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Atlanta Cotillion’s ‘Cirque de Nuit’ brings big changes to drag fundraising tradition

Atlanta Cotillion

Now in its 12th year, Atlanta Cotillion is turning its old fundraising format on its crown.

The group has ditched the drag debutantes, tiaras and season-ending black-tie ball in favor of year-round team fundraising and a more inclusive annual bash to raise money for its longtime beneficiary, AID Atlanta.

In January 2013, event chair Darrell Burke, former chair John McGuirk and several past debs decided on an all-new format that kicks off with the group's "Cirque de Nuit," an avant-garde ball June 8 in the Historic Hangar of the Delta Heritage Museum.

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Atlanta Cotillion prepares to crown new queen

Atlanta Cotillion

AID Atlanta celebrates “11 years of royalty” with the annual Atlanta Cotillion on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. at The Foundry at Puritan Mill in Atlanta.

“The cotillion is a fundraising event based off of a traditional Southern cotillion,” says Steven Igarashi, Gay Men’s Health & Wellness Coordinator at AID Atlanta. “Each year, there is a class of debutantes that is made up of men from the LGBT community. They volunteer to serve as a debutante and create a persona, which is their drag character. They spend cotillion season raising money for AID Atlanta.”

As with a traditional cotillion, these debutantes will be presented at the ball by their escorts to celebrate their fundraising success. The evening culminates with the crowning of the Queen of the Atlanta Cotillion Ball, the debutante who raised the most for AID Atlanta.

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Cotillion concludes

Annual event benefits HIV/AIDS organization AID Atlanta crowns new Queen tonight

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[Photos] Style and feminine wiles on hand for Atlanta Cotillion Cabaret

Atlanta Cotillion Cabaret

Atlanta Cotillion, the AID Atlanta fundraiser featuring men dressing up as female debutantes, hosted its annual cabaret and silent auction Aug. 16 at Jungle.

During the Cotillion season, the male "debs" compete to see who can raise the most money. The winner is crowned queen at the gala, formal Cotillon Ball. The 11th annual ball is set for Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Foundry at Puritan Mill. Tickets are $85 for those wearing gowns and $160 for those wearing tuxedos.

You can meet the six 2012 debutantes here, but you will have to wait until the ball to see them appear in their full feminine regalia.

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Atlanta Cotillion cabaret goes all out tonight

Atlanta Cotillion X

Atlanta Cotillion, the AID Atlanta fundraiser featuring men dressing up as female debutantes, hosts its annual cabaret and silent auction tonight.

The event is set for 6 p.m. at Jungle, 215 Faulkner Road. There is a $10 suggested donation or VIP seating is available for $25.

During the Cotillion season, the male "debs" compete to see who can raise the most money. The winner is crowned queen at the gala, formal Cotillon Ball. The 11th annual ball is set for Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Foundry at Puritan Mill. Tickets are $85 for those wearing gowns and $160 for those wearing tuxedos.

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Atlanta Pride anchors fall events calendar

Atlanta Pride

With Atlanta’s heavy fall social calendar still growing, several events are changing dates in the hopes of carving out their niche in a crowded scene.

Atlanta Pride and the AIDS Walk now anchor the fall season on the first and second weekends in October, while the Toy Party on Dec. 5 serves as the unofficial final big event of the year. Other popular events have changed times and dates this year. The Lesbian Health Initiative moved its Garden Party forward several weeks to Sept. 18, while the MEGA Family Project moved its annual conference back almost two months to Nov. 5.

“October seems to be a busy month, so we hope that by moving it to November we haven’t bumped up against anything else,” MEGA Executive Director Kathy Kelly said.

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Atlanta Cotillion marks 10 years of tradition, fundraisng

Atlanta Cotillion X

The Cotillion Ball is a time honored Southern tradition of presenting young women to the upper crust of society, but a group of gay men continue to turn tradition on its ear by becoming “debutantes” themselves to raise funds to fight HIV and AIDS.

Over the past decade, the Atlanta Cotillion has raised more than $750,000 for AID Atlanta by playfully mocking tradition. Men dressed as women — but this is too formal an event to call it drag — compete for the title of Queen by raising funds.

Even though this is a rough financial year, Cotillion chairperson Darrell Burke hopes to raise $125,000, one of the larger amounts ever donated by a Cotillion.

“We’ve always hovered between a $100,000 and a $128,000, so $125,000 is up there, but wouldn’t be our record,” Burke said. “We’re also looking to surpass the 400 guest mark. We traditionally have been between 360 and 380 and we think we can realistically meet or exceed 400.”

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Crowning a Queen

The Atlanta Cotillion fundraiser for AID Atlanta culminates tonight with the Cotillion Ball