At the end of 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 are going in here!” They pointed to a colorful sign that read “C’Mon Everybody” and day after day the sight of it accompanied me as I went home at night. Two weeks later, at a party on Fire Island, I connected with actor and drag artist Travis Battle, a.k.a. 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 different organizations — that night it was for the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, the following week for the Caribbean Equality Project, and after that the tips will go to New Jersey organization TGNC Bridges 4 Life.
I met Travis at a coffee shop on Bedford Avenue, where he offered 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 drag shows. It’s been a challenge to continue to get folks to come out and support. Before COVID it was sustainable because more people were going out and were comfortable with it. As a collective we realized we can’t just wait for people to come; we have to tell them exactly what they need to do. So, a show like this has multiple purposes: it is foremost about fundraising, but our mission is also to support the artists, both the performers and those who work behind the scenes — we want to give them space to build up what they are trying to represent. It’s nice to have this format where we can accomplish everything. The series started in the city at [the club] Hush. We thought it would be a Manhattan project, but we landed at C’Mon after a controversy erupted at the second venue we were at, called The Q Club. This is now its perfect home.”
Eric Sosa, co-owner & 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 Collection Bowl’s purpose, which is to give back to QTPOC community organizations, is aligned with our own mission.”
Thee Suburbia, the performance artist who founded the organization, chimes in: “I am so thrilled and honored that C’Mon Everybody has welcomed us with open arms. The past events were very successful — we raised over 300 dollars each time. We can’t wait for the next one and we hope you’ll join us.”
The Collection Bowl, presented by Thee Suburbia and The POC Drag Art Collective, takes place at C’Mon Everybody (325 Franklin Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn) on August 31. Tickets are $5.