Sister Ella Mae Swallow of the Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence said the Red Party started 13 years ago in another Sister’s basement in Portland. That first party attracted 30 people. In later years when the Red Dress Party was held in San Francisco at the “Mother House” more than 1,000 people showed up. The parties became signficant fundraisers for organizations serving those with HIV/AIDS.
This year marks Atlanta’s second Red Dress Party and promises to be a night of dancing and celebration, said Ella Mae Swallow.
“I wear the red dress to remember those we have lost to HIV/ AIDS, I dance to celebrate those who are living with HIV and to let them know they are not alone and the fight to find a cure will continue,” she says. “I also believe that educating people will take the stigma away from people who think living with HIV is some how ‘dirty.'”
Spinna DeVinyl, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in Portland, says Atlanta can expect a night of glitter and “illuminated bliss.”
How do you keep track of your two distinct personalities (Spinna DeVinyl and DJ Harmonix) or are they pretty much the same person?
Although they are essentially the same person, there are differences. Both are extroverts, but Spinna is certainly more outgoing, and much more glittery! Personality wise, Spinna will have absolutely no problem speaking to strangers. There’s a comfort zone behind the whiteface. Musically, Spinna is bubbly, glittery and very pop influenced. DJ Harmonix is also pop based, but more refined, willing to hit the rhythms harder, going deeper into the dance floor experience.
How many Red Parties have you played and why are they special to you?
I have played Red Dress Parties in Portland (10 years), Chicago, Dallas and Orlando, for a total of 13 so far. They are a blast. I first connected to RDP because of the circuit party aspect, combined with the camp and fashion of the themes of the parties.
After losing one of my best friends to AIDS related pneumonia in 1997, the meaning evolved for me, as the grant recipients that year were all groups that provided services for my friend during his transition from this world.
What can Atlanta expect from you in the DJ booth?
Oh, Atlanta is in for a night of magic, a night of healing, a night of glitter. Songs of laughter and love. Harmonies of lust and desire, slamming rhythms of the divine. A night of illuminated bliss.
Photos: Sister Spinna DeVinyl (left) of Portland, Ore., and her alter ego DJ Harmonix. (Courtesy)