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December 19, 2014

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The masses at the Black & White Party amass about $130,000 for AFAN

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Mona Shield Payne

Derrick Barry as Britney Spears performs during the 27th Annual Aid for AIDS of Nevada Black & White Party at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas Saturday night, August 24, 2013.

27th Annual AFAN Black & White Party

Fruitloop Drag Queens perform during the 27th Annual Aid for AIDS of Nevada Black & White Party at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas Saturday night, August 24, 2013. Launch slideshow »

It was the rare event where you could play ring-toss with a line of colorized adult toys. And you could buy a fistful of raffle tickets, all for a great cause.

Saturday night's 27th AFAN Black & White Party at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel drew a walking-around crowd of about 3,500 and pulled in at least $130,000 to be used for AFAN’s services for those suffering from AIDS and HIV in Southern Nevada.

Great work by co-hosts Chris Saldana, Lauren Michaels and the ever-present Chippendales at the Rio song-and-dance tandem of Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis.

As always, those attending were disciplined in keeping with the night’s theme: Every G-string and pasty I noticed was either black or white, or a combination thereof. The evening also marked my first visit to Freezone, across from the Double Down Saloon in the famed “loop” of alternative clubs on Paradise Road, just south of Hard Rock. A certainty: The nightspot was host of the official post-AFAN after-parties, and know this: If you ever wear a zebra-striped shirt to Freezone, you be getting’ some attention.

Other fundraising efforts and events: A pool party was set during the day at HRH, a 20 percent donation was offered by the hotel for bookings from the AFAN website, and a brunch Sunday morning at 35 Steaks + Martinis also helped raise money for AFAN.

The performances at the Joint were particularly strong at this year's Black & White Party. Veronic DiCaire of Bally’s was terrific, summoning her best Celine, Madonna and Lady Gaga "interpretations" and dancing like a madwoman. I expect she won over some fans in her extended set, which also spotlighted her entire dance team from Bally's. DiCaire is a pretty special talent, but many of the attendees had not seen her perform before Saturday. Now they know.

The night’s lineup also included the cast of “Fantasy”; Recycled Percussion; “Divas Las Vegas” Britney Spears impressionist Derrick Barry; the cast of “The D Word” at LVH; Vegas vocalist Maren Wade; the Skating Aratas from “V — The Ultimate Variety Show” at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood; a number of cast members from “Vegas! The Show” (featuring Eric Jordan Young and Savannah Smith); the cast of "Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding"; “multimedia immersive” performance-art troupe Zodiac Dragon; and Jaymes & James were joined by one of our favorites, Lily Arce, on their singles “Light Up the Skies” and “Tonight.”

Longtime AFAN supporters Penn & Teller said hello (well, Penn did), too. It was a great night in black and white.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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