Photos: Friends for Life Society’s Aurora Fundraiser and Ballet BC’s Momentum Gala

Drag queens, dancers, designers and donors came out to celebrate two wonderful causes this summer.

Friends for Life’s Aurora Fundraiser – July 17

Met by drag performers and shirtless 50/50 ticket sellers, BC billionaire Jimmy Pattison crashed Friends for Life Society’s rooftop Pride party at the Vancouver Club to the delight of attendees.

The Unstoppable Conni Smudge (Chris Bolton), drag storytime reader and performer, entertained at event organizer Sameer Ismail’s Aurora fundraiser benefiting Friends for Life Society.

Leading the paddle raise, board member Chris Girodat and staff Helenna Swift saw more than $40,000 raised to support people living with life-threatening illnesses.

Drag artist Carlotta Gurl and B.C. businessman Jimmy Pattison were among rooftop revellers in attendance at the Friends for Life Society’s Pride Ball.

1181 bar owner Todd Hoye served up the libations for the annual benefit to provide complimentary health and wellness programs and services to people dealing with HIV/AIDS, Cancer, MS and other life-threatening illnesses.

Interior designer Aleem Kassam, along with Linsea Wallis and Aurela Nasedkin, were among a stylish set who took in the outdoor cocktail party.

Volunteer 50/50 ticket sellers Stephen Fisher and Neve Kelly worked the rooftop crowd generating nearly $4,000.

Community leaders and Friends for Life patrons Javier Barajas and Kasey Reese helped mark the organization’s 30th anniversary. Founded in 1993, the non-profit currently serves roughly 150 clients annually.

Ballet BC’s Momentum Gala – June 24

Let’s Dance! Ballet BC’s Momentum Gala celebrated a milestone year that saw the company cap off a successful season, a sold-out European tour and a move to their new digs on Granville Island.

Marketer and entrepreneur Julian Scott and lawyer Samantha Cunliffe once again chaired Ballet BC’s Momentum Gala, which raised $480,000 for the province’s preeminent contemporary dance company.

Artistic director Medhi Walerski and managing director Kim Spencer-Nairn were all smiles following a successful season, a new home on Granville Island and a sold-out European tour that received standing ovations.

Arts philanthropist Michael O’Brian and Arts Umbrella CEO Paul Larocque were among 250 dance patrons who gathered for Ballet BC’s spectacular season ending soiree.

Tamara Taggart and yours truly emceed the dinner and dance party at Rocky Mountaineer Station. Presented by McCarthy Tetrault, the evening’s program included new performances by the dance company, a sumptuous dinner by The Lazy Gourmet and a spirited live auction.

Realtor and dance patron Sid Koshul raised his paddle during the call out for cash. Proceeds from the record-setting night will provide opportunities for further touring and help emerging choreographers and dancers develop their artistry.

Ballet BC board of director Vivian Chan was among a dozen committee member who organized the year-end, dance-focussed fete.