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Annual drag show benefit for HIV Alliance ‘Damsels, Divas and Dames’ hits the stage Saturday

“Damsels, Divas and Dames: 19 and Facing the Bronze Age,” or “Triple D” as show producer/director William Sullivan calls it, is the 19th annual Eugene drag show extravaganza promising two-and-a-half hours of singing and dancing. It’s all for a good cause too. The show’s net profit goes directly to a general fund for HIV Alliance, a non-profit organization founded in Lane County with locations in Eugene, Roseburg and Salem dedicated to eradicating HIV.

Founded in 1994 after the AIDS epidemic reached its height in the U.S., HIV Alliance aims to raise awareness through youth and adult education and implement prevention programs to help those who are affected by HIV/AIDS. Some of these services include needle exchanges, food banks and low-cost dental care.

The Imperial Court, the second-largest LGBT organization in the world, is another beneficiary of “Damsels, Divas and Dames.” Putting on a show at the Hult Center can be expensive due to labor costs, deposits and the booking of the stage itself, but Sullivan said the large venue is worth the money, as the event usually earns around $5000 – $7000. A sold-out show totals around $7500.

“Being producer and director, you see the show from start to finish,” Sullivan said. “Once the curtain opens, it’s going. If something happens, it happens, and you’ve got to flow with it.”

Sullivan also said that drag culture is thriving in other parts of downtown Eugene, even after the recent closing of the Wayward Lamb, the city’s only LGBTQ bar. Local drag queens such as the Glamazons, Facisha Farce and Cookie have found a new home at the cafe-by-day/dance club-by-night Cowfish (62 W. Broadway), where they perform in drag shows and participate in drag-themed karaoke and bingo.  

Some of these queens, as well as some local dancers from the Work Dance Company, will be performing in “Damsels, Divas and Dames,” lip-syncing and dancing to pop music and other medleys. Trai La Trash, a queen who made it big in the New York drag scene, will sing live for his farewell performance — La Trash is retiring this year. Special guest Sabel Scities will also be flying up from Austin, Texas to perform.

“If you’ve never been to a drag show, this is the one to go to,” Sullivan said. “It’s in a professional theater setting, it’s for a good cause and you’re gonna have fun.”

“Damsels, Divas and Dames” hits the stage for one night only at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 7 at the Soreng Theater in the Hult Center (1 Eugene Center). Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for college students and youths and are available to purchase on the Hult Center’s website.

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Mia Vicino

Mia Vicino