Bipolar Babe Benefit defies normalcy

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The third annual Bipolar Babe Benefit held last Thursday at the Victoria Event Centre was an art and fashion show, comedy night and concert all rolled into one. The organization is part of the Bipolar Disorder Society of BC, a new non-profit that was created last year — the aim is to create discourse around the topic of bipolar disorder and dispel stigma and discrimination. Money raised goes towards mental health education in classrooms.

The event was emceed by a hilarious Jacquelin McLaughlin, challenging the word “normal” throughtout the night, and kicked off with an introduction by the organization’s executive director Andrea Paquette, who also has a bipolar illness.

After an opening song sung by Diane Pancel, a costumed Josh Zed from Stand Up For Mental Health appeared on stage to tell a few jokes posing as an out-of-shape Batman. He later revealed it was the only clean outfit left in his wardrobe.

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During the intermission, guests helped themselves to candy and drinks at the alcohol-less bar while perusing artwork and the silent auction.

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The fashion show was next, featuring an eclectic mix of mental-health-inspired designs and hairstyles.

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Afterwards, comedian Melanie Rose had the audience in hysterics, performing her act that poked fun at everything from herself to trendy yogawear provider lululemon.

“You guys like lululemon? I’m starting a store for giant chicks. I’m calling it lulumelon,” she quipped.

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The night ended with a duet, by Pancel and singer Stephanie Greaves, and the signature Stigma Stomp — Paquette assembled volunteers on stage, and asked the audience to stand and stomp their feet on the ground to put an end to bipolar stigma.

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