love Boat” Theme Song, “Beyond The Sea”, “Surfin’ U.S.A.”, “Under The Boardwalk”, “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”, “The Boy From Ipanema”, “Blue Hawaii”, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair” from South Pacific, “Rubber Ducky”, “Splish Splash” and so many more. Thank you to everyone for joining Vanessa’s beach party at Martuni’s. See you at our next show!

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