Celebrating Decades of Hilarity and Charity
By Mikkel Hyldebrandt
Since their humble beginnings at the Armory Bar in Atlanta in 1979 to the present, more than a hundred men have donned wigs, heels, and lashed to raise money for those affected by HIV/AIDS. After 40 years, the Armorettes have raised an impressive 2.3 million dollars and shows no signs of stopping – and that’s worth celebrating!
You may have seen the Armorettes perform in one of the bars or clubs in Atlanta, but behind all the campy drag extravaganza lies a dedicated mission to support the LGBTQ community where it is most vulnerable. In 1979, a group of men decided to don wigs and heels to perform a drag show at the Armory Bar – hence the namesake The Armorettes – to raise some money. The group of original Armorettes felt a strong need to step up and help the community during the AIDS crisis, which was growing rampant in the late 70s and beginning of the 80s. Practically nothing was done to treat or prevent the disease from spreading, and it was leaving significant carnage in its lethal trail. So, The Armorettes were formed, and the original drag queens Thelma, Julie Garden, Justa Tish, Kitty Carlisle, Ginny Tonic, and Liz Helen started performing drag shows to raise money for their friends who were sick and dying from AIDS. Back then, every dollar raised went directly to those in need and through time a fund was formed to better distribute money to organizations that specialized in HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and research. Today, that model remains unchanged and every dollar raised goes to the P.W.H.A. Fund (a 501(3c) non-profit organization), which distributes money to HIV/AIDS charities here in Atlanta.
Now, 40 years later the Armorettes have raised 2.3 million dollars through the efforts of more than a hundred men who have done drag shows through time to raise money and awareness for the cause. The style of drag is the same: campy, fun, and always with a twist to make you laugh and feel well-entertained.
To celebrate to 40th Anniversary, The Armorettes have put together a grand show that will showcase the talents of some of the group’s most notorious queens including Trashetta Galore, Autumn Skyy, Nurse Holly, Cherry Poppins, and Ally Queered Al Yankadic, but also their newcomers Sasha Stephens, Baby D GaLore, and Rolonda Flor. The show will also celebrate and honor an array of past Armorettes who have all done their part in keeping Atlanta entertained while raising money for a worthy and important cause. One thing is certain: It’ll be camp, and it’ll be a party!
The What, When, and Where
What: The Armorettes 40th Anniversary Party
When: Saturday, January 19, 8 pm
Where: Buckhead Theatre
Tickets via thebuckheadtheatreatl.com – $50 Reserved Seating, $25 General Admission