Drag entertainers always a hit at Diversity Weekends
by Robin Dorner
Editor in Chief
For two years, Jay Wilks has been the executive director of Out in Eureka, the organization responsible for planning and implementing three Diversity Weekends a year.
“I accepted the position when no one else would,” said Wilks. “It’s aged me 50 years in less than three!”
But Wilks has many fond memories of the Diversity Weekends he has organized.
“I love seeing people stopping Drag Queens on the street for selfies or group photos,” he said. “Everyone in Eureka Springs is already getting excited about Summer Diversity and welcoming everyone to town.”
He lengthened his favorites list by saying, “Some of the best things I have seen at Diversity Weekends are people meeting new friends, the outstanding entertainment, the Families who bring their Children to the park and dance or go to Drag Queen bingo.”
Drag Entertainer Gizele Monáe said she has always had an amazing reception at Diversity Weekend.
“My first time there was Summer Diversity 2017,” said the queen. “From my understanding, it was the first time drag had been incorporated into the events outside of drag bars there. It was so well received that had us back and from that following Fall Diversity 2017, and I’ve been headlining Diversity drag ever since.
Although Monáe has had many other opportunities come her way the same weekends as Diversity, she has turned them down because she wanted to be at Diversity Weekend.
“I feel very appreciated when I got there, and they make me feel that all the effort I put into my aesthetic is worthwhile.”
New for Summer Diversity is the showing of the Gospel of Eureka, a documentary where the spotlight is beaming on drag shows and a religious Passion Play in a small Arkansas town.
Jimmy James returns to Eureka Springs, Arkansas by popular demand with an all New Award-Winning Multimedia Show; Divas Are Forever!
The Award-Winning entertainer, singer and voice impressionist is also a Billboard chart-topping
Recording artist and songwriter. His song Fashionista has over 35 million views on YouTube from fan-made videos across the world.
Divas Are Forever! is the show that won him The Manhattan Association of Cabaret Performers (M.A.C.) Award in New York City. This production became one of his most popular shows ever in his 36-year long career.
“Jimmy James kicking off his new show,” said Wilks. “That and the music in the park are going to be hot shows that no one wants to miss out on.”
Wilks said new walking, hiking, and bike trails have opened in the area at Lake Leatherwood and Black Bass Lake. “Everyone can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Eureka Springs and the area.”
Also remember, “Diversity” wristband shopping discounts will be available for $5.00. Many local businesses will offer discounts to those who have purchased an Out In Eureka wristband.
Lodging Discounts will be available; a full list is on the Out in Eureka Facebook page.
SUMMER DIVERSITY WEEKEND SCHEDULE
Friday, August 2
Diversity Meet and Greet at Brews. Open to all ages. 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
8 p.m. - Eureka Springs Premier of The Gospel of Eureka at The AUD at 35 South Main. The film will be followed by a Q/A with the filmmakers and others in the documentary.
This event is Free. Seating on a first come basis. SPONSORED by PBS/POV Community Network, City of Eureka Springs, Eureka Springs Human Rights Flim Fest, Eureka Springs Art Council and Out in Eureka.
There will be live music and shows at various venues around downtown throughout the weekend.
Saturday, August 3
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Free event. Diversity in the Park. There will be vendors with a variety of products, organizations, (Mom with Hugs), live music, including Johai Kafa and The Fossils of Ancient Robots, a Drag Show and guest speakers. Open to all ages. Family friendly fun.
12:30 p.m. - PDA in the Park. It’s a public display of affection! A Diversity Weekend favorite.
3 p.m. - The Eureka Springs Transgender Collective will offer an educational program "Trans 101" at the Eureka Springs Library Annex. Free and open to all ages.
5:30 to 7:30 p.m. - Drag Queen Bingo at Brews. Hosted by Gizele Monáe. Free, open to all ages. Prizes for bingo winners!
8:30 p.m. Jimmy James, Weekend Headliner (back by popular demand). James is returning to Eureka Springs to launch his new Award-Winning Multimedia show and tour. At The AUD. 35 South Main. Tickets start at $25.00. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
After the Jimmy James show, Saturday evening - Drag Shows at Upstairs at the Grotto, Eureka Live Underground and Live music at various venues.
Copyright The Gayly. 7/15/2019 @10:33 a.m. CST.