U of G alumna produces a sexy variety show to support the elderly

U of G alumna produces a sexy variety show to support the elderly

Photographer Vanessa Tignanelli raises funds for The Gambia, Africa

Photographers Without Borders (PWB) selected University of Guelph alumna Vanessa Tignanelli to help improve the lives of elderly people in The Gambia, Africa. Tignanelli recently hosted a benefit variety show at The eBar to raise funds for the project, which supports the Ageing with a Smile Initiative (ASI).

The cause: The ASI in The Gambia, Africa

Tignanelli was selected to volunteer with the ASI from a pool of approximately 6,000 applicants.

She will go to The Gambia to take photos of the elderly population to raise awareness about their living conditions.

Due to changes in the way of living in The Gambia, the elderly have less support, are disadvantaged, and receive inadequate care.

Tasha Falconer

Tignanelli believes the journey will be emotional, but that she will learn a lot. In an interview with The Ontarion, Tignanelli said that she is excited to come back with what she documents and share it with the community.

Tignanelli also noted that humans have more empathy for what they understand.

Being able to see the issue visually helps bring light to problems people may otherwise overlook. In this way, Tignanelli said she shares PWB’s belief that photography can be used as a tool to bring about social change.

The show: A benefit variety show at The eBar

Being a photographer for PWB involves fundraising for the costs of the experience. Tignanelli has raised over $3,200 of her $4,000 goal in just over a month. Most of the funding has come from private donors, but Tignanelli also raised funds by producing a variety show at The eBar on April 27.

Tignanelli reached out to the communities she has worked with to find performers for the show. The evening started off with slam poetry performances by Eitan Gallant and Patrick Kelly.


Next were several acoustic performances by Richard Garvey, Matthew Gordon, Anna Wiebe, and Tignanelli.

The acoustic performances were followed by a number of burlesque and drag performances.

TroyBoy Parks, ringleader of TroyBoy Entertainment, gave two performances. The first consisted of lip-synching and stripping to “Into You” by Ariana Grande.

Tasha Falconer

The second performance had Parks dressed in a monkey costume lip-synching and dancing to “The Bad Touch” by the Bloodhound Gang. Parks had people out of their seats and dancing along.

Lilith Lemons performed a burlesque fan dance while Sapphyre Poison performed an original remix called “Rocstar Me Out.”

Tasha Falconer

The night ended with bands Jessy Bell Smith, Anthony Damiao Band, and Mad Marion. Tignanelli thanked the audience for all the support she received from the community.

Photos by Tasha Falconer.