Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force hosts 'Very Varla' benefit

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Broadway's "Book of Mormon" has nothing on Varla Jean Merman's Book of Merman. The queen of edgy comedy and kitsch, Jeffery Roberson, aka Varla Jean Merman, performed his one-woman show Wednesday for more than 350 sometimes-blushing-but-always-laughing guests of the 27th annual Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force's "Very Varla."

The benefit at the Pittsburgh Opera began with cocktails and socializing. Event co-chairs Sam Badger, Keri Harmicar and David Seman made the rounds with honorary chairs Steve Hough and Nachum Golan as well as PATF executive director Dr. Charles Christen and board chair Bart Rauluk. It was creative chair Bill Chisnell who transformed the space into a place to party with two tented bed-like platforms flanking the stage. Tony and Linda Bucci were the recipients of this year's Kerry Stoner Award. Among those applauding were the evening's emcee Ted Pappas, Judge Robert and Violet Gallo, Tim McVay and David Bush, Larry Leahy, Norma Sobel, Catherine Loevner, Paul Georg, Joe King, Nancy Simpronio, Harris and Janet Ferris, Christopher Hahn, Ron Booth, Aaron Arnold, Bill Reier and Andrea Youngo. Once the show ended, Gary Racan & the studio-e Band had everyone on the dance floor.

The event grossed more than $125,000 to support people living with HIV/AIDS.

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First Published March 26, 2013 4:00 AM


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