Drag Queen Sydni Hampton to host ‘Reely Queer’ movie night at Play Louisville

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by Spencer Jenkins
Founder, Executive Director
spencer@queerkentucky.com

The Birdcage. An iconic Queer movie from the 90s. Probably one of the first LGBTQ+ related films I watched with my family and how I was introduced to feather boa draped drag queens and gender bending bears and otters. Little did I know the film foreshadowed my own life.

Recently, I discussed the iconic Robin Williams and Nathan Lane film on the Reely Queer podcast. Reely Queer, hosted and created by Louisville-based drag queen Sydni Hampton, is an LGBTQ+ podcast featuring discussions of the queer themes, tropes and characterizations of the most beloved films. From masterpieces to cringe guilty pleasures.

Usually, the podcast consists of discussions based around horror movies. Because let’s be real, no one loves a good camp slasher film like the gays. From Scream, Carrie and Girls Will be Girls to the Birdcage and soon to be discussed, “But I’m a Cheerleader,” Hampton covers it all with intellect and critical analysis. They also almost always have new guests each episode including Kentucky based drag queens, Gilda Wabbit and Eris Jolie.

There are VERY few Kentucky themed podcasts that discuss Queer culture in depth. We have the ultimate and untouchable podcast icons Jaison Gardner and Doctress Kaila Story with Strange Fruit, yours truly and Sarah Gardiner with Beards and Lavender, Kurtis Sunset and Tevin Vincent with the new Weathering Rainbows and of course, your horror queen’s Reely Queer. If I am missing any, please send them my way!

Hampton has one upped us all though and has created a Reely Queer movie night for LGBTQ+ folks and I’m so excited for it!

So, tell us a bit about your LGBTQ+ movie night! What is the exact title of it?

Reely Queer: An LGBTQ+ Movie Night is and was created to share my love of movies, especially of the queer or queer coded variety with others in my community.

When is the event? What time and where? Cost?

August 15th, 7PM, FREE & if you come for Reely Queer you can stay for the show after and not pay the cover of Queerdo.

How did you come up with it?

I have had an interest in finding queer films and media, but often it’s hard to find or not well known. I wanted to share some of the movies and their history with other Queer people. 

I also always feel uncomfortable or anxious in movie theaters when I’m visibly queer because sometimes people take it upon themselves to be nasty or aggressive to me or my friends/dates, ruining the experience. I wanted to create an event that can serve as a space where you see an iconic film and  come as you are without fear of being bullied for being you. I can’t solve the anxieties we feel when we exist in spaces that aren’t our own, but I can create those spaces!

Who is the audience of the event?

Pretty varied. I see a lot of horror movie buffs, since its often horror films I feature, but I also get folks who don’t really seek out horror as well. As long as you’re old enough to get into the venue, all are welcome to join us for Movie Night. I mix it up from time to time showing anything from Girls Will Be Girls  to Friday the 13th Part 7.

When did you start drag and how far into it did you decide you wanted to add your love of horror into it?

I started in 2014, and have kind of worn a lot of hats, so to speak. I’ve done pageant drag, camp drag, glamor, cosplay… I mixed a lot of old school and new school into what I present. I’ve always had the references from films such as Never Been Kissed and Scream but it wasn’t until Reely Queer that I really played with the looks and realized how fun it is to play with the wealth of knowledge I have of horror iconography. I’ve really enjoyed how Reely Queer has encouraged me to try new things I didnt think audiences would connect with and the welcome surprise when  they do.

Explain to people what a double feature is.

Double Features are simply events that show two feature films back to back. Play’s Sunday events are called ‘Double Feature Sundays’ because they have a pre-show event (such as bingo, game night or my movie night) and then ‘Queerdo’, a drag show featuring some of Louisville’s best talent from up and comers to community staples. Seems like a perfect union to me as the events marketing aesthetic is very on brand for a movie theater experience.

Why do you love this event and why is it important to the LGBTQ community?

Reely Queer is my baby. Its seen many challenges, namely with Covid-19, and iterations from a Movie/Game night to a digital format during Covid and then a podcast when we were all stuck at home during the pandemic. I’ve stuck with it because I know what it can be and I have faith in it. It started off as a bit of a Queer Film Study, which is more reminiscent of Reely Queer Podcast (available on Spotify, Anchor and Apple Podcasts!) its been an Elvira’s Movie Macabre-esque live event and now I’m marrying to the two ideas. I think we can learn a lot from our history, as well as reflect on how Hollywood perceived us when they created films such as Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and Sleepaway Camp, and how we’ve reclaimed them in a way.

How can people support you and your endeavors?

You can find Reely Queer on IG, Twitter and Facebook @ReelyQueer, and me @thesydnihampton on everything! The best way to support Reely Queer is to come out & enjoy it. Tell your friends about it. Listen to the podcast. If the event is well attended, I can keep it going & provide a unique queer event for Louisville.

What else do you want people to know?

Follow @ReelyQueer and @TheSydniHampton for updates and information about some of the things I have in the works. 
Sydni Hampton, they/them she/her
Reely Queer: An LGBTQ+ Movie NightAugust 15 @ 7PMFREE before 9PMPlay Louisville 1101 East Washington Street

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