Ca-BOO-ret fundraiser returns to support Lighthouse LGBTQ

A Halloween-themed Ca-BOO-ret show will fundraise for the Flossmoor LGBTQ resource organization Lighthouse this Friday.
 
The second annual fundraiser will be at 7 p.m. in The Well at the Distillery, 400 E Margaret St., Thornton. A suggested donation of $15 can be given at the door, with all proceeds to benefit Lighthouse.
 
The event will feature local performers singing Halloween songs, a costume contest and Halloween trivia. Guests can win prizes, sing karaoke to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and participate in a dance party after the show.
 
Brandon Willard, event organizer and Homewood resident, said he and friend Anne Calderon, a Homewood-Flossmoor High School teacher, had the idea to organize a cabaret three years ago because they wanted an outlet to perform their art.
 
After last year's Ca-BOO-ret for Lighthouse, the Homewood Arts Council approached them to do more shows, resulting in an ‘80s-themed show last summer, a second annual Halloween show and plans for a Valentine’s Day show in February.
 
Willard said the services Lighthouse provides for LGBTQ youth are critical for the community, and he thought the cabaret seemed like the perfect way to help.
 
“Being a gay man myself, especially one that grew up in a not-so-progressive town, I know what it’s like to feel like you need just representation, a support group, someone there you can talk to and find other people like you,” he said.
 
Willard grew up in rural Maryland and has lived in Homewood with his husband and son for two-and-a-half years, he said.
 
Although Homewood and Flossmoor are fairly accepting, it is still important to give young people a way to connect to resources they may need, he said.
 
“It’s easy to forget that there are bad things out there; there is discrimination and that kind of stuff,” Willard said. “Inside this community it feels like none of that really happens, or if it does it’s on such a minimal level compared to other places.”
 
Aside from supporting Lighthouse and enjoying local talent, attendees of the Ca-BOO-ret can also check out the Distillery, which has a unique history of its own.
 
According to its website, The Well at the Distillery is the oldest standing brewery in Illinois, dating back to its construction in 1857, and it was re-established and controlled by Al Capone during the prohibition era.
 
“It’s got kind of an old warehouse feel,” Willard said. “It’s super creepy, which is perfect for a Halloween show.”
 
Lighthouse co-founder Stephanie Wright said about 80 people came to the fundraiser last year, and she expects an even bigger turnout this year.
 
“This kind of support from the community is what allows us to do the important work that we are out there doing,” she said. “We are trying to offer educatonal opportunities to the LGBTQ community and allies and support for LGBTQ youth and young adults.”
 
Wright said the Ca-BOO-ret is a nice way to celebrate Halloween while supporting a cause and enjoying quality performances.
 
“The really sweet thing about all of this is that this is just basically a gift to Lighthouse that they put this together, and it’s really something special,” she said.

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