In a community of people helping people, one name frequently comes up.
Tony’s Corner Pocket has a reputation for being there for our community and beyond.
Sunday, April 29 saw such an example as the club hosted “Tony’s Heroes”. It was a night to acknowledge those persons who make a difference with their unselfish giving to a variety of individuals and organizations. Hosted by Ivanna Cupcake with An’Marie Gill and Regina Dane, the evening featured fabulous drag and hot beefcake. But the main focus was to honor the “Heroes” award recipients. All of the performers’ tips were collected to benefit Tony’s Place which assists homeless LGBTQ youth.
After a rousing and fitting rendition of “Rise Up” by Ivanna, the first award was given to MONTROSE STAR’s own publisher, Laura Villagran for her constant willingness to assist the community with social and fundraising events with complimentary ads, press releases and featured articles. She has done so for the seven years she has helmed the publication and has no intention of stopping. Her response to being presented with the honor was, “I feel like I won an Academy Award!”
The next recipient was presented, after an exciting number by Southern Comfort Dion, to the Empire Royal Sovereign Imperial Court of the Single Star (ERSICSS) whose aid to others is carried out via chapters across the United States and internationally from Canada to Mexico. “From the heart of the Court to the Community” is the motto of ERSICSS. They are currently in their 34th year of fundraising and have raised over $1 million dollars. Monique accepted the organization’s award with the words, “We are forever community. We wouldn’t be here without you.”
Honoree Reza Nouri was selected as a hero for his work assisting Harvey Hurricane victims and was credited with kindness in offsetting funeral expenses of a Tony’s regular performer lost in a tragic accident. His message was simple: “You can change someone’s life just by smiling at them.” He does that and so much more.
Tanya Hyde also received a “Tony’s Hero” award for her assistance to LGBTQ youth through “Friday Night Movie Night” held weekly at Kindred (formerly Grace Church). “It started as a mix and mingle,” Tanya said, “but quickly became an important event to the community.”
Timothy Johnson and Tony Foreman host a party every Christmas to collect tots as part of Tony’s Corner Pocket’s annual drive to give presents to children at Thomas Street Clinic. Their efforts have grown to the extent that last December they needed two trucks to transport their guest’s generous donation. For that they were also honored.
The event raised $600 for Tony’s Place and will assist LGBTQ homeless youth with food, clothing and personal hygiene articles.
Between presentations some standout performances included numbers by Regina Dane, Viola DeGradable-Debris, Amanda Anne Houston, Shy Anne, Martinique Bouvier and a non-drag rendition of “You Ain’t Never Had A Friend Like Me” by Richard Long in glittered hat and shoes. Crystal Starr brought the applause and a long line of tippers with “Chandelier” and Galveston’s own Miss Gay Houston USofA Classic, Mercedes Monterro. Also traveling from Galveston was crowd-pleaser Misty Valdez whose medley of “Free Again” and “I Will Survive” was a highlight of the night.
A great time was had by all and the importance of lending a helping hand to those who need it most was not lost on performers, audience or event organizers. You can look to Tony’s Corner Pocket to be there in times of need and for nightly fun in an atmosphere of acceptance and giving.
Tony’s Corner Pocket is located at 817 West Dallas, Houston, Texas. For information, email TheOneRealDeal@sbcglobal.net or log on to TonysCornerPocketBar.com.