The Yiddish-American word klatch, which can rhyme with either batch or botch, means an informal gathering, usually one that facilitates conversation. Pizza Klatch is an Olympia-based organization that empowers LGBTQ+ youth in Thurston County by providing safe, supportive spaces — and yes, free pizza — in 15 area schools. It’s the result of volunteer labor, grant contributions and private donations including ticket receipts from a yearly “Gayla” event at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts.
This winter’s fifth-annual Gayla has been dubbed “A Slice of the Good Life.” It’ll be hosted by Aleksa Manila, a “drug counselor by day, drag diva by night” born in the Philippines and now residing in Seattle. She’s won the Pride Award from Mayor Durkan of Seattle for social justice advocacy and performed several times with the popular, Portland-based combo Pink Martini. In her “not-in-face” life, she serves as program coordinator for ProjectNEON and program supervisor of addiction services at Seattle Counseling Service.
The Gayla’s silent auction offers chances at a week in a Cancun timeshare, five days in a Maui condo, a two-day vacation in British Columbia, a four-hour wine cruise, an original oil painting by René Sam Friberg, a Frederique Constant Swiss quartz watch and much more. It’s preceded at 5 p.m. by a VIP reception with gourmet appetizers, beer, desserts, a signature drink, wine and optimal show seating. Venue costs were sponsored by City of Tumwater. Additional assistance was provided by Dawkin’s Charitable Trust, South Puget Sound Community College, OLY ARTS and dozens of other individuals and organizations.
Entertainment for the event includes folk quartet Righteous Mothers, all of which are moms who’ve entertained from coffeehouses to Bumbershoot. One Righteous Mother, Lynn Grotsky, was a founder of Pizza Klatch and now serves as Gayla event chair. Trans and queer writer El Sanchez, advocate and facilitator for Pizza Klatch, is a standup comic who opened for W. Kamau Bell, Wyatt Cenac and Michael Che and toured with Hari Kondabolu. Independent folk singer Cris Williamson presents songs from a career spanning 32 albums over four decades. No less a talent than Bonnie Raitt called Williamson “a whole lot of women’s heroes — including mine.”
A Slice of the Good Life
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2
The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia