To celebrate LGBTQ History Month, Frameline Distribution releases for online viewing 50 Years of Fabulous, an award-winning documentary recounting the life and legacy of iconic queer rights activist José Sarria and featuring the international drag institution he started, the Imperial Court.

On this week’s Out in the Bay, hear clips from the film, some fascinating LGBTQ history and about drag performing as an act of resistance. The audio clips include archival footage of Sarria performing in San Francisco’s infamous Black Cat bar in the 1950s. Our guests are filmmaker Jethro Patalinghug and drag activist Khmera Rouge, Absolute Empress 50 of the San Francisco Imperial Council.

A Virtual Cinema Release event for 50 Years of Fabulous is planned for Friday, Oct. 23. More details below and here.

Guests and Resources:

Jethro Patalinghug is a documentary filmmaker and video producer based in San Francisco. 50 Years of Fabulous is his first feature-length documentary. Jethro was Mr. Gay San Francisco 2016-17 and Mr. Gay Asian Pacific Alliance 2012. He founded Take the Test, a campaign which promotes HIV testing and counseling in the Philippines. He is also a music artist with a single released in iTunes.

Khmera Rouge is a San Francisco-based drag entertainer and community activist who has held fundraising community titles for many organizations. She was Queen of Hearts 2013 with the Grand Ducal Council of San Francisco, Miss GAPA 2013-2014 with Gay Asian Pacific Alliance, and Absolute Empress 50 with the Imperial Council of San Francisco in 2015. She has helped raised over $150,000 for local community groups, charities and non-profits. Follow her on social media accounts @KhmeraRouge.

Frameline Distribution presents the Virtual Cinema Release of 50 Years of Fabulous through San Francisco’s famed non-profit Roxie Theater on Friday, October 23 at 7 p.m. Pacific Time. The movie and panel discussion with filmmakers and San Francisco Imperial Council members will be available through November 30. Recounting the rich history of the Imperial Council, the oldest LGBTQ+ charity organization in the world, the documentary captures what makes San Francisco a unique, powerful, and heartwarming home for the LGBTQ+ community. Tickets ($10) for 50 Years of Fabulous Virtual Cinema Release Friday, Oct. 23, include a special pre-film drag show featuring members of the Imperial Court & Council. Visit to learn more and purchase. The film can be accessed by viewers anywhere in North America.

photo: José Sarria, self-proclaimed Empress I and founder of the San Francisco Imperial Court in 1965. Photo courtesy of Frameline.

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