The fabulous, gender-bending queens of the Boybutante AIDS Foundation are squeezing on pumps and lacing up corsets for their 23rd Annual Boybutante Ball, â€œCarnivale Cabaret.â€ The final lineup of local and regional drag performers, some veterans and other virgins to the Broadway-style revue, are first proposed, then voted on, by a board of volunteers, ensuring that only the very best bearded ladies and head-turning sideshow attractions will be strutting their stuff. The rest had to sashay away.
Last yearâ€™s ball set a new self-record by raising a $35,000 donation for Boybutanteâ€™s main beneficiary, AIDS Athens, a non-profit serving individuals with HIV/AIDS and their families by providing social support, housing, medical care, financial planning, employment opportunities, a food pantry, clothing closet and educational workshops.
â€œYes, weâ€™re having a great time doing it, but at the heart of it all, we know weâ€™re creating a better community and enriching the lives of not only those touched by these outreach programs, but our city, neighborhoods and ourselves as well,â€ says Boybutante Chair Nathan Altman.
In addition to enabling these extensive services, Boybutante works to increase tolerance and celebrate LGBTQ culture in Athens, while simultaneously raising awareness of the AIDS crisis as more than just a â€œqueerâ€ problem.
â€œI think our ball engages such a broad section of our communityâ€”gay, straight and everything in betweenâ€”that those who attend get to see this diversity and realize we are just humans that want to live, love and be accepted for who we areâ€”like anyone would,â€ Altman says.
Advance tickets are $25 and strongly recommended, as the show sells out every year. Doors open at 9 p.m., and the “Carnivale Cabaret” starts at 10 p.m. Boybutante is also hosting a full week of events in conjunction with the big night, including a drag search on Apr. 10 at Little Kings (with the “best in show” earning a spot onstage), an evening of drag bingo on Apr. 11 at the Melting Point, two screenings of the film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert on Apr. 12 at CinÃ© and a dragalicious morning-after brunch with the divas on Apr. 15 at Farm 255. Visit www.boybutante.org for complete event details and to reserve tickets.
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