Of all the fantastic charity events to take place in New York City during the summertime, one of my personal favorites is the Barclay’s Oasis party benefitting the Ali Forney Center. The event, slated for next Wednesday, July 24th, promises to be more than just a fabulous time spent with some of Manhattan’s most vibrant personalities. It will also help to support at-risk LGBTQ youth with vital health assistance, emergency and transitional housing, nutrition, education, outreach, and more.
I look forward to covering this event for Instinct Magazine, not only to share the highlights of fun and good times but more importantly, to help advocate for the critical work of the Ali Forney Center. Many LGBTQ youths become homeless and vulnerable to harm every day, be it from family rejection or escaping abuse. The Ali Forney Center provides these young lives with vital assistance for their survival.
For those unaware, the organization’s namesake, Ali Forney, was an accidental activist. He had been inspired to help LGTBQ youth in crisis because of his personal experiences. Forney had fled his own home at the age of 13 amid the difficulties of living at home as a gender non-conformist. The triumph and tragedy of his young life are highlighted on the Forney Center’s website:
“He entered the foster care system where he was bounced around to several homes, and was beaten and abused. Ali ended up living on the streets at the age of 15. Ali was dedicated to helping other young people and publicly advocated for the safety of homeless LGBT youth. Tragically, in December of 1997, Ali was murdered in Harlem—shot in the head and left for dead.”
The spirit of Ali’s efforts lives on as 2019 marks the 10th year for the highly anticipated gathering that raises money for the cause. As has been tradition, this year’s Oasis party will take place at the sprawling Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers – a premier event complex with open, outdoor wrap-around decks. This riverfront location is picturesque and ideal for guests to mingle, make new acquaintances and enjoy refreshing cocktails. Beginning at 7 pm, it’s also perfectly timed for catching panoramic views of the New York sunset on the Hudson River.
Outside of Pride, Oasis is the largest LGBTQ summer cocktail party in NYC, with nearly 1200 attendees each year. Part of the fun is that you never know what celebrities might stop by unannounced in addition to scheduled performers and live entertainment. Past scheduled entertainers include Parker Posey, Bevy Smith, Alaska, Detox, the cast of HBO’s ‘Looking,’ and more. Which reminds me, I must extend a belated thank you to the 2013 Oasis event team. It was a blast and I got to breathe the same air as Murray Bartlett, in all his bearded beauty. Wooo Lawd, that man is HAWT, and even better looking in person!
Keeping up their legacy of fun guest appearances, this year’s Oasis Host is the lovable, and hilarious Kalen Allen! Kalen holds a regular guest spot on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” – a gig he landed after Ellen herself fell in love with Allen’s one of a kind, real-time social media commentaries on people’s home recipes. She offered him a job on her show and the rest is history.
Of course, the event would not be complete without the live performances Oasis has become known for. This year will be no exception as powerhouse and Season 10 Drag Race Winner, Aquaria brings the heat with her signature, fashion-fabulosity, and memorable high energy numbers. Rounding out the talent roster for the evening is the Eclectic live DJ/Performace team, The Misshapes.
Learn More About The Ali Forney Center.