All too often I whine and moan about how San Francisco has lost its weird. Thinking back to when I moved here 22 years ago, I remember being astonished that, having felt like an outsider my entire life, I had arrived in a city where I could not possibly be different enough to even begin to stand out. Lately it's felt like a homogenous smear of tech buses and young white entrepreneurs, baby carriages and golden retrievers. Even our naked people got fig-leafed.
But then I actually bother to look, and am reminded that we have drag cabaret and a transgender film festival and Burning Man and Day of the Dead and myriad and sundry popups of food and art and literature and theater. It's still there, but 22 years ago there wasn't the howling beast of a booming tech economy to drown it out.
One of the great anchors of San Francisco's counterculture is the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Since 1979, the Sisters have employed a high-camp combination of extreme drag and religious imagery, donning habits and painted in exaggerated, neo-Kabuki style. With a mission "to promulgate universal joy and to expiate stigmatic guilt" they have been tireless activists in the city, raising funds for worthy causes and promoting community wellness and safety.