Queer moxie:

Per­for­mance artists praised in up­com­ing doc­u­men­tary.

GA Voice - - Front Page - By DYANA BAGBY dbagby@the­gavoice.com

MOXIE, noun: en­ergy, de­ter­mi­na­tion, skill, abil­ity to face dif­fi­culty with courage

Queer artists take the stage all over At­lanta nearly ev­ery weekend and plenty of other days of the week. And when they do so, they are help­ing all LGBT people get closer to full equal­ity.

That’s the loose the­sis of Heather Provon­cha’s doc­u­men­tary “Queer Moxie,” a film she’s been work­ing on for five years with help from Leo Hollen Jr.

“It was per­for­mance artists that started Stonewall,” she says. “It takes a lot of moxie to get on stage as a marginal­ized group, es­pe­cially queer people—we have men dress­ing as women, women dress­ing as men, bur­lesque, spo­ken word, women of size, co­me­di­ans who are telling jokes about be­ing gay and not be­ing the punch­line. All of this is help­ing us get our rights for the queer com­mu­nity.”

That moxie, that “Queer Moxie,” is what Provon­cha set out to doc­u­ment in 2009 when she or­ga­nized bur­lesque shows fea­tur­ing var­i­ous per­for­mance artists who weren’t able to get stage time any­where else.

“It was a nat­u­ral evo­lu­tion of the cabaret and me try­ing to take pic­tures,” she ex­plains.

Ba­si­cally, Provon­cha says she sucked at tak­ing pho­tos. So she got a video cam­era and hit record.

“And I was good at it, or good enough. And I looked around and no­body else was doc­u­ment­ing this,” she says. “So I kept record­ing. And I re­ally liked to watch the num­bers again.”

With more than 20 in­ter­views of At­lanta drag artists, co­me­di­ans, bur­lesque per­form­ers and more plus five years and hun­dreds of hours of film, Provon­cha and Hollen are now fi­nal­iz­ing the film for pub­lic view­ing.

A May 28 show at Jun­gle hosted by gay co­me­dian Ian Aber will fea­ture such drag leg­ends as Ni­cole Paige Brooks, Heather Daniels and Drue Lingue, drag king Devin Liquor and lo­cal celebri­ties Brent Star and El­lisorous Rex. These are a few of the some 250 At­lanta stars fea­tured in “Queer Moxie” and the cabaret fundraiser will just give par­tici- pants just a taste of what the film is about with the show. Two trail­ers from the film will also be shown.

At one time, queer artists such as those in this film were con­sid­ered “freaks in a cage” for people to gawk at. Now, main­stream artists are tak­ing their cues from those wav­ing their freak flag proudly, Provon­cha says.

“One of the young artists in the film said they used to watch ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ in mid­dle school. There are also older artists who could be ar­rested for wear­ing women’s cloth­ing. We’ve come a long way.”

This film is not about At­lanta, how­ever, Provon­cha says.

“It has been filmed in At­lanta and is pay­ing trib­ute. This is a love let­ter to At­lanta, but the film is about the art and the world. There needs to be more con­ver­sa­tion about queer per­for­mance in the south,” she adds.

“At­lanta and the south are still un­der­dogs in the fight for equal­ity and it’s im­por­tant as people every­where are get­ting rights we pay at­ten­tion and cel­e­brate these per­for­mance artists.”

(Cour­tesy photo)

A ‘Queer Moxie Cabaret’ is set for May 28 to high­light some of the per­form­ers fea­tured in the doc­u­men­tary about per­for­mance artists and their con­tri­bu­tion to so­cial change.

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