Drag shows at bars?? good or bad??

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    Oct 07, 2009 3:34 PM GMT
    soon to be opening one of the largest gay clubs in cleveland... we are debating on haveing a drag show or not?? i want your opinion... are you more or less likely to go to a bar if it has a drag show? or do you not care and just there for the drinks??
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    Oct 07, 2009 3:39 PM GMT
    If all they do is lip-synch to Cher, et al. NO!
    But if they truly have talent like Varla Jean Merman, then YES!


  • JP85257

    Posts: 3284

    Oct 07, 2009 3:47 PM GMT
    I hate drag queens. Theyre talentless, shells of people.

    I ESPECIALLY hate drag pageants. Its like an 8th grade graduation. Way to reward mediocrity.

    I DO not go to bars on drag show nights.
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    Oct 07, 2009 3:50 PM GMT
    It's time to stop the Drag show madness. NO, do not have a drag show. Drag shows make half the bar attendees uneasy, laughing along with everyone else but thinking, "Is this how far we've come?"

    Sorry drag queens, open your own bars. And learn to lip-sync better.
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    Oct 07, 2009 3:50 PM GMT

    Well sure why not? On those nights the clientele will be different, so from past experience we'd both say don't have them every night - make 'em special occasions.

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    Oct 07, 2009 4:51 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    Well sure why not? On those nights the clientele will be different, so from past experience we'd both say don't have them every night - make 'em special occasions.



    This is my best advice. In Atlanta, you can see a drag show every night of the week. There are only four bars that I can think of that doesn't have drag shows. I moved to Austin, and thank God, I haven't had to see one.

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    Oct 07, 2009 4:56 PM GMT
    I would have to actually see the show to decide "good or bad".

    I don't think this is a good place to get feedback that might influence your decision.

    But since we're here, my advice is to try something different. If you are going to do drag shows, be very creative. I think most gay men secretly crave this, but all too often resign themselves to the same ol' thing because they think that's what everyone else is doing. The acceptance/conformity urge is especally strong in our community, but when it is broken, it is profound.
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    Oct 07, 2009 4:56 PM GMT
    I'd say if so, limit them to 1 hour and not every night...I suspect, though many wouldn't say, that gay men love drag as much less than other drag queens think they do. You should have different themed nights at your bar with appropriate music/dj'ing (Punk nite, Thug nite, Glamour nite, Porno nite, etc.).

    (NOTE: Jackal loves good, witty, creative drag but detests those queens who put on a wig, a tired ball gown, and sing top 40's and think they should get a crown...honey please!)
  • ohioguy12

    Posts: 2024

    Oct 07, 2009 4:58 PM GMT
    I agree, have them on special occassions, I personally wouldn't go to a drag show, but I know there are people who like them
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    Oct 07, 2009 5:09 PM GMT
    njbu2004 saidsoon to be opening one of the largest gay clubs in cleveland... we are debating on haveing a drag show or not?? i want your opinion... are you more or less likely to go to a bar if it has a drag show? or do you not care and just there for the drinks??

    A good business person knows that everything depends on your customers. In some markets drag shows are money makers for the club. In other places they are killers. A lot also depends on the talent you have, and your stage facility.

    I'm a drag show veteran, both on stage myself and behind the scenes, including a theatre degree and much dramatic & musical stage experience. My speciality was lighting, especially follow-spotlight. Good lighting can make the difference between amateur night and a professional show.

    You may wish to email me directly. For 7 years I was involved with very successful drag shows, packed houses, in Fargo, North Dakota, of all places. If you can make it in Fargo, you can make it anywhere! LOL!

    I have a ton of tips & pointers for you, both house suggestions and regarding your performers. You can make a fortune with drag, or it can kill you. Unfortunately Cleveland is one market I don't know, but I'll gladly share what I do know, see if can help you. Best of luck!
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    Oct 07, 2009 5:13 PM GMT
    I don't think you need them every night, but I definitely don't mind a drag queen being the hostess. I think that if you get a fun drag queen, more people are enjoying themselves. It breaks up the monotony. Most of the bars and clubs that I go to have separate areas, so you aren't really forced to stop what you are doing if they are performing.

    If I was to open a large gay club, I couldn't really imagine not having a drag queen on certain nights. I don't really know about the Cleveland area, but I know that Detroit and Lansing have some pretty entertaining performers.
  • bmw0

    Posts: 588

    Oct 07, 2009 5:24 PM GMT
    1. I have some friends that do drag, and hold big titles for that matter. Calling them shells of people just shows how shallow you truly are. Some of these guys put a lot of effort in to it and should be commended for what they do.

    2. Drag shows shouldn't be the main attraction. Having them on one night a week wouldn't be a bad thing. There are people who love it, and will come out because of it. The bar "Somewhere in Time" in Lima, OH does it the first and third friday of every month. They also have a separate section for those who would rather not see them when they are on. The Masque in Dayton has the upstairs that is dancing constantly and they do drag downstairs. Those are both good options to keep most people happy.

    At the bar a friend of mine owns (in hickory, nc..the home if the unlimited series) they do two twenty minute shows. One at midnight, and another at 1:30 on fridays and one show at 12:30 on saturdays. So its not over kill. Just make sure you dont let crappy queens come in ruin it.
  • CAtoFL

    Posts: 834

    Oct 07, 2009 5:29 PM GMT
    A lot of this is dependent on what kind of bar you're opening and what kind of bar you want it to be. Obviously, if you're opening a leather bar, for example, drag isn't much of a fit.

    A lot of this is also dependent on the bar's setup. If you have a separate showroom with a stage, you can test out drag shows in there. Give them a try and see if there's interest.

    Be careful of your image. New clubs get a 'honeymoon period' in which there are a lot of customers trying it out to see if they're comfortable. Depending on what you want your club to be, you might not want to be pigeonholed as a 'drag bar' right at the start.

    Personally, if I never had to sit through a drag show again, I'd be extremely happy. The performers are never as good or as elegant as they think and the lipsynching is usually awful. To me, it always comes across as painful and forced.



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    Oct 07, 2009 5:32 PM GMT
    A show is a show. If you're going to have one make sure it's the best damn show you can possibly put on. Just because it's drag in a gay bar doesn't exempt it from possibly being mediocre entertainment.
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    Oct 07, 2009 5:35 PM GMT
    brandohsaurus saidI don't think you need them every night, but I definitely don't mind a drag queen being the hostess.

    The art is in separating the concept from the talent at hand. A funny & glib drag queen hostess can be a riot; unfortunately, few are talented enough to rise to that level and pull it off, though most THINK they are, in their own deluded minds.

    It's the same with ordinary stand-up comics: fans will knock down the doors to see the best. But the best are exceptional, why they become stars while hundreds, if not thousands of others do not, driving people right out the door when they take the stage.

    So you evaluate your talent, audition them, make them show you what they can do. If witty repartee from the stage is not their strength (though they're all convinced it is), then you get yourself a separate, non-drag MC, preferably a man for contrast. Dress him up a bit (no jeans & T). Keep the queens doing numbers, not talking on stage, which they'll do for hours if you let them, or else all your shows will run way over, annoying the audience and losing you business.

    Trust me, I know this business, its strengths and weaknesses. And the queens themselves will be your greatest strength and your greatest weakness. The last thing you EVER want to do is put any of them in charge of the show. Do that, and you'll be rewarded with drama, cat-fights, competition, rivalry, unprofessionalism, and behind-the-scenes headaches you never dreamed possible.

    I would recommend our OP visit some established drag shows around the country for ideas, if that hasn't already happened. No need to reinvent the wheel, when others have done this for generations. Find the best, and copy it.
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    Oct 07, 2009 5:40 PM GMT
    bmw01. I have some friends that do drag, and hold big titles for that matter. Calling them shells of people just shows how shallow you truly are. Some of these guys put a lot of effort in to it and should be commended for what they do.


    Thanks for saying that. One of my closest friends is a drag queen and he puts a lot of effort into. On top of that, he hosts a lot of shows for benefits. Last week, him and his friends raised a lot of money for the Center for the Arts.

    JP85257, when was the last time you did something like that?
  • FlashDrive

    Posts: 53

    Oct 07, 2009 5:43 PM GMT
    I found drag show nights put smiles on people's faces. I like to see happy people and they look sexier that way. Unlike disco spinning night, cruising single guys look so frustrated moving from one corner to another with long poker faces. Not very sexy.
    My salute to drag queens and an apology to the comment I used to made like JP85257's in my youth.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Oct 07, 2009 5:44 PM GMT
    Not my thing, but I don't see the harm. I wouldn't seek out a bar with a drag show to go out, but if I went out and there was one I wouldn't feel compelled to leave.
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Oct 07, 2009 5:48 PM GMT
    Bad...
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    Oct 07, 2009 5:50 PM GMT
    I think everyone has pretty much summed it up. I would say post something in your bar about a drag night and see if you can get about 5 to 10 performers to sign up. Hold it once a month, and see if there's any talent out there. If the shows get a good customer backing, keep doing it. Then you can start having your standard queens while still "auditioning" new talent every month in an "amateur drag contest." This gets your customers involved because they get to vote for a winner. Kinda like drag idol.

    And keep it interesting. I went to a club in Atlanta where they did "Deconstruction Drag" one night. They had to use materials that the host bought at a thrift store and make an outfit out of it. These were items like stuffed animals, audio tapes, children's books, etc. They had an hour to make the outfit then they each did a number wearing it. The audience voted on a winner.

    As long as you keep it interesting and not just random queens walking around and lip syncing every week, it'll be a fun night.

    And for the haters who are bad mouthing drag queens out there, don't go to drag shows. But they are part of our community so respect them for that. Better yet, walk a mile in their heels icon_smile.gif

    ~Alex
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    Oct 07, 2009 5:50 PM GMT
    It depends on the expected age group that is expected to frequent the place.

    For younger guys, it probably would be a lot of fun.

    Older guys have already seen and enjoyed the best and there comes a point when it seems all the drag performers all just sound the same and that can be annoying.

    Personally, I avoid a bar that has drag shows unless its a very special event.
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    Oct 07, 2009 6:11 PM GMT


    One of the closest friends is a drag performer. I don't think many people realize all the work many of these dudes put into their performances. Hair, costumes, creating the music. It's definitely an artform and I appreciate it.
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    Oct 07, 2009 6:15 PM GMT
    Bars here like doing them on the weekends... which completely defeats the purpose of having a drag night... if you are going to be pushing away a group of customers that would want to come out on their weekend to dance and have fun, making them wait while your drag show take up half the dance floor is just stupid. You want it to be like karaoke night where it brings in people on a slow night. That said, give it a few weeks without, see what nights people would be interested in, and then make sure they dont get to lip-sync... the entire idea of good drag is they can hold their own without a woman doing their voice... drag-kings are a fun mix-up too
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    Oct 07, 2009 6:23 PM GMT
    Drag Show nights are some of the busiest for bars. If you limit the event to a certain amount of time you can please everyone.
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Oct 07, 2009 7:01 PM GMT

    I personally do not pay too much attention. at a bar, I am more likely to people watch, converse with those with which I entered, and enjoy whatever I would be drinking. a drag show, or a show in general, would merely add to the conversation and the level of activity/excitement in a club setting ... that is, if there isn't already dancing.