The best drag performers from Atlanta, Decatur, Marietta and even Athens took the Atlanta Pride stage for Sunday evening’s Starlight Cabaret, closing out the annual festival in a fitting finale of wigs, glitter and glamour.
The show opened with the Armorettes, the camp drag troupe that recently celebrated raising $2 million for the fight against HIV, and closed with all of the performers and Pride volunteers on stage for “Seasons of Love.”
In between were dozens of drag queens and kings who strutted, posed, twirled, shimmied and shook to tunes ranging from hip-hop to country, with plenty of dance divas in the mix.
When she was a child, Nikita Gale dreamed of becoming a paleontologist. But as she got older, she realized the field could trap her into a small corner of study, and she wanted much more room to explore.
So Gale packed her bags and moved from Georgia to Connecticut to attend Yale University (the “gay Ivy” with the motto “one in four, maybe more”) where she earned a BA in Anthropology (Archaeological Studies).
Now, Gale identifies as a conceptual artist who uses photography, text and other imagery to express herself and the world around her. She is one of myriad LGBT artists who add to the diversity and creativity of Atlanta’s artistic scene.
The 1969 Stonewall Riots were rooted in naughtiness: gay men and women partying at the Stonewall Inn during a time when it was forbidden for homosexuals to gather in public, and their rowdy defiance when New York police attempted to break up their party by hauling people off to jail.
So it’s fitting that one of the marquee events of Atlanta’s Stonewall Month – the East Point Possums drag show – also originated with a little mischief.
“When I first went to East Point [city officials] for the permits, I billed it as a Shakespearean variety show,” said Rick Westbrook, aka Sister Rapture Divine Cox, who helps organize the annual drag extravaganza.
Featuring a number of openly gay producers and execs, including David Marshall Grant, the new musical TV series “Smash” aims to be just that when it premieres next week. The series debuts at 10 p.m. Feb. 6 on NBC.
Set in the world of Broadway theater, “Smash” stars Debra Messing as Julia, half of a songwriting team who is in now in the process of adopting a child. When her colleague Tom (Christian Borle) talks to her about staging a new musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, the idea of writing a hit show leads Julia back to the work grind she thought she had put behind her.
As auditions for the Marilyn musical unfold, the top two candidates for the lead role become newcomer Karen Cartwright (Katherine McPhee), fresh from the Midwest, and Ivy Bell (Megan Hilty), who looks the part and seems a shoo-in for the role. As the season progresses, the producers try to decide which of the two gets the role.
The fall theater season includes many productions with significant LGBT interest making their local bows.
A few of the hot button productions will appear at 7 Stages, which produced the gay-themed “Mr. Universe” earlier this spring. First up is Dale Daigle’s “All Blues,” set in the Jim Crow South, which runs Sept. 22 – Oct. 9.
It’s based on the true story of Ray Sprigle, a white journalist who disguises himself as a black man for a month to report on the black experience first-hand. Out actor Patrick McColery is in the cast —ironically, he portrays the role of a racist in the drama. The show is making its world premiere here.