Seattle’s Red Dress Party Colors the Town

by Shaun Knittel
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Feb 24, 2012

The Seattle Red Dress Party - a local community tradition - set off Saturday night, February 18 at Freemont Studios and this year's program was the best one yet. As if DJ sets by DJ Almond Brown and DJ Brian Gorr and performances by the party's host, Gaysha Starr, weren't enough - this year's Red Dress Party featured the Seattle debut performance of the one and only Deborah Cox. There's no doubt about it, the 2012 Seattle Red Dress party was the event you didn't want to miss!

The Seattle Red Dress Partydraws crowds as diverse as Seattle itself. "Each year, on this one special evening, people of all backgrounds come together for a celebration full of dancing and music, spirits and laughter," say Red Dress officials. "This light-hearted fun provides the background for the real purpose of Red Dress, the opportunity for supporters from all walks of life to unify behind the common goal of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As an annual symbol of hope and solidarity, with every last attendee donning the signature-colored dress, the Seattle Red Dress Party is a true testament to the power of our community coming together to affect positive change."

Seeing Red

Last year’s party saw over 1,000 men, and other guests, in red dresses dancing the night away.

The color red is commonly accepted as the international symbol of AIDS awareness, the Seattle Red Dress Party builds on that idea that all guests, despite age, gender or sexual orientation, attend the event wearing a red dress.

"The visual of all attendees donning red dresses whether male, female, gay, straight, old or young, serves as a powerful symbol of solidarity of people living with HIV/AIDS and also reminds us that we are all here to make a difference and support a common cause," officials commented.

The four organizations’ officials have chosen as beneficiaries: Gay City Health Project, Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Multifaith Works, and Rise N’ Shine. "They represent the leading AIDS service organizations in the Pacific Northwest," said officials. "Together, they provide a holistic continuum of care and prevention services to our community. They work to stop the spread of HIV and care for people living with HIV/AIDS."

While the exact origins of The Red Dress Party are unknown, Seattle’s event is fashioned after the party in Portland. "The Portland event started out as a small band of committed supporters and has grown to a grand scale that today welcomes more than 2,000 attendees each year," event organizers revealed. "Now in its fourth year in Seattle, Red Dress continues to grow by leaps and bounds."

Cox dons red for the Cause

Deborah Cox was set to make her Seattle debut performance at the February 18 Seattle Red Dress Party at Freemont Studios (155 N. 35th Street). Although she’s been to the city before, she’s never actually performed for her fans. All that changed for the event.

"Not sure why its taken this long," Deborah Cox said prior to her thrilling 30-minute set in Seattle, "but I am excited that it all worked out now and I’m looking forward to this show."

Cox has a strong fan base in Seattle - especially among the city’s gay population. As a vocalist she is at the top of her game and her experience in the industry is impressive, proving she is more than just the voice. Cox is professionalism personified.

"The gay community are some of my most loyal fans. They are the ones who have been with me since the first album," she recalls. "A lot of them know the dance remixes derived from the ballad version on the album. And I love that they support me with the old and new stuff."

"As long as it has my voice on it, they support it!" said Cox. "Who could ask for anything more?"

Red Hot DJs

"To me, this event is a no-brainer," DJ Almond Brown, who spun at the party, said. "It’s for a great cause and we have the hottest line-up for any local event that I’ve seen in years!"

"I kick the night off, at 8 p.m. for V.I.P., with a bit of soulful and deep house, until around 10:30 p.m." Almond Brown, who’s been DJing for over 20 years, continued. "I’m going to be delivering nothing but house music truth, to the kids! I’m also excited to drop my latest remix, ’"Movin’ Up" featuring, Inaya Day and Chyna Ro!"

DJ Brian Gorr, the headlinging DJ at Seattle Red Dress Party, began spinning in Seattle in 1998 and ever since has packed the houses of numerous Seattle nightclubs including Safari, Neighbours, Ego, 916, Arena, Timberline, Neumo’s, Sugar, Element, Level 5 and The Baltic Room. Gorr’s DJ style includes many genres of dance music, but you’ll often hear him playing vocal house, hi-nrg, circuit, and some tribal and trance.

"This is my fourth year on the board of the Seattle Red Dress Party and I’m very honored to be asked back for a second year to headline with the amazing Deborah Cox!" DJ Brian Gorr said. " I’m very excited to be involved with such a great charity event that supports four great charities all related to helping HIV/AIDS prevention and support... and secretly, to work with such an amazing diva, Deborah Cox!"

For more information about Seattle Red Dress Party visit

Shaun Knittel is an openly gay journalist and public affairs specialist living in Seattle. His work as a photographer, columnist, and reporter has appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the Pacific Northwest. In addition to writing for EDGE, Knittel is the current Associate Editor for Seattle Gay News.


  • , 2012-02-28 07:44:52


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