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Looking Back At Miami’s First Controversial Wynwood Pride

EVENTS | PRIDE

Looking Back At Miami’s First Controversial Wynwood Pride

In 2019, Miami’s first Wynwood Pride split local talent into two opposing camps. In 2020, the festival is back in digital form.

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In 2020 Miami-based Wynwood Pride came back for its second year, but this time, virtually. While local artists comprised the bulk of last year’s 3-day lineup, heavyweights such as Pabllo Vittar, Ivy Queen, and Poppy were each day’s respective headliners. The festival split the local talent into different camps: local drag artists Yoko Oso and Kunst called on people to boycott the festival organized by local for-profit company SWARM, criticizing them for using the Pride label for “what essentially is, a Gay Pop Music Festival,” while also enlisting AT&T as one of the event’s biggest sponsors – AT&T reportedly donated $2.7 million to 193 anti-gay politicians in 2017 and 2018.

Queef Latina, the organizer of South Florida’s biggest queer performance festival Wigwood, found herself caught in the middle. In one of her Instagram posts she called for peace:

“At times we get so caught up in the politics and drama that we forget that we should not be fighting fellow queers, but should be channelling those efforts to fight the real oppressors.”

Karla Croqueta (right) with their partner Jonny

Karla Croqueta, another drag staple of Miami who doubled as an MC during the second day of the festival, said she was grateful that she was able to participate and pay her bills,

“You should care about it [representation of the LGBTQIA+ community], but be wise about how you represent it… I had 4 cameras and a drone floating in front of me, with two giant screens the size of buildings bigger than I’ve lived in, with my face planted on them, with my message about queer representation and trans representation being spewed out to 5,000 people that were in front of me. I just feel like, get on a bigger soap box.”

This year, on June 13, Wynwood collaborated with a nonprofit, PLUS1, to benefit The Bail Project, Impact Justice, Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, Contigo Fund, and Equal Justice Initiative, raising $18,796 in total.

Wynwood Pride is back this coming weekend (June 26 – 27) to their Twitch channel in hopes of raising more funds for the above mentioned organizations. This is a chance to get familiar with local superstars like Kat Wilderness, Morphine Love, Sensitive Black Hottie, Vex The Thing, Opal Am Rah, Mami Issues, Aeon Hues and FKA Twink. Big Freedia and Orville Peck are still listed as headliners, while Kali Uchis, and Sofi Tukker will be missed this time around. Check out the event’s set list HERE.

FULL COVERAGE

Wynwood Pride Day 1

With Pabllo Vittar, Aja, Carmen Carrera, Dorian Electra & more

Wynwood Pride Day 2

With Ivy Queen, Aurora Whorealis, Petty Boop, Gami, Patent Pending & more

Wynwood Pride Day 3

With Poppy, Khasamarina, Khasamartini, Chiyna Sparks & more

Alexey Kim

Founder

Categories
Nightlife Timeline

Miami’s Legendary Counter Corner Party Celebrates 5 Years

NIGHTLIFE


Miami’s Counter Corner Party That Has Changed The Landscape Of The City’s Queer Nightlife Is Turning 5

Counter Corner, a monthly Miami drag party that has achieved legendary status in the queer nightlife scene, is celebrating its fifth year anniversary this Sunday.

Lady Paraiso with Chaplin Tyler, Jae Bucci and Chloe Martini

Five years ago, Miami was a very different place for Queers, there were no spaces for us. A friend and co-worker Kesiah and I decided to change that and approached Juleisy y Karla to help flesh out a space where everyone could feel comfortable in their own skin. The goal was to create a space for Queer people who might not have felt comfortable or welcome in Miami’s traditional gay scene,” says Sleeper, who is one of the founders of the party held at The Corner bar

Counter Corner has served as a platform for many talented performers who have since achieved a sort of celebrity status in the local queer community. Queef Latina, the organizer of Wigwood festival – a Miami equivalent to Bushwig – and the winner of Miami New Times Best Drag Performer of 2019, is one of them. She cites Counter Corner as the birthplace of her humble beginnings as a drag performer.

Karla Croqueta, the winner of Miami’s Ultimate Drag Queen 2019 and one of the party’s originators, still hosts the event and also acts as Sleeper’s only co-producer.

The Corner welcomed us with open arms and not only provided us with a venue but also the freedom to curate and express ourselves on our terms. In a time where a lot of us felt undesired or unwelcome, it was such a treasure to have found a place that embraced us. Five years later a lot has changed but our purpose remains the same. We work to not only create a safe space for everyone, but to provide a curated full range survey of Drag in Miami. We hold space for alternative forms of Drag and Performance. We want our guests to live and express themselves without prejudice. We are here for the locals,” Sleeper goes on about his party.

Karla Croqueta seeking refuge from the heat

Comrade Kunst enjoying a smoke before going on stage

When my cab first pulled up to The Corner bar, Lady Paraiso – one of the local drag performers – was about to jump onstage. She was HIM, while three local transgender women – Chaplin Tyler, Jae Bucci and Chloe Martini – were The Powerpuff Girls. In the middle of the performance Paraiso takes off lobster claws to reveal her ectrodactyly to the roaring crowd. At the end of the performance she takes out a confetti cannon and defeats the Powerpuffs with a sparkly blast. Being known for her conceptual showings, Lady Paraiso “spares no expense” when it comes to her numbers. Sitting on a sidewalk and posing for photos with the Powerpuffs behind her, Paraiso quips out several quotes from the cartoon, then follows it up with laughter: “I don’t want to stop, I practiced this for way too long!

Sleeper is right – I recognized many of the local talent either performing or simply hanging out that night. Persephone Von Lips was in boy drag, glued to the palm print-stained glass of the bar, during the performance of Miami drag king Julian the Buttler. Opulence With 6 Es was drinking what looked like a Manhattan on the curb. Juanita LaBanjee was in full drag, even though she wasn’t performing that night, while Kunst was smoking a cigarette before going on stage.

That vibe was the core energy of the night – nothing was too serious, just a bunch of friends hanging out at a corner bar, occasionally getting onstage and slaying the shit out of it.

Wishing Counter Corner many more years to come.

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Alexey Kim

Founder