Naked for NOVAM

D.C. Cowboys share chiseled bods for charity

by Yusef Najafi
Published on December 13, 2007, 12:00am | Comments

In 2007, with proceeds from the group's sold-out calendar, the D.C. Cowboys donated $11,000 to Whitman-Walker Clinic. Now, the local dance troupe is getting ready to help another health organization -- the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry, an organization that works to educate the public about HIV/AIDS and serve those living with HIV/AIDS in Virginia.

''We usually perform for NOVAM's annual fundraising event in April, called 'Imagine,''' says Chad Townsend, communications director of the D.C. Cowboys. ''Based on our relationship with NOVAM, we chose them as our beneficiary. They've always been very supportive of us, and we just wanted to return the favor.''

The D.C. Cowboys will donate half the proceeds made from sales of the group's first DVD, D.C. Cowboys Exposed: On Stage & At Play to NOVAM. The funding will be used by NOVAM for its Orion Program, which provides ''sustained peer-led and peer-facilitated HIV and STD prevention education and outreach to GLBT and questioning youth.''

Exposed features live performances, backstage photos, interviews and more, broken into two parts: ''On Stage'' and ''At Play.''

''On Stage'' features a full-length stage show recorded in the spring of 2007 at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium.

''We've had people who come up to us at performances and ask if we have performance DVDs, so this was an opportunity to provide that for them,'' Townsend says, adding that since last year's calendar shoot the group has ''upped'' the skin factor.

''We're targeting gay men, obviously, and typically our fans tend to be a little older and that's who we're targeting,'' he says.

Calling ''At Play'' borderline soft-core porn isn't entirely inaccurate. The mild footage, filmed during a photo shoot for a new bed and breakfast in Dupont Circle, features couples and singles in the nude. Fans can watch a handful of cowboys strutting their stuff, taking baths and rolling around in the sheets.

Kevin Platte, founding member and artistic director of the D.C. Cowboys, calls the DVD his ''brainchild.''

''It was an opportunity to bring together some really cool footage, the best performance video we've ever had and this sexy nude photo shoot at this new bed and breakfast.

''It's a timeless piece,'' he adds. ''It's not like a calendar that will expire in 12 months.''

Don't take that to mean that a 2009 calendar isn't in the works already. Platte says the sky's the limit -- a new calendar is currently being planned and a reality television show is also a possibility of things to come in the future for the Cowboys.

''We've got some really interesting elements from a lot of different shows that you see on TV, all mixed into one, and so I've got to pitch it to a television company and see who bites.''

D.C. Cowboys Exposed: On Stage & At Play is available online at www.dccowboys.org for $20. To learn more about NOVAM, visit www.novam.org.