"It's a great gateway drug, as it were, for coming to the theater," said Andrew Volkoff, referring to Friday's Wonka Ball, an annual gala to raise money for the About Face Theatre.
Volkoffone of the event's organizers and the outgoing artistic director for the community-focused LGBTQIA arts organization ( who is stepping down at the end of the 2016-17 season )said the space-themed gala was a "smash."
Dressed as space cowboys and cowgirls, Star Trek and Star Wars characters, astronauts and aliens and more, participants danced, drank, ate and bid on silent-auction items, including cookie bouquets, martial arts packages, happy hour for a dozen people, baseball games, electronic-music concert tickets and pieces from local artists.
A live auction for a Lady Gaga concert package in Chicago went for $2,300, while a seven-day cruise package fetched $3,500. Similarly, one of About Face's lifetime donors offered a matching $2,500 if bidders contributed the same amount in donationsand in just a few minutes, the offer was met.
"The programs [AFT] does with youth and the way they get the message out so people understand what our communities' experiences arethey do it with such quality, with such heart, without pandering, without apologizing, and I love that," said Vinny Cousineau, who was with husband LT Cousineau; incidentally, they wre both dressed as droids during what was their third Wonka Ball.