Hot off the heels of Pride—and they know a thing or two about heels—queer burlesque performers (or “queerlesque”, as they call themselves) have been coming out and making themselves more present than ever in the Atlanta scene. From recent inclusions of burlesque in the Tossed Salad lineup, to the Pride anthem edition of Sadie Hawkins’s hit improv show “Last Pasties Standing”, and now the first ever showcase of all-queer performance to hit the stage of popular burlesque venue Red Light Café—the aptly titled “Mary and Friends” shows out this Saturday (Oct. 22nd).
Award-winning and internationally recognized queerlesque starlet Mary Strawberry will be adding “producer” to her long list of theatrical credentials with this brain child of hers. Inspired by a “gap in the local performance community”, the only criteria to submit to Mary and Friends was this: Performers cannot be both cis gendered AND straight.
“As LGBT+ folks, it can be a challenge to see ourselves fully or properly represented in shows,” Mary tells us, “so my goal is to make everyone on both sides feel seen and valued.”
The evening will highlight queer performers spanning 3 southern states—including those who grew up socially and sexually oppressed in the pangs of the Bible Belt—with acts ranging from pop culture nods, “weird art”, and emotional tributes. No doubt a reflection of the lives we’ve led, audience members will come to find that fun, high-energy, and thought-provoking edge are traits often shared by those of queerlesque persuasion.
With days leading up to her producer debut, Mary Strawberry reflects, “The [burlesque] community in general tends to be a beautiful blend of different body types and celebrates physical diversity, but I feel that having a queer specific show adds another level of energy, color, and excitement to the performances because it can be rare to have space to truly be free to not only be yourself, but to be proud of who you are and who you love.”
You’ve certainly got a friend in us, Mary xoxo.
Mary & Friends: An Evening of Queer Performance features talent by May Hemmer, Lola Deveux, Silver Kitsune, Edie Bellini, Anette Coquette & Valentina Tiggular.
Where: Red Light Café
When: Oct 22. Doors at 8, show at 9
Tickets available now, $15 in advance/$18 at door
Kia is a traveling queerlesque performer and House of Gunt resident living in Savannah, GA and performing throughout the Southeast. @kiatropolis