Summer is always boom time in Rehoboth Beach and Independence Day weekend is chocked with gay events. Organizers call it “love weekend.”
On Saturday, the second annual LottoHeart game show happens at Rehoboth Beach Convention Center with “hostess” Christopher Peterson. Immediately following, Peterson and his Eyecon review open their “Hooray for Hollywood” show at Rehoboth Beach Theatre of the Arts. Then Sunday night, the 4th, is the Love4All dance, also at the Convention Center and now in its 16th year. The game show/auction and the dance are benefits for Camp Rehoboth, the beach town’s LGBT community center. Peterson’s show runs through mid-September.
LottoHeart was a smash in its first run last year, organizers say, with nearly a thousand in attendance. The Convention Center is set up like a fashion runway with a catwalk and small donated pieces of art — many from well-known East Coast artists — are divvied out through the course of the event, which is designed as a madcap combination of roulette, “Hollywood Squares” and a Vegas revue. Cory Johnson and Chris Beagle present the artwork.
Those who purchase $100 “art tickets” are guaranteed one of the 200 postcard-size original art works. Numbers will be called out lotto-style. Door prizes and raffles will be held throughout the evening. Much of the donated art can be previewed at camprehoboth.com. Online bidding is also available.
“It’s such a fun event, you just can’t imagine,” says Faye Jacobs, a Camp Rehoboth board member and features editor of Letters to Camp Rehoboth, the Center’s publication. “Christopher has such a quick wit and he knows so many of the people there so when the names are called, you just can’t imagine the things he says. He’s a terrible gossip. Such a diva. And so funny.”
Between sets of items, Peterson will preview numbers from his drag show “Hooray for Hollywood” which opens immediately after LottoHeart. The Rehoboth legend, who does all his own singing, does impersonations of Marilyn Monroe, Joan Rivers, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Bette Midler and more. He and his troupe of dancers will recreate production numbers from Tinseltown’s golden era.
Peterson says he was performing as soon as he came out of the womb.
“I saw the lights and just started singing and dancing,” he says. “Actually it’s in my DNA, honey. I’ve been making a living at this for 30 years.”
The native Canadian splits his time between Rehoboth and Key West. He says his shows are popular because people love the pop culture they grew up with.
“It’s nostalgia,” he says. “We all want to relive our youth. And let’s face it, when you get past 40 you don’t really want to go to a noisy discotheque anymore. So you come here, you see a big, fabulous drag show, you have a few drinks and you enjoy the evening. I’m 48. I don’t want to go to the disco anymore.”
Peterson says he does the LottoHeart benefit because he believes in Camp Rehoboth’s mission.
And as for his quick wit, how does he think so fast on his feet? He says it comes from years of performing.
“I’m old,” he says during a break in rehearsals. “I’ve heard every line twice. I just store them away for when I need them. There’s a witty answer for everything.”
At Sunday’s dance, which typically draws about 1,200 revelers and is also at the Convention Center, tickets are available at two rates. Admission, which includes open bar, is $45 but host tickets for $100 include a T-shirt, a listing in thank-you ads and access to a private “Love Lounge.” New York DJ Joe Gauthreaux, who’s appeared at many high-profile gay events, will spin.
Also this weekend, lesbian author Stefani Deoul will sign copies of her novel “The Carousel” at Browseabout Books at 5 on Saturday and at Proud Bookstore at 5 on Sunday. The Rehoboth resident is producing the series “Haven,” which debuts July 9 on the Syfy Channel.
LottoHeart Game Show 2010
Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m.
A Camp Rehoboth benefit
Rehoboth Beach Convention Center
$25; VIP: $100
‘Hooray for Hollywood’
Opens Saturday and runs through Sept. 19
Cocktails at 8; show at 9
Rehoboth Beach Theatre of the Arts
Sunday, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
A Camp Rehoboth benefit dance
Rehoboth Beach Convention Center
$45; VIP: $100