Oasis appears to be saved, after a 12-hour telethon last weekend that brought an entire community of drag queens to its SoMa stage, and raised over $268,000 in the process.
"Now I have so much hope and courage, not just for Oasis. We want a real San Francisco to be here when this is over," said Oasis owner D'Arcy Drollinger from the telethon stage on Saturday, as the total raised tipped $150,000 — with the original goal of the event being $100,000. "What we're doing now is banking on the future, so we can keep the rent paid, the bills paid, and weather the storm so we can be here when this is over."
The Bay Area Reporter has a review of the highlights from the day, which began at noon and extended past midnight as the money kept rolling in.
"A quarter of a million effing dollars!" Drollinger said as a $2,000 donation came in from James Callahan of Piedmont Pianos, just as the queens were getting ready to wrap up.
The stage was filled with familiar and new faces, young and old, including former co-owner and co-founder of the club Heklina — who decamped to Palm Springs early last year in what was supposed to be only a semi-retirement, with regular gigs still happening in SF.
"Any donations in my name will keep me from moving back," Heklina joked at one point Saturday. "You want me to stay in Palm Springs? Send money."
Another drag impresario about town, Peaches Christ, lent her talents to the telethon, and spoke passionately about the need to save the club for when nightlife can restart again. "It is just too devastating to consider that after six years this could be gone. In San Francisco, not since Josie's Juice Joint has something like this existed. We all have an opportunity to save this."
Peaches also spoke to the LGBTQ community that has left San Francisco because they were priced out. "The city is ravaged, but that may be a good thing," she said. "Rents right now are at an all-time now. So you freaks, artists and weirdos out there; consider coming back. It's time to rebuild, and Oasis could be the clubhouse from which we rebuild it. All of us who fought to stay, we're inviting you home."
The event featured plenty of San Francisco oddness and San Francisco-style drag, with volunteers manning the phones including a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence and a drag character known as Patti from HR (a.k.a. Michael Phyllis). And there were recorded video testimonials played from Mayor London Breed, Supervisor Matt Haney, one-time Miss Trannyshack Fauxnique, Rupaul's Drag Race winner Sasha Velour, Cindy Wilson of the B-52s, Mario Cantone, Varla Jean Merman (video below), and Hedwig & the Angry Inch creator John Cameron Mitchell.
Also, Drunk Drag Broadway offered up their previously created quarantine-themed parody from Les Miserables, "One Month More."
Drollinger told the Chronicle last month that things were getting dire for Oasis with two months of back rent due — "The harsh reality is our rent is $20,000 a month, and there’s another $8,000 to $10,000 in other costs we have to meet, so we’re looking at about $30,000 a month just to exist," she said.
"I thought rather than let things totally fall apart, I would ask for help."
In the end, the grand total stands at $268,658 dollars, with more money rolling in even today.
Drollinger closed out the show early Sunday morning, as she might have if the club were actually opening — only there was no one there to watch besides the crew.
"We made our goal three times over because of you," she said. "Thank you for believing in what we do."