ALBEMARLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – “Tiffany’s at the Boardroom” has made a name for itself for doing things differently.
The bar in downtown Albemarle has been the site of weddings, baby showers, and celebrations of life, along with concerts, comedy shows, and 18-and-over burlesque shows.
The bar will host what is believed to be Albemarle’s first-ever drag show this weekend.
“In 17 hours, I sold out two shows,” said owner Tiffany Dahle. “Nobody’s ever done that in Stanly County, for anything.”
Dahle said the inspiration for doing the shows came from a conversation among friends, who noted that they were traveling to shows featuring drag queens in Charlotte and noted the popularity. Dahle started doing them here and has worked with an entertainment company to facilitate the presentations.
However, the decision has met with pushback.
“Some of the local religious groups weren’t happy about that. I grew up around here; I expected that,” Dahle said. “And then I met the Proud Boys.”
Dahle said since the shows were announced in July, a regional Proud Boys group has been making their opinion known.
The Proud Boys are classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Members of the Proud Boys were part of the events of January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and are known, among other things, to be anti-LGBT.
Some opposition was felt this week at an Albemarle City Council meeting.
Men dressed in clothing associated with the Proud Boys were among those in attendance.
“I’m not saying that a bunch of consenting adults shouldn’t be able to indulge in their preferred type of medium,” noted one person. “I’m stating that children should have no place around it.”
“The behavior is very lewd behavior,” said a pastor.
“(One of the men) was quoting things about sodomy and masturbation,” said Dahle of that meeting. “He’s obviously never been to a drag show. He’s obviously not done any research on what exactly happens here.”
Drag shows are usually known to cater to whatever specific audience they are a part of and have become part of popular culture.
Businesses, particularly restaurants and bars, have used the shows to get more people in their doors to help business.
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Drag queens and drag kings have made appearances at events such as ‘story hours,’ along with other family-friendly events, which have become controversial among some parent and religious groups. Despite a lack of evidence, those claim that the practice amounts to ‘grooming’ or ‘pedophilia’ for allowing children to attend.
There are also 18-and-over drag shows, which may feature more adult humor, but are done in appropriate arenas.
By and large, drag shows feature performers singing, lip-syncing to music, or performing a routine in the illusion of the opposite sex.
The people appealing to Albemarle city leader this week urged them to pass a similar measure to what Monroe did last week, which discouraged a drag event that was happening there.
Albemarle’s city council did not even consider it.
Dahle, however, noted the show did have to make a change because of the controversy.
“I was bullied into making it an ’18 and up’ show, and that is the truth. I never marketed it to children,” said Dahle.
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Despite the change, Dahle said that had not stopped messages and threats of a demonstration outside her doors.
However, she said around 80% of the messages she has received have been in support of her and of something she says Albemarle needs.
“They want real entertainment; they want arts; they want unique stuff. They want diversity and inclusiveness.”