So any regular reader of the Diary knows Vivian and I have a complicated relationship. She brings so much happiness to Jeff and I love Jeff with all my heart so by default I love Vivian. However Vivian the character is a completely different story. She is something that at times can bring me great joy and at other times tons of aggravation.
Now to be fair this aggravation doesn’t stem 100% from Vivian’s spending and time commitment, some of it is tied to world of drag and all of the ins and outs on how to maneuver one’s journey through that world. I can not tell you how many times Vivian and I have had the conversation if we would have known almost 5 years ago what we know now that there was a chance Vivian would have never been created.
This exact conversation came up between Vivian and friend she was having dinner with the other night. If you follow Vivian on Facebook (which you should) you know she posted the following status about that conversation:
“….. I eventually found myself making a comment that I’ve made many times….”Had I known 5 years ago, what I know now regarding the expense of drag as well as the messed up politics, I’d have never started”. Well, I need to retract that statement. Drag has afforded me so many incredible opportunities to meet people that I otherwise never would have. I’ve been able to give back to my community via fundraisers and charitable work….so NO, I would still choose this path. I wouldn’t change a thing about it, the good and the bad, have all shaped who I am as an entertainer and even more so as a person. I’ve made some incredible friendships….how could I ever think for a minute that I could have passed those up? So, nope, I’m quite happy with where I’m at right now. I’ll continue to do this until it’s not fun any longer……”
Now before I continue some of you may want to sit down. Okay I hope you are all sitting down. I have to agree 100%. Does Vivian and all the baggage, which comes with her and drag, get to me from time to time? HELL Yes it does, as stated in the past, that is part of the reason I started the diary. However at the end of the day Vivian has allowed us to meet some amazing people and get involved with some very important causes.
Over the course of the last 5 years, Vivian along with other entertainers has helped raised tens of thousands of dollars for not only local Columbus Ohio causes but national ones as well. This aspect of the art of drag has become quite important to both of us. Any time the Von Bs have the chance to help raise money, awareness or both for an issue that is important to us, you will find us there lending our time and energy.
This year is the perfect example of this. Earlier this year Vivian and I read the story of Michael Morones and it touched both of us deeply because we have both been bullied in the past. So once we learned of our friend, Paul Richmond’s, Art for Michael sponsored by the You Will Rise Project we knew we had to get involved. This spawned the Art + Drag for Michael Show in which we had the honor of having Michael’s mother, Tiffany Morones-Suttle attend and raise over $4000 for Michael’s medical expenses and the Michael Morones Foundation, started in his honor. After this collaboration the Von Bs were asked to join the You Will Rise Project organization which we were both honored to do so and very excited to see what else we can do the raise awareness of bullying.
Vivian also had the tremendous opportunity to host shows at a home bar this year. This has not only allowed Vivian to hone her art form but for the Von Bs to have a platform to raise money each and every month for causes that don’t always receive the attention they should. This is something I am extremely grateful for. I never really understood the attraction to philanthropy until Vivian. I have to say it’s addictive and something I’m very glad I have had to opportunity to become involved with.
Vivian and I both feel there is more to drag than just the entertainment part. Yes that is important but in our humble opinions it should be about giving and having fun first everything else is after that. When we can no longer give back or have fun the Von Bs will gracefully bow out, but until then we will continue to fight to make not only the GLBTQ community better but the world.