One thing becoming more apparent in queer communities is the importance of productions that center inclusivity for BIPOC and AAPI identities. That devotion to the local community becomes an example of intentionality for artists wanting to create these spaces, especially when also focusing on the safety of queer and trans individuals. The drag and performance event Azn Glo, produced by local drag performer Kylie Mooncakes, came to life with this exact idea in mind. The recurring event happens about once a month and serves the “QUEER + TRANS + ASIAN + BIPOC community ... to center their joy,” as stated on the event’s social media page.
Azn Glo is held at Neumos, a Capitol Hill venue that regularly hosts a slew of bands and artists spanning across genres, with a main floor that also transforms into a space for dancing. The stage is elevated for easy viewing, allowing performers to connect with patrons throughout the night.
The latest Azn Glo event, held on Saturday, Jan. 20, was slated to officially begin around 11 p.m., with Tito Vida, a Brooklyn-based creative, spinning club music in the hours preceding, amping up the patrons’ energy before performers took center stage. Lately, productions in Seattle have been urging attendees to follow COVID-19 safety protocols as infections within the country have been on the rise, and Azn Glo recommends masking to be respectful of one another. At least half of the crowd in the early hours were masked.
To build up excitement, go-go dancers Peach, Raziel and Viper showed off their moves. They began the trend of collecting tips from the crowd, which at the end of the show are equally distributed among the performers. Behind the dancers was a screen with reminders to tip and be courteous toward one another.
At the start of the event, attendees were welcomed by none other than Kylie Mooncakes. Dazzling the crowd, she strutted and swung her way across the stage, met with exuberant cheers that at times overpowered the bass of the music. She was one of the many performers slated for the event who identify with the AAPI and BIPOC communities. Other local drag performers like Dutchess Drew Nightshade and Rubi Venus joined afterwards. The performances finished off with a special treat from San Francisco performer Obsidienne Obsurd, who busted out a violin to accompany their aquatic-themed performance.
Mooncakes’ decisions on which performers to include are based on the importance of connecting with others. “I’m just so lucky to know cool people,” Mooncakes said, “because all of them so far — like all of the artists that have made the posters — are people that I already knew and I loved their art.” She said getting performers for her events felt effortless due to the abundance of independent talent within the city. Regarding out-of-town performers, Mooncakes said, “I’m so lucky to have known them through social media and have bonded over our love of each other’s drag. All those relationships were developed organically, so it’s actually an honor to be able to [invite them].”
Observing the crowd throughout the night, it was easy to see how relaxed everyone seemed. Mooncakes’ intention of inclusivity also offers visibility and moments of possibility for anyone going through their own identity journeys. “Just the impact I’ve seen on people, like walking into someone on the street and then them expressing how that one night [at Azn Glo] had a positive impact on their life and their trajectory,” Mooncakes said. “One person told me, after the first Azn Glo they went to, [that] was when they realized they were trans. It’s that impact on the community that becomes tangible.”
As performances began to wind down, it made way for the DJ set to continue. Patrons danced the night away with one another. From the stage, the performers began to mingle with the crowd, an appealing levelling that allowed the two parties to connect with one another. It became one of those finer moments where events like this feel intimate, the type of production that people within Seattle can often look forward to.
To learn about the next Azn Glo event, check out @azngloparty on Instagram.
JayAre Orlando is a freelance writer currently attending the University of Washington as an English major. Their writing tends to focus on queer joy, identity and how that is in relation to the world.
Read more of the Feb. 7–13, 2024 issue.