We Are Artists Creating

No Shame In Our Game

June 9-11
SPACE, St. Pete
Details here

Dirty John’s improv troupe and visual artist Chad Mize have collaborated on a Pride art show that includes immersive theater – opening this Friday at Mize’s St. Pete art gallery, SPACE.

Hot Box includes 40 2D and 3D works by local LGBTQ+ visual artists, and Dirty John’s will perform a jailed drag show that relates to Florida’s current political climate.

“We will be dressed in drag and will be performing a lip-sync for our life-sentences,” says actor and educator John Huls, founder of Dirty’s John’s.

Drag queens and drag kings will perform in a cage that represents a jail. The cage at SPACE is two-stories high.

“The Drag performers escape from the hands of the DeSantis-appointed state militia force,” Huls explains. “Dragged back in the cage by the likes of Dog the Bounty Hunter – and an extremely butch gatekeeper – we ultimately escape and head on out through the drag underground railroad with the help of allies throughout the state.”

Pride by Chad Mize

Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed four anti-LGBTQ+ bills into law – ​​The “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” expansion (HB 1069), an anti-drag bill (SB 1438), a gender-affirming care ban (SB 254), and a bill restricting transgender students from accessing bathrooms aligned with their gender identity (HB 1521).

A hot box is exactly what attendees will feel like they’re in when visiting SPACE.

“The name comes from the idea of hot summer in our no air-conditioned SPACE, but also deals with hot button issues within the LGBTQ+ community – drag, banned books and trans’ rights,” says Mize.

Mize says that he also wanted to utilize as much space as possible at his new location, which is large enough to fit two or three buses.

Following three years at a much smaller gallery on Dr. MLK Jr. St. N in the Uptown area, Mize transitioned his studio to SPACE, 855 28th Street South in St. Pete’s Warehouse Arts District in January.

photo courtesy of SPACE

Hot Box is the first time Mize has included a drag show at his annual Pride art exhibits.

“This is technically not a typical ‘drag show’ but yes, excited to have Dirty John’s performance. It’s nice to open these exhibits up to more than just 2D/3D art. To have the immersive theater involved is a dream,” Mize says.

The cast  includes Jay Hoff, John Huls, Ryan Hill, Claire Seluis, Will Lorenzen, Cat Lim, Charissa Anderson, Edward Leonard, Jason Brass, Sarah Belyeu, Avery Belyeu, John Kaneklides and Skyla Luckey.

One of the 40 visual artworks is Paradise Lost by Marc Brechwald, who who specializes in portraits and figurative art. It represents the absurdity of banned books by showing a naked and muscular man sitting on the beach with The Handmaid’s Tale covering his crotch. In the background, a plane carries a Drag Is Not a Crime banner. Brechwald created this piece with graphite pencil on a bristol board.

Paradise Lost by Marc Brechwald

Just as many of the artists are speaking their mind with their art, Mize does the same with his piece, PRIDE, created on a wood panel. It’s a peaceful protest standing up for the rights of drag performers, trans’ rights and LGBTQ+ rights.

PRIDE raises awareness that the LGBTQ+ community a community of human beings who deserve the same rights as everyone else.

Visual artists featured in the Hot Box exhibition include Bask, Saumitra Chandratreya, John Gascot, Jay Hoff, Miss Crit, Cory Robinson, Gianna Pergamo and Tenea D. Johnson.

Friday’s opening event also features poetry readings by St. Pete Poet Laureate Gloria Muñoz, Ripp Lee and Creative Pinellas 2023 Emerging Artist Patrick Arthur Jackson, hosted by Tyler Gillespie.

Drag performers include Freddie Mercury, Minnie Mouse, Andy Warhol, Willie Nelson – and an extremely glamorous drag queen named Kindi, according to Huls.

“Sequins and facial hair and gender-bending drag, the likes of which you’ve never seen. It will be hot so less is more with our costumes.

“We are excited to have a guest performer, who is a nationally known opera singer, John Kaneklides. He will be singing Quando m-en Vo from La Boheme by Puccini,” Huls says – in a dominatrix costume complete with a corset and whip.

Drag is a theatrical art form that has existed for centuries, and we are here to claim that there is no shame in our game, Hulls says. Drag is not a crime and we are proof of that. We are simply artists creating.

We will certainly be suffering for our art. Art has given us a voice.




Dirty John’s immersive performance
Free, 18+up
Friday, June 9 from 7-11 pm
Saturday, June 10 from 4-9 pm

Hot Box visual art exhibit
Friday, June 9 from 7-11 pm
Saturday, June 10 from 4-9 pm
all ages
Sunday 11 am-3 pm

855 28th Street S
St. Petersburg FL

Dirty John’s Improv Troupe – photo by Jay Hoff

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