Stars of the Century
(Mondays $10 Jungle - 2115 Faulkner Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30324/ doors at 11)
For Atlanta queers, drag shows are an institution. We have it all in this city: art-school dropout drag, dancing divas, gospel queens, Latin primadonnas, and sparkly left-of-center showcases. However, no show has ever been so full of myth, mystique, and talent as Jungle’s Stars of the Century showcase. This is understandable considering the pedigree of the show’s main cast: Taejah Thomas, Stasha Sanchez, Raquell Lord, Nicole Luv Dupree, and showrunner Niesha Dupree; the ladies are accompanied by an impressive line-up of cis-male performers.
Though, perhaps the show’s mythical aura is due to the obscurity of Jungle’s successful Monday night show: having only heard gushing reviews from those game enough to treat Monday like another Friday, we pondered the potency of the Stars draw. The entire cast is a mix of “Rising Stars” and the main cast; while the show structure is undoubtedly hierarchical, each and every single performer bears a pageant title of some sort. One title—“Miss North American Princess”—found some resonance with us. If anything beyond our collective queerness bonds us as a staff, it’s our zeal to recognize just how fucking regal we all are. Of course, regality was also the prevailing theme at Stars—these performers did not come to play and in turn deserve your respect.
In between drinks and chicken wing baskets that lacked imagination in plating and warmth (they were only $8.50, so no one’s upset), Taejah Thomas proved to everyone that she is indeed the real deal. Really, is there another drag hostess in the Atlanta area who possesses the brick-house combination of performer, actress, comedienne, and Tony-grade talent such as her? We don’t think so, but we’ll keep looking. It's that recipe for brilliance that makes the Stars of the Century “stars” at all. Every single performer presents a kinetic argument persuading the audience that they were born for this shit. Still, we hesitate to cite the performances as the sole reason to attend. Lukewarm wings aside, the interactive atmosphere is a lot more electric and engaging than other shows we’ve attended. Audience members need not be coaxed into participating, as Taejah’s hosting abilities make Jungle on Monday feel like home. As a result, they tend to say and do whatever the hell they want (that is, until they’re read or outsassed by the lady with the mic, but something tells us that’s what they’re looking for).
To end, the legendary showcase that is Stars of the Century certainly deserves at least one Monday from you each month, and three if you’re a service industry worker. Be sure to bring your dollars because everyone tips—seriously, it’s like fucking Magic City with more rhinestones—and more importantly, your smart phone. Trust us when we say no one will believe your description of Raquell Lord’s beauty (and body; red beans and rice + squats? Please, tell us!) unless you have photographic evidence.