If there hadn’t been a pandemic, right about now you’d be reading a glamorous retrospect of DIFFA Dallas, which was scheduled to hold its 30th collection — a runway show, dinner party and fundraiser aimed at combating HIV. But with the lockdown, those plans fell by the wayside … for now.

But the need for helping others remains the mission of DIFFA, and so the nonprofit has gone virtual with its benefit and livestream show Impact Live, on May 5 at 7 p.m.

The lockdown came “at a time when the AIDS services organizations need us more than ever,” says Shane Allen, a trustee on DIFFA Dallas’ board and producer of the livestream. “ASOs are being stretched thin and serving a marginalized community — it costs $50 in PPE per test — and that’s everyone who goes in or out of their facilities.”

While Allen stresses that Impact Live, which the group is promoting as a “happy hour for a cause,” is not a replacement for House of DIFFA (the gala will return at a date to be determined), it’s a stop-gap measure to help DIFFA fulfill its charitable mission.

 On Tuesday — scheduled to coincide with North Texas Giving Tuesday — the website will go live with performances, fashion and an online silent auction … and you don’t even have to get dressed up to attend for once (though you are welcome to do so). 

The silent auction, in fact, will open this Friday and continues through next Wednesday in order to give people time to find it and bid on the slate of items, including a trip to a tequila factory in Mexico “and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk the runway when we return with House of DIFFA Extravaganza,” Allen says.

Among the fashions featured and available for bidding will be a selection of jackets from past collections — archival designs never intended to be auctioned off making their first appearances ever online.  

The lineup of programs will include messages from various local ASOs, as well as “some amazing entertainment — Raquel Blake and Caroline Kraddick, plus some special appearances by people like Todrick Hall,” Allen says. The event will be hosted by Reed Robertson (DIFFA’s marketing chair) and drag queen Serif (aka Tristan Tanner, a trustee on the board).

You can also support DIFFA year round during its time of need by purchasing a candle from DirtyBartender.com, which just launched an exclusive candle benefiting DIFFA.

DIFFA has been given a grant of $75,000 from the Louis L. Borick Foundation, and hopes to match it during the livestream. So you can grab a cocktail after work, log on for an hour and help those who are really in need at this time.

— Arnold Wayne Jones