As fires continue to ravage the Amazon rainforest and Arctic ice sheets melt at unforeseen rates, the prognosis looks grim for what rising oceans would do to a seaside city such as Miami. And rising oceans aren't the Magic City's only environmental concern: Beaches around the state this summer have issued health advisories for high levels of bacteria in the water, exacerbated by an increase in algal blooms.
Oceans, in many ways, are the sustaining life force for communities around the globe, and that couldn’t be truer than in South Florida. But environmental consciousness can be hard to come by for residents struggling with more immediate threats like skyrocketing costs of living, making for an even bleaker outlook. Longtime local drag fixture Adora is tackling this problem head-on and sounding the alarm for all Miamians: Her new monthly party, Adora’s Den, stands at the intersection of queer nightlife and environmental awareness.
The inaugural Adora’s Den will happen this Friday, August 30, at Wynwood's Art Galori. Fittingly, the party's theme will be “Under the Sea.” Created in part by the prolific queer event producer Sleeper, Adora’s Den is designed primarily as a party with a substantive message.
“The main thing we wanted was to get a group of cool, friendly people together and have a good time,” Adora says. In addition to tunes provided by her (“I wanted to have good music; that's why I'm the DJ!”), the event will include appearances by local drag performers C.C. Glitzer and New Times' 2019 Best of Miami winner Queef Latina, as well as video projections from MonicaTronica of the TM Sisters and local artists' and artisans' creations made entirely from repurposed or recycled materials.
The timing for the first Adora’s Den party couldn’t be more opportune: summer is considered the slow season for event planning in Miami, so the organizers believe it’s the best time to learn by trial-and-error and grow the event before other editions follow in the fall, winter, and spring.
“We get to see what works and what doesn't,” Art Galori owner Ori Gal says, “but I believe that if you have an experiential event that has some kind of gentle message for awareness (and not a down-your-throat message), then it's something that will catch on and be.” The party planners’ next order of business is to find eco-conscious sponsors that will allow future parties to be more accessible to guests.
Many of the parties that Sleeper co-produces, such as Counter Corner and Gender Blender, often partner with nonprofits that aim to enact political change. Adora’s Den, then, is “an opportunity for queer people to get together and think about the world at large and not just their personal rights,” Sleeper says. “This is a good opportunity because a lot of the events that are queer do touch base with nonprofits and political issues — just not necessarily environmental issues.”
Sleeper also notes the well-documented disconnect between South Beach’s gay scene and the developing queer scene on the mainland. The event producer views Adora’s Den as a symbolic union of these disjointed factions with the help of an established South Beach drag icon: “It just seems logical to bridge these scenes for a greater cause."
Art Galori's Gal echoes that sentiment. “I built this gallery for one main reason, and that's to bridge the disconnects between different bubbles of people.” Gal wanted to create a few monthly events that would speak to Art Galori’s mission and uplift local creatives who often can’t find space elsewhere. “The whole idea is to support creativity and love — which are dying foundations of our society — but nobody wants to actually sacrifice anything to rebuild,” he adds, which is why he also chose to remove the financial stipulations that often come with partnerships between galleries and artists. It was for this reason that Gal reached out to Adora to collaborate on an event series and has worked patiently with her to plan every detail of the event, down to the sustainable choices of nonplastic drinkware.
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Despite the urgency in Adora’s push for environmental consciousness among Miamians, Adora, Sleeper, and Gal all agree an aggressive approach to educating guests would be less effective than modeling sustainable behavior such as ditching plastic products and providing recycling bins at the party.
“I don't want to say they’re stupid or that they're killing us; I just want to tell them that there's a better way,” Adora says of prospective attendees. Sleeper believes that “by having them in this space, in a social setting, the conversations will just naturally flow into these topics” and that “it’ll create more of a mental change in people's daily lives.”
The ultimate objective of the party, Sleeper says, is for guests to “fall in love with the ocean and see the beauty of these things so that they’re inspired to make a difference themselves — not just out of the burden of reality, but from seeing the beauty they’re surrounded by and wanting to be better.”
Adora’s Den. 10 p.m. Friday, August 30, at Art Galori, 164 NW 20th St., Miami; artgalori.com. Admission costs $10 at the door.