Atlanta Queer Arts Alliance debuts virtual performance showcase

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Even before coronavirus created a “new normal,” an alliance of queer Atlanta arts groups was already burgeoning. Their big debut takes place online Sunday in “Together At Home,” an unprecedented collaboration of music, movies, stage performances and songs.

“We came together to show the Atlanta queer community that we support each other, and we hope the entire community can do the same,” says Paul Conroy, artistic director of Out Front Theatre (top photo).

The theater troupe formed Atlanta Queer Arts Alliance last summer alongside Out on Film, Atlanta Freedom Bands, Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, Atlanta Women’s Chorus, OurSong, Atlanta Freedom Bands and Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra.

The groups decided that they may have more pull together in a city with such a deep well of world-class talent, Conroy tells Project Q. Out on Film Director Jim Farmer agrees.

“The arts — especially the queer arts — can be taken for granted. They shouldn't be,” Farmer says. “We have a huge impact on the city culturally and economically. It is the goal of the Atlanta Queer Arts Alliance to promote ourselves and each other, as well as the importance of attending and supporting each of us.”

The groups’ scheduled debut as AQuAA was sidelined by COVID-19 restrictions, but their commitment to make it happen turned into the online event set for Sunday.

“’Together At Home’ is going to be as diverse an evening as the organizations are,” Conroy asserts. “There will be a mixture of pre-recorded clips and live performances. Our host will chat with people from across the spectrum, so audience members are really going to see a rich tapestry of what we can offer.”

Look for the award-winning short film “The One You Never Forget” starring local actor Owen D. Stone, “best-of” performances from past Out Front productions, performances from the recent AGMC smash “Queens and Queen,” and much, much more. Find the stream on each of the participating organizations’ Facebook Live pages.

The event is hosted by drag do-gooder Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker, who says the gig was a no-brainer for her.

“The performing arts are the backbone of our community,” the host of Drag Queen Story Hour says. “We express ourselves through song, music, dance and theater. For many, we feel stifled and voiceless to not currently have these outlets. 

“As a drag performer, I am honored to be categorized with such an accomplished group,” Sugarbaker continues. “So many of these performers and organizations donate their time and talents to support other local groups year-round, so I jumped at the chance to return the favor.”

Conroy backs the lineup up with a call to support the participating organizations with donations in a challenging pandemic-torn economy that affecting their bottom lines.

“Everyone group in AQuAA is a non-profit, and we all are economic drivers,” he says. “What we produce doesn't come for free, and we need the help of every community member to be here after the crisis is over and for many years to come.”

And seriously, loving these groups and their offerings means loving yourself while the quarantine challenges all of us.

“This is your community and community what we all need right now,” Conroy continues. “Whatever you were going to binge on Netflix or Hulu is still going to be there, and there is no direct connection with the Atlanta queer community. This event is literally seeing your friends and neighbors telling the stories that are important to them and to you.”

With hearts and heads in the right place, just prepare for a great show, Farmer says.

 “Grab some popcorn, curl up on the sofa in your pajamas and enjoy.”

At Home Together takes place on Sunday, April 26 at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live. Click to the event on the pages of  Voices of Note, Atlanta Philharmonic OrchestraAtlanta Freedom BandsOut Front Theatre Company and Out on FilmIt's just one of the Best Queer Things to Do in Quarantine This Week. 

Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker is looking to May for Drag Queen Story Hour opportunities. Keep an eye on her via Facebook for updates.



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