Courtesy of True T Entertainment.

August Wilson Center for African American Culture
January 16
8 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Experience ball culture, party for a purpose and dance the night away at the 3rd annual Galaxy Ball. Teaming up to host the Ball—which is being held in conjunction with MLK weekend and kicks off a new year of programming at the recently reopened August Wilson Center—are True T Entertainment and The Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force.

Debuting a new “Voodoo” theme, the Galaxy Ball showcases Pittsburgh’s underground ballroom scene alongside national performers, while rallying support for and raising awareness about HIV/STI prevention, AIDS advocacy and LGBTQ issues.

In between performances and competitions, Ball-goers will be treated to commentary by emcees Kevin JZ Prodigy and Greg Evisu Lanvin, music by DJ Delish Ebony and performances by Anthony Williams (Loving Black) and Jacob Linger (Mind Reader).

Courtesy of True T Entertainment
Courtesy of True T Entertainment

The Ball will also feature face painting with Xaz Walker, a photo booth, interviews, raffles, an open bar, door prizes and a community awards ceremony. All proceeds will benefit the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force.

The night’s competitions will celebrate what is also known as the house system and ballroom community—the underground LGBT subculture that features participants walking and dancing as they vie for trophies and prizes. Showing off their unique talents during friendly, intense competitions, featured ball performers from around the U.S.—often part of houses or families—will converge on the August Wilson Center to compete for cash prizes and trophies in different categories and genres, including vogue, runway, fashion and more.

Although largely underground, ballroom culture has existed for 50 years, and has a large presence within Pittsburgh’s African American LGBTQ community. After emerging in Harlem during the 1950s and 1960s, ballroom culture went on to gain prominence in major U.S. cities, as well as in Canada, Japan and the UK.

The Galaxy Ball kicks off with a mixer from 8 to 10 p.m. Doors to the main event open at 9:30 p.m., and the official Ball begins at 11 p.m. Purchase tickets.

Looking for more events? Read our 10 Pittsburgh events not to miss in January feature.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.