LOS ANGELES, Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The outrageous beauty pageant spoof, "Best In Drag Show," raised the roof of The Orpheum Theatre with laughter on October 9, 2011, and raised more than $250,000 for Aid For AIDS in California. The final amount is anticipated to be much higher due to the influx of new pledges and cash donations still being received. Master of Ceremonies Jason Dudey read countless cards, checks and pledges brought to him during the show, while excited fans threw thousands of dollars on to the stage at contestants as one of the long standing traditions of the show. The hilarious antics, swimsuit, talent and interview segments of the evening were joined by the colorful commentary of Kay Sedia and Dee W. Ieye and led by new show director Jeffrey Drew.
The roster of celebrity judges included Kim Coles, Melanie Griffith, Kathy Griffin, Harry Hamlin, Dot-Marie Jones, Sara Ramirez, Lisa Rinna, Vanessa Williams and Rita Wilson. Kathy Griffin opened the show and was one of the first to contribute $5,000, creating a fund-raising challenge for other celebrity judges. Rita Wilson, Melanie Griffith and Vanessa Williams followed suit with their donation of $5,000 each. Celebrity judges cast their ballots that would determine the winner who would be crowned and have the title of 'Miss Best In Drag Show 2011' bestowed upon Miss Minnesota, Ivy Drip.
In a touching tribute to Alexis Pittman, the show's founder who passed away from AIDS, Patrick Rush, friend and show MC for the first 18 years – brought tears, cheers, and standing applause by granting Alexis' last wish and crowned Vanessa Williams with his tiara for the loss of her Miss America crown in 1983. Rush also presented the second annual 'Patrick R Service Award.' This merit-based award is provided by Aid For AIDS to an eligible student pursuing vocational studies to assist them in successfully overcoming barriers presented by living with HIV/AIDS, who struggled with addiction and who are currently in recovery. The award was named to honor Patrick Rush for his many contributions and long-time support of Aid For AIDS.
Aid For AIDS held a VIP cocktail Reception at the theatre before the show. A fast-paced video montage of contestants transitioning into their drag personas opened the show and was produced by David Neuendorff, Mark Jackson and John Paschal International. The montage can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxnMIBKBtF0.
This year's contestants were John Arsenault, Jim Crane, Solomon Eversole, Victor Montoya, Joseph Ryan and Ari Udeze. Details and photos will be posted on the event website: www.bestindragshow.org.
Golden Jewel Grand Sponsors: Kathy Kinney, Holland Taylor. Silver Sequin Supporting Sponsors: Howard Green & Authentic Talent & Literary Mgmt; Frontiers IN LA Magazine; JPI Studios – John Paschal International; Mark Smith, Chris Spencer, Dr. Mike Carragher – The Body Well and Recovery Now TV; Vermont Kitchen & Bar – Wayne Elias and Chris Diamond.
Fierce 'N Fabulous Friends: Denis Cagna; Lisa Field | Catering by Field; Barbara Jacobs Events and The Edison; Bob Koherr and Walter Batt – The Batt Law Group; Lorena Sarbu; Love Catering Inc. – Hermes Clausz and Jonathan Darr. Patron Prince/Princess: Halsted Sullivan
'Aid For AIDS' and 'The Serra Project' are DBAs of California non-profit Alliance for Housing & Healing
CONTACT: Jeannette Bondurant
SOURCE Aid For AIDS