Swinging a stick in hipster Atlanta is going to hit a few gays along the way, but this year’s Best Of Atlanta in Creative Loafing takes the big gay cake. And decorates it. And eats it on the street and on the town.
By now, we nearly expect Creative Loafing to be pretty damn gay on any given week. The Best of Atlanta lists in years past are always LGBT friendly, even including queer props for Project Q. But the paper's 2014 Best of Atlanta feels extra gay.
Best Place To Wet Your Whistle: Drag Dinner Theater
LIPS ATLANTA combines flashy décor (crystal chandeliers, fishnet-clad legs mounted on pink leopard-print walls), an all-drag waitstaff, and cheeky and brilliant performers for one of the most exhilarating drag experiences the city has to offer. Lips delivers all of drag’s glamour and glitz with a Southern twist — especially when a legendary performer like the self-proclaimed “Bitch of the South” herself, Mr. Charlie Brown, graces the stage. Brown has been a hot fixture on Atlanta’s drag scene since Backstreet was Atlanta’s No. 1 nightlife spot.
Move over, East Atlanta. Well, half-scooch.
Creative Loafing’s love for its gays knows no bounds in nightlife. That’s where readers pick Violet Chachki as Best Drag Queen and East Atlanta neighbors Mary’s and My Sister’s Room as Best Gay Bar and Best Lesbian Bar.
You’d think with those big doings that Glenwood Avenue might be the hottest Nightlife District. You’d be half right. Readers certainly thought so, but Creative Loafing's staff pick reserved its big props for a different gay hipster enclave, Edgewood Avenue in Old Fourth Ward (second photo).
Best Nightlife District
In four years, the nightlife on EDGEWOOD AVENUE has exploded into a scrappy, authentic, fun, sweaty, irreverent, welcoming, and young half-mile of late-night trouble. Whether you’re downing primo cocktails and grooving to a DJ at the Sound Table, or belting out your favorite karaoke tunes at Mother, or you’re just trying to impress your suburban Tinderella at Church, there’s no way you’re not having a good time on this street. If you want some history, James Brown used to perform an annual concert right down the road. These days, the electronic music and hip-hop parties at Erosol, the unpredictable shows at the Music Room, and the crowds lining up outside Joystick make this the place to be for a night on the town. www.thesoundtable.com, www.mother447.com, www.sisterlouisaschurch.com, www.erosolatl.com, www.atlmusicroom.com, www.joystickgamebar.com.
We could have told you that. And did, many times. Note the paper’s shout-outs for gay-owned spots including our favorites, the abundantly adored Church and the ever-expanding, always provocative Joystick. Both are getting used to the attention.
Affair of the arts
Keep an eye out for gay and gay-adjacent reader faves in other categories, too. Like Brushtrokes in Consumer Culture, every conceivable neighborhood in Cityscape, most of the eateries in Oral Pleasures, and the musical “The Book of Mormon” in Poets Artists and Madmen.
The staff-picked gay standout in Arts this year is “Choir Boy” by Tarell Alvin McCraney (third photo). Creative Loafing staff bestows the show and the playwright with its coveted Best Play honors.
Best Play: 'Choir Boy'
By sheer happenstance, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney won a prestigious MacArthur Genius grant on opening day of his play CHOIR BOY in Atlanta. The Alliance’s production in the intimate downstairs space of the Hertz Theatre confirmed for anyone still left in doubt that McCraney is indeed one of the most significant playwrights of this generation. In the play, Pharus Young is entering his senior year at the fictional Charles R. Drew School for Boys, an African-American prep school. He’s a bright student and a standout member of the chorus, which is also the school’s pride and public face. But Pharus is also flamboyantly effeminate, his homosexuality an open secret. Spirituality, race, history, and sexuality are fraught territories that can easily trip up even the most insightful playwrights, but the show navigated it all masterfully, never seeking pat answers or easy platitudes. Especially impressive since most of the cast members were in their early 20s or younger.