‘The Birdcage’ was the movie everyone rushed to; ‘Baby Alive’ was the toy for all kids; DVD’s were launched; Gas was $1.09; and Lenny Kravitz and the Spice Girls topped the charts. It was 1996. For Fonda Peters and Dana Sintell, of the World Famous ‘RubiGirls’, an idea was growing. ‘We need a fundraiser that brings people from all walks of life to a drag show, with a goal of raising $1000 for HIV/AIDS research.’ says Fonda Peters.
The show idea was an actual extension of ‘To Care is to Cure,’ a Dayton Drag Show that took the best of Dayton’s Queens, and did shows at all the bars in the area. ‘Those were remarkable shows. Drag Queens literally rode on buses from bar to bar and did these super fun shows! They were all serious about changing the HIV trajectory…enough people had died.’ says Peters (AKA Tim Farquhar).
For his cohort, Dana, the bus rides won’t ever be forgotten. “Honestly, I’m not sure how many of us are still alive from those days…Lord it was a long while ago! I remember one year, early on in 90’s, I was doing a number at 1470 West, and a very beautiful, young man brought a dollar and said, ‘I have AIDS. I’ve been so sad, feel like giving up. I needed this laugh more than you know.’ ‘I hugged him…held him…and there were tears…It changed me….forever! People needed a reason to celebrate the Gay Life….there was too much negativity surrounding our community’ says Dana Sintell (AKA Joshua Stucky).”
From those early days, the RubiGirls knew there was an opportunity to help…change the conversation. After lengthy talks and a few catfights, the Girls settled on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. ‘It felt right. Everyone’s home, people that have nowhere to go would have an outlet, and families could come and celebrate with us! I will be honest, the first year shocked us….we sold out and made well over our goal. It was that night we knew…THE SHOW MUST GO ON!’ says Peters.
For Peters and Sintell, the 22nd Anniversary is amazing, but they’ve been in dresses for 34 years. ‘No doubt, one of our favorite parts of any year is the BIG SHOW in November. Tim and I get to be on that stage one more year. One more standing ovation. Although we’ve talked about leaving, talked about passing the torch, I think we both feel we meant what we said when we committed to seeing an end to HIV. Can’t quit….especially when things have gotten so much better.’ says Stucky.
Today’s RubiGirls are definitely well-versed in ‘The Show Must Go On.’ Magestick (AKA Matthew Swisher) says,’This is THE show of the year. We rehearse a ton, drink afterward, and new ideas fly. I am beyond proud to be part of the RubiGirls and this special night. Every dollar is going to help someone, educate someone and make a better day for people with HIV. Truth is, crazy as they are, Tim and Josh, actually all of the more seasoned Girls, are iconic in this town. Not because they are beautiful, or dress to the 9’s or whatever….it’s because they stuck to their vision. They really want to do good things for people.’
The RubiGirls are on the verge of helping raise $2,000,000 for charities. ‘Um, we had no idea this would ever happen.’ Sintell adds. ‘The support of the Dayton community surpasses every city, even bigger ones, around the country. When I tell people we do banquets, parties, grand openings, bingo, church performances, nursing homes, trivia, kids’ birthdays….etc, etc, they are stunned! RubiGirls are something special. And we take that very seriously. We always want to be cutting edge, but remain respectful. It’ s a fine line…but people are more apt to donate when they laugh and feel good.’
Peters concludes, ‘There have been over 50 or so RubiPerformers over the years. It’s a legacy. We’ve been performing longer then some of these new girls have been alive. That says a lot. We just hope that this continues, as long as possible, with great laughs, bigger crowds and MORE DONATIONS! Long live the RubiGirls!’
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
is set for Saturday, 11/24, with doors opening at 7pm.
It is in a brand new downtown venue, The Brightside,
located at 905 East Third Street Suite B, Dayton, Ohio 45402.
Tickets are on sale by clicking on link, or at the door for $40, if still available!
And don’t forget to bring a few bucks for tipping!
Be sure and follow The RubiGirls on Facebook!