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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Howard Brown Health's Big Orange Ball has 'Saturday Night Fever' theme
by Melissa Wasserman
2022-10-27

This article shared 708 times since Thu Oct 27, 2022
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Howard Brown Health's Big Orange Ball was back in-person at Park West on Oct. 22—this time with a big (not orange) disco ball.

About 300 people brought their Halloween spirit to the event, dressed in costumes and embracing this year's disco-era theme.

"Disco has a really important part of the LGBTQ history and specifically in Chicago where the 'disco sucks' and the Disco Demolition incidents happened," said Erik Roldan, director of marketing and communication at Howard Brown. "It's really important to remember that those things happened and that they could still happen. And so when we come together, it's a reminder that we're a beautiful community that is more powerful when we're together."

Money raised at the Big Orange Ball goes toward Howard Brown's health services. The evening's fundraising goal was $100,000.

"[The] event is really trying to amplify our preventative health work," said President and CEO David Ernesto Munar. "So, you know, 2022 was a year that we were fighting monkeypox, still fighting COVID and rolling out right now [the] flu vaccine. So we really wanted to tie our preventative health work to the event, but it all is to help us fulfill the mission and serve the community, particularly people who are uninsured. 'Cause nobody's turned away for inability to pay. So, things like this really help."

Chicago Public Library presented "The Radical Fit of Disco Fashion, "a hands-on exhibit featuring disco fashion, album covers and photos of South Side clubs from the '70s, while Gerber/Hart Library exhibited "C'est Chic: Chicago's Queer Disco Decade," a history of Chicago's queer disco legacy that featured Chicago LGBTQ+ icons in the disco community with articles and artifacts from Chicago's queer spaces of '70s. A silent auction also took place.

The entertainment included music spun by Miss Toto and Vitigrrl; drag performances by Abhijeet, Bambi Banks-Coulee, Ramona Slick and J For Pay; go-go dancers Mark Stephan, Boy J, Lavender Vyxn, Lvnzo The Heartthrob and Wildcat Shadow; Derry Queen hosting the Hissing Booth; and Secret Queen, who photographed the party while in drag.

"Fundraising should be very fun—always," said Howard Brown Events Manager Andrei Akimov, adding that funds were raised for Howard Brown's services to provide STI/ HIV screenings.

To learn more about Howard Brown Health and its events, visit howardbrown.org .


This article shared 708 times since Thu Oct 27, 2022
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