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AIDS Fund Philly Hosts 14th Annual Black-Tie GayBINGO

Left- bingo verifying diva Julie Fries and friend. (Credit: Cherri Gregg)

Left- bingo verifying diva Julie Fries and friend. (Credit: Cherri Gregg)

Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – AIDS Fund Philly held its 14th Annual Black-Tie GayBINGO Friday night.

There’s Bingo…then there’s Black-tie GayBingo.

“Sequin, feathers, probably a little fur floating around here,” says Robb Reichard, executive director AIDS Fund Philly. “We have a little silent auction going on, we have Bingo Verifying Divas they’ll be doing a production number.”

Dressed in full drag, BVD Julienne Fries says he hated his original outfit, so he decided to make some changes:

“I just crafted a paper mache bustier out of bingo tickets,” he says. “I have three looks tonight, fun and flirty for the beginning, then a long elegant evening gown and then fun, flirty, Victoria’s Secret for the end of the evening.”

But it’s not all fun and games, the AIDS Fund will recognize three honorees who’ve made significant contribution to the fight against HIV and AIDS. Former State Representative Babette Josephs won Favorite Straight Person of the Year for her advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community.

“I’m pleased, I’m very proud, I’m very humbled too,” says Josephs. “People just flock to the AIDSFund it’s such a wonderful organization. For them to single me out for recognition- such a group that does such good work- it’s a superlative.”

Longtime HIV-AIDS advocate and GayBingo host Michael Byrne was also honored with the Founders Award.

“We lost a lot of people early on and I have a lot of friends that are HIV positive,” says Byrne, who dressed in drag for the event. “All the work I’ve done is to really honor all the people who have passed who didn’t have anyone standing up for them.”

But Byrne who whose alias for the night was “Carlota Ttendant,” says it’s also fun.

“Bingo is such a stupid game,” he says. “So watching people get really serious about it is hysterical!”

Africa Jones was also honored with the Ferrara Family Volunteer Award.

Reichard says proceeds from the fundraiser will go to funding HIV and AIDS-related programs and services, like the AIDS Walk Philly.

For more information, go to www.aidsfundphilly.org.

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