TribLIVE

| Lifestyles

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

AIDS Task Force Benefit attracts crowd of 350

Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review - Chris Linsell, Sam Mudrick, and Stacey Hart during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Chris Linsell, Sam Mudrick, and Stacey Hart during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review - Samuel Badger, Keri Harmicar, and David Seman during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Samuel Badger, Keri Harmicar, and David Seman during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review - Varla Jean Merman during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Varla Jean Merman during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review - Linda and Tony Bucci during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Linda and Tony Bucci during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review - Lou Castelli, Bill Chisnell, and Ted Pappas during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Lou Castelli, Bill Chisnell, and Ted Pappas during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review - Bart Rauluk and Chuck Christen during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Bart Rauluk and Chuck Christen during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review - Bob Davis, John Gurman and John Klein during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Bob Davis, John Gurman and John Klein during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review - Scott Westwood, Dr. Lisa Cibik, Christopher Hahn and Ron Booth during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Scott Westwood, Dr. Lisa Cibik, Christopher Hahn and Ron Booth during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review - Eileen French and Patrick Jordan during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Mike Mancini | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Eileen French and Patrick Jordan during the PATF Gala at the Pittsburgh Opera Building on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Sunday, March 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

If facial expressions give a voice to the inner monologue of those wearing them, suffice to say that there was somewhat of a love-hate relationship brewing between the audience and the raucous, jaw-dropping drag queen, aka Varla Jean Merman, during the Pittsburgh AIDS Task ForceBenefit on March 20.

One thing that was unanimous was a show of hands promptly covering mouths 30 seconds into her performance, which skipped the zero and went straight to 60 for a crowd of 350 that included honorary co-chairs Nachum Golan andSteve Hough, Jim andKathe Patrinos, Dr. ElliottKramer andBill Modrak, Dr. LarryLeahy and John Vandegrift, Eileen French andPatrick Jordan, Hon. Robert andViolet Gallo, Richard Parsakian, Gene Welsh and David McAdams, Nancy Traina, and Dr. Lisa Cibik.

Prior to the split decision, the evening was buzzing with the arrival of VIPs to the Pittsburgh Opera headquarters in the Strip District, where Kerry Stoner Awardees Linda andTony Bucci found themselves surrounded by well-wishers. “It's such a wonderful organization we've been involved with for a long time,” offered Tony.

Meanwhile, a few trepidations early on guaranteed no qualms later about making good use of two tented lounge vignettes set up by creative chair Bill Chisnell, “I just wanted people to have fun,” he said, while event co-chairs David Seman, Keri Harmicar and Samuel Badger learned to share the spotlight with Badger's crystallized loafers. “They're Swarovski-encrusted,” he explained.

Never one to rest on his laurels, emcee Ted Pappas did an applause-worthy job of trying to break the ice with a couple of jabs that some got and others didn't. “I see a lot of new faces that used to be old faces,” he said playfully, before adding, “I've never seen this many gay men in one place since the rehearsals for ‘Billy Budd.' ”

At the very core, the evening served to further the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force mission of empowering and supporting all individuals living with HIV/AIDS. “We're at a turning point in the fight against HIV. We're seeing we can make an end to HIV (and) we're focused on breaking the stigma,” said director Chuck Christen.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Fanfare

  1. Open house aims to lure new businesses to Pittsburgh’s Allentown neighborhood
  2. 3rd In Bed By Ten dance party raises the roof while raising funds for Girls Rock! Pittsburgh