Every weekend in the fall there are large fundraising events but ARTcetera an event which raises funds for the AIDS Action Committee (AAC) always stands out. The event started in the 1980s as a way for local artists and gallery owners to respond to the AIDS crisis which was ravaging the Boston arts community, and over the years it has developed into one of the largest art auctions in all of New England.
The charity fundraiser which was traditionally held in October on even numbered years took a temporary hiatus in 2010 so the AAC could rethink the program and breathe new life into the event. Bryan Rafanelli and his events team did a beautiful job transforming The Castle and the new venue was a welcome change.
Below is a quick 3-minute video from the event which sold out and drew a record crowd of 800 supporters and art enthusiasts. ARTcetera 2011 is expected to raise more than $700,000 for the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.
Expand to full-screen for best viewing.
Pridelights in Boston always occurs on the Tuesday of Pride week. It use to be a huge community event that was staged on Tremont Street in the middle of the South End, but a few years back the venue changed and it is now hosted at Club Cafe.
The change of venue saved the event because cost and changes to the plaza that traditionally hosted it had became prohibitive, but the trade off means the event is a fraction of its former size. This year’s Pridelights was filled with a series of performances from Boston’s drag community. The crowd which interestingly attracts a wide demographic seemed to enjoy the event. For me the highlight was seeing a few friends that I know socially and spending time with fellow blogger and twitter-friend, Lenny. You can check out his blog, itzLenny or say hello to him on twitter, Product19.
Here are a few photos from tonight’s Pridelights at Club Cafe Boston.
AIDS is the leading cause of death for people in MA (ages of 25-44)
Thank goodness for The AIDS Action Committee which hosts AIDS Walk Boston each year. Its too easy to forget and sometimes too uncomfortable to remember the legacy of AIDS. Its like an ugly blemish you want to hide and forget about. In the 80s while tens of thousands of people were afflicted with AIDS / HIV our government was too squeamish to provide either the support services or educate people on how to protect themselves. Now some 30 years later we know better but AIDS remains and continues to spread. Betty Byrnes a long time AIDS activist and mother reminds us why its important and how we can help make a difference.
If you can not join the 30,000+ who will join in the walk through Boston, Brookline and Cambridge on Sunday morning, won’t you consider sponsoring a walker or making an independent donation to the organization? You can set up your own page in just moments or make a donation here.
Last week I first wrote about the Taste of the South End which benefits the AIDS Action Committee, and the event did not disappoint. Although there were no beads or parades to commemorate Fat Tuesday, nearly all who attended left a bit fatter than when they first arrived. And how could you blame them? With 40+ restaurants, wineries, beers and cocktails all tempting the tastebuds it was a food lover’s delight.
Restaurants new to the neighborhood like The Gallows and Noche kept pace with veteran establishments like Mistral and Stella. There were some noticeable absences, which will lead me to ask “Why?” on my next visit to these restaurants. You can see the full list of participants on the Taste website. Support these restaurants and thank them for their participation.
If you were unable to attend the festivities, you can check out this 2-minute video, which shows you some of the tempting treats cooked up for attendees. Again, sincere thanks to all the cooks and volunteers who made this a fantastic event.
The Boston Foodie also has a nice write up with more pictures from the event which you can check out by linking here.
In just a few days one of my favorite charity events in Boston will take place, The Taste of the South End. As the name implies this is one of the city’s many charitable fundraisers that revolves around food, but I think this is one of the best organized taste events, and the fact that the proceeds benefit such a wonderful organization, The AIDS Action Committee (AAC) is really a bonus. In addition to the participation of 40+ neighborhood restaurants, local chefs provide cooking tips and demonstrations. If you really enjoy food and dining out this event gives you an opportunity to sample some of the fare offered at some of the city’s best restaurants. While it won’t confirm if a restaurant has great service it does give you a preview of the type and quality food the establishment serves. If you arrive early with a VIP pass like I do each year, you also can chat with the chefs present before the event becomes truly crowded.
Below, I’ve included a two minute video from the 2009 event. It provides a quick preview of what one can expect on March 8th and closes with a shot of your’s truly stuffing his face with a fish taco.
Purchase your tickets here
More than 25 million people have died from AIDS and there are more than 30 million people living with AIDS right now. Reach out to your local AIDS Service Organization and donate your time or money and thank them for their work and dedication. If you live in Boston check out my favorite ASO: The AIDS Action Committee of MA.
Wednesday, December 1st is World AIDS Day
Not sure how new this news is, but I had not heard about a breakthrough in AIDS research which found that a common acne drug first used in the 1970s can keep HIV dormant. I first read about this in Brenton’s popular blog, Aussielicious
this morning. And after a bit of searching on Google, I found that this study was actively being discussed back in 2008 at the XVII International AIDS Conference
As Brenton says in his blog, any advancement that can help prevent the spread of or help improve the quality of life of those impacted by this virus is good news. If you’d like to learn more there is a brief (1 minute) video of Dr. Janice Clements explaining what the acne drug minocycline does to the virus here.
Photos from last night’s Taste of the South End.
Take a peek – there is no weight gain if you only look.
The Taste of the South End
is TUESDAY! Get your tickets online so you too can enjoy the more than 40+ restaurants who will be participating this year. The thing I love about this tasting is that it is so social and because it is not massive you can sample all sorts of great foods without wading 8-10 people deep at each food station. Be sure to purchase your tickets online – HERE
On Monday, March 1st at 7:00pm the cast of Disney’s Lion King will be performing at Club Cafe in Boston. Tickets cost $25.00 and all proceeds will go to benefit The AIDS Action Committee of MA. You can purchase tickets online HERE
Rumor has it that Verna Turbulence (drag queen extraordinaire) will be hosting the program “The Lion Sings Tonight” so in addition to raising money for a very worthwhile charity, having fun singing along (or like me just listening), and laughing at Verna’s course sense of humor – it is sure to be far more interesting than your typical Monday night. Fight off the winter blues by warming up with friends at the Club Cafe benefit for the AIDS Action Committee of MA.
Attention all foodies…
The annual Taste of the South End is fast approaching so mark your calendars and purchase your tickets. This year’s program will draw 45 of the neighborhoods’ restaurants to the BCA so you can sample delicious culinary creations that will leave your mouth watering. Even better, by participating you will be supporting a very worthwhile local charity that is near and dear to my heart, The AIDS Action Committee
To stay up to date on what is happening you can follow the Taste of the South End on Twitter
. To see what the event is all about you can view the photos from last years event, by linking here
Be sure to purchase your tickets online – HERE.
Please call your legislator….The AIDS Action Council, the national HIV/AIDS advocacy group, has re-issued its Ryan White Care Act
funding alert. Ryan White programs provides essential medical and support services to hundreds of thousands of individuals each year. Current funding is set to expire later this week on, Wednesday, September 30th
Lawmakers in Washington are scheduled to address Ryan White funding this week. Please Contact your legislators now to express your support for continued funding to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS.
When I think of the millions who died from HIV / AIDS in the 1980s because homosexuality and sex in general were considered taboo and discussing ‘safe sex’ and distributing condoms was deemed controversial – my blood absolutely boils. So many people have died, so many families have suffered, and so many children have been orphaned because of a fear to talk about AIDS. I really can not think of another illness or disease that has so isolated people. Sadly the stigma remains and AIDS still kills. An astounding 7,500 people contract AIDS every day
(that’s more than 2.65 million annually).
However, a study in Thailand might be able to shed some light on finding a cure for AIDS. This study (published today) was found to cut the risk of infection by 31 percent. In 9-weeks it will be December 1st, World AIDS Day. How wonderful would it be to really believe that a vaccine to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS is in sight?
You can read the report by linking to MSNBC here.
Additionally, you can support a local AIDS Service Organization (ASO) by volunteering or donating. I’ve included the link to my favorite, ASO, The AIDS Action Committee of MA.
The Boston Globe has an article in today’s paper, Volunteering your way to a job. Although there is a lot of work to be done when you are first unemployed (i.e. getting your resume in order, applying for unemployment, etc…), if you are organized and efficient, you can conduct an effective job search in just a few hours each week.
When I was laid off in 2001, making myself available and keeping busy was essential. After being unemployed for a couple of months, I realized I needed to shake-up my routine so I turned to the AIDS Action Committee of MA (AAC) to volunteer Tuesday – Friday from 10:00am – 4:00pm in the development office.
I initially approached AAC for selfish reasons as a tech lay-off but my time at this wonderful health and human services non-profit paved the road and redirected me to a career in healthcare. Without realizing it, I was making excellent connections and more importantly, I was re-training myself. Too often people assume learning and career training needs to take place within a classroom, but that is simply not true.
The Boston Globe has an interesting editorial today in support of a bill sponsored by Somerville state senator, Pat Jehlen, which calls for the state to make HIV testing as routine as getting your cholesterol tested.
The writer makes some compelling points such as, “31 percent of those testing positive for the virus become afflicted with full-blown AIDS within two months. This means that for years they have been unknowingly infected, missing out on treatment and likely infecting others.”
The AIDS Action Committee of MA (AAC) has addressed this issue on their blog with an entry entitled, “Massachusetts Needs an Integrated Comprehensive HIV Testing Plan”.
I’m not familiar with the bill, and I’m curious what your thoughts might be? The full editorial can be read on Boston.com or by linking here.