You Can’t Spell Party Without DIVA

By Lavender February 14, 2008

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It sometimes can be difficult to justify a night on the town. But on the morning of March 9, you’ll be able to look in the mirror, and say, “My partying helped fight AIDS.”

If you’re wondering how, the answer is one word: DIVA. On the evening of March 8, DIVA MN’s annual fashion show is going to be one hell of a party this year, bringing together elements of the hottest clubs from around the country.

“We’re going away from a traditional fashion runway show—there won’t be a runway,” DIVA MN Executive Director Tammy Hauser Sarto says.

Though it still will be considered a fashion show, the club atmosphere will change the flow of the event.

“We have theatrical elements being brought in that we haven’t done before, through a partnership with the Jungle Theater,” Hauser Sarto explains. “I think that’s going to take the fashion piece in a new direction. I think it’s going to be fabulous.”

Each year, DIVA MN’s shows are heavily themed. Last year’s was Super DIVA, where costumed, caped-crusader fashion helped the organization raise money, and save the day for various HIV/AIDS organizations in Minnesota.

“The key to DIVA’s success is that we are maverick grant-makers,” Hauser Sarto states.

DIVA provides grants for unique and sometimes controversial programs concentrating in HIV/AIDS prevention, education, advocacy, and treatment. The group has raised and distributed more than $3 million since its beginning. Awarding grant money to programs has followed the progression of people’s attitudes toward the disease over the years.

“In the beginning, it was all about all these people dying. It was all about housing, and making them as comfortable as possible,” Hauser Sarto notes. “Now, it’s very common that people are living much longer lives with HIV—and manageable lives—so we’re focusing less on that area, and more on all the new HIV infections.”

This year’s fund-raising goal is $350,000, but Hauser Sarto would like to raise more: “We’re only limited by what we have to give away, and this past year, it was $150,000, so it really is dependent on how much we raise.”

DIVA’s preparty events have started the hype for this year’s show. Date for DIVA already took place on February 8, where 10 singles (including Project Runway contestant and Club DIVA fashion designer Jack Mackenroth) were auctioned off as dates and prize packages.

During the VIP Auction/Student Fashion Show on February 21, 10 Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) fashion design students will send their work down the runway for seven celebrity judges and for their final grades!

So, take solace in the weeks you have between now and March 8. Find those perfect clubbing clothes, or go buy some new ones, and get ready to party!

Club Diva
Mar. 8
International Market Square
Glenwood Ave. & Lyndale Ave., Mpls.
www.divamn.org

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