House Parties

With the foundation world still largely closed to lesbian and gay organizations, state and city governmental offices experiencing drastic budget cuts, and an ongoing financial crisis within the CUNY system, now more than ever CLAGS relies for financial support on our individual contributors to continue not only our programming- conferences and colloquia – but also our day to day operations. Aside from CLAGS memberships and individual solicitations, one of the main ways in which CLAGS mobilizes financial support is through house parties. Jim Woods, a professor of communications at Staten Community College (CUNY) and author of The Corporate Closet, hosted a party in his apartment in the East Village on Wednesday, February 15, 1995. The crowd was a mix of some fifteen or so academics and professionals. Framji Minwalla, independent scholar and CLAGS board member, gave a pitch for CLAGS that focused on our mission, our constituencies, and our past and future events. The party raised $600 for general operating expenses. Jeff Roth, a dermatologist in private practice and member of the CLAGS Development Committee, hosted a party in his apartment on the Upper West Side in March 1995 to benefit Queer Theater, the CLAGS conference with performances, which took place April 27-29. The crowd was a mix of doctors and other professionals- some 75 people attended. Carol Kaplan, playwright and member of the Queer Theater organizing committee, spoke with enthusiasm about Queer Theater and the unfortunate failure of the event to win any major foundation backing. The response to Kaplan’s pitch was gratifying: CLAGS raised $2,600 – a great boost to the Queer Theater event, and the largest sum ever raised for CLAGS at a house party. Lastly, while not a house party per se, a gala cocktail party at the new Paul Morris Gallery in Chelsea, also to benefit Queer Theater, took place on Thursday, April 6. The host committee for the party included: Tom Healy and Fred Hochberg, Holly Hughes, Tony Kushner, Paul Morris and Sam Grubman, David Nish and Eddie Tawil, Jim Pepper, Mark Sexton and Kirk Wallace, and Jeff Soref. The party served to spread the word about the theater event and created networking opportunities for CLAGS’s future fundraising. House parties are an essential facet of CLAGS development work. We urge anyone interested in supporting CLAGS by opening their homes and inviting their friends to learn about our mission and our activities to contact Stephanie Grant, the CLAGS development consultant, at 212.642.2923.