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October 1, 2020 July 23, July 16, 2020

! t I Pop

Bubble Q T B G L r You tect You Can’t Pro

Ho Sho Sings ‘Erection Year’ Hip and Hopeful Edgewood Gays Cinequeer, Pump, Fame & Queer Bait

Set in Our WAYS

PROTECTING OUR HEARTS and feelings can be a fulltime job. If we’re not careful, though, the walls we build can block our growth. Q ATLus looks at ways to manage our personal and political conflicts. When we come out, the LGBTQ world is all new. We may not even notice that we need a change by the time we settle into increasingly myopic comfort zones in life and online. With an eye toward breaking out, this week’s cover story looks at the bubbles we create for ourselves with a confluence of creepy algorithms and human nature. Check in next with the queer bar owners who broke out of Midtown and into the Edgewood party district. And as they dip their toes back into live parties, Q Events offers even more options. Q Nightlife dives into one in particular: this year’s Ho Sho virtual extravaganza. Meanwhile, life in Atlanta continues ever forward, and our weekly features are here for it. Keep turning pages to find Q Advice for cheating lovers and the Q Map of LGBTQ and allied places to go. As always, our loyal advertisers are peppered throughout our content. They support us and you, so please support them in return. In addition to the Q ATLus print product, join us on our social networks, video and audio platforms, and look for fresh content daily on Project Q Atlanta at theQatl.com. You can also write mike@theQatl.com.




O C TO B E R 1 , 2 0 2 0


The Q Events Calendar



Too Bubbly

Breaking LGBTQ Barriers


Party District

Surviving COVID on Edgewood


Ho Sho

Annual Event Set for Pride

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Cheating Hearts Sick of Their Secrets

Q Community.......... 8 Q Nightlife............. 13 Q Events................ 25 Q Map.................... 26 Q Advice................ 30



Party district turns huge blow into reinvention opportunity By Mike Fleming


THE INTERSECTION OF EDGEWOOD Avenue and Boulevard may not be the first place you think of as an LGBTQ enclave. The area is a cultural cross-section of Sweet Auburn, Old Fourth Ward and Downtown, and in recent years, it’s slowly become something new: a closed-road weekend party site. Every day of the week, the corner once dominated by physical memories of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is also a hotspot for bars and restaurants. More than a fair share of them are gay-owned and inclusive. Our recent spotlight series on LGBTQ businesses pivoting amid the coronavirus pandemic includes 8 theQatl.com



Noni’s Deli & Bar, Georgia Beer Garden, Joystick and Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium. Always gay-run but never gay-narrow, all four are wildly popular with inclusive crowds.


Grant Henry’s vision is always unique, dreams always big, and quirky results always undeniable. Patrons see that dynamic in action again with the expansion of his Sister Louisa’s Church bar and restaurant. After months-long delays, Henry’s kitschy bar hosted a soft reopening on Sept. 15. It unveiled an expansion into the space next door that dou-

bles its size to some 6,700 square feet. “Everyone who enters Church after the expansion says it feels just like Church, that it flows between the spaces like it’s always been there,” Henry said. “There is so much space, and the new part is designed to be able to be partitioned off for private events, weddings, wrap parties, birthday parties, etc.” The transformation brings the vibe of the original space with more games and seating areas. There are two new stairwells, a huge kitchen with an expanded menu, six restrooms and TVs throughout the space. An outdoor makeover combining the two spaces (photo) was complete for most of the year. Behind the new façade, an indoor transformation was more than ready by spring. Then of course, it was a matter of waiting. And waiting. Through the summer, Henry continued to fret the COVID crisis, and he put off reopening longer than most other gay-owned bars and clubs in town. Then a stark realization hit him.

Capacity is limited to 80 people, and the patio, which doubled in size with the expansion, is also available for outdoor fun.

GEORGIA BEER GARDEN NOW HEADQUARTERS FOR FUN-TO-GO Georgia Beer Garden and its sister venue Joystick Gamebar struggled with the wrench the coronavirus pandemic threw into their path. That’s true even now as they regain footing, according to the owners. “The businesses only pull in about 15% of what they were doing this same time last year. It’s been hard,” said Brandon Ley, co-owner of the two venues with Johnny Martinez. When coronavirus came, a winning formula needed tweaking — fast. A great relationship with a neighboring Korean Fusion restaurant helped a new business model take shape. “Both Joystick Gamebar and DaeChowChow are quarantining in one spot, Georgia Beer Garden,” Martinez said. “Together, all three offer to-go, and we built out a website to allow folks to order online.”

“I realize now that the coronavirus is not going away anytime soon,” he said. “It PHOTO BY RUSS YOUNGBLOOD They even redesigned the was a very difficult decision Georgia Beer Garden owner Brandon Ley popular Georgia Beer Garto face it head on and reopen and Johnny Martinez (l-r). den patio so patrons don’t the right way by protecthave to step foot inside. ing our staff and parishioners, but we pulled the “Our backyard is the largest in Downtown AtBand-Aid off, and we will be doing everything in lanta, so it allows for plenty of social distancing,” our power to keep everyone safe.” Martinez and Ley said. For the first time since March, a limited number of Frozen cocktails called “Boozy slushies” are ready patrons were allowed to experience the new space at a takeout window, and the menu expands with on Tuesday. Business is back with cautious optimism new offerings from DaeChowChow. New hours and measures to minimize and mitigate health risks. of operation serve house-made breakfast sand“We’ve installed room fans, air purifiers, opened wiches and coffee on tap starting at 8 a.m. up all three bars, have ‘satanizer’ for everyone everywhere, and all of our staff will be masked and “We try to keep our spirits up by being excited for gloved,” Henry said. “All parishioners will have to the changes we’re making,” Martinez said. “We have a mask on to enter and pledge to help keep hope that our joy and passion for what we’re doing everyone safe. translates to our guests’ experiences.”  theQatl.com 9

EDGEWOOD continued Masks, temps and double-duty sanitizing are on the menu, as are reduced occupancy and outdoor-only service. “Guests can enjoy Georgia Beer Garden’s spacious backyard, but inside is off limits,” they said. “Joystick hosts only small, private parties with guests in one room and staff in another with different air circulators.” And those popular events? They get 2020 makeovers. The backyard fills with pitchers and pretzels for Oktoberfest, and Halloween hosts an outside “Nightmare Bar.” PHOTO BY RYAN BUCHANAN For the most part, the changes The staff of Noni’s work, but “funds are drying up, and winter is coming,” the owners Management made jumping through unemploysaid with only a half-kidding ominous tone. Still, ment hoops a top priority. Figuring out everything they’re determined to get through the tough times. with little state or federal help became a fulltime job for Buchanan and Noni’s owner Matt Rupert. “On a scale of 1 to 10, we’re at 100 on being ready to put this all behind us,” they said, predicting that With staff and Old Fourth Ward Business Al“back to normal” could be any time from spring to liance feedback, Noni’s created better guidelines Christmas in 2021. than the state provided as well.


Noni’s general manager echoed the sentiment of his neighbors. “Honey, we are dyyyyinggggg to open our doors wide open and have a dance party again, but we aren’t even close to that yet,” Ryan Buchanan said. Early in the coronavirus pandemic, the course for Noni’s was as clear as it was devastating to business, he said. “We knew the only way to stay healthy in the first couple months was to remain completely closed, no take out, no delivery, c – l – o – s – e – d,” Buchanan remembered. “Thankfully, our owner applied early and as soon as possible for every single loan, grant, exemption, Pizza Hut personal pan pizza coupon, whatever that became available.” 10 theQatl.com

In addition, the staff quarantined together in order to resume takeout service. The setup was a blessing and a challenge, Buchanan remembered. “Luckily we actually love each other’s company and were able to form small, safe and responsible isolation cells, plus with our large and available selection of booze helped a lot,” he said. These days, Noni’s still exceeds guidelines and is still predominantly take-out with some outdoor seating available. Morale is higher than it was in spring, but the lack of a crystal ball is tough, Buchanan said. “To be honest, keeping our spirits up is a daily struggle because there is no certainty to any kind of economic security in the future of our industry,” he said. “All we can do is try to serve safely and make sure no one has a chance of spreading and catching this invisible monster.”

I take Pride in helping everyone.

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‘ERECTION YEAR’ wider as a result of the Ho Sho being broadcast, and as a result, they will be able to raise greater awareness for their charitable partnerships.”

Never-miss Ho Sho benefit goes virtual for Pride 2020 By Mike Fleming WHAT IS ATLANTA’S ONLY LIVE-SINGING, sketch-comedy drag troupe to do when a year of upheaval threatens their uproarious signature show? The Ho Sho took it as an opportunity. “These gals could have tossed their hands up, said ‘oh well,’ and chosen not to perform, but that’s not who they are,” said Ho Sho producer Dan Dunlop. “My hope is that the audience will be exponentially

Loyal fans of the annual show have come to expect high quality performances, raucous hilarity, topical themes and a bawdy blast. The once-a-year characters are ready to shine with virtual performances on Oct. 8, 9 and 10. A first hint to the Ho Sho vibe is this year’s title, Ho Sho: Erection Year. Drag names like Tilly Kummz and Georgia O’Kweefe offer another clue. Still, with performers from Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and a fulltime production company behind it, silly fun comes with a high entertainment value. “The show is worthy of a much wider audience, and maybe the pandemic opportunity to shift to a broadcast formatPHOTO couldBY beRUSS the thing that propels  BOWEN-YOUNGBLOOD theQatl.com 13

HO SHO continued them to a national audience,” Dunlop said. “Since the troupe only performs a few times a year, when they do have a show, it is well rehearsed and very memorable.” That includes a take on the pandemic and the election that “let’s just say… in a way that you’ll never see on Fox News,” the producer hinted. “Plus, after months of isolation, these girls are loaded with material like never before. And Jerry Falwell Jr., you’re not off the hook just yet!” This year, Ho Sho benefits Southern Fried Queer Pride, Atlanta’s popular Black, Southern QTPOC arts non-profit. The show’s commitment to giving back strikes a chord with Dunlop and the performers, he said. “I know many of these performers through the chorus and have an admiration not only for their musicianship and friendship, but I also have enormous respect for the labor of love that they put forth for various charity groups around the city,” Dunlop said. “Through the years, they have raised thousands of dollars for others, and it is a personal calling for me to be a part of that effort for this year’s show.” Even though it’s virtual, audiences can expect the best of what makes Ho Sho so memorable. The live-singing format, which is nearly unheard of in Atlanta

drag, provides an opportunity to customize lyrics for each act. There’s simply no other place to see in-the-moment “comedy set to live music and entirely born out of the wit and creativity of some very accomplished musicians,” Dunlop added. That’s not to say there won’t be changes and challenges in an online world. Previous years’ offerings relied on heavy audience interaction. Still, with Dunlop Productions behind the camera, there are some great surprises in store. “I don’t want to give too much away, but they have found another clever way to position the show this year and it is absolutely hilarious,” Dunlop promised. “The opening group number is so funny and so clever, and it just continues from there.” In short, buy tickets for the streaming Ho Sho and settle in for a great show nestled comfortably during a busy schedule of local LGBTQ events. “If anyone is looking for something fun and memorable to do on virtual Pride Week in Atlanta, this is a must do,” Dunlop said. “Even though we may not be ‘together,’ we are united in spirit and hearts. Stay strong, stay encouraging of one another, respect our differences and embrace our uniquenesses. Happy Pride!” Ho Sho: Erection Year takes place online Oct. 8, 9 and 10. Find tickets and more information at hoshoatlanta.com and dunlop-events.com.

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Bursting the


How LGBTQ people can help ourselves, lead others, in a divided world By Mike Fleming ACCORDING TO YOUR SOCIAL feed, you are so right so often that you must have the world by the tail. But with all the dissent that

you hear about later, there must be a kink in that system somewhere.

Amid the preaching to the choir and affirming feedback of our social networks, why are we as a society so sharply polarized? And more importantly, what can we do about it? How can we affect positive change if we are unwilling to even see opposing opinions, much less have an opportunity to discuss them? The 2020 election is a prime, if not at all lonely, example. How can a good solid half of your fellow Americans get something so wrong when you are so, so right so, so often? Are they that different from you? Surely they aren’t stupid, are they? Brainwashed? Are they just plain evil? Of course not. Maybe. Well, most of them. Probably. Now, choosing your friends based on beliefs, values and opinions isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s good and natural to 

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QUEER BUBBLE continued keep the support of like-minded people in your life. What may be new is how convenient it is to avoid dissenting opinions. The Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma may not surprise you, but it will definitely fill in the details of how everyone is fed their own, opposing, “facts” to fit their predilections with increasing accuracy.

BLOCK ‘EM & FORGET ‘EM? Hide a profile from your newsfeed and avoid conflict. Unfriend a person and forget them. Block them, and you can steer clear of them virtually forever. That kind of digital distance allows us to vilify detractors as “other” and build emotional walls against them — as well as their uncomfortable, irritating or even infuriating opinions. One nagging issue, though: Avoiding a problem doesn’t solve it. It perpetuates it. Over time, confronting issues is what works to effect change. Of course, the polarity goes far beyond politics. For LGBTQs, what’s political is also quite personal. Discrimination based on outdated opinions directly affects our lives. Dealing with it, or avoiding such, is even more personal, because it’s actually bad for us to avoid conflict and live in a vacuum. If you live in a bubble – and many of us do curate the real world as much as our social feeds — it’s jarring to realize that you’re not in the majority. Say you chose Midtown over living outside the I-285 Perimeter, or that you enjoy living exclusively on Atlanta’s blue island in the red sea state of Georgia. It hurts to realize that you don’t speak for everyone, or even for most people. When we’re self- protected from the views of outsiders, seeing everyone’s opinions as equal feels like oppression. Nobody wants that feeling. But psychiatrists say we need it.

BREAKING THE CYCLE Something wonderful happens when we try to see issues from someone else’s point of view. It irritates the senses, but it also allows us to figure out ways to communicate with those people. Even if it doesn’t work in the moment, even if we have to come at it 20 theQatl.com

from different angles next time, maybe, just maybe, we can finally reach them with an opposing thought. And — gasp — maybe they can gain access to our carefully constructed walls and change us too, for the better. Perhaps there’s a grain of truth that we can rescue from the bottom of their pile of opinions. We’ve all heard absolute power corrupts absolutely. The same is true in a world where we get everything we want. Life is ultimately about getting some of what you want and a lot of what you need. That way, you find balance, and both you and the world around you benefit. Yes, life is cozier in our little bubbles, but consider this: Engaging in the discomfort a bit at a time may be more effective, and it beats the hell out of the full-tilt culture shock when the reality of a polarized society slaps you. Bursting our bubbles may feel like a monumental task. That’s OK. Daunting is good, and due to our collective experience in the still-evolving LGBT rights struggle, our community may be uniquely suited to lead the way in reaching across the aisle to mend fences. Read the rest of this article, including 10 rules of engagement for conflict, at theQatl.com.

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Q Events The Best LGBTQ Things to Do in Atlanta This Week THURSDAY, OCT. 1

SATURDAY, OCT. 3 Cinequeer Drive-in Festival Southern Fried Queer Pride hosts their own night of shorts and narratives from all over the South honoring the work of BlTPOC. Masks required if leaving your car. Brings your snacks @ Moreland Ave. Shopping Center, 8 p.m. drive-in and park, 9 p.m. show. sfqp.info/cff20

Out on Film Atlanta’s annual LGBTQ fest continues with streaming movies online through Oct. 6). More than 80 titles include As I Am (photo). outonfilm.org

FRIDAY, OCT. 2 Happy Hour & Queer Bait East Atlanta’s gay bar is selling admission tickets in shifts for your safety. Some drinks are included in your entry fee @ Mary’s, 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. The Other Show Edie, Jaye and their cast of queens take it online for their left-of-center show @ Twitch and Facebook Live, 9 p.m. twitch.tv/ theothershow Pump The no-cover dance party boys love with masks and distancing required @ Heretic, 10 p.m. hereticatlanta.com

Fame A special drive-in event during Out on Film. View the classic on the big screen from the comfort of your car @ The Springs Cinema & Taphouse, 7:45 p.m. outonfilm.org

THURSDAY, OCT. 8 & FRIDAY, OCT. 9 The Ho Sho The only live-singing drag troupe in town do their once-a-year thing for Pride. In 2020, it’s online of course, it’s two nights of performances for charity, and it comes with an “Erection Year” theme. Read our preview in this issue of Q ATLus. hoshoatlanta.com theQatl.com 23

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Q Atlus Map

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Ponce De Leon Ave. NE

 Bars

 Restaurants North Ave. NW

North Ave. NW

 Clubs  Retail/Services

Not Shown

1. Amsterdam Cafe 502 Amsterdam Ave. NE

8. Flex 76 4th St NW

2. Blakes on the Park 227 10th St. NE

9. Henry’s Midtown Tavern 132 10th St NE

Mary’s 1287 Glenwood Ave SE

10. Joe’s on Juniper Ralph McGill Blvd. NE 1049 Juniper St NE

Sister Louisa’s 466 Edgewood Ave SE

4. Friends on Ponce 736 Ponce De Leon Ave NE 5. My Sister’s Room 84 12th St

11. Zocalo Mexican Kitchen & Cantina 187 10th St NE Highland Ave. NE

6. X Midtown 990 Piedmont Ave. NE

12. Barking Leather After Dark 306 Ponce De Leon Ave NE (inside Eagle)

7. Atlanta Eagle 306 Ponce De Leon Ave NE

13. Urban Body Fitness 500 Amsterdam Ave NE

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Future (Opens July 3) 50 Lower Alabama St SW, Suite 180 Glen Iris Dr. NE

3. Bulldogs Bar 893 Peachtree St NE


The T 465 Boulevard SE Swinging Richards 1400 Northside Dr NW Lips Drag Show Palace 3011 Buford Highway NE Lost ’n Found Youth Thift Store 2585 Chantilly Dr NE

Ponce De Leon Pl. NE

St. Charles Ave.

Ponce De Leon Pl. NE

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Charles Allen Dr. NE



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Piedmont Ave.

Spring St. NW


3 Juniper St. NE


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Cheshire Bridge Road 5. The Heretic 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road NE

9. Gravity Fitness 2201 Faulkner Rd NE

2. Tripp’s Bar 1931 Piedmont Circle NE

6. Las Margaritas 1842 Cheshire Bridge Road NE

10. Southern Nights 2205 Cheshire Bridge Road NE

3. Woof’s Sports Bar 494 Plasters Ave NE

7. Roxx Tavern 1824 Cheshire Bridge Road NE

11. Tokyo Valentino (Cheshire Bridge) 1739 Cheshire Bridge Road NE

4. BJ Rooster’s 2043 Cheshire Bridge Road NE

8. 2Qute Hair Salon 1927 Cheshire Bridge Road NE

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4. Oscar’s 1510 Piedmont Ave NE

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5. Barking Leather 1510 Piedmont Ave NE 6. Boy Next Door 1447 Piedmont Ave NE

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1. Felix’s on the Square 1510 Piedmont Ave NE

3. Midtown Moon 1510 Piedmont Ave NE



Ansley Park 2. The Hideaway 1544 Piedmont Ave NE



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Morningside Dr. NE

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1. Sequel Bar 1086 Alco St. NE


 Bars  Restaurants  Clubs  Retail/Services

7. Brushstrokes 1510 Piedmont Ave NE 8. Equilibrium Fitness 1529 Piedmont Ave NE

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PALS supports people in Atlanta who are elderly or who are living with or disabled due to a critical illness. We provide pet food and basic veterinary care for the pets of our clients, which enables them to keep their pets. You can support PALS by:

• Attending our monthly Drag •

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Queen Bingo fundraisers. Making PALS the beneficiary. of your Amazon Smile, Kroger Plus or Chewy.com accounts. Making a donation online. To learn more about PALS or to donate visit:


Q Advice

Sick of


Cheating, cybersex, and lies of omission are still… you guessed it… lies.


I didn’t plan it, but after breaking up with my ex a couple months ago, I started hooking up with his best friend. We’re having a good time, but we’re keeping it hush-hush for obvious reasons. We want to stay friends with my ex, but we’re afraid if he finds out, we could both lose him forever. He might think we were doing this all along, and I swear that’s not why I broke up with him. He’s a good person and doesn’t deserve the drama. What should we do? Dear Drama: So you’re sleeping with your ex’s bestie, and you’re hiding it to keep a lid on drama? No. It only lets the drama stew and saves you from dealing with it. The two of you can either decide that some temporary fun isn’t worth your friendships with your ex, or choose to give it a go for a possible future together. What you can’t do is to keep it quiet. Tell your ex before he finds out on his own, which he will. You might lose him, but that’s his call, not yours. You might also gain some personal integrity.


I’m in a monogamous relationship, but sometimes I randomly find myself downloading Grindr and chatting up strangers. My profile says I’m just interested in friends, but sometimes I exchange pics or let conversations

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go over the flirting line. Way over. As in, Facetime to completion. I would never cheat, but a friend says I’m already cheating. I say it’s just fantasy. Who’s right? Dear Cheating: It’s not what you’re doing. It’s how it makes you feel. On their own, hookup apps are innocuous. Trouble comes if you break your relationship agreements, wonder out loud about it with others, or keep secrets from your partner. You’ve done all three. Instead of airing your dirty laundry to friends, have an honest conversation with the only person who needs to know: your partner. Does your relationship agreement need adjusting? Would certain changes eliminate your urge for virtual sex? Does either of you mind if the other cruises Grindr? Solve those, and I won’t make you answer how you “randomly find yourself ” on Grindr. It’s probably not that you just woke up and Mr. Hyde had taken over your body. Q Advice is intended for entertainment, not professional counseling. Send your Qs to mike@theQatl.com. ILLUSTRATION BY BRAD GIBSON

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Profile for Q ATLus Magazine

Q ATLus Magazine | Oct. 1, 2020  

Bursting the LGBTQ bubble and reaching across the aisle, Atlanta gays in Edgewood Party District, Ho Sho 'Erection Year,' queer Atlanta even...

Q ATLus Magazine | Oct. 1, 2020  

Bursting the LGBTQ bubble and reaching across the aisle, Atlanta gays in Edgewood Party District, Ho Sho 'Erection Year,' queer Atlanta even...