Artopia, the annual arts fundraiser presented by the Gay and Lesbian Business Exchange (GLBX) of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, returns to NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale this Saturday and is bigger than ever.
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This year, event producer Andy Perrott, a member of the GLBX board, is chairing the event. For 10 years, Perrott and his company produced the nationally televised Christmas parades at the Disney theme parks. He is bringing some of that magic to Artopia III.
“It was really important to create an entire evening of really entertaining, interactive and surprising experiences. It was never supposed to be just a cocktail party, but a vibrant event that lets the guests experience the arts in all their forms,” Perrott explained. “When we talk about art, it’s music, it’s dance, it’s fashion, it’s theater.”
Perrott booked an all-star lineup including tenor Johnathan Hawkins, last seen in South Florida with Andrea Bocelli’s “One Night in Central Park: Revisited.” Hawkins has not only toured internationally and been the featured soloist in productions of Handel’s “Messiah,” Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” and Faure’s “Requiem,” he has also performed on Broadway in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “West Side Story” and “Sweeney Todd.” Hawkins will share the stage with the 150-voice Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida.
Actors (and real life partners) P.J. DeBoy and Paul Dawson first gained notoriety in John Cameron Mitchell’s indie film, “Shortbus.” Now, they have teamed up again with Mitchell (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) on Mattachine, a touring New York club party named after the pre-Stonewall gay rights group, The Mattachine Society. The DJs have been packing clubs across the country with their old-school, eclectic dance tracks.
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In addition to exhibits from the NSU Art Museum collection, portraits from M. Sharkey’s exhibit, “Queer Kids,” will be on display at the event, offering “intimate testaments to his subjects’ powerful self-awareness; at once empathetic and opulent, they are the visual counterpart to the voice these young people have struggled — and lately succeeded — to find.” The exhibit is made possible by the Stonewall National Museum and Archives.
A special interactive experience will be available with a new 3-D virtual reality painting station available for guests to experience the future of art: “It’s brand new and pretty incredible,” Perrott said. “We’ll have a professional artist on hand so they will be able to see the potential.”
Seminole Hard Rock is sponsoring Light Up the Night, a company that builds shows incorporating LED lights and illusion, synchronized to music.
In a nod to the heated election season, actors from Island City Stage will perform scenes from their summer production, “Shorts Gone Wild 4: Decision 2016.” These humorous, 10-minute plays explore the social issues raised on the campaign trail that are most relevant to the LGBT community.
“There’s literally going to be something different happening every five to 10 minutes, always active and interesting,” Perrott promised.
Admission is $100 per person. VIP tickets, including a special reception and performance by Hawkins, are $150 each. Proceeds from the event will benefit the GLBX Arts Fund, Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, Stonewall National Museum and Archives and Island City Stage.
For more information and tickets, go to GLBX.org.