Last weekend, my favorite Brooklyn dive and drag haunt, This N' That, closed its doors--much to the dismay of regulars who, like myself, not only enjoyed the heavy-handed bartenders, but the sense of community within those walls where it was not taboo to venture outside your circle and speak with people you may very well not have anywhere else. The drag shows, different from night to night, had a level of grit that can only be achieved by hard-working artists being given the freedom to create on their own terms. If you pictured Brooklyn as a big, queer house, TNT--to me at least--was its big, queer living room. It wasn't the bar that made it special; it was the artists and the staff that really put their all into every second they spent there.
To capture the essence of TNT, I teamed up with photographer David Phelps and some of my favorite queens to capture the beautiful grittiness on its final day. Check out the images below as well as some closing remarks from two of my closest friends, Misty Meaner and Mocha Lite.
Missing from these images is that magnificently disgusting downstairs bathroom. May the one flushing toilet rest in peace.
[See the full list of credits at the bottom of this post.]
"TNT has always held a special place in my heart. When it opened four years ago I was hired to do the opening night and had the pleasure of working there ever since. It gave me the best of both worlds. I had my Saturday that would validate why I do drag; it would be packed and the crowd would get so into our pop-up shows and throw money at us like crazy. Then I got to do my Tuesday happy hour shows which made me feel like I was still acting. The crowd was quiet, but I had full control of every number. Whatever emotion I was going through that day I got to express through my favorite medium of performance. Altogether, the place gave me a feeling of being welcome and home. Always a friendly face smiling back at me to throw back a shot with." --Misty Meaner (pictured above)
"So many crazy things have happened in that building, however of all the things I had seen there my favorite would have to be the day my father came to see my little happy hour show. I'll never forget the feeling of having my family in the audience. TNT and the Brooklyn LGBTIA+ community has always been a family to me, but this was simply the zenith of gifts as a performer. That and maybe the day my friend Jamal helped eject an insanely inebriated guest by taking her bag and luring her through the bar like a puppy, only to eventually throw it in the street as if to lure a dangerous beast from camp. HA!" --Mocha Lite (pictured above)
Jeff Poulin (pictured above)
"I will say that any space, especially with my experience in Brooklyn, inhabited by the queer community becomes special automatically, because we bring that with us everywhere we go. TNT became a new home and sanctuary quickly, overlapping the closing of the legendary Sugarland (a space regarded as one of the best performance platforms of the borough). It was not only a cushion for the angst I had for that loss, but it also treated us the very same way Sugarland did; openly and with intense trust. Out of the ashes of Sugarland, TNT rose as a phoenix with drag queen wings." --Mocha Lite (pictured above)
David Phelps (@dmpphoto)
Judson Harmon (@judsonharmon)
Misty Meaner (@fistyweaner)
Mocha Lite (@vanillaheavy)
Jeff Poulin (@fuckyeahglitterguts)
Jizzy Canal (@rancepalmer)
Ruby Roo (@rubyrubyroo)
108 N. 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY
Closed Saturday, October 1st