On Saturday, March 8, supporters and advocates of women’s health will gather at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. in honor of the annual Mautner Project Gala and Dance. A host of opportunities, including a VIP reception, dinner and dancing, as well as both a live and silent auction, will set the stage to engage attendees in the mission and celebration of Mautner Project of Whitman-Walker Health, an organization dedicated to improving the health of women who partner with women including lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. The gala will raise funds to help provide primary medical care, support services, education and advocacy to LBT women.
“This year we are also partnering with HRC to expand our one day gala into a weekend of events. We want to give people a number of different opportunities to learn and get involved with Mautner Project, and one of those ways is the Ladies and Laughter comedy event,” says Sara Howard, Mautner Project Fundraising Coordinator.
On the eve of the gala, three out and proud ladies of comedy will take to the stage to entertain audience members. Michele Balan, Gloria Bigelow, and Dana Goldberg will join local comedienne and emcee Chelsea Shorte at the Artisphere on Friday, March 7 in support of both HRC and Mautner Project of Whitman-Walker Health. These ladies represent varying styles of comedy and plan to tackle a variety of different topics—from politics to health and aging—providing a nice juxtaposition for all attending.
“Of the three of us, I am probably the most political,” says Goldberg. “I like to make jokes that make people think, and for something like the Mautner Project, I’m excited to bring intelligent comedy to the stage because that’s the audience that’s attending.”
With 11 years of comedy experience, Goldberg has helped to raise over $25,000 for the AIDS Foundation. “As a comic, serious subjects like cancer and sickness are sometimes hard to talk about, and I’ve seen so many comedians bring humor and light to subjects that can be hard for people to address,” says Goldberg.
“My style is kind of thought provoking, but no one is getting hit over head with the things I talk about,” says Bigelow. “I’ve got a lot going on: I’m black, I’m a woman, and I’m a lesbian. I talk about race, gender, sexuality, and culture; things that are happening, but in a way that’s funny and amusing and a little thought provoking.”
Bigelow, who has supported the Mautner Gala several times in the past as an attendee, is looking forward to supporting both HRC and Mautner with her comedy.
“It’s important to take charge of our health, and that’s what Mautner does, to make sure that women are able to get screenings, mammograms, and underserviced queer women will really benefit from that,” says Bigelow.
For Balan, the inevitability of aging is sure to be addressed on the stage. “I try to appeal to everybody and I’ve been very successful in my career as a result. Everybody is getting older, no matter who you’re sleeping with,” Balan points out. “My comedy is about life, whether you’re gay, straight, or a kangaroo.” Having hosted HRC dinners and fundraisers in the past, Balan has also used her comedy to support the community.
“When I was young, I never thought I’d get older. You’re in your twenties, and you wake up one day and you’re in your fifties. One day you’re in your future, and you need health care,” reflects Balan.
And speaking of age, Mautner Project of WWH is looking to engage younger members of the community in their cause by offering an emerging leaders ticket for persons under 30 years old. The price of that ticket is $150, and includes access to dinner, the dance, the silent and live auction, and free Absolut drinks all night.
“We hope to mix up the crowd and bring a new generation of health care advocates to the table,” says Howard.
By teaming up with HRC and providing some of the best entertainers in the industry, the organizers hope that this year will be one of the most successful years yet for the Mautner Project Gala and Dance. For more information, including tickets, event details, and prices, click here.