In Photos: A Night of 1000 Hugs

Benefit for Club Q staff and performers on Jan. 13 draws hundreds of attendees
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Lady Fabiella, a Las Vegas-based drag queen, was first to perform and co-hosted A Night of 1000 Hugs at Luxe Daiquiri Lounge on Jan. 13. (Photo by Bryan Oller)

Hearts were light and stilettos were high for A Night of 1000 Hugs on Jan. 13, a two-part charity event to raise money for Club Q staff and performers, many of whom have been struggling financially and emotionally since the November attack on the LGBTQ club, where a gunman killed five people.

Carson Kressley, the Emmy-award winning reality star who is best known for his role on the original Queer Eye and as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, arrived Downtown and mingled with dozens of fans at Skin Perfect Aesthetics & Wellness.

“It was one of those things that really, you struggle with trying to process,” Kressley said of the Club Q attack. “Because no matter where you live, when an attack like this happens on our community — any community, and really, gun violence in general — you just think, ‘My gosh, how does this keep happening.’”

He was later joined by locally- and nationally-known drag queens, who also spoke with Sixty35 about the widespread impact of the attack.

“Somewhere like this, the community is very small; the community’s very tight,” said DeJa Skye, who competed on RuPaul’s Drag Race last year. “But it wasn’t just the community — [the attack] affected a nation. So as soon as I got the opportunity, I was like, ‘I will be here.’”

By the time of the event’s Meet & Greet with the queer celebrities that evening, more than 200 tickets had been sold, organizer Scott Mosher said. Mosher is the founder and CEO of Purple Mountain Recovery, an LGBTQ-focused mental health and substance abuse support nonprofit based in the Springs, and program director for Colorado Psych Clinic on North Nevada Avenue.

Later in the evening, hundreds of people funneled into Luxe Daiquiri Lounge for drag performances, in what felt like a return to normalcy for the Springs’ queer scene. Mosher says the total raised from the event — from tickets, liquor sales and tips — will be announced on Jan. 20. 

Photos by Bryan Oller

Carson Kressley, of Queer Eye fame, talks with fans at Skin Perfect Aesthetics & Wellness. “Our sacred community spaces [are] being violated,” Kressley said, when asked about the Club Q attack.

Hysteria Brooks, a Springs-based drag queen who was a producer at Club Q, arrives at Skin Perfect. “The community here is very resilient,” she said. “It's been such a heartbreaking thing to be part of, but also a beautiful thing to witness as this community comes together, as businesses show their support.”

The Parasol Patrol, a Colorado-based nonprofit that volunteers at LGBTQ events and protests, had a strong presence at Night of 1000 Hugs. The organization aims to physically and emotionally shield people (mostly children and youth) from anti-LGBTQ and hateful rhetoric.

“I'm having a hard time finding work, mostly because I don't feel safe,” Brooks said. “I’m on way more meds than I care to ever be on in my life and I'm seeing a therapist. … I feel like I'm on track to be able to be in the space I was before again, but right now, it's just difficult.”

Lady Fabiella, a Las Vegas-based drag queen, was first to perform and co-hosted A Night of 1000 Hugs at Luxe Daiquiri Lounge on Jan. 13. (Photo by Bryan Oller)

Mario Wanna sings a live number for the Luxe crowd.

Nic Paczolt takes a selfie with Kressley.

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