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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 19, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 29
Go red! - Gaysha Starr returns to Seattle for Red Dress Party
Arts & Entertainment
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Go red! - Gaysha Starr returns to Seattle for Red Dress Party

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

Seattle's fifth annual Red Dress Party will be held this Saturday, July 20, at Fremont Studios. This year boasts an impressive, varied list of celebrity guests and entertainers and will raise funds for five HIV/AIDS relief nonprofits: Gay City Health Project, Lifelong AIDS Alliance, BABES Network-YWCA, the Inspire Youth Project (formerly Rise n' Shine), and Rosehedge/Multifaith Works. After interviewing celebrity guest DJ Chi Chi LaRue last week, SGN spoke with one of Seattle's premier celebrity entertainers, Gaysha Starr, who relocated to Aspen, Colorado, earlier this year and will be returning for Red Dress.

'This will be my fourth year. I started off as a guest drag queen entertainer for my first one and then I got asked to be a hostess for my second one. Last year I was asked to be a member of the steering committee,' Starr told SGN. In the last few years, Starr has taken on behind-the-scenes roles like planning and sponsorship procurement, as well as her more visible hosting/emceeing duties. This year, because of her move, Starr wasn't able to help plan the event, but her expertise was called upon to help guide the steering committee.

'It's been great watching the event grow,' said Starr. 'Upping the game in entertainment means upping the game in charity work.'

STAR POWER GALORE
The celebrity lineup for the fifth Red Dress Party is bigger and better than ever. Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes will serve as hostess, Morgan McMichaels of RuPaul's Drag Race will attend the red carpet, internationally renowned singer Alexis Jordan will be performing, and, of course, Chi Chi LaRue will be spinning all night.

Starr will serve as VIP Hostess. She'll be ensuring VIP ticketholders are attended to - seeing that they have drinks, coat check, etc., guiding them on a private walk through the silent auction, and introducing them to the celebrity guests. Starr says it's about 'being a recognizable face to those ticketholders.'

'It's kind of nice that I don't have to perform this year,' she continued. 'I'm looking forward to spending more one-on-one time with people.'

Starr left Seattle in March for Aspen, to manage the Gucci store there. She said it's been an interesting change, being in such a small town with such a small LGBT community, and that she misses Seattle very much, but that it was an offer she couldn't refuse. Through Facebook, she's able to keep in touch with friends and stay in the loop about happenings in Seattle. She's also been back to visit several times.

'I've been lucky that I've been able to come back to Seattle,' said Starr.

This will be Starr's third trip home in four months - her last was for Pride. Starr will be returning again in August to celebrate her anniversary as Miss Neighbours. She was the first person to win the title, 20 years ago.

'I'm really, really lucky, I did not expect to still be invited to do so many great things,' Starr told SGN. 'It's not something I take for granted.'

ALL YOUR LOCAL FAVES
In addition to the major celebrity headliners, this years' party will feature tons of local talent including DJ Richard Dalton, L.A. Kendall, Kitten LaRue of The Atomic Bombshells burlesque troupe, cabaret sensation Lou Henry Hoover, Aleksa Manila, Robbie Turner, and many more. Additionally, a free afterparty spun by DJ Almond Brown will be held at Q Nightclub.

With such an impressive entertainment lineup as well as the addition of the silent auction, Red Dress looks poised to break last year's fundraising record of $16,000.

'We're hoping to exceed what we raised last year,' said Jimmy Scarpello of Sinfinite Productions and one of the producers of Red Dress. 'We've already exceeded the record of sponsorship dollars from last year.'

The fifth annual Seattle Red Dress Party rolls out the red carpet at 9 p.m. on July 20 at Fremont Studios (155 N. 35th St.). Tickets start at $50 and can be purchased at www.seattlereddressparty.org.

'Out of all my community service and events that I've planned, to me, Red Dress is special because it encompasses the entire community, regardless of background or interest. You've got LGBT, straights, queens, jocks - all the different components of our community kind of become unified - in a dress! I think that's what makes it really special,' said Starr.

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