White Party Week is in Full Bloom! from White Party Week on Vimeo.
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Lisa Vanderpump, one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, says she’s made practically every kind of video, except the X-rated kind.
“The porn video, I haven’t released that yet — they haven’t found it,” jokes Vanderpump, who made her film debut in 1973 as Glenda Jackson’s daughter in A Touch of Class. She’s also done Dancing With the Stars and Vanderpump Rules. Her latest video appearance is much more serious, however.
London-born Vanderpump appears (along with Elton John, Jamie Foxx and other celebrities) in a 6½-minute YouTube drama titled Any Given Tuesday, which supports the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s homeless youth project. (Watch the video below.)
A staunch straight ally, Vanderpump will be in Miami Saturday night for an appearance at the annual White Party HIV/AIDS fundraiser, this year at Soho Studios in Miami’s Wynwood district. White Party Week benefits Care Resource, South Florida’s largest HIV/AIDS service agency.
“A lot of people are untreated,” Vanderpump says. “Obviously, we don’t have a cure. At least through Care Resource they can get medication and help with day-to-day care.”
An understatement, according to Joseph DePiro, Care Resource’s public relations and marketing manager.
“The infection rates have not started to go down yet. In fact, we’re seeing record-breaking numbers here at Care Resource itself in the number of new clients,” DePiro says. “Care Resource is experiencing a period of rapid expansion to combat this rapid expansion in HIV infection rates.”
This year’s White Party is themed “In Full Bloom.”
“It’s very appropriate for Care Resource because this agency in the last 12 months has grown from an $8 million HIV/AIDS organization to a $17 million federally qualified health center providing HIV/AIDS services, along with new expanded services such as dental, pediatrics, mental health services and drug-abuse counseling,” DePiro says.
White Party Week raises about $500,000 for Care Resource and the agency spends 86 cents of every dollar raised on patient care, he says.
For more than a quarter-century, White Party was an early-evening soiree at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens popular with middle-age gay men. Now it’s an all-night club party for the demographic hardest hit in South Florida by new HIV infections: men under 26 who have sex with other men.
“HIV infection among MSMs is intense in virtually every Florida county and racial group,” DePiro says. “Issues related to stigma, homophobia, discrimination and denial continue to contribute to HIV/AIDS racial disparities fueling the epidemic in Miami.”
This year’s White Party will also feature DJ Offer Nissim and recording artist Kerli.
“It’s got a party atmosphere and is a fun weekend,” says Vanderpump, a Beverly Hills and West Hollywood restaurateur who on Saturday night will introduce LVP Sangria brand.
Vanderpump, who has long worked with LGBT people, says she respects the rights of some people to stay in the closet.
“I don’t like the idea of forcing people to come out. It’s a personal choice,” she says. “I have empathy and compassion when people have a struggle with it.”
She also supports anyone who wants to come out. Vanderpump, 53, is highly critical of parents who don’t accept their LGBT sons and daughters, which is why she made the homeless-youth video.
“They should be embraced. Support them, accept them. And being kind to one another,” she says. “I have two children. I can’t imagine if one of my children came to me and said ... Throwing them out on the street because they tell me they’re gay? The video, it was so poignant. Accept your children for who they are. That’s what we’re obliged to do as parents.”
IF YOU GO
This year’s White Party Week to benefit Care Resource runs Nov. 27 to Dec. 2.
About a dozen events will be held throughout Miami and Miami Beach, including the 29th annual White Party from 10 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday at Soho Studios, 2136 NW First Ave., Miami; Cirque Blanc for women 10 p.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday at Trade Nightclub, 1437 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; and Muscle Beach Party 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday at 12th Street Beach.
Ticket prices vary. Details at whiteparty.org/shop.