Slots, Chips, and Pride

Snoqualmie Casino plays host to what may be the first gay event at a local gaming establishment.

While casinos around the Puget Sound area offer plenty of campy entertainment—performances by Air Supply, for example, or the Australian male striptease act The Thunder From Down Under—you don't typically see these places openly catering to a gay audience.In fact, some casino marketing folks responded with a prolonged "Uhhhh," and others with an abrupt "no," when Seattle Weekly asked whether or not their facility had ever held a gay event. A few casinos, among the dozen we called, never even called back."No, we have not [held any gay-themed events], but it's not because we wouldn't," was the reply of Doreen Vitek, sales manager at the Emerald Queen outside of Tacoma. "We're basically just picking up the phone. To anybody that gambles, come on in."But the region's newest casino is taking a more activist approach, and may well be the first in the state to do so.Snoqualmie Casino, 30 minutes east of Seattle, recently announced that on May 15 it will be the venue for Hush Pride 2010, a "gay and lesbian circuit party" being described as "the largest pre-Pride event of the season.""They called us," reports Michelle Waye, promoter of the event and owner of Girl4GIRL Productions, which plans lesbian events around the Pacific Northwest. "They said they were interested in hosting this event. This is the first casino to ever reach out to our community, and I'm sure it helps them too, since they have a younger clientele."No one at the casino was willing to be interviewed on the subject. But Michael Barozzi, chief executive officer of Snoqualmie Entertainment Authority, sent SW a statement: "The Seattle metropolitan area is a very diverse community. We see the Hush Pride event as an opportunity to present Snoqualmie Casino to a new segment of that community."Dress for Hush Pride calls for "Venetian masks, diamonds, and pearls." ("Standards at our highest!" says the event Web site.) The party will feature go-go dancers suspended in cages, burlesque guys and girls doing performances on the catwalk, and kicky pop/R&B singer Vanessa Thompson.Calling it a circuit party may be a bit of an overstatement, though: Hush Pride ends at 2 a.m.

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