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August 15, 2018

MERRY HOLIDAYS! APLA 22nd Toy Box Party Kicks Off the Season


APLA officially kicked off the holiday season with their 22nd Annual Toy Box Party last weekend at West Hollywood’s Palihouse Hotel.

The event collects tons of toys every year to give to less fortunate boys & girls in Los Angeles who are living with, or are affected by HIV/AIDS, which I’m guessing leans more towards the latter. I don’t think there are too many small children living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles today.

I swear I go places, yet I’ve never been to this event in the past 21 years.Toy Box was not on my radar. Truth is I’m not much of a holiday person, but that’s mainly because absolutely LOATHE meaningless small talk, which is basically all you do at events like this. However, I am all about giving toys to the kids in need, so when a friend invited me to do exactly that, I was on it.

I purchased the biggest doll I could find at CVS across the street. Her name is Donna. I hope she makes a small boy very happy this holiday season. Then again, one look into Donna’s blank, lifeless eyes makes me also hope she doesn’t murder anyone in their sleep. Or steal their soul. Or their body. Or whatever it is that evil dolls do these days.

Toy Box was founded by Curt Sharp, Alan Friel and the late Dana Miller 22 years ago. It is known as one the biggest toy drives in the Los Angeles LGBT community. It is governed by a large group of “elves.” Those elves includes some big names in the LGBT community. I’m talkin’ about Sir Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, Dustin Lance Black and his husband, Tom Daley, and Caitlyn Jenner, to name a few. Sponsors include Palihouse Hotel, HBO, US Bank and Tito’s vodka. Ryan Black, Miller’s former husband is the organizer.

An unwrapped toy got you a free cocktail courtesy of Tito’s Handmade Vodka. You also walked away with a free photo courtesy of Project Photobooth.

The evening was full of see-and-be-seen moments. It was gay. Very gay. Mostly older gay, if I’m gonna be honest. The theme was Game of Thrones ish. There was a big and beefy half-naked muscle guy in a gladiator skirt that had queens salivating. He had a little person sidekick who I thought was an elf (it’s a holiday party, duh), but then I saw the very talented makeup artist Glen Allen transformed as Khaleesi, take her place on the Iron Throne. That’s when I realized the elf was actually Tyrion Lannister (DUH). They even had flying dragons.

The event was a nice holiday kickoff. I ran into some familiar faces—some who I haven’t seen in many, many years, which is how it goes down when a bitch gets sober. People showed up with a toy. They got a drink. Photos were taken. And there was lots and lots of small talk.

APLA has given thousands of toys to less fortunate boys & girls in Los Angeles living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. They also take monetary donations. To donate to the event, visit apla.e-activist.com




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About Paulo Murillo,

Paulo has been writing for the gay media for over 16 years. He made his debut as a columnist for FAB! Newspaper. He has written for LA Health News, IN Los Angeles, Frontiers and The Fight Magazine. He has been featured in The Bay Area Reporter, XY Magazine, Bay Windows, Windy Times, and Press Pass Q, He has been quoted in the pages of Edge Magazine, Gay & Lesbian Times, Seattle Gay News, Fuges, and in a shitload of online news outlets and blogs, thanks in large part to Rex Wocker’s Quote on Quote – Wockner Wire.