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COOS BAY — One man is bringing glam and glitter to the Bay Area to raise money for the At Risk Kids Project.

“RainbowPalooza is a fun-filled night for all ages with drag queens from around the state of Oregon to benefit the ARK Project,” read a press release about the upcoming event. “Come enjoy the spark and sparkle for a cause that serves homeless teens and their families in our community.”

The event is March 9 at The Dolphin Playhouse, located at 580 Newmark Ave., starting at 6:30 p.m.

Melinda Torres, ARK program manager and Coos Bay School District homeless liaison, said it was Alan Brown who breathed life into the idea.

“It started with the poverty simulation at The Mill Casino-Hotel a year and a half ago,” she told The World.

The New Community Coalition took the reins on the simulation and told participants there are different sectors to dive into and understand, including homeless and homeless youth.

According to Torres, Brown worked on the homeless portion of the simulation.

“He has an incredible background in campaigning, is a really cool person and accomplished in his life,” Torres described. “Somehow he got here in Coos County and, having always wanted to give back, got connected with people to make this happen.”

He connected with Torres, CBSD Special Program Director Lisa DeSalvio, and Alternative Youth Activities Director Scott Cooper and explained his idea for a drag show.

“He told us there is a community group of trans folks concerned about a large portion of unaccompanied adults who are trans youth,” DeSalvio said. “They wanted to help and support the ARK to help and support those kids.”

DeSalvio first met Brown when the ARK was on 2nd Street in Coos Bay still under the name “the Maslow Project.” She learned from him then that the local trans community wanted to develop a group to start doing charity work and build support for homeless youth, which has now led to the RainbowPalooza.

“He does this on his free time,” Torres said. “He’s done events like this in the past and thought this would be new and something people would be interested in seeing.”

As DeSalvio explained it, the show is to also educate the public to show that drag queens are real people and that this is what they do for fun.

After the show, there will be a Q&A portion followed by Torres giving a talk about the ARK Project.

“A lot of people have already asked me how to buy tickets,” Torres laughed, adding that the show will only seat 85 or 90 individuals.

“We’re excited about this opportunity coming to Coos County,” she said. “I love how the community wants to support us and come up with different ways to reach other community members.”

Tickets cost $15 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. To purchase tickets, call the Dolphin Theater at 541-808-2611 or email dolphinplayers@gmail.com.

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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