by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
The Seattle Red Dress Party - a local community tradition - is set to pop off Saturday night at Fremont Studios (155 N. 35th St.), and this year's program is the best yet. As if sets by DJs Almond Brown and Brian Gorr and performances by party host Gaysha Starr weren't enough, this year's Red Dress Party will feature the Seattle debut performance of the one and only Deborah Cox. There's no doubt about it: The 2012 Seattle Red Dress party is an event you won't want to miss!
The Red Dress Party draws crowds as diverse as Seattle itself. 'Each year, on this one special evening, people of all backgrounds come together for a celebration full of dancing and music, spirits, and laughter,' said Red Dress officials. 'This light-hearted fun provides the background for the real purpose of Red Dress, the opportunity for supporters from all walks of life to unify behind the common goal of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As an annual symbol of hope and solidarity, with every last attendee donning the signature-colored dress, the Seattle Red Dress Party is a true testament to the power of our community coming together to effect positive change.'
The color red is commonly accepted as the international symbol of AIDS awareness, and the Seattle Red Dress Party builds on that idea by requesting that all guests, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation, attend the event wearing a red dress.
'The visual of all attendees donning red dresses, whether male, female, Gay, straight, old, or young, serves as a powerful symbol of solidarity of people living with HIV/AIDS and also reminds us that we are all here to make a difference and support a common cause,' said officials.
The event's four beneficiaries are Gay City Health Project, Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Multifaith Works, and Rise N' Shine. 'They represent the leading AIDS service organizations in the Pacific Northwest,' said officials. 'Together, they provide a holistic continuum of care and prevention services to our community. They work to stop the spread of HIV and care for people living with HIV/AIDS.'
While the exact origins of the Red Dress Party are unknown, Seattle's event is fashioned after a similar party in Portland. 'The Portland event started out as a small band of committed supporters and has grown to a grand scale that today welcomes more than 2,000 attendees each year,' said officials. 'Now in its fourth year in Seattle, Red Dress continues to grow by leaps and bounds.'
'To me, this event is a no-brainer,' DJ Almond Brown told Seattle Gay News. 'It's for a great cause and we have the hottest lineup for any local event that I've seen in years!'
'I kick the night off at 8 p.m. for VIPs with a bit of soulful and deep house until around 10:30 p.m.' Brown, who's been a DJ for over 20 years, continued. 'I'm going to be delivering nothing but house music truth to the kids! I'm also excited to drop my latest remix, 'Movin Up,' featuring Inaya Day and Chyna Ro!'
Brian Gorr, the headlining DJ at Seattle Red Dress Party, began spinning in Seattle in 1998 and ever since has packed the houses of numerous Seattle nightclubs including Safari, Neighbours, Ego, 916, Arena, Timberline, Neumo's, Sugar, Element, Level 5, and The Baltic Room. Gorr's DJ style includes many genres of dance music, but you'll often hear him playing vocal house, hi-nrg, circuit, and some tribal and trance.
'This is my fourth year on the board of the Seattle Red Dress Party, and I'm very honored to be asked back for a second year to headline with the amazing Deborah Cox!' Gorr told Seattle Gay News. 'I'm very excited to be involved with such a great charity event that supports four great charities all related to helping HIV/AIDS prevention and support & and secretly, to work with such an amazing diva, Deborah!'
'I hope people realize that coming to this party helps so many people just from their ticket entry and that wearing a red dress is a huge solidarity with the community and the charities we support so I look forward to the biggest attendance thus far in our city's major LGBT events,' he said.
'It is an absolute honor to not only be asked back to be the hostess for Red Dress 2012, but to be part of the steering committee,' said Gaysha Starr, Seattle-area drag queen and fundraiser/activist. 'Not a lot of people know that this committee consists of only four people that volunteer our time to plan this large event: Sam Galano, SRPD director; Brian Gorr, entertainment director; John Fulton, marketing and design director; and myself as an entertainment coordinator and community outreach director.'
'We have worked really hard since last spring with weekly conference calls, meetings, endless emails, and networking to bring the community together to the actual party, but also behind the scenes,' she told Seattle Gay News.
'Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love Deborah Cox,' continued Starr. 'Hands down she can sing live, has a recognizable career of music, and has always been a supporter of the LGBT community. Her music was instrumental to me both in my drag performances and in helping mark different chapters of my life.'
'With the recent loss of Whitney Houston, we decided to pay tribute to her by me performing one of her signature hits earlier in the evening,' Starr said. 'I think the mood of the party will be the community wanting to come together, as we have lost a Gay icon way before her time. I spoke to DJs Brian and Almond and they plan on playing Whitney through out the night as her music really was the soundtrack to many of our lives.'
'I think what makes Red Dress special is that it brings the community together. Everyone has a lot of fun getting ready, but no one takes himself or herself too seriously,' said Starr. 'After all, you are in a room with 1,000 other people in every kind of red dress - men, women, Transgender, drag, non-drag, straight, Gay, or Bisexual - and for one night that red dress makes everyone equal.'
'There are not a lot of times other than Pride, Halloween, and the holidays that the community can come together and celebrate one another,' she said.
'Y'all know the rules,' concluded Brown. 'Don't get up Sunday morning wondering how the party went, calling friends for an update. Get your tickets, your red dress, stop playin' with my emotions and be there Saturday night!'
For more information about Seattle Red Dress Party - and to buy last-minute tickets - visit www.seattlereddressparty.org.
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