BuzzBrews Kitchen’s Lakewood location in Dallas hosted an “all-ages” drag show that prompted a protest from Protect Texas Kids (PTK) and a counter-protest by alleged members of the Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club (EFJBGC).
The sides met in opposition outside the establishment Saturday as people entered the event.
This is not the first time the two groups have faced off outside an all-ages drag show; they traded words at a previous event held at the Texas Trust CU Theatre Grand Prairie.
The Dallas Express was on hand to cover the protest, which brought out uniformed and undercover officers from the Dallas Police Department to help keep the peace.
“We are out here today because this venue has been doing kid-friendly shows for the last several Saturdays, and we’re not okay with that, so we wanted to do a protest,” said Kelly Neidert, PTK’s executive director, speaking with The Dallas Express.
Neidert said that the venue has been hosting all-ages drag show events every Saturday, possibly since May of last year.
“I called to ask them if they’re allowing children, and they told me that they are. They said some Saturdays they don’t sell enough tickets to have a show, but when they do have a show, kids are welcome to go,” Neidert said.
Notable attendees and supporters of the drag show event included two members of the Dallas City Council and one Texas state representative: State Rep. Venton Jones (D-Dallas) attended, along with Jesse Moreno of District 2 and Paul Ridley of District 14.
When asked for comment about the event, Ridley said he would not speak to The Dallas Express.
Video footage of the drag show and council members Moreno and Ridley addressing people inside the venue surfaced on Twitter.
“We need to teach those folks in our rural counties and other parts of the city that they too can be Dallas,” Moreno told attendees.
The Dallas Express reached out to both Moreno and Ridley for comment, but they did not respond by press time.
Two children were in attendance at the drag show, accompanied by their mother, who said about the vulgar language used in the show, “They hear that at home, so it ain’t no different.”
An official with the Dallas County Democratic Party (DCDP) also attended and spoke to The Dallas Express.
“I don’t understand. I mean nothing happened in there. The performers made it clear up front, this is not a children’s show, there’s going to be cussing, and there’s going to be, you know, stuff,” said Bonnie Mathias, community activist and elections team director for DCDP.
“I mean, there’s no erotic behavior. It’s fun. It’s like going to a Halloween party, too, and everybody being themselves, that’s what life is about really,” Mathias said.
“It’s about just being yourself and if this is a great side hobby for somebody, thank you! Because you’re entertaining me and making people smile.”
Some local residents also spoke to The Dallas Express and voiced their opinions on the event.
“I think it’s good that they’re out here counter-protesting that nonsense over there,” said Parker Arnspiger, logging his opposition to PTK.
Another resident told The Dallas Express that it was inappropriate for kids to attend drag shows.
“I really think that kids don’t belong in drag shows, that’s just my opinion. I think parents that think there’s a drag show that’s kid-friendly are maybe not very good parents,” said Mike Berry.
As previously reported in The Dallas Express, State Rep. Matt Shaheen, who represents parts of Plano and far North Dallas, has filed a bill stipulating that “a nightclub, bar, restaurant, or other commercial enterprise that provides for an audience of two or more individuals a drag performance” is to be considered a “sexually oriented business.”
If the bill passes, it would effectively make it illegal for drag shows to allow people under the age of 18 to attend, per preexisting Texas law.