Organization Hosts Inaugural Fundraising GAY-la Featuring American Idol Finalists, Circus Performers and Broadway Stars
Friday Harbor, WA (October 13, 2023) – Changing Tides Collective, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and empowering LGBTQA+ youth, has launched on San Juan Island. The organization will host its inaugural Speak Easy GAY-la fundraising event featuring a prohibition-inspired evening full of entertainment and allyship. The event will feature local food, era-themed beverages, world-class performances, a silent and live auction, and more.
“We are proud to announce the launch of Changing Tides Collective and our inaugural fundraising event on San Juan Island,” said Amy Salamida, founding member of Changing Tides Collective. “We started the organization as a group of friends who saw the need to provide better access to resources and care for our LGBTQA+ youth on-island. This organization is dedicated to partnering with regional and national organizations that we can work in tandem with on outreach, educational programming, and events.”
The Speak Easy GAY-la will take place on Saturday, November 18 at Brickworks in Friday Harbor. The event will begin with a silent auction at 6 p.m. where guests can enjoy delicious food selections from Salmonberry Catering as well as elevated prohibition-era cocktail and mocktails from Blind Tiger Bartending. Silent auction items will include local gift-baskets and faire, tickets for upcoming events and cozy weekend hotel stays on-island.
“We encourage our area community to join us for an unforgettable evening of filled with entertainment and fun at our inaugural Speak Easy GAY-la fundraising event,” said Jamieson Lindenburg, organizing member of Changing Tides Collective. “The lineup of performances features incredible talent with everything from American Idol finalists to circus entertainers from Cirque du Soleil. We are honored to present this evening of revelry to benefit such a great and worthy cause here in our island community.”
The event will be hosted by Michelle Dowdy, who starred in Broadway’s Hairspray and Les Miserables. Following the silent auction, international circus performer Saffi Watson will take the stage. A contortionist and contemporary dancer, Watson is a recent graduate of the prestigious Ecole Nationale De Cirque in Montreal. He has performed in multiple productions including “The 7 Fingers’ Circus” international tour.
The performances will continue with performances from “American Idol” finalists and Broadway stars, Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young. Diana DeGarmo is an entertainer and multi-hyphenate creator with credits from Broadway’s “Hairspray” and “HAIR,” as well as Off-Broadway’s “The Toxic Avenger,” “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” and national and international touring productions of “BKLN,” “9 to 5,” “Joseph,” “Into the Woods,” “AIDA,” and “Clue” among several others. She also appeared on Season 3 of “American Idol” where she came in second place, as well as episodes of “The Young & The Restless.”
As a season 5 finalist on “American Idol,” Ace Young is a Grammy-nominated songwriter and music producer. He has also received multiple Broadcast Music Inc (BMI) Pop Awards. He has performed in Broadway’s “HAIR” and “Grease,” and has starred in the touring productions of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “AIDA,” and “Rock of the Ages.”
The Speak Easy event will conclude with a live auction hosted by professional auctioneer Emma Jay Byfield. Auction items will include a three-day guided kayak tour, a winter-wonderland getaway to see The 5th Ave Theater’s production of A White Christmas, private boat charters, private backyard party hosted by San Juan Shindigs, cooking class with Walden SJI, and more.
Money raised from the Speak Easy GAY-la will benefit multiple non-profit organizations including Elevated Access, a volunteer pilot network that provides transportation for people seeking gender-affirming care; Camp Ten Trees, a Washington-based youth-empowered summer camp community for LGBTQ, nontraditional families, and their allies; Lavender Rights Project, dedicated to elevating the power, autonomy, and leadership of the Black intersex and gender diverse community through intersectional legal and social services; and the San Juan Island Pride Foundation, dedicated to fostering community and safe spaces within the San Juan Islands.
Additionally, Changing Tides Collective has partnered with Friday Harbor House, a premier island hotel featuring spanning views of Friday Harbor and proud ally and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. People traveling to San Juan Island for the Speak Easy GAY-la can receive 20 percent off their hotel stay by calling the front desk at (866) 722-7356 or through the Speak Easy website.
For more information on Changing Tides Collective and to purchase tickets to the Speak Easy GAY-la, please visit https://speakeasygala.org/. Follow the organization on Instagram at @changing_tides_sji.