You’ve seen The Music City Sisters at charity events across the community but you may not know that the beauty of their painted faces is more than just skin deep. Those admitted to the order have undergone an intensive process that demonstrates their commitment to charity, community and social activism.
Like their Catholic counterparts, there are elevations to becoming a Fully Professed Member of the Sisters. One of those steps is a Novice Project designed to benefit the community. On April 19, Novice Guard Phoenix Risin’ brings H8’s a Drag 2013 to the Nashville community.
In its first year, H8’s a Drag: LOVE is Bully-Free raised thousands of dollars and resulted in the creation of the LGBTQI Youth Grant Fund. Headlined by RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Season 3 winner Raja, the event was a smashing success.
Only in its second year, the objectives behind H8’s a Drag have been a lifelong pursuit for Music City Sister Faegala Tina Pfischzoot. “My passion for reaching out to LGBTQI youth at risk dates back more than 30 years and is rooted in the years I spent as a social worker, bartender and human rights activist in my native San Francisco,” she said.
“Population growth in the gay community during the turbulent times of the 80s brought many displaced LGBTQI youth to my beloved city, many who became exploited, addicted, diseased and homeless. Many of these children on the edge befriended me either though agencies I worked or volunteered in; or more frequently at the bars and clubs I bartended in. They viewed me as a nurturing ally, a supporter who would fight for them, and in whom they could trust. I worked, played and served them as best I could until I left San Francisco in 1996.”
“I don’t know what has happened to all my lost children since leaving San Francisco. Once again since moving to Tennessee 5 years ago, I find young questioning individuals reaching out to me. It became instantly clear that my ministry with my Music City Sisters <must> be with our children who struggle, and that together, we could be a source of light and love for them. They deserve to be safe, and enjoy all the abundance, health and joy in the world. “
Novice Guard Phoenix Risin’ also has his reasons for committing to H8’s a Drag as his Novice Project. “I chose to take on the H8’s a Drag as my novice project because of the focus of the event: anti-bullying, he said” “Like many people, I experienced bullying as a kid and have always taken a stand against it. Furthermore, when I was teaching high school, I actively worked to stop bullying where I worked. I do not believe that anyone should be bullied whether it is about sexuality, status, or physical stature.”
The main event, H8’s a Drag- Rise Above, takes places April 19 at Play. The event will be headlined by RuPaul’s Drag Race favorite Latrice Royale. Held on the third Friday of April, a Day of Silence for GLSEN, H8’s a Drag promises to bring a “night of noise”.
Joining Latrice will be Kentucky’s deliriously edgy DEMENTIA, along with our own Miss Gay Tennessee America 2012 Suzy Wong, and the Ebony Goddess Chyna. This year marks a new dimension of drag expression with performances by Drag King Lucas Prescott & friends, Ms. Tennessee Diamond Diva Jamison St. James, and Atlanta Singer/Songwriter/Performance Artist Dylan Michael.
Tickets for the event are on sale now. Options include VIP Meet & Greet from 6:30- 8 p.m. for $25 or General Admission tickets for $10. Tickets can be purchased online at musiccitysisters.org.
In addition, H8’s a Drag adds two new components to its event. H8’s a Drag Local Revue, and its finals taking place April 5 at Chameleons Lounge, “was born out of the idea of giving the local drag performing community an opportunity to participate H8’s A Drag on a level beyond enjoying the show,” according to Novice Guard Phoenix Risin’.
After open auditions, seven local performers were selected to participate in the Revue finals. The performers include: LaLa Lové, Prince of Androgyny, Nelson VanDyke, Vanity, Samara Lee, JJ L’Amour, and KC Khaos. This dragtastic night will be important because only one will be selected to perform during the H8’s a Drag main event April 19 at Play.
StompH8, the second of the new components, is a dance for the LGBT youth, 14-18, in the greater Nashville area. Supported by Nashville Area Reconciling Ministries (NARM), and the Belmont Reconciling Ministries, StompH8 will be held April 20 at BareFeet Studios (3205 Powell Avenue).
“StompH8 was added to give an opportunity to give to the youth that H8’s A Drag and the Music City Sisters’ LGBTQIA youth grant fund were born to support,” said Novice Guard Phoenix Risin’. “The majority of the youth are unable to attend the show at Play, so we are bringing a show to them. We want our youth to know that they are supported.”
In addition to the performances and the dance, local organizations have banded together to participate and have informational tables for those in attendance. Organizations include: Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, PFLAG, GLSEN, Oasis Center, OutCentral, Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program (VHVP) and Nashville CARES.
“I am humbled that so many individuals and agencies have reached out to the Music City Sisters in support and enthusiasm,” said Sister Faegala Tina Pfischzoot. “The response this year has tripled in magnitude, in recognition and contributions—monetary and in-kind.”
With all the frenzied excitement of this year’s event, the Music City sisters are already looking forward to H8’s a Drag 2014. With continued support from NARM and Belmont Reconciling Ministries, Stomp H8 2014 planning in already underway.
So drag yourself out on April 19 and make sure you support the Music City Sisters and H8’s a Drag 2013 because everyone will be talking about it on Facebook April 20.
For more information and to purchase tickets visit musiccitysisters.org.