Friday, October 28 at Union Square Ballroom, 27 Union Sq W, New York. Tickets are available at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2584068 (tax deductible).
This year, several businesses in Beirut and New York City come together to support LebMASH, a Lebanese non-governmental organization whose mission is to advance the sexual health for all individuals in Lebanon with a focus on marginalized populations such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people. LebMASH focuses its efforts primarily on training health care professionals in Lebanon and raising public awareness on issues related to sexual health and LGBT health. Due to LebMASH’s advocacy, in collaboration with HELEM, the Lebanese Psychological Association (LPA) and the Lebanese Psychiatric Society (LPS) issued historical statements in 2013 dispelling the myth that homosexuality is a mental illness and warning mental health providers in Lebanon against the practice of conversion therapy.
LebMASH’s first major contact with the public came last year through an awareness and educational video called “shu el sabab” that addresses the issue of conversion therapy for homosexuality and challenges the misconception that homosexuality is an illness. This video came as a response to a survey done by the gender and sexuality resource center at the Arab Freedom and Equality (AFE) that showed that 72% of the Lebanese people believe that homosexuality is a mental illness. The video had more than 70 thousand views on Facebook and YouTube. LebMASH’s brand new website has more information about their activities and achievements.
On October 28, 2016, LebMASH will be hosting its 4th annual Halloween party in New York City to raise funds and spread the word about its work in Lebanon. This party started four years ago in a small private loft in SOHO with 40 attendees. Last year, the party attracted more than 150 people and it was sold out. This year, the organizers Dr. Omar Fattal, a New York based psychiatrist and president of LebMASH and Mr. Nizar Auf, who has been organizing this event yearly, chose the union square ballroom which is a much bigger venue.
The event is sponsored by the premier Lebanese wine maker Chateaux Ksara that offers 156 years of wine making heritage. Delicious Lebanese and Mediterranean hors d’oeuvres will be served, thanks to the generosity of Mr. Ziad Saber from PJ’s Grill. What’s new this year is that Astrid Suryanto will be the DJ, spinning Lebanese and Middle Eastern music with house music in addition to a couple of surprise performances that have not been announced to the public yet. Also, what is new this year is a silent auction curated by Dr. Sami Khalife, a New York based psychiatrist and a great supporter of LebMASH.
The auction includes items donated by several businesses based in Beirut and/or New York City. Items’ prices range from $160, for a handmade silk Title of Work tie, a line of “haute couture” ties by the NYC-based designer Jonathan Meizler, to a $1300 Walnut Backgammon by the highly acclaimed Beirut-based designer Nada Debs, who continues to play a distinct role on the international design scene.
Other interesting pieces include a silk scarf made in Italy and donated by Design and Flow, the new cutting edge design and innovation movement, an exquisitely embroidered “Lady Bug” cushion from Bokja Design’s Flora and Fauna collection, a unique pottery bowl by the Bkerzay, a conservation project in the Chouf mountain (Lebanon), a handmade Persian Rug donated by Iwan Maktabi, the third generation of the prominent Maktabi family who undoubtedly is premier purveyors of antique and decorative carpets in the Middle East, and a goat leather bag by Johnny Farah, immediately recognizable as his distinct signature style due to its simplicity, elegance and meticulous craftsmanship. Lalique, the ultimate symbol of French luxury donated 6 timelessly elegant champagne glasses from the James Suckling 100 POINTS Collection while Michael Aram donated an eye-catching and functional Lilly Pad serving tray from its 25th Anniversary Commemorative Collection.
Other donors include Carwan Gallery, the first international gallery of limited-edition furniture established in Beirut, the avant-gardist Beirut-based designer Marc Baroud who is broadening the definition of design, and the celebrated Lebanese architect and interior designer Chakib Richani. For those who are into fine dining, the auction has 2 gift certificates, one from ilili, the first Lebanese restaurant in the world to receive the 5 Star Diamond Award, and the other from Al Mayass, widely considered to be the best and the most authentic Lebanese Armenian restaurant in New York City.
And for those who are not into design or fine dining, the auction is featuring an invigorating session with NYC Sports Massage Therapist and Healer Talal Al Azm, as well as a gift certificate from the Queen of Curls Ouidad.
For more information about the auction please visit: https://www.charityauctionstoday.com/auctions/lebmash-1023
To learn more about the LebMASH Halloween event and to purchase tickets please visit: http://lebmash.org/category/events/