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Performances from three fabulous Bay Area queens and laughter-inducing games — and all for a commendable purpose — sounds like the ideal San Francisco night.

On Thursday, Community Forward SF’s second “drag show to end homelessness” will take place in the Mission District’s El Rio. The theme for this year’s show, “Stepping Out,” alludes to advocating for an important local issue, as homelessness is prevalent in San Francisco districts such as the Tenderloin, South of Market and the Mission. It also hints at the community getting back together after organizers had to cancel last year’s fundraiser because of pandemic in-person event restrictions.

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Says Felicia Torrez, Community Forward SF’s director of development as of July 2021, “They tried to do something virtually [in 2021], but that didn’t work out. So this is the second year that the event is happening, and we’re really excited to bring it back since it was a huge hit in 2020.” 

Community Forward SF is a nonprofit organization that offers several programs, all crucial for offering support for San Francisco’s homeless population. These offerings include shelters, community-focused supportive housing, mental health services, case management, substance abuse treatment and domestic violence support. 

Torrez explains, “Our mission is really to help the most vulnerable individuals get off the streets of San Francisco to find comprehensive services and to achieve the stability that they need so they can thrive.”

Notably, CFSF offers A Woman’s Place, a women’s-specific emergency shelter that also provides long-term treatment options. AWP is the only 24-hour supportive service in San Francisco of its kind, and it’s for all women — cisgender and transgender — regardless of their particular needs.

Poly Poptart, curator and emcee of Community Forward SF’s “drag show to end homelessness,” mingles with audience members at the 2020 show. (Photo courtesy Community Forward SF)

Torrez shares that CFSF CEO Kara Zordel came up with the idea for the drag show fundraiser, the proceeds of which go toward CFSF’s services and support for San Francisco’s homeless population.

And based on the inaugural show’s success, it’s back with the same good intentions and fun components, including San Francisco queen Poly Poptart as the emcee and curator of the show.

This Thursday’s show also features performances from Bay Area queens Amoura Teese and Lucinda Puss. And, the show welcomes audience involvement in activities such as a raffle, featuring donated items from Bay Area businesses, and a wine toss involving the auctioning of donated wine bottles to attendees. 

“So the event is a friend- and also a fund- raiser, [including] the raffle and the wine toss,” Torrez comments.

Toward the end of the show, there’s also a creative spin on the game of roulette — “Drag Roulette.”

“It’s a fun part of the evening where folks from the audience can engage and basically can pay for a friend to be put on the stage and have a queen sing a snippet of a song of one’s choice to that particular friend,” Torrez explains.

The “Stepping Out” drag show at El Rio will feature audience-centered activities such as “Drag Roulette.” At the 2020 fundraiser, Sammie Rayner, Community Forward SF chief operating officer, holds the roulette participant list while emcee Poly Poptart comments on it. (Photo courtesy Community Forward SF)

Another entertaining aspect of “Drag Roulette” is that friends put on the list can then pay to have their names removed. Says Torrez, “It kind of becomes this game of friends putting their friends back on the list. It’s a fun, different way to raise funds for what we’re doing.”

And what Community Forward SF is doing unquestionably matters.

Community Forward SF presents “Stepping Out: The Drag Show to End Homelessness,” a 21+ show, starts at 8 p.m. Thursday at El Rio, 3158 Mission St., San Francisco. Food from Tacos El Precioso will be available for purchase. Tickets, which start at $40, are at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-forward-sf-present-annual-drag-show-to-end-homelessness-tickets-220288878967.