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Arts & Culture

Canceled drag show back on schedule at Belly Up Tavern

After the Disney-themed benefit drag show at the Belly Up Tavern in North County was canceled at the last minute in March because of an online threat, organizers said they immediately planned to reschedule the show.

“That was just really heavy on our hearts just to cancel it. We wanted to make sure that our community had a day to celebrate,” said Roxanne Deatherage, director of Pride by the Beach.

The drag show, rescheduled for May 23, is a fundraiser for the North County Pride festival, hosted by the North County LGBTQ Resource Center.


Deatherage said the threat wasn't against the show or any of the performers. It was made against someone attending the show.

“It was an unfortunate set of circumstances. It wasn't about just the drag queens," she said. "We are very thankful that our North County community is very welcoming.”

This is the fourth time the Pride festival has hosted the show, which has gone on without issues in the past. Deatherage recognizes that the recent political climate has made drag shows a target.

“I think they're using drag as their agenda, just against the whole LGBTQ community in general," Deatherage said. "And this is just their focus right now. And they're using it as a hate tactic to put whatever their thoughts and their beliefs onto our community, which is not true.”

Republican lawmakers want to restrict or criminalize drag shows with new bills in at least nine states this year.


The drag show was originally scheduled for March 28. Deatherage said the new date, May 23, was the earliest all the original performers were available.

The Belly Up has hosted the event since the beginning.

“We're definitely supporters of the LGBTQ community, and I believe that they, as anybody, should have a place to express their arts,” said Beth Bennett, the Belly Up special events director.

She said the audience can expect a good show.

"They can expect to see a lot of music and dancing and some comedy and just have an upbeat good time,” Bennett said.

About 400 to 500 people are expected at the show. Previous year's shows have raised more than $10,000 for Pride by the Beach.

The fourth annual Drag Takeover Disney Edition show starts at 8 p.m. May 23. General admission tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Reserved loft seatings are available.

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