Minnesota AIDS Project and DIVAMN Host Oscar Night® Minnesota

Turn off your boob tube—the red carpet’s in town! With the 81st annual Academy Awards only a week away, and increasing buzz surrounding the broadcast, for this year’s viewing, we at Lavender urge you to ditch the fuzzy rabbit slippers, trade in your oversized pajama tee, and remove the long johns (or at least wear them under your red carpet attire). Head to Oscar Night® Minnesota, a fund-raiser for HIV/AIDS education, advocacy, and prevention.

Photography: Jake Armour, Makeup: Rhonda Jackson, Model: Chris Floding

Promising to be one of the most alluring events of the year, and set in the posh Downtown Chambers Hotel in Minneapolis, Oscar Night® Minnesota is the first-ever partnership between two organizations: Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP), a statewide nonprofit agency devoted to enhancing the lives of people living with HIV, prevention education for those at risk, and advocating for the rights of all affected; and DIVAMN, a nonprofit group working in creative industries that are committed to raising money to impact HIV/AIDS in Minnesota.

Monitoring infection data and maintaining the central database of persons living with HIV in our state, the Minnesota Department of Health reported 325 new cases of HIV in 2007, a number that is rising at a slow yet steady rate.

David Folkens, MAP Director of Communications, notes, “This is the very reason why prevention-education funding is more important than ever.”

As the largest AIDS service organization in the state, MAP has a wide variety of programming, and not all of those efforts can be covered by state or federal funding.

Therefore, Folkens adds, “Fund-raising is absolutely essential for our agency to meet its goals.”

So, you might be thinking: How can we combat these alarming statistics on one of the most nerve-clenching nights on television?

The answer is to throw a jubilee sure to leave a lasting impression on the entire Twin Cities—“a cool cause on a haute night.”

Oscar Night® Minnesota was founded by activist/philanthropist Scott Mayer in 1988, when the first event was a private party in his home. Over the years, and with increasing hype, it has become one of the largest and most eagerly anticipated galas in the Twin Cities.

“We are certain that this year’s Oscar Night will be one of the most talked-about events of the year,” David Knapp, MAP Special Events Manager, predicts.

Combining efforts with DIVAMN, which has an astonishing reputation for creativity and support through HIV fund-raising, Knapp and his team are counting down the days to transforming the Chambers Hotel into a red carpet experience you will not want to miss.

Lavender’s very own Wanda Wisdom will be special guest emcee, covering all the details—from garb to all-around glamour—via Podcast in the Rock Star Suite.

“We will be screening the program throughout the Chambers Hotel, will host a silent auction and raffle, will predict the winner’s contest, and DJ Paris will be spinning in the Red, White, and Blue Lounge,” Knapp explains.

This year, tickets are $125, or two for $200. Proceeds go toward advocacy, education, and service in the community aimed at stopping the spread of HIV in Minnesota.

Now on sale at the URL below, the VIP package includes exclusive access to the ART Room, Burnet Gallery, Ice Bar, and Rooftop Lounge at the Chambers—four unique rooms, each with a one-of-a-kind aura.

Simply put, this red carpet event provides an opportunity to see and be seen, mingle with the A-list of Minnesota, and possibly be photographed by the media, while supporting an incredibly important cause.

With the red carpet opening at 6 PM, and the paparazzi hungry for photo ops, attendees can expect a night full of glamour, exquisite hors d’oeuvres prepared by world renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and warm company—sharing in those anxiety-filled pauses between the opening of an envelope and the announcement of a winner.

Trust us when we say this year’s event will be nothing shy of complete fabulousness.

Oscar Night® Minnesota / Feb. 22 / Red Carpet at 6 PM / Telecast of the Academy Awards at / 7 PM / Chambers Hotel, 901 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. (612) 767- 6900. mnaidsproject.org/oscar

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