Tonight at 7 Pacific time, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and LGBTQ+ ally Belinda Carlisle will join drag superstar Trixie Mattel for a benefit Christmas party at the West Hollywood gay bar the Abbey to raise money for her animal care organization, Animal People Alliance.
The Christmas party is set to have performances by Carlisle and Mattel along with a silent auction.
After the COVID-19 pandemic did a number on nonprofit organizations' fundraising around the world, Carlisle has been working to set up fundraisers for the group. Carlisle cofounded Animal People Alliance in 2014 in Kolkata, India. It's a combination of her love of India and her animal rights activism, she tells The Advocate.
"Our mission is to create employment for people who are at risk of falling below the poverty line or women who've been trafficked or other vulnerable people to become animal care buddies -- or animal carers -- and to treat the street animals in India," she says.
In doing so, the organization not only helps the animals on the street, but it helps local people who may not have access to steady employment.
So far it has treated more than 16,000 animals. The group is also expanding. It's now in northern Thailand, where Carlisle said it works with many stateless people.
"Stateless people don't have access to identification, or they're not able to travel, or they're not able to work," Carlisle says. "[They] are not able to really have a place in society."
Animal People Alliance helps them have some security. Carlisle explained that Animal People Alliance is run by people on the ground in the communities where the organization operates. Carlisle tella The Advocate that she's not just sticking her nose in things.
"They're doing it themselves," she says. "I'm really proud of the work that we've done ... or they've done."
Thursday's Christmas party at the Abbey is just one event in Carlisle's busy schedule. That includes wrapping up production on new music.
"I'm finishing up an album that I started two years ago," she says. The album was put on ice during the COVID-19 pandemic. "And then I'm also doing a project with Diane Warren, who's a really amazing songwriter."
Ending the year finishing an album seems fitting, as Carlisle joined her Go-Go's bandmates to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Carlisle says she was surprised to be nominated after several years of being eligible. She credits the 2020 Showtime documentary The Go-Go's as paving the way for their induction.
People didn't know they were self-taught musicians who came from the garage. It's something Carlisle says doesn't happen often anymore.
"The Go-Go's documentary really made a case for The Go-Go's to be inducted into [the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame] because a lot of people didn't know our story," Carlisle explains.
The night of the induction was emotional and thrilling, Carlisle says.
"The awards itself was one of the most fantastic nights of my life," she says. "It was really nice to have the legacy of the band sort of being celebrated that way, so I'm very proud. Very, very, very proud."
"I'm still pinching myself."
Carlisle also takes pride in her gay son, James Duke Mason, an actor, producer, and activist. "I couldn't be more proud of him, and I think politics has always been his calling," she told The Advocate in 2013. "I remember when he was only 16 years old and how upset he'd be over the apathy of people in the gay community. I think he has a big future. He's way smarter than me and way beyond his years. As a mother, I can't imagine it being any better because I really dodged a bullet. I could've had a teenage girl just like I was -- and I was a nightmare -- but I had a nice, beautiful gay son."