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Buddies fundraiser brings in more than $50,000

Arts, crafts and bare bums up for grabs at annual auction

Kristyn Wong-Tam helps raise money for charity by raising a paddle to Sasha Van Bon Bon's bottom. Credit: Katie Toth
Buddies in Bad Times’ annual Art Attack fundraiser took the visual art world to a previously unseen level of raunch on Nov 10.
 
It also raised more money than ever before.
 
About 300 people gathered at 12 Alexandra St to slap each other with auction paddles and battle over one-of-a-kind art pieces.
 
Mark Aikman, director of marketing and communications at Buddies, says this year’s event “outstripped any previous auction” and raised more than $50,000.
 
“We always raise a big chunk of change at these events, and every penny counts.”
 
Members of burlesque troupe Boylesque TO, sporting dashing mini-tuxedos, displayed the artworks.
 
And the burlesque boys weren’t the only ones taking off clothes. When a Steam Whistle Brewery tailgate party went up for auction, the brewery boys stripped down to matching green undies while also trying to outbid each other.
 
And, of course, there were the special guests —including host Gavin Crawford, with his trademark sharp witticisms; auctioneer Charlene Nero, wearing an audacious vest; and Keith Cole, with his usual disdain for clothes.
 
Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam was also a special guest at the event. “I’m always thrilled whenever I can come out and help the community,” she said.
 
Wong-Tam sits on the board of the Alexandra St Theatre Project, the company that raises funds for, and manages the building that houses, Buddies. Buddies, she notes, “is the largest LGBT theatre space in the world, and that’s worth bragging about.”
 
Wong-Tam said she appreciated the way the fun environment allows people who are new to visual art to get excited about it. “It’s really nice that Buddies has organized a fundraiser based around art and accessibility,” she said.
 
One of Wong-Tam’s more stimulating tasks of the night: demonstrating to the audience how to use an auction paddle to deliver sharp blows to Sasha Van Bon Bon’s rear end.
 
Van Bon Bon both received and gave $20 spankings. She says spankings alone raised between $700 and $760 for Buddies. “It was nice,” she says. “I actually didn’t think I could handle the auction paddle, but that’s all I wanted all night.”
 
And how did it feel for Wong-Tam to spank the legendary sex columnist?
 
“I always knew I could handle spanking, and yesterday we just got started,” she jokes. But Wong-Tam has one recommendation for next year: “I think we forgot to establish a safe word at the beginning of our exercise,” she remembers. “It’s always good to keep the lines of communication open.”
 
Wise words for people playing with paddles — as well as those interested in municipal politics.