The Drag(on) Queens at Mary’s

Patrons wait outside of Mary's in East Atlanta Village.    Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth

It’s already halfway through Pride Month, and there’s still time to celebrate by attending a drag show at your local hosting bar. On a Wednesday, we found ourselves sifting through the small crowd at Mary’s in East Atlanta Village.

The night’s show presented an all-black drag production called Neonblk. Founder, host and performer of Neonblk, Dotte Com, introduced an interesting take on the art of drag as she intertwined the conflicts of black ancestry and its ties to the LGBTQ community, with humanity’s inherent desire for freedom of expression.

Dotte Com opens the show.   Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth

Dotte Com brought electricity to the night in a way that even extroverts would envy. A Madonna in her own right, the host exudes boldness and flare that can overwhelm anyone. Her ability to explain the show, educating the crowd on etiquette and history while maintaining a genuine, warm engagement with the crowd was admirable.

Mary’s fits about a bus’ load of patrons, which created an element of exclusivity that brought fans closer together. Everyone acted like they knew each other for years, so the close proximity that the venue forced on the attendees didn’t seem foreign to anybody.

The sense of community felt ever stronger as the performers laid out everything they had, with full-body swings and floor-hitting drops. They thrilled us, to say the least. The second act threw us back and popped locked and dropped it without missing a beat.

The show demonstrated a freedom that many people struggle to find in their lives. People danced like no one was watching, and the queens performed several pieces. There wasn’t an act that didn’t get the people moving–physically, or emotionally.

Taylor Alxndr dances to Kelis’s “Bossy.”   Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth

Each drag queen had something to say throughout her performance. One performer in particular, Taylor Alxndr, came in hot as she strutted across the stage to “Bossy” by Kelis, which couldn’t be more fitting for the way she held herself on stage.

The music and themes ranged widely, setting the tone from unapologetically badass to old-timey class. There was a somber moment, too, a most notable piece done by Tyrannosaurus (Tyra) Rex was a nod for those who’ve passed in the Orlando nightclub shooting. It was the defining moment in the second half of the show where the reminder that “we’re all here for each other” showed its beautiful face.

Tyrannosaurus (Tyra) Rex was an unexpected–but thoroughly beloved–guest at Neonblk.  Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth

Despite a small venue and a few hiccups in production [the show started 30 minutes late, and the DJ started the wrong song, annoying one queen], the crowd radiated the support and positivity of Pride Month. It’s a show worth going to next month, for sure.

Kanye West recently said that he respects nothing more than someone who is the “maximum version of their character.” Neonblk represents this notion and ideal in every way.

Miss He wipes her face with a bill.
Koochie Koochie Koo changes the tone and performs Ursula's "Poor Unfortunate Souls," from the Little Mermaid.  Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth
Miss He was an immediate crowd favorite, and she appreciates the love.
Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth

In suitable fashion, the night ended around 12:20 a.m., blasting Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” (when enjoying the show, do be kind and tip the ladies).

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