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Drag king favorite Ceasar Hart on activism, Pride in the Park

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Photo by Nate Gowdy
Photo by Nate Gowdy

Although Ceasar Hart has had various roles in past Seattle Prides, the drag king and prominent activist will be emceeing this year's Pride in the Park for the first time, along with a local favorite, burlesque performer Goddess Briq House.

The event on June 4 will run from noon to 7 p.m. in Volunteer Park, and feature musical performances from locals, like Queer Black femme DJ Kween Kaysh; Asian-American Queer musical artist Jeannie Rak; multi-instrumentalist Carly Anne Calbero; rapper, singer, and songwriter Taylar Elizza Beth; self-taught singer, songwriter, and vocal producer Morgan Britt; and the popular punk band Dark Smith. Queer R&B duo Fly Moon Royalty will be headlining the show.

Performances of other kinds will mix with the music, like drag pieces from Hot Pink Shade and the duo LÜChi, and drag queen story time with Cookie Couture.

Hart spoke with me over the phone about the event. He said he was especially excited to see Cookie Couture and Hot Pink Shade, but emceeing the event for the first time was a big highlight. "It feels amazing," he said. "I am counting down the days. I am so ready!"

Photo courtesy of the artist  

Hart was just as enthusiastic about all the connections Pride would foster, both old and new. "It's like Christmas," he said, because for so many, Pride is a chance for Queer found families to reconnect and grow. His hope, of course, is that everyone will remain cautious about COVID-19 while they're at it.

That kind of community awareness has been a big part of Hart's drag and activism career so far, and that probably influenced the committee selection of him for an event themed around reuniting.

When I told him I'd heard he was basically royalty in Seattle, he laughed and said, "Yeah, I've been doing my thing here for a while."

Since 2004, Hart has participated in nonprofits, community outreach, and fundraising for the Queer community. He gives lectures on topics like using drag as a way to raise awareness of and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, or helping parents understand and accept their Queer children's identities.

Some of Hart's recent activism has focused on Grays Harbor, his county of residence, where people are far more conservative than in Seattle. Hart joked about the hypocrisy of the signs on the roads leading into Aberdeen, which say "Come as you are," but also recounted some small victories. Resources for the community have increased over the last few years, and during a recent Founder's Day parade, the Queer community float was "the brightest entry in a sea of drab," Hart said.

In general, though, Hart wished the Pride events outside the big cities got more attention. "Drag shows help a community learn that Queer people are normal people," he said. "We could use just a sliver more support out in the boonies."

As for the rest of Hart's Pride schedule, he recommended the standup and drag show at the Prohibition Bar on June 24, which will feature him and Lesbian comedian-actress Cindy Foster. He also plugged Latinx Pride Fest at the Timber Room on June 25.