Imagine a drag performer — dressed in leather, with sky-high stilettos so sharp they could pierce skin — taking the stage. And just when you expect her to lip-sync to Nicki Minaj's "Monster," she does a 180 and starts rolling on the floor to Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train."
That's the kind of night that awaits partygoers at Tvrnt, Bar Nancy's new queer party Wednesday, October 30 — the Devil's Night.
Oh, yes, get ready to yell, "Hail, Satan!" while an army of queer and gay-friendly acts take the stage to perform covers and original material, with most of them limited to a single song in order to keep the energy high. If you're expecting the usual diva covers that drag performers tend to gravitate to, this isn't that kind of party. Instead, think hard-rock anthems by the likes of Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie.
According to party promoter Gustavo Saenz, this was all done by design.
“We’ll do some hits,” Saenz says, “but we won’t be singing one of these new people that are just everywhere. Maybe we’ll do Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC, Nirvana, along with Azealia Banks' kind-of new stuff, but it’s mainly rock ’n' roll and having a wild, good time.”
Past Tvrnt parties brought inspired combinations such as local treasure Dang-Ho Yu Sickening's stirring rendition of Banks’ "Heavy Metal and Reflective." For this edition, performers will range from relatively new additions to the Miami drag scene, such as Madonovon and Jaidy, to legendary Miami queens like Shelley Novak, whose name has become synonymous with Miami Beach drag history. And, of course, the evening’s host will take the stage to perform AC/DC’s "Highway to Hell."
Tvrnt is organized by Saenz alongside Panther Cordts, a local nightlife fixture and cofounder of the Black Market at Las Rosas. The duo hopes to turn the party into a monthly occurrence.
The inspiration for Tvrnt lies in the two decades Saenz lived in New York City, where he founded the band Miss Michigan. (The group is the party's house band and will accompany the performers.)
But what most sets Tvnrt apart from other local queer events is its location. Saenz avoided party centers such as South Beach and Wynwood; as far as he’s aware, this Tvrnt party will be the first of its kind to take place in the heart of Little Havana.
“I had my choice of either doing something in Miami Beach — which is great, but they just don’t have the right-size venue over there — or Wynwood," Saenz explains. "I kind of felt like everybody does the same thing, so I wanted to kind of spread Miami out. It’s not only just Wynwood and Miami Beach. There are cool things cropping up on Eighth Street too."
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The timing was also intentional. Acknowledging that Halloween is something of a mixed bag between debauchery and family-friendly fun, Saenz opted to throw his party on Devil’s Night, October 30, to give adult revelers the opportunity for some pregame fun.
And from the sound of it, Tvrnt is shaping up to be precisely that: fun.
“I don’t think there’s anything more exciting than the combination of queer performers — their forte is making you watch them — with an amazing live band," Saenz says. "That energy is something that you really cannot compare to anything else. It is absolutely something that I just want to party to, and I know that I am not the only person who'd want to.”
Tvrnt. With Shelley Novak, Gus, Madonovon, Auntie Maim Noire, and Jaidy. 10 p.m. Wednesday, October 30, at Bar Nancy, 2007 SW Eighth St., Miami; 305-397-8971; nancy305.com. Admission is free.