On Saturday, April 21, the 40 Watt Club in downtown Athens will host the 29th Annual Boybutante Ball, an event that raises money for HIV/AIDS support and services for the areas of northeast Georgia. The Boybutante Ball is a larger-than-life drag show that will feature performances from professional drag queens from all over the south in a tantalizingly fun performance of sights and sounds.
“Our tagline is ‘Partying for a Cause’ and I think that’s what people have come to expect,” said Rob Hagwood, the Lay Director of the Boybutante Foundation. “If you come to a Boybutante event and don’t have a good time, it’s because you didn’t want to.”
Since it began in 1989, the Boybutante Ball has raised over $850,000 for AIDS service organizations and has expanded to include a week-long schedule at various venues in downtown Athens, including a Drag Search competition at Hendershot’s Coffee, Drag Bingo at The Graduate Hotel and a Ball Survivors’ Brunch catered by Mama’s Boy at the Athens Cotton Press.
“We work really hard to make our events light and fun,” Hagwood said. “But also we want to talk about why we’re there and why we’re doing what we’re doing. We’ve always tried to approach it [in a way] that if we do the work and focus on having a good time, the money will come.”
The funds raised from Boybutante events are used to provide resources, support and services to those living with HIV/AIDS. Money will also go towards funding educational programs targeted at HIV/AIDS prevention and/or the elimination of prejudice and discrimination against HIV/AIDS-affected individuals.
Despite the event seeming more like a party than a fundraiser, it is important to remember that at the event’s heart, it seeks to provide a better life for those who are suffering from HIV/AIDS.
“For me, it’s just realizing that the fight is not over,” Hagwood said. “There are still people who are being newly diagnosed and seroconverting today, and until that stops and there is an end to this, we need to keep doing what we’re doing.”
The Boybutante Foundation remains dedicated to bringing attention to the HIV/AIDS crisis in a high-energy form of entertainment that will have every audience member wanting to return again and again.
“As long as people remember that it’s still an epidemic and we’re not done with this yet,” Hagwood said. “We always say that Boybutante will happen as long as we have to do it, and then we’ll keep doing it because we want to do it.”
Doors for the Boybutante Ball will open at 8:30 p.m. with the show beginning at 10 p.m. Information on ticket purchases and on all Boybutante related events can be found online. Tickets for the ball are $25 and can be purchased online or at any other Boybutante event. This event usually sells out, so be sure to secure your tickets ahead of the show.