When was the last time you got to see big names like Cher, Madonna, or Lady GaGa at the Hult Center? I’ll let you in on a well-kept Eugene secret, these Damsels, Divas, and Dames have been coming to the Hult every year since 2000.
Thanks to the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Emerald Empire, better known as ISCEE (Lane County’s oldest Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Transgender non-profit). “Damsels, Divas and Dames,” a drag show benefitting Eugene’s HIV Alliance, is now entering it’s 12TH YEAR and has become a steady favorite for attendees from all over Oregon and Washington. “It’s a great chance for the community to experience what we’ve (I’ve) been doing for 30 years in a comfortable setting, and doing it for a good cause as well. It’s dual-purpose, ‘cause most [of the attendees] don’t go to the bars,” Bill Sullivan, aka Regent Empress XXXVII Daphne Bertha Storm, told EDN today.
Originally started in 1992 as a one time fundraiser by Empress 16 Salli B Goode, eight years later it became an annual event. “In 2000 we decided to pick it back up again, and it’s just been building and building each year. HIV hits real close to home for many of us, over the years the people we’ve lost, it’s just a great cause.”
Statistics show that three people were infected with HIV in the time it took most of us to drink our coffee this morning. In Oregon the number of people thought to be living with HIV is just below the 5,000 mark. This number may be low as it is estimated that roughly 21% of people that are infected don’t know they are.
Hoping to raise $7000 for the HIV Alliance, the show, which features entertainers from all over the NW including many local favorites, is skyrocketing in popularity. “This year our mailing list tripled, we had 600 people on the list last year, now we have 1900. We ordered 2000 more postcards that HIV Alliance mailed out this week, and if we can get a ¼ of the mailers to buy tickets we can sell out.”
Returning masters of ceremonies this year are the fabulous Diva Simone and KMTR’s Marc Mullins. “He and Diva are our favorites, and audience favorites. They’ve been doing it for years and they do such a great job.” If you have never been to a drag show and have always been even slightly curious about checking one out – I gotta tell you, THIS is the one to see. I attended last year’s show and had a total blast!
This will not only be entertaining, it is an event, and a cause, worth supporting.