The shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando on June 12 affected many people in different ways. For Stacy Louis, owner of the gay club Stacy’s At Melrose, it hit close to home.
“I heard about the event as I was going to sleep that night,” Louis recalls. “The way they described the bar, it sounded exactly like my bar. It hit me really hard. I can’t get it out of my mind.”
It was the success of “Stars Choice,” a charity drag performance put on by Scottsdale’s BS West to benefit victims of the shooting, that inspired Louis to do something. He is putting together what is being billed as a “stream-a-thon" titled "United For Pulse." It is scheduled to take place this Saturday, July 23, from 2 p.m. to midnight. It will be streamed on LiveStream.com, with many clubs around the nation showing the event.
Proceeds from the event benefit Pulse Of Orlando, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds to assist the victims of the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub.
Louis is focusing on making this a community event with the feel of the old Jerry Lewis Telethon. Local bars and clubs are assisting with the entertainment, which include performances by local drag queens, singers, the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus, and Voices Of The Desert. Jim Saccoman and Darrin Robertson, collectively known as Sha-Pink, have been busy putting together a new song titled “We’ve Got Your Back Now,” with an accompanying video, to premiere at the show.
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Louis says there will also be distributors giving big checks and several local politicians, including Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, making appearances.
A local body painter will be at the event, decking out 49 volunteers in rainbow colors to represent each of the victims at the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Barbara Poma, the owner of the Pulse Nightclub, will be participating remotely. Flying in for the event is the first bartender Poma hired for Pulse and Neema Bahrami, the club’s entertainment manager. Bahrami was at Pulse when the shooting took place.
“I think it’s poignant to have those two people here to give a talk,” Louis says. “I can’t wait to hear it.”
The strong emotions Louis feels are apparent when describing this event and what it means to him. He feels no one should have to change their lives because of one incident. With the help of the fundraiser’s producers, Louis is creating Stacy’s Foundation to continue doing charity events like "United For Pulse" throughout the year. He wants the gay community to stay strong and not be scared despite the tragedy in Orlando.
The fundraising goal for United for Pulse is $100,000. If you would like to contribute, you can visit the GoFundMe page created for the event here. Checks can be made to “Pulse For Orlando.”