Life will be a cabaret indeed at this year’s Gaybutante Ball. Literally.
“It’s a queer cabaret fantasy,” said David Alder, co-president of the University of Utah’s Queer Student Union, which will be putting on its annual year-end dance April 24 at the Gallivan Center. “Imagine Moulin Rouge! meets Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, meets Cabaret, meets the Wizard of Oz. It’s a classy fun event to bring the community together.”
The Gaybutante Ball is QSU’s year-end celebration, during which members commemorate not only the school year behind them, but the many accomplishments gay and transgender Utahns have achieved since the club’s founding in 1974 as the Lesbian Gay Student Union (a name the group changed in 2007). Perhaps appropriately given all this history, the theme for this year’s ball is (We Are All) Magnificent Creatures. It was inspired, noted Alder, by the fabulous and whimsical parties often thrown by Utah fashion designer and Black Chandelier founder Jared Gold.
“There was one party I heard about here you had to come in the worst possible drag imaginable,” said Alder, adding that he hopes the Utah Cyber Sluts (a charitable drag group known for their outlandish neon wigs and thrift store-chic gowns, will make an appearance at this year’s ball.
Though the dance is a semi-formal event, Alder said that costumes in line with those sported by the Sluts are appropriate, as are any magnificent creations attendees can dream up.
“I’d love to see people go wild,” he said.
To help attendees create the perfect costume, Sugarhouse used clothing store Pib’s Exchange will offer a 20 percent discount on all clothing and accessory purchases with a mention of the ball. Similarly, Farinas Costumes will offer a 20 percent discount on all rentals for those attending.
Would-be revelers will also need to get more than their costumes ready. Because the Gallivan Center has a limit of 500 people, individuals must RSVP either at the dance’s Facebook Event or by emailing [email protected]
(We Are All) Magnificent Creatures will be a not-to-be-missed dance because of its magnificent performers. Along with performances by QSU students, the night will also feature the Salt City Kings, Utah band Avenue and the Slippery Kittens, a local burlesque group. Due to the content of some performances, Alder pointed out that the party is for people aged 18 and over.
At the end of the night, QSU will also announce its officers for the 2009-2010 school year as well as the club’s 2008-2009 Ally of the Year. It will also unveil an upcoming service project, which Alder said he’s keeping under wraps until the big night. He would only say: “It will provide us as a queer community in the valley a means to demonstrate our compassion to other people who are often marginalized.”
The dance will also come a week after the University of Utah’s Allies Week, five days of parties, lectures, film screenings and events designed to help gay, transgender and straight U of U students, employees and faculty make the school a safer and more accommodating place for queer students. Held April 13 – 17, events for this year include a panel for straight allies, safe space training, a game night, social and drag show and a screening of the film Speak Up! Improving the Lives of GLBT Youth. The week will culminate in an observation of the National Day of Silence, during which students will refrain from speaking throughout the day to draw attention to anti-gay and anti-transgender discrimination and violence throughout the world. Gay-friendly student organizations will also offer information about their services throughout the week.
The Gaybutante Ball, said Alder, is a great way to bring a close to Allies Week and to the school year. More, it is a chance for people in the broader community to come together regardless of their sexual orientation or their relationship to the all-encompassing word ‘queer.’
“No matter where you stand on the term queer, Gaybutante gives us the opportunity to show how fun it is to be queer, to be strange and bizarre,” he said.
The ball will be held April 24 from 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. at the Gallivan Center Auditorium, 239 S. Main Street. A donation of $5 per person is suggested. Businesses and individuals interested in sponsoring the night by providing food, non-alcoholic beverages, linens and utensils are encouraged to email [email protected] or call (801) 759-7428.