“Welcome to the seedy gay underworld!” With that warm remark from a hairstylist of a trendy Upper King Street salon, I was introduced to the often flamboyant and undeniably entertaining realm of drag shows. Yet, the cause that brought fellow attendees and me to Club Pantheon Thursday night is an issue felt by citizens around the world, regardless of sexual orientation: HIV/AIDS awareness and relief. The $10 cover and $1 bills shoved in risqué places will benefit the local chapter of the Ryan White Foundation, which promotes education and awareness of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Beautiful coordinators Jessica Lambrakos and Tera Mabe kicked off the amateur drag show, donning long, blonde wigs and plastic guitars, which through the lens of a camera, could have been confused for the real thing. Three particularly stimulating divas livened up the crowd with a rendition of “Free Your Mind,” by En Vogue, quite possibly the perfect song for what was going through my head at that moment in time. The show was complete with gender reversed Sonny and Cher, little orphan Annie and Daddy Warbucks, and a winged, underwear-clad angel that could rival any Victoria’s Secret model following a proper wax job and implants. A slow-dance to Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World” was a perfect grand finale, leaving the crowd energized to help Lambrakos and Mabe start their own local nonprofit on the road to AIDS relief and truly “make it a better place, for you and for me.”

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