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This Met Gala alternative helps remove debt for all Americans

The Debt Gala encourages guests to transform sleepwear into a glamorous gown.

Anna Rahmanan
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Anna Rahmanan
Debt Gala 2023
Photograph: Courtesy of the Debt GalaDebt Gala 2023
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Average New Yorkers who can't get into the Met Gala or, perhaps, refuse to condone all that the event of the season stands for should pay attention to an eclectic yet honorable alternative: the Debt Gala.

Following a sold-out run in 2023, the inclusive fest is returning to Brooklyn’s Bell House on May 5, the day before the Met Gala takes over the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tickets to the event are currently on sale right here.

Debt Gala 2023
Photograph: Courtesy of the Debt GalaDebt Gala 2023

Just like its celebrity-filled counterpart, the Debt Gala features an annual theme. This year, it will be “Sleeping Baddies: Slumber Party,” where guests are encouraged “to transform sleep-related materials and garments into edgy and exciting fashion statements,” according to a press release.

Proceeds from the happening will be split among two organizations: the Debt Collective, a debtors’ union committed to canceling debts, and Dollar For, a non-profit that seeks to alleviate medical bills by facilitating access to charity care.

Debt Gala 2023
Photograph: Courtesy of the Debt GalaDebt Gala 2023

Considering that, in 2023, the event raised $15,000, a figure that, according to the organizers, helped 1,082 families deal with their medical debt, this year’s program is set to make a difference. 

Entertainers Zack and Drew will be hosting the night, which will feature a ton of comedy acts, musical performances and appearances from people within the local drag community. The lineup already includes Sam Morrison of Late Night with Seth Meyers, Sahib Singh of Just for Laughs and Tina Friml, as seen on Comedy Central.

"The second annual Debt Gala is all about unleashing the individuality and ingenuity of New Yorkers for a common cause,” said Debt Gala co-founder Molly Gaebe in an official statement. “We’re thrilled to see so many performers and designers come together to showcase their talents, while bringing attention to and raising funds for the important work of two organizations fighting for a debt-free future for everyday people. We can’t wait for guests to turn nightgowns into ballgowns and put their pajamas on parade–all in the name of debt relief."

Although the Met Gala clearly represents a portion of the city’s character, we can’t help but point to the Debt Gala as celebrating another walk of life in New York. Dare we say, there’s room for all?

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