Möda Provŏcateūr: Serious Fun for a Serious Cause
February 20, 2014
by James J. Jefferies
While the AIDS epidemic has somewhat shrunk from our national media spotlight since the 1990s, it remains a very real and ongoing battle, particularly for those diagnosed with the disease who face a grueling physical and emotional journey. For these individuals, the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) remains a beacon of hope.
SAAF’s mission is to make sure that people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS get the kind of love and support they need, from daily preparation of meals (for those unable to do so), deliveries of monthly food boxes from the Community Food Bank, a variety of financial assistance for housing and utilities, access to emergency prescriptions and compassionate dentistry, counseling, transportation, to complimentary physical therapies such as yoga, massage, and acupuncture.
Equally important, beyond immediate material and emotional support for those suffering, is the organization’s mission to enhance the public’s understanding of HIV/AIDS, in the form of education and prevention programs. This is a disease without a specific face, one that has claimed the lives of millions of people around the globe regardless of their ethnicity or sexual orientation.
Breaking down the walls created by common misconceptions and doing everything possible to shatter the stigma surrounding this disease is critical. It is firmly within this wall-breaking tradition that SAAF leaps headlong into March with their premier benefit extravaganza, a riot of clothes, color, dance, and high-tech shenanigans called Möda Provŏcateūr.
The 11th Annual Möda Provŏcateūr event takes place on Sunday, March 2nd, at the Tucson Convention Center Grand Ballroom. It is equal parts performance venue for a variety of dance troupes from all over Tucson (such as Artifact Dance Company, BreakOut Studios, and Big Tony and the House Boys) and ferocious fashion design contest/showcase, all delivered in an incredibly energetic style.
Participating salons this year include Ahead of Style, Avalon for Hair, Skin, and Nails, Toni & Guy, Salon Nouveau, Ulta-Park Mall, and Village Salon. According to SAAF Associate Director of Development, Monique Vallery, “At the end of the day, all of these people are artists, and this show represents an opportunity for them to go completely ballistic with their craft. We give everyone full artistic liberty with their segments!” Past sightings have included a dress stitched together entirely from comic books, and an outfit consisting entirely of strategically-placed body paint. Yes.
The result of this unfettered creative license is a wildly engaging event in which every single presentation feels completely different from the next, veering from an incredibly sexy, upscale NYC vibe, to a viciously colorful display reminiscent of Brazil’s famed Carnivalé. “There’s a lot of anticipation (during the show) about what the next salon’s gonna bring. The energy just builds, and there really is something for everyone,” said Vallery.
There are also moving remembrances of people lost to the disease, but the overall vibe is intensely joyful and celebratory, as everyone involved, from the makeup artists, designers, models (ranging from ages 3-74!), to the organizers of the show put out an incredible amount of work for this event, letting it all hang out in the name of a very important cause.
This year’s show also features a completely new wrinkle, the Arizona debut of Savage Botanicals – a collection of fantasy dresses created by invited florists from the American Institute of Floral Designers and constructed entirely out of botanicals and other tools of the florist trade.
There are a variety of general admission and table seating options available, but they are limited, and again, it’s all shaping up to be a tremendously visceral showcase that regularly leaves first-time attendees socks in a smoking heap, and people who go yearly wondering how they’ll ever top the previous event. They always do.
Möda Provŏcateūr takes place March 2nd at the Tucson Convention Center Grand Ballroom at 260 S. Church Ave. Lobby doors open at 4:30pm. For more information and ticket purchases, please check out the event website here, or call SAAF at (520) 628-SAAF (7223).