Sketch Lounge in West Palm Beach will debut its first permanent LGBT night on Wednesday, June 22 as the popular nightclub hosts a benefit aimed at raising money for the families of the victims of the Orlando massacre.
Located at 221 Clematis St. (Just above PawnShop), the fundraiser will include a night of dancing, drag performers, a candlelight vigil, a photo booth and a raffle that includes gift cards from various local businesses.
Attendees will also be treated to a one-of-a-kind performance from American singer-songwriter Joi Cardwell. All of the proceeds and donations will be split between Equality Florida and Compass Community Center.
The mastermind behind this entire event is Sketch Lounge Event Planner and Lead Methodologist, David Alban.
According to Alban, the moment he learned about the Pulse Nightclub shooting he knew he had to do something to help the community heal.
“When one of us falls, we all fall. And now I want to help us get back up,” Alban said.
This is Alban’s first time ever putting together a benefit of this magnitude, but said it has been made easier by outpouring of support he has received from the community.
“The local businesses downtown were so excited to be a part of this,” Alban said. “They welcomed me with open arms and they really wanted to let the local LGBT community know that they are behind us and they are our allies and friends.”
Blue Martini, Jimmy’s Barbeque, Mellow Mushroom and Lafayette are just some of the local West Palm Beach businesses that have donated gift certificates and more to be raffled off at the benefit.
Not only has Alban gotten support from local businesses, he has also enlisted the support of local talent.
"Velvet Lenore, Nicole Saphire, Rianna Petrone, Charlotte Shotgun and Anita Buffet are all set to perform throughout the night," Alban said. "They are some of the fiercest queens in Palm Beach County."
Lenore will also be the guest MC for the night.
According to Alban, the drag queens have agreed to donate all of the tips they earn during their sets to the fundraiser as well.
One of the largest donations will be coming from Titos's Handmade Vodka. The company has agreed to match dollar for dollar, up until $25,000, all that is raised during the event.
"We are responding the only way we know how and that's through love," said Florida State Manager for Tito's Handmade Vodka, Grant Potier. "We just want to help heal those who have been affected by this tragedy."
In addition to matching the donations, Potier will be donating product for the venue to use for the soirée.
"With every $10 donation, guests will be given two free Tito's cocktails," Alban said. "We also will have a giant ice sculpture that we will be pouring cocktails down."
There is no cover charge to get in, but a suggested donation is asked for at the door. The party with a purpose starts at 9 p.m. and will be bumping until 4 a.m.
Nightclubs have always been a staple in LGBT culture. In fact, the gay rights movement started in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York.
Fast forward almost 50 years later and nightclubs still continue to be a big part of the modern LGBT experience.
"[Nightclubs] are the place we go to feel safe," Alban said. "Here we get to be who we want, wear what we want, hold hands with who we want and kiss who we want. These places are our freedom. These places are our home."
According to Alban, he couldn't imagine a better place for a fundraiser than a nightclub where everyone and anyone can feel safe and free.
The fundraiser also is the launch of Sketch's weekly gay night that will be held every Wednesday.
Alban hopes to have some kind of fundraiser involved each night to help continue support and awareness for the LGBT community.
"We want this night to be the start of us helping the LGBT community move past this tragedy," Alban said. "We need to continue to fight, to love, to be strong and, of course, we must party on."
For more information on the event visit Facebook.com/SketchWPB or dial 561-802-6140.