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Farewell Widow Norton- The Imperial State Funeral of José Julio Sarria

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Her Imperial Highness, José Julio Sarria I. The Widow Norton. Empress of San Francisco, Queen Forever

It was on a cold damp evening, 133 years ago that His Imperial Majesty, Joshua Abraham Norton I entered immortality on the steps of Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Chinatown. The city wept in great frenzy and many have kept his devotion in the many years since, one such devotee being our own dear Editor-In-Cheap.


His Imperial Highness, Joshua Abraham Norton I
Emperor of San Francisco and the United Sates of America
Protector of México

The House of Norton-Sarria

1859- 2013

Requiescat In Pacem

However, no one kept his memory quite so well in service, guardianship and love of His beloved realm as did His much, much younger consort, Her Imperial Majesty, José Julio Sarria I, Empress of San Francisco, The Widow Norton, who followed her lord this past week, on 22 August at the age of 90 in her warm New Mexican rancho.  Some may say she was holding vigil long enough to see the  late emperor’s trans-bay vision restored this past week.

Like her liege before her, a state funeral is being held this morning, which the city will throng to as well, no doubt. At Grace Cathedral, atop Nob Hill, overlooking her former court at The Black Cat Tavern members of her court, visiting regents and dignitaries and her loyal subjects will pay her final tribute and remember not only the larger than life presence, but the activist and friend. The entire realm is welcome and formal mourning attire encouraged.

Following the rite, she will be interned to final rest next to His Majesty, Norton I, in the Royal plot in Colma, where she held annual processions to his memory for decades.

After, the Lookout in the Castro will open its doors and host a reception for the many bereaved and slightly parched.


Farewell, dear Empress- native daughter and true California gold in every way.


Your Hounoured Subjects and Scribes,


The Broke-Ass Stuart Editors and Staff




Imperial State Funeral of José Julio Sarria I, Empress of San Francisco, The Widow Norton

11:00 a.m.

Grace Cathedral

1100 California Street (@Taylor)

[Nob Hill]



Internment of Her Royal Majesty, José Julio Sarria I

Following Rites and Imperial Cortege

Woodlawn Cemetery
1000 El Camino Real (@ F Street)


Imperial Funeral Reception
Following Internment

The Lookout
3600 16th Street (@Market & Noe)
[Castro/ Eureka Valley]





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Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen's early years were spent in a boxcar overlooking downtown Los Angeles. From there he moved around the state with his family before settling under the warm blanket of smog that covers suburban Southern California. Moving around led to his inability to stay in one place for very long, but San Francisco has been reeling him back in with its siren song since 1999.
By trade he pours booze, but likes to think he can write and does so occasionally for the SF Bay Guardian, Bold Italic and 7x7. He also likes to enjoy time spent in old eateries, bars and businesses that, by most standards, would have been condemned a long time ago.


  1. September 6, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Several years ago, I decided to ride my bicycle to Los Angeles as part of the AIDSLifeCycle. It was my very first time–I think I was 54 or 55? I trained nearly every weekend, put my heart & soul into this–raised well over the required amount. It was a wonder. One training morning, running late, I put my bike on the front bus device that holds them. When I departed, the driver, an older lady, asked me many questions about what I was doing & why. After I told her, with lots of enthusiasm, she said this to me: ” You are going to do something very special. You are going to live out one of your dreams. Not many people EVER get to do that.” I think I wept off & on (and still do) when I ponder the depth of what she expressed & how much so many of us miss in this life. I did not know Jose Sarria. I read with glee & wonder about him over the years. Today, I took matters into my own hands & attended his funeral–He truly lived out his dreams, too. And inspired others to live out theirs. I cry for all of us, tears of loss, tears of gratitude. It was a beautiful experience. I am so glad I let myself go & do this. Your article linked what he did with the past, by paying homage to a dear Emperor, one who did no harm. May they find eternal bonding & beam that down upon us who seek out dreams!