February 4, 2010
What: "Shear Madness" Charity Event and Auction
Where: Housing Works Bookstore Café, 130 Crosby St.
When: 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Price: Tickets available for $75, $120 and $240. All tickets include cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a Housing Works membership. Purchase tickets.
Benefits: Housing Works' Keith D. Cylar Fund, supporting Haiti AIDS activists
In an effort to raise money for the efforts of AIDS activists in Haiti, who are rebuilding that country's devastated network of AIDS services, Housing Works President and CEO Charles King will auction off his trademark ponytail at a charity auction event called "Shear Madness."
King's friends, coworkers, and colleagues in the AIDS community will gather for the event at the Housing Works Bookstore Café, where the highest bidder will have the honor of cutting off the ponytail. Purchase tickets, and bid to cut off King's hair, as well as bid on his new hairstyle.
After the high bidder cuts King's ponytail, King's hair will be styled at the Revolver salon next door. "Shear Madness" guests will enjoy hors d'oeuvres provided by The Works Catering, Housing Works' catering company, until King returns to show off his new look. King will be blogging about the experience of sacrificing his ponytail starting February 18.
The current high bidder is Rick Warren, pastor at the Saddleback Church. King, an ordained Baptist minister, has engaged in friendly debate with Warren since publicly confronting him about the failure of churches to reach out to men who have sex with men in combating HIV/AIDS.
"For Charles to part with his personal signature is a serious sacrifice by a serious man for a serious cause. When I heard he planned to do this I immediately kicked off the bidding at $1,000. The cause is worth a hundred times more than that. I pray that I'll lose this bid by a wide margin, because Kay [Warren] and I will send our $1,000 of support regardless," Warren said, adding, "What will you do?" Read more of Warren's praise for King and Housing Works.
All proceeds from "Shear Madness" will go to Housing Works' Keith D. Cylar Activist Fund, which supports the work of HIV-positive activists worldwide. This year, the fund will support the efforts of activists in Haiti as they rebuild vital AIDS service organizations in the wake of the devastating earthquake.
For more than two years, Housing Works has collaborated with grassroots AIDS organizations in Haiti to provide healthcare and supportive services. After the January 12 earthquake, Housing Works spearheaded an effort by New York City organizations to open two new HIV clinics and reopen one family health center in Haiti. Read more about Housing Works' efforts in Haiti.
King started growing his hair while at Yale Law School in 1986 to ensure that he wouldn't be hired by a white-shoe law firm and keep himself firmly on the path to fighting for social justice. The ponytail has come to represent King's commitment to 60s-style civil disobedience in the fight to end the AIDS epidemic, even as Housing Works has grown into the largest grassroots AIDS organization in the U.S. While King engages in traditional suit-and-tie advocacy -- he recently delivered the first keynote address to the White House on the relationship between AIDS and homelessness -- he has been arrested hundreds of times at AIDS-related civil disobedience actions.