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Arlington drag show goes awry, performer issues apology
May 16, 2023, 3:18 PM | Updated: May 17, 2023, 9:39 pm
(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
An all-ages drag show on Mother’s Day at the Arlington restaurant and bar ReMyx’d became the center of controversy after footage emerged of some performers using a pole, wearing stripper heels, and gyrating sexually on the floor during several dance routines with children in attendance.
Promotional flyers for the event described it as an “all-ages” show, but also featured $12 bottomless mimosas.
Andy Ngô, the editor-at-large of the Canadian news outlet The Post Millennial, captured the controversial show and posted it on Twitter.
Breaking: Video of a Mother's Day "all ages" drag show in Arlington, Wash. has emerged. A performer gyrates in front of children at the ReMyx’d bar. Read my report about this incident & where it fits in the larger controversies over children's drag events.https://t.co/ZhV8l7eUba
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) May 15, 2023
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“If this was my bar, I would be embarrassed to put this on in front of children. This isn’t like drag queens reading books about queens and drag and whatnot. You have a pole there in the bar,” KIRO Newsradio host Jack Stine said.
“It is clearly adult in nature,” KIRO Newsradio host Spike O’Neill added. “It’s more burlesque, I think, than drag, right? But like we’ve said many times, there was a spectrum of drag and this was on the 18+ end of the spectrum.”
ReMyx’d, which also recently hosted an adult-themed “Naughty Bingo” event, has yet to respond to The Post Millenial’s request for comment if the show was vetted for age appropriateness and safeguarding.
But Quintessa Touche, a drag performer involved in organizing the Mother’s Day performance, reached out to both Spike and Stine to apologize for what occurred.
“I wish it didn’t happen. It happened,” Touche told KIRO Newsradio. “That performer is not a terrible person, they just didn’t understand the context that they were putting out at that particular time was not appropriate for that event. We brought in performers of all ages, and sometimes, I guess performers don’t grasp the gravity of their performances. No intent to be negligent, but we’re not a strip club, and it can be used as fuel against the community. That performer is a great performer.
“I just wanted to get ahead of it and strictly apologize,” Touche continued. “I take full blame for that happening.”
Drag shows, including drag queen story time, have been the target of hate crimes in the region, including a Renton bar, The Brewmaster’s Taproom, which was shot at in protest of hosting a drag queen event. Gay rights activists quickly turned out in support in response to the incident.
“One of the things that I find shocking though is the attempt to try to get drag shows shut down in their entirety,” Stine said. “As someone who’s as close as you can get to a free speech absolutist, I find that to be unbelievably disturbing. So I do feel for you in so many ways where you have this art that you cherish and that you have worked on for years, if not decades, and then you have someone coming out of nowhere filming you and then making it seem as if its this perverted or perverse action when it’s not.”
As the 2023 legislative session began earlier this year, Republican legislators introduced numerous bills taking aim at drag events in 14 states — including banning children from drag performances, banning the performances in public venues, or register said performances as “adult-oriented businesses,” according to The Washington Post.
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Touche stated the negative headlines and news focusing on drag shows damage the community, while coverage often ignores the goodwill, fundraising, and positive communal aspects the shows can achieve.
“I apologize for the content we produced. There is a brunch show at the ReMyx’d every Saturday, please come and see what really happens at the shows in a safe space and safe environment,” Touche said. “Like I said, we’ll work on correcting and educating all performers about appropriate content.”
Touche and the restaurant’s owner told KIRO Newsradio they are setting more ground rules for drag performers from here on out.