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V-Day readings take a more serious tone

Tim Parsons
Lake Tahoe Action
Provided to the TribuneCast members prepare for "A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer - Writings to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls," which will be presented at MontBleu Casino Resort and Spa in Spanish Friday and in English April 23.
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V-Day is nearly upon us, and it’s bilingual.

“A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer – Writings to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls” will be presented at MontBleu Casino Resort and Spa in Spanish on Friday and in English April 23.

It is the eighth year for the South Shore event, the first six being “The Vagina Monologues.” The content of the readings is a little more somber, but still include some light-hearted moments. Ninety percent of ticket and silent auction proceeds benefit the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center, Tahoe Youth and Family Services and El Dorado Court Appointed Special Advocates and with 10 percent going, for the second straight year, to prevention of sexual abuse efforts in the Congo.

“It is a great opportunity to convey a message that we won’t tolerate that kind of violence in our community and to change attitudes that excuse and perpetuate sexual violence,” said Liliana Sanchez, outreach advocate at the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center.

Sanchez is the organizer for the Spanish presentation, which has seven speakers, including two men. The English version has 11 speakers, including one man.

“This is about stopping violence against women and children but guys have to be involved in that process, too,” said Natalie Yanish, who is co-organizing the English-speaking event with Lisa Utzig Schafer.

In his first year in office, President Obama declared April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, during which he said, “We recommit ourselves not only to lifting the veil of secrecy and shame surrounding sexual violence, but also to raising awareness, expanding support for victims and strengthening our response.”

Sixteen-year-old Alicia Estrada will read “A Teenager’s Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery” and Lea Manzano will read the Spanish version “Guia de una Adolescente para Sobrevivir la Esclavitud Sexual.”

In an effort to increase fundraising, the South Shore event is being presented at Stateline for the first time.

“Last year we had a really good turnout and this year because we are at Opal we have already sold quite a few tickets,” Sanchez said.

Funding for the Women’s Center will go toward the local sexual assault response team.

Last year more than 4,200 V-Day events were held across the globe. More than $70 million has been raised since 1998.

“It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but back then you didn’t hear people going around saying the word ‘vagina’,” Yanish said. “Nowadays it’s a normal thing because of V-Day. ‘The Vagina Monologues’ are really funny, and really dark in parts, and this new set of monologues is similar but a have more serious tone. It’s great to have a new play to put on. We have new material to work with, and we are only repeating two monologues that we did last year. Every year will have a new combination.”

Yanish began organizing V-Day events in 2002 when she attended Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colo. That year three sold-out performances raised $15,000.

“I was surprised by how well received it was by the community,” she said. “Everyone wanted to know why these girls were running around campus and the town talking about vaginas. No one took us seriously, until we raised enough money to save the women’s center there that was about to close.”

A dress rehearsal will be presented for a $8 donation on Wednesday at the Divided Sky in Meyers.

“The community has been very generous with silent auction items,” Yanish said.

Sponsors include the Divided Sky and Lake DJ, who will engineer the event’s audio.

A fundraising event also will be from 4-9 p.m. April 22 at Chevy’s. To have a flyer delivered or sent via e-mail, contact Sanchez at the Women’s Center, (530) 544-2118.

If you go

What: “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant And A Prayer – Writings to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls”

When: 7 p.m. today (Spanish) and April 23 (English); doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Opal, inside MontBleu Casino Resort and Spa

Tickets: $15 at http://www.ticketweb.com of at the Tahoe Youth and Family Services office at South Lake Tahoe, or $20 at the door

For: All ages

Where else: Dress rehearsal at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 21 at the Divided Sky in Meyers, $8


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