Whitney Houston, Donna Summer Tribute Dinner Benefits Victims of Domestic Violence

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Diva (center) with Lips’ cast including Nicolette (left) and April (right) will relive the music of Whitney Houston and Donna Summer to benefit Women In Distress. Courtesy of Lips.

The music world lost two great artists this year, but the anthems of Donna Summer and Whitney Houston will live on at Lips at a special tribute dinner and show on Sunday, Sept. 23 to benefit Women in Distress.

For five years, Lips has been a popular destination for dinner and a drag show, but for this one-night tribute, the cast, led by Diva, will take the stage for an important cause, performing to favorites such as Bad Girls, She Works Hard for the Money, I Will Always Love You and The Greatest Love of All.

“This is a cause that is close to the hearts of all of us at Lips,” explained spokesman Michael Goodman. “This year is even more special because we’re paying tribute to Whitney Houston and Donna Summer, two artists who had such a big impact on the music industry.”

Goodman said the performers at Lips — some of the most experienced female impersonators in South Florida — found the music inspirational, a perfect fit, because both singers addressed life’s challenges and empowered their fans.

“Some of their struggles were more public and it’s about empowerment,” he says.

Lips is a unique venue, he says, that bridges the gaps between young and old, gay and straight, black and white: “People may assume drag may only be for gay audiences, but in fact, our audiences are diverse every single night. It makes the experience even more fun as we come together for a worthwhile cause.”

Women in Distress is the only certified domestic violence center serving residents of Broward County, providing free, confidential services to anyone who is a victim, says Courtney Holshouser, development manager.

“People are surprised to find out that includes men,” she says. “Domestic violence is about power and control and can involve physical, emotional, financial and sexual kinds of abuse. Men can absolutely be victims.”

The charity, which operates an emergency shelter, 24-hour crisis line group and individual counseling and education programs, moved last year to a new 132-bed facility in Deerfield Beach, allowing Women in Distress to better serve larger families with teenage boys, men and other special populations. Recently, the shelter provided support to a father with an infant baby and a transgendered person.

The organization frequently works with the Pride Center and SunServe to educate LGBT youth about domestic violence and healthy relationships.

The Lips tribute dinner is one of the charity’s most popular fundraisers, says Holshouser: “We love it! It’s an awesome opportunity for us because it’s fun and our supporters get a show and do good when they buy a ticket. We can’t thank everyone at Lips enough.”

Over the past two years, the show has raised more than $19,000, which Holshouser says funds more than 200 nights of emergency housing.

Tickets are $50 and include a three-course dinner with one glass of wine or frozen drink, tax and gratuity. To make reservations, call 954-760-9800 ext. 1253 or go to www.WomenInDistress.org/divas-glitz-glam. For more information about Women in Distress, go to www.WomenInDistress.org or call the 24-hour Crisis Line, 954-761-1133.

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