In late June, near the corner of Clifton Place and Franklin Avenue in Bed-Stuy, two performers crossed the street in front of me. I took a photo and we exchanged contact information. “We’re going in here!” They displayed a colorful sign that read “C’Mon Everybody” and day after day the sight of it accompanied me as I walked home at night. Two weeks later, at a party on Fire Island, I connected with actor and drag artist Travis Battle, aka Ella Fartzgerald, who belongs to the POC Drag Art Collective. A few days later I learned that the collective was coming to my block for The Collection Bowl, a weekly event that raises funds for various organizations—that night it was for the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, the next week for the Caribbean Equality Project, and after that, tips will go to New Jersey organization TGNC Bridges 4 Life.
I caught up with Travis at a cafe on Bedford Avenue, where he offered an insight into the post-pandemic drag scene: “There’s been a shift to more ticketed events, trying to get people to support more cabaret-style shows. It’s been a challenge to keep getting people to come out and support. Before COVID it was stable because more people were going out and were happy with it. As a collective we realized that we cannot wait for people to come; we have to tell them exactly what to do. So a show like this has multiple purposes: it’s mainly about fundraising, but our mission is also to support artists, both performers and those working behind the scenes – we want to give them space to build what they are trying to represent. It’s nice to have this format where we can achieve anything. The series began in the city in [the club] Shut up. We thought it was going to be a Manhattan project, but we went down to C’Mon after a controversy erupted at the second place we were at, called The Q Club. This is now her perfect home.”
Eric Sosa, co-owner and director of programming at C’Mon, further commented, “Our goal at C’mon Everybody is to provide a platform for queer, POC and QTPOC artists to showcase their work. When Thee Suburbia approached me about The Collection Bowl, I immediately said yes. Giving back to the community is important to us and the purpose of The Collection Bowl, which is to give back to QTPOC community organizations, is in line with our mission.”
Thee Suburbia, the performance artist who founded the organization, exclaims, “I’m so excited and honored that C’Mon Everybody has welcomed us with open arms. Past events were very successful – we raised over $300 each time. We look forward to the next one and hope you’ll join us.”
The Collection Cuppresented by Thee Suburbia and The POC Drag Art Collective, takes place at C’Mon Everybody (325 Franklin Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn) on August 31st. Tickets are $5.