After an evening of classic cinema with the extended polycule, game store perusing, family dinner out, and even still, drinking and board gaming with our friends, 3/4 of our family ended the evening with dancing and gay revelry at a local venue.
So let me just break this down for a second if I may: The Hi-Fi is new to the LGBT+ scene, operating primarily as a music venue for bands and such. Since the safe spaces for the community have been dwindling, what with the closing of a few LGBT+ bars around the city in recent months, The Hi-Fi saw fit to step up and open its doors. Once a month they have a dance party/drag show, no cover, and this appealed to our family for the most obvious of reasons.
Fun fact about us: we love drag! Many a Family Night has been spent slipping ones to queens working for their money while singing to our heart’s content. Some families catch baseball games, some take tandem bike rides-that very well may happen one day, who knows-but we sing pop hits while bathed in technicolor light and drinking Amaretto Sours.
But back to the story. So yes, at 11:30 on a Saturday night we found ourselves shaking the jelly among the queer, hipster 20-somethings with a mild buzz, pooling the last of our energy. Funny thing about getting older, you never notice how old you are really until faced with the boundless energy of young people as they drink and dance the night away like the end is nigh. After about 45 minutes of body movin’, the sweet tunes of the DJs died and gave way to the wonderfully feminine voice of the hostess, poured into a vinyl bodysuit and six-inch stiletto boots. A sight to behold most definitely. Like moths to flame, the crowd gravitated to the stage.
Once the show was in full swing, the thing that drew my attention the most was how the performer/audience interaction shifted specifically because of the venue.
Rather than being seated at tables, holding out dollar bills, we watched the queens have run of the stage and flaunt it all as though we were concert patrons. Moments of intimacy are heightened among the chaos and it makes the contact between the queens/audience more treasured I think. Another interesting aspect of the evening is that it felt as though we were witnessing the evolution of drag: everything moves in cycles and the art of drag is no different. I would not call us aficionados by any means, but we’ve been frequenting shows for years now, individually and as a family. Also it doesn’t take a genius to recognize unfamiliar names, particularly because each performer has persona that is unique and larger than life, which makes them memorable. That’s part of the reason why I personally am drawn to drag shows, and I imagine it is similar for many others. The world is ever changing and so is our awareness as a culture, which means that the formative pulses that permeate the zeitgeist will always show through any creative outlet: this is no different. Adaptation is inevitable and to have an up close seat as a viewer is a privilege. To experience this in a burgeoning safe space? Even more so. To be with my family when it happens is triple fold.
Though the performances were great, they were short lived, and honestly I think that was okay as the proverbial clock struck Midnight and collectively we began to turn into pumpkins. However, I think we’re all excited for the next opportunity to flex our dance muscles and bask in the glory of our next drag show.