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|Starlight Cabaret ends Pride on ‘uplifting’ note|
|by Ryan Lee|
|September 30, 2011 00:00|
As a semi-retired member of the drag troupe the Armorettes, Tony Kearney doesn’t don his heels and wigs as frequently as he used to. However, there’s a magic to the Starlight Cabaret that closes Atlanta Pride that makes him rush to his closet to unleash his drag alter ego, Wild Cherry Sucret.
“It’s just, when you look out and there’s a sea of people, and they’re every race, and color, and age,” Kearney said of the Starlight Cabaret, which takes place at 7:05 p.m. on the Coca-Cola stage Oct. 9. “There’s a lot of different kids that come to it who never get to see Atlanta’s drag shows.
“Atlanta used to be like the hub of drag in the country, and it’s kind of different now without the big bars and the big stages,” Kearney added. “It’s an opportunity for a lot of people to shine, and a lot of people come out who normally wouldn’t see them perform.”
About 15 of Atlanta’s biggest drag queens have signed on to perform at this year’s Starlight Cabaret, which will also include a number by Jujubee, one of the standout queens from season two of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
“It’s great because it allows us to sprinkle in a little national headline talent into the cabaret,” said James Sheffield, executive director of the Atlanta Pride Committee. “Our local talent is so amazing that it’s hard to imagine how you could even build on that, but it’s nice to have this opportunity to have Jujubee, as well.”
Atlanta Pride fortuitously stumbled upon Jujubee, who was recruited by the Georgia Aquarium to perform at the official Pride kick-off party Oct. 7.
“The folks at the Georgia Aquarium actually took care of getting her here, and they’re the ones that made the connection,” Sheffield said. “And we figured that if we were going to have her here for the aquarium party, we would love to have her as part of the Starlight Cabaret.”
As the closing showcase for Pride, the Starlight Cabaret has generated a collaborative spirit among Atlanta’s drag queens, with several teaming up each year to produce elaborate ensemble pieces. This year’s show will include a special number featuring Ashley Kruiz that traces the gay rights movement over the past 40 years.
“It’s just a really fun show and the last few years I think it’s just gotten better with people working together and doing a lot of different group numbers and things that you normally wouldn’t see if you went to a bar,” Kearney said. “People just kind of bring it a little more for the cabaret, and it’s always a great, uplifting night.”
Top photo: Tony Kearney as Wild Cherry Sucret (by Laura Douglas-Brown)
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