Presented by the Diversity Initiative and sponsored by Metro Source Magazine, Logo, Kadmon and the American Cancer Society (ACS), the inaugural Encore For Hope was held at Providence NYC. It was an evening of cocktails and performances to benefit the society’s efforts within the LGBT community. The eventing raised $31,000.
Despite wonderful hors ‘oeuvres, an open bar, fun and interesting people to mingle with, and a great show, the night was really summed up best by MSNBC and Today Show TV personality Thomas Roberts, who took the stage and reiterated the evenings theme: “Less cancer and more birthdays.”
The entertainment featured legendary trans-performer Joey Arias, and was hosted by Judy Gold. Other performers included the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, drag queen Sherry Vine, 2 To Fly Aerial, Manila Luzon & Sahara Davenport (of Drag Race), The Ben Allison Band, Jaime Cepero (Smash), Titiuss Burgess (30 Rock), and celerity DJ Choimatic.
ACS wasn’t just seeking to raise money or present a great event -- which they. Beyond their long-term goal to ultimately wipe out cancer, their short-term goal is to reach out to communities at risk: to inform them about what those risks are, and what they can do right now to lower them.
It was a very engaging and entertaining night. Even with a somber topic such as cancer, Judy Gold managed to keep the crowd laughing with raw humor. On a lightener note she added, “ACS informs us that we’re at risk for cancer; like we don’t have enough shit to deal with; can’t get married, on-going discrimination.... They’re reaching out to inform us how we’re at risk, and also, let’s face it, ‘cause we’ve got all the money!”
Jaime Cepero and Tituss Burgess collaborated, with a hearfelt and beautiful rendition of My Funny Valentine and others. Manila Luzon and Sahara Davenport were a fun comedy tandem, but also managed to get the cancer message across as they raised money so that wigs could be donated to those that have lost (or were losing) their hair. Just that image evokes a seriousness. But she continued, “Come on, you know a gurls GOT to have hair!” The pledge commitments ranged from $35 to $500, and in the end they raised $4,000 in all. When introducing NYC downtown darling Sherry Vine, Manila noted “She’s legendary; she inspired me to do drag. I’m just so glad that she’s still alive that I met her.” The great age divide is a running gag among queens, though it mostly exists in their own minds.
“Whatever Sherry Wants, Sherry Gets …”
Sherry was thrilled to be asked to perform, she said. “But I normally sing parodies. When I suggested I sing …” no, you can’t sing that, they said. “Oh, how about ….” No, you can’t sing that!. So she belted out That’s Life, joked and played with the crowd, and was a pure delight.
Joey Arias came out on stage in a black bra, panties and garters, and a black leather jacket. With the Ben Allison Band playing a slow jazz-infused groove, she sang Something In The Way He Moves, Lay Lady Lay, and God Bless The Child, among others; on several occasions she had the crowd to a fever pitch.
If you’d like to donate to Encore For Hope, you can do so here: http://gala.acsevents.org/encoreforhope
Watch Sherry Vine after an introduction by Manila