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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Meatball Turkey Day Dinner Review : The Culture of Okey-Dokey

Update: One of the benefits of being such a big, popular and widely fascinating community is that we are being documented by an increasing number of superb photographers. Check out the newest photos by Cali, showing her unique viewpoint of the big fundraiser.

There is a lot to say about the Meatball Turkey Day Dinner Benefit that was held at the Center on Sunday, December 2nd, 2012. 

One glance will tell you, what words can't.

Massive: Every seat taken, completely sold-out, and more and more folks kept arriving during the evening, making the auditorium a lot more crowded.  You can see the overflow in the rear of the photo. The cash kept coming in and piling up. I haven't seen Washingtons, Lincolns, Hamiltons and Jacksons stacking up like this, since San Diego Leather Pride in 2002.  

I'm told that they way overtook their original predictions, and benefitted the Center's Senior Services at an all-time high.

You would think that the whole crowd has been friends together for years.

Well-run: THIS is how a benefit should be operated. It was TIGHT.  No boring stretches, no random happenstance.

Our hostess Glitz, and LaRue, representing the Center's Senior Services.

Center: Mr. San Diego Leather 2012 Aaron, 
Right: Mr. San Diego Leather 2010 Anthony. 
Left: Anthony's boy G.

Our hosts Mr. San Diego Leather 2012 Aaron, Mr. San Diego Leather 2010 Anthony, and Glitz Glam were the primary hosts, but honestly, I don't think there was anyone in the building who wasn't committed to a cooperative, successful and powerful result. It was like watching a professional orchestra, with Aaron, Anthony and Glitz as the conductors.

The long, long line for food, served up by eager volunteers.

There were dozens of volunteers EVERYWHERE, all of them deeply intense and unswerving in their dedication.  The food was delicious, plentiful and served with style by the volunteers, but mysteriously low in MEATBALL content. Somehow, the new caterer never got the meatball memo.  Nobody minded, because there was plenty of everything else for everybody to enjoy.

Cooperative: Something that the pictures CAN'T show you, is the vibe in the room. Utterly sweet, attentive (the place got quiet every time one of the hosts grabbed the microphone), sociable, and, most important of all, willing to go with whatever showed up. Sudden change of plans? "Okey-Dokey!" Technical problems? (only one that I know of) "No Problemo!"  

Representatives from the Rodeo Association.

My point is that this would be impossible if San Diego's Tribe wasn't so darned unified and joyous in massive groups. I've been seeing this mellow vibe more and more, and I can't see the upper limit of its effect. It's enormously stabilizing for a community that has really needed it, after some really bad times when AIDS wounded us. 

It's possible because of the deep level of trust that has been earned by many folks.  We pass the baton to one person, then the next person steps up, and then they hand off to the next person.  It's all intuitive, flexible, mellow and REALLY EFFECTIVE.  Everybody goes home with a sense that they contributed to a really successful event - they all have a stake in the effort expended, so they can then own the triumphant result afterward.

Now that the younger generations are fully in charge, we're moving forward FAST. We've regained the momentum we had in the late 70's, and have now gone way beyond. I can't imagine where we will be in the next five or ten years.

Entertaining: As I have said elsewhere, I'm not somebody who actively seeks out drag performers for an evening's pleasure.  Having said that, I would GLADLY bring a big crowd of my loved ones to be entertained by any or all of the lovely ladies who performed at the MBTDD benefit.  

Glitz and the Sisters revved-up the crowd for the fundraiser.

They were all A-level pros, and I kept wishing for a much better camera to get more amazing shots.  

As a result, I'm retiring the iPhone as a photojournalistic tool, and I've sent my big DSLR off to the factory for repair.  I'm now motivated to do that, because I could see great artistic benefit to following these artists and enjoying their craft.

That's my Master's Cap, full of cash. I collected it on Naomi's behalf, because she was doing a FLAWLESS performance of the classic "Single Ladies" choreography, which didn't leave her time to stop and thank folks for their generous donations to the Center.

In summation: I have been to all three Meatball Turkey Day Dinners. This holiday-season event has become a solid, dependable, inclusive, successful and majestic addition to San Diego's roster of annual traditions.  I'm pretty certain that if we could somehow magically quadruple the size of the Center's main auditorium, it would be a cinch to fill it up just as full, next year. Everybody loves a winner, and at THIS event, everybody wins, and everybody gets to feel really good about being part of a thriving, successful community.

It's so nice to share such good news!

1 comment:

  1. Let me just say, being a food server was a great place to chat with all the sexy men that night. All you single boys, ya'll should be begging for that volunteer position next year. Every time I squirted that creamy dressing on someone's salad...