by Joey Phoenix
Images by Creative Collective
Cult followers and curious guests poured into the Cabot Theatre in Beverly last Friday night for the screening of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and an evening of spectacular Drag performance and pageantry, the likes of which has never before been seen in Beverly, MA.
The event was part of an ongoing collaboration between Creative Collective, Intramersive, Retonica, and the Cabot Theatre to bring enhanced film experiences to the North Shore.The gallery was not found!
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Boston Conservatory-trained Miz Diamond Wigfall led the show featuring Queens from the North Shore, Boston, and New York City. Chola Spears, Bambin the Don Diva, Sequoia, Civilization, Coco Cain, Man D. Williams, Buster Pants, and Miz Diamond herself all strutted the runway, performed individual and group routines, and participated in an over-the-top lip sync contest. There were performances before and after the screening, bookending the event with energy and excitement.
“Priscilla shows the heart of the queer community, about creating your own family and the struggles that people are still going through today,” said Miz Diamond.
Prior to the show, guests were able to interact with The Rainbow Times, North Shore Pride, and Project Out to learn about upcoming events and initiatives. Lord Hobo Brewing was also there to serve up great beer and the Queens themselves gave guests Queenly makeovers in Streetside Bar.
Retonica was also on scene to light the stage with expert flair, create a laser show, and activate the disco ball at opportune moments. Retonica light wizard Joey Nicotera was also the MC of the event and introduced the performers.
“Can you believe this is the first Drag show this magnificent Vaudeville-era theatre has ever had?” Miz Diamond asked Joey speculatively.
“No, but it definitely won’t be the last,” he responded, enthusiastically.
Queer culture on the North Shore is making its way into the mainstream, and the more people who support events like these the more it will become a part of the community culture. Alternative programming only exists if people are there to support it. LGBTQIA+ spaces should just be June spaces, they should be all year spaces. Community support is what makes that possible.
“I think Priscilla is a great way to remember that Pride isn’t just for a month,” says founder of Intramersive, Carly Naik, “and that by celebrating people’s right to be themselves makes us all stronger, happier and more colorful. Activism and advocacy can be hard but it can also be joyful, funny, and fabulous.”