June is here, which means Pride Month is upon us!
The annual celebration always feels particularly special in New York state since this is where it all began: New York City’s legendary Stonewall riots kicked off a nationwide movement for gay liberation in 1969. Now, no matter which part of New York you call home, there is sure to be a Pride event happening near you.
Unfortunately, the fight we’re commemorating still isn’t over. Many legislators around the country have been threatening the rights of LGBTQIA+ communities in the last year, whether they’re trying to ban books, deny healthcare to trans kids, or ban drag performances. So even in 2023, celebrating, prioritizing and highlighting queer communities is more than just a nice thing to do — it’s vital to everyone’s continued freedom.
Let’s dive into one of our favorite ways to support queer artists while enjoying a rousing mix of theater, music, dancing, comedy and head-turning fashion. That’s right, we’re talking about drag shows.
Here in the Capital Region, drag can be found in all of the places you’d expect it to be, like gay bars and theaters, and even a few places you wouldn’t, like an Irish pub.
Get your dollar bills ready. Here’s our list of where to see drag in the Capital Region:
Merchants Hall is a multi-purpose event space used for private dining, theater, dancing, comedy, and more. The hall hosts drag and burlesque nights with quirky themes, like the recent “Twisted Disney” and “Broadway Brats” shows featuring local queens Anita Cocktail, Vera Wylde and more.
Every Wednesday brings hot, hilarious drag queens to the stage at Rocks Albany, a gay bar with an ever-growing roster of events. On top of their weekly drag night, you can often catch touring acts that stop by to perform and meet fans, including contestants of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Waterworks is a popular spot in Albany’s gay village where, on any given night, it’s easy to hear the bass of a hit pop song or the croon of a karaoke singer as you walk by. Drag finds its way into various events but is specially reserved for Wednesday nights when a rotating cast of queens host and perform.
Euphoria is a community hub owned and run by their welcoming team of transgender and gender non-conforming staff. The café dishes out delicious vegan, vegetarian, and pescetarian cuisine alongside lively events including open mics, game nights, and a family-friendly drag brunch every third Sunday of the month.
From “Mother’s Slay” to “Taste the Rainbow,” McAddy’s patrons are lucky enough to sip their pints in the company of fun, high-energy entertainment from Capital Region queens Philly Pina and Gemini Dabarbay. This Troy pub is well-known for their spacious patio, live events and frequent drag brunches.
Time Out recently highlighted Saratoga as one of the best small towns for LGBTQ+ people, and it’s easy to see why. Saratoga Pride hosts a variety of queer-friendly events that make space for all ages, from book and garden clubs to softball games and bike festivals. Find your favorite drag queens hosting bingo at Putnam Place, telling stories at the library, or putting on dinner and a show as the iconic Joan Rivers.
Every month, the “tropical comfort food” hotspot Lil Deb’s Oasis hosts a night of dancing, music, and captivating performances by the queer community of Hudson. The event is a beautiful mashup of many mediums, from poetry to comedy, but usually includes some thrilling, in-your-face drag too. Locations and performers vary (the most recent QNOP took place in a repurposed church), so find updates on the restaurant’s Instagram.