| Culture |

What a Drag: Shelley Novak's South Beach Street Brawl Ends with Police

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

South Beach's legendary queen of drag, Shelley Novak, is normally full of sassy one-liners and puns about penis size. But she has a straight face when explaining, "It was like Friday the 13th. He came running up my stairs, chasing after me with wild, crazy eyes."

She's reliving the moment before she called police to report an alleged assault last week. Her contention: A gay man named Zachary Cerre hit her face and smashed his fist though the window of her apartment on West Avenue.

Cerre has not been charged with a crime. He swears the man in a wig is making it all up. "She's a washed-up old queen who just wants attention," he says. "Everything she told cops is a lie."

In the late '90s, Shelley Novak -- whose real name is Tommy Strangie -- was a South Beach celebrity. She shared VIP rooms with Madonna and once threw up on Ricky Martin's shoes. Most of that boozy glamour came to a halt after Gianni Versace was shot dead outside his Ocean Drive mansion in 1997.

This past October 6, Shelley went to an animal rights fundraiser at Halo Lounge on Michigan Avenue. She had a few drinks and posed for some photos. One of the shots was with friend and fellow drag queen Adora, who wears enough makeup for a small family of clowns. Afterward, Shelley walked a few blocks home.

Then her phone rang. Adora was looking for her digital camera. Shelley checked the pocket of her fur coat and realized she had accidentally taken it home. She invited her pal to come get it.

Zachary Cerre came too. He had also been at the club and was missing an expensive cell phone. He believed Shelley had snatched it, so he banged on her door and demanded she hand it over.

Shelley came outside in her underwear, high heels, and a hair net, and the two began screaming at each other in the street. Customers leaving the nearby Quarterdeck Restaurant stopped to watch the weirdness. Cerre claims Shelley called him the N-word and shattered her own window by slamming the door. Shelly claims he left her with a swollen and bloody face.

Miami Beach Police didn't respond to Riptide's several requests to view the police report. But an officer familiar with the case, who did not want to be named, summed it up like this: "There was a circular break in her window. It was consistent with a fist or an object."

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.