Sisters host sixth ‘Project Nunway’ 

click to enlarge San Francisco’s Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence – including, from left, Sister Roma, Sister Mary Timothy Simplicity and Sister Flora Goodtyme – host their sixth “Project Nunway” fashion fundraiser this weeken in The City. - COURTESY JOSE GUZMAN COLON
  • COURTESY JOSE GUZMAN COLON
  • San Francisco’s Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence – including, from left, Sister Roma, Sister Mary Timothy Simplicity and Sister Flora Goodtyme – host their sixth “Project Nunway” fashion fundraiser this weeken in The City.
Catholicism's little drab dress – the nun's habit – has changed little since medieval times. Never ones to wait passively for progress, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are challenging designers – including teen "Project Runway: Threads” alumnus Matt Sarafa – to create 21st-century queer nun wear for “Project Nunway.”

Now in its sixth year, the benefit event, inspired by Lifetime series “Project Runway" and the Vatican fashion show in Fellini’s 1972 film “Roma," is Saturday at SOMArts Cultural Center.”

The show’s “heretics of fashion” theme will be out in full force. ”

“We present a jaw-dropping, living, breathing art installation that defies imagination,” says Sister Roma, who co-emcees with scarequeen Peaches Christ. “You will not believe the amazing couture fashion and mind-blowing costumes that the teams create.” ”

The Go-Go’s Jane Weidlin, ABC-TV 7 News' Sergio Quintana, author Dolin Bliss O’Shea, couturier Mr. David and Retrofit owner Steven LeMay are judging this year’s “Project Nunway,” a fundraiser for the Sisters Grant Fund, which supports local, progressive causes. A recent beneficiary, Oakland transgender hate crime victim Sasha Fleishman (who is attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology and will not appear) is being honored. ”

“Sasha's story resonated with the sisters,” Roma says. “Obviously, we are very familiar with presenting ourselves in outlandish costumes and gender-bending garb. We ride Muni. The fact that someone decided to set fire to another human being just because of how they look was horrifying. The sisters felt compelled to speak out and show our support."”

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence formed in San Francisco in 1979 to advocate for LGBT community members such as Fleishman. Over the years, they have managed and raised funds at events including the Castro Street Fair, Halloween in the Castro, and Pink Saturday. ”

“Our members, representing every possible sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, age and background, all share a passion for activism, fundraising, and take vows of service that include the promise to expiate stigmatic guilt and promulgate universal joy,” Sister Roma says. “That's what attracted me to the sisters 27 years ago.””

Earlier this year, Sister Roma made national news when she successfully fought Facebook’s “real name policy,“ which temporarily forced her and other sisters to use their birth names on the group’s social media site. ”

These are the kinds of issues that keep the sisters active and relevant, says Roma, who adds, "As long as there is hypocrisy or social injustice, the sisters will continue to be here. We have managed to remain fluid and change with the times while remaining true to our roots. It's quite a feat – 35 years – and I'm so proud of all the amazing work we have done."”

IF YOU GO

Project Nunway 666: Heretics of Fashion

Where: SOMArts, 934 Brannan St., S.F.”

When: 8 p.m. Nov. 15

Tickets: $25 to $100”

Contact: (415) 863-1414, http://tinyurl.com/nunway666”

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Joshua Rotter

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