“At the end of the day it’ll be like a fire sale,” Mac said. “ ‘Buy me a beer and you get a bonnet for $3.’ But I won’t give them away.”
He’s never sad to see a bonnet go. It’s the process he enjoys more than the creation itself.
“I love doing it,” Mac said. “There is a part of my brain that’s creative, and if I don’t use it then I get bitter.”
Mac, 57, started 15 years ago by making half a dozen bonnets for a Castro bar that wanted to decorate its walls. Every year he says this year will be the last — and this year is no exception. He says it with a big smile on his face.
For this Easter, Mac made about 70 bonnets, no two alike and each one spectacular. He gathers bonnet material all year long, but basically he makes them out of whatever he can find for cheap.
It’s no wonder this year’s collection has a faux rose petal-topiary theme. Mac bought 50 packs of fake flower petals for quarter apiece.
In 2003, after spending more than 17 years as manager and associate producer at the Marines Memorial Theater, Mac decided he need to “spread his wings” and never wanted to work for anyone but himself again. He spends his time dreaming up ways to decorate bars and other venues for upcoming holidays. Christmas, the Pride festivities and Easter are the biggest times of the year for him.
“Now I do whatever anybody pays me to do,” he said. “It’s tough. I’ve never been this broke, but I’ve never been this happy, because I’m doing exactly what I want to do.
“My goal is to make someone laugh every day. There’s a lot of stuff people can bitch about — people get down. And if they can put on a silly bonnet,” Mac said, "and I can pay my rent, then that tickles me.”