Vanessa's Words of Wisdom

These are the musical moments of my life…

Party Time! Tenderloin Tessie 40th Anniversary

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On March 18 I was so pleased to be part of the 40th Anniversary celebration for Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners. Thank you to our President, Michael Gagne, for inviting me to be part of the afternoon’s festivities. I always love singing for anything to do with Tenderloin Tessie! We were again so fortunate to have Mark Leno in attendance at our special day. Thank you Mark for all that you do to support us at Tenderloin Tessie! Here’s to many more years of making people HAPPY!

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Sweet Street Valentine’s Show


What a fabulous night we had our Sweet Street Valentine’s show this year! Sugar and sweet tunes combined to make one amazing saccharine high! Much love to the ever-fabulous Tom Shaw at piano and special thanks to my dear friend and colleague, Steven Satyricon for partnering with me for this show. We sure know how to have a fun time making music! And an extra special call out to my beloved Linda Lee for all the gorgeous pictures you capture at every show. You will always have the seat of honor at the piano, Linda. Between your camera and your energetic presence, you are a conduit of light and energy that I simply must have near to me! Much love to all and thank you again for making Valentine’s so delectably sweet for me this year.

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Tenderloin Tessie 40th Anniversary Year

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Thanksgiving Dinner 2016 marked the 40th anniversary of Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners. This 100% volunteer organization has served family-style holiday dinners on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter –without fail — since its inception in 1976. Founded by a drag performer named Tessie, the dinner affords both its guests and its volunteer participants the opportunity to create an uniquely San Francisco community of love and inclusion. I am so honored to be part of this legacy, singing in my own voice to entertain, just like our founder Tessie did.

Our Thanksgiving celebration this year was also marked with the distinction of visiting State Senator Mark Leno. Senator Leno arrived mid-afternoon, graciously greeted and mingled with our guests and presented our President, Mr. Michael Gagne, with an official Proclomation in honor of our 40 year event. Many thanks to you, outgoing Senator Leno, for acknowledging our work in this very special way.

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San Francisco Civic Symphony “Love In Any Language”

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What an extraordinary experience it was to appear on stage at The Nourse Theater with the San Francisco Civic Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Maestra Jessica Bejarano. My deepest thanks to Jessica and to all the members of the orchestra for making that moment possible. To sing “Love in any language, straight from the heart, pulls us all together, never apart…” at this time of such sharp national division was a message for all of us to forever remember. I am so honored to have been the messenger at this beautiful Sunday afternoon concert.

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Golden Child Birthday Soiree

DSC03090 DSC03101 DSC03104“Happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday DiVanessa, happy birthday to me!” Thank you to everyone for making my Leo birthday celebration the most fabulous party of the year! What a grand time we had. Special thanks to my dearest of friends, Jodi Goble, for coming out to accompany me, AND for bringing your amazing friends, sisters Shelby and Ashley Sievers, to sing such glorious operatic repertoire for me…by request! I am one lucky diva to have so many amazing friends and colleagues. Cheers to one and all!

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San Francisco Night Ministries Cabaret

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What a wonderful way to spend my birthday evening with San Francisco Night Ministries! Thank you Lyle Beckham (also an August 12 Leo!) for inviting me to participate in the ever-fabulous cabaret event, now in its 7th year. Special thanks also to my dear friend Michael Gagne, President of Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners, for your very special birthday serenade to me and Lyle: “Diva & The Beast”! What fun! And for such a wonderful cause.

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VANESSA: A new short film by Daniela Carias Bendaña

My very deepest thanks to my dear friend Daniela Carias Bendaña for choosing me as the subject for her student film documentary. What a joy to collaborate with you on this, Daniela! You captured Erik & Vanessa’s story with such honesty and artistry.  Many thanks, also, to my friends Michael Gagne, Troy Arnold, Krissy Dorn, Tom Shaw, Roberta Drake & Suliman Nawid for appearing in the film.

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Tenderloin Tessie Thanksgiving 2015

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It is so good to give thanks, always… but especially on Thanksgiving day, especially with family. I had the best Thanksgiving Day ever this year, celebrating with all my friends at the Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners here in San Francisco. Thank-you to everyone who volunteered their time and energy to produce one of our best holidays yet! Much love to all from Vanessa, and I will see you at Christmas Dinner in just a few weeks.

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Sensational Suliman!


What a wonderful time I had with the magnificently talented Suliman Nawid in the creation of our Black Magic Woman image. Thank you, Suliman, for sharing your consummate artistry with DiVanessa! I do believe that you practice your own unique form of sorcery on the hearts of men, darling. So as a galactic witch, I was in such powerful, capable hands.

Special thanks also to the exceedingly brilliant Michael Smith for the amazing photography from the shoot. Kisses for days to you both!

Please don’t miss my Black Magic Woman show at Martuni’s on Sunday October 11 @ 7PM.  I will be accompanied by the fabulous Tom Shaw Trio (Tom/piano, Roberta Drake, drums and Paul Eastburn bass) for this voo-doo-fab-song-fest!

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