The Emperor's Bridge Campaign



A Lovely December Afternoon with the Emperor, the Countess & 50 Friends of the Campaign

A big thanks to all who were able to join us yesterday for The Emperor's Bridge Campaign's holiday party a.k.a. The 2nd Annual Tannenbaum Toast.

On a lovely bright, cool day, about 30 folks gathered under the Christmas tree at Union Square Park, San Francisco, the tree being a holiday tradition that we are told and we like to believe! first was envisioned and called for by Emperor Norton.

Matt Freedman of San Francisco Steampunks with Emperor's Bridge Campaign founder John Lumea at Union Square, San Francisco, for the procession to the Campaign's 2nd Annual Tannenbaum Toast.

Our own Emperor, played by Joseph Amster, offered a Proclamation for the occasion, and shortly led us on a procession to The House of Shields saloon, the site of our main festivities — but not before the stunningly red-sequined Countess Lola Montez treated us all to her fabulous rendition of "Christmas in San Francisco," made popular by Vic Damone and thoughtfully tweaked, on this occasion, with references to Emperor Norton and the Bay Bridge. (We already are thinking about how to make next year's procession an even more colorful and joyfully raucous piece of street theater. So, dig out your trombones, your clarinets, your accordions, your wood blocks and your tambourines — you may need them next December!)

The Countess Lola Montez serenades those gathered for the procession with her rendition of "Christmas in San Francisco."

The procession begins (r to l): Campaign board member Mark Hogan, Heather Miller and Kai Mactane.

Emperor Norton, played by Campaign board member Joseph Amster, leads the procession  down Stockton Street (l to r): Heather Miller, Mike Cohen, Kevin Flaherty (background), Kai Mactane, the Emperor, Ali Peterson, Matt Freedman and the Countess. | PHOTO: Andy Wernette.

Once at the bar, we began sipping Boothby cocktails, the official drink of the Toast, and over the next hour or so were joined by some 20 more friends. The formal raising of glasses was "primed" by a brief update from Campaign founder John Lumea about the progress of the past year and plans for the next — and was followed by a welcome reprise of "Christmas in San Francisco" that was even more fabulous the second time around.

Founding Member of the Campaign Andy Wernette (l) with John Lumea outside The House of Shields.

Sidling up for Boothby cocktails, the toast of the Toast.

Perhaps most gratifying was all the new faces — a humbling vote of confidence in The Emperor's Bridge Campaign's mission to remember Emperor Norton well and to advance the Emperor's legacy in a way that shines a light on him; that increases public understanding of the part of California that he called home; and that teaches us all a little something about ourselves.

A special thanks to those who were able to contribute financially to the Campaign's efforts. We hope to use your gifts in a way that amplifies your generosity.

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