Diversity Richmond to host first Drag Bingo and afterparty event this Friday
Bingo: it’s not just for blue-haired grandmas and church basement fundraisers anymore.
Diversity Richmond is set to host its Drag Bingo and the Party Thereafter, an event that mixes grandma’s bingo night with all the fabulous flare of drag.
Robyn Bentley, Special Events/Fundraising Chair for Diversity, is thrilled to have Diversity hosting Drag Bingo.
“LGBT folks and their allies love bingo and drag,” she said. “It’s a way for us to all get together and help raise money and have a lot of fun.”
Bentley has a long history of LGBTQ advocacy, starting as a volunteer for the Triad Health Project on the AIDS Memorial Quilt display at the Greensboro Coliseum. Her first taste of Drag Bingo was as the “Ball Girl” for Philadelphia AIDS Fund’s GayBingo! Monthly fundraiser.
When asked about some of her favorite memories, Bentley immediately laughs and brings up O69.
“Whenever O69 is called, everyone stands up and says ‘ooohhhhh 69!’” she explained. “So, there’s a little wink-wink joke there.”
This isn’t the first fundraising event for Diversity Richmond, which feature events such as art shows, support groups, and social hours, and it’s not even its first bingo event.
“We had a bingo in December at Diversity Richmond, and people liked it a lot,” she said. However, Bentley explained that the previous event was hosted by traditional bingo providers, without any sequins or glitter in sight.
This event is set to have all the bells and whistles (and glitz and glam).
“It’s different than regular bingo because there’s drag numbers during bingo,” she said. “Then, there’s an after-party with a drag show.”
Zakia McKensey, under the name Zakia Jamaceye, will be the hostess for the Drag Bingo event.
“This will be my first time actually hosting a drag bingo,” she said, “but I’ve been affiliated with Diversity Richmond for seven or eight years.”
McKensey is a prominent figure in Richmond as an advocate for the transgender community and the LGBTQ community at large. She has previously worked at Health Brigade, formerly the Fan Free Clinic, in HIV prevention and was also one of the pioneers behind its transgender health clinic, providing local trans clients with hormone replacement therapy and overall healthcare.
She is also the C.E.O. of Nationz Pageantry System, which showcases talents of male entertainers and female impersonators. Not only is Mz. Nationz 2016, Tarena McCray, scheduled to make an appearance, but Nationaz Pageantry will be holding more events at Diversity in the upcoming year, including the 2017 Duke & Duchess Closetball.
In short, this is not McKensey’s first event with the organization and certainly won’t be the last.
“Diversity Richmond provides a space where people feel safe and people can come have a good time,” she said. “They’re doing a lot of great things in the community to create events that honor members in the community or provide fun, safe spaces or educational spaces for people in our community.”
McKensey said attendees can expect a fun-filled night at the Drag Bingo event while supporting a good cause.
“High energy performances, lots of laughter and fun, raising money for Diversity, and also winning some money with bingo.”
Depending on how Drag Bingo performs, it may become a regular staple at Diversity.
“We’re trying different things,” Bentley said. “We’re trying this to see how this goes and see how people like it, and if lots of people show up, it will give us a lot of incentive to do another.”
Regardless, the event is set to be full of laughter, glitter, and prizes.
“It’s just like grandma’s bingo but way more fun,” she said. “And, you have a chance to win $1,000 so come on out.”
Drag Bingo will be held on Friday, March 31 at Diversity Richmond’s Event Hall at 1407 Sherwood Ave in Richmond. The 18+ event will start at 7pm, $15 gets you seven $100 games plus entry to the Party Thereafter, while party-only entry starts at 9pm for $5. Extra game packs and Instant Bingo will be available for purchase. Wine & beer will be available after 9pm and food will be catered by Nacho Mama’s.
It’s always fun to drink and have a little fun while supporting a good cause. Quirk Hotel’s restaurant, Maple & Pine, started Wine Table Tuesdays a few months ago where every week you can sample four wine tastings and the proceeds go toward a different local charity or organization. Tonight, the restaurant will host the [...]April 18, 2017
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