The iconic Chelsea gay bar Barracuda recently celebrated its 20th anniversary – a remarkable accomplishment in an era when NYC bars come and go with increasing frequency. Owner Bob Pontarelli (who also owns and runs the Chelsea restaurant Elmo and Industry in Hell’s Kitchen) has long nurtured fledgling drag talent at the bar, and to pay tribute, many of the queens who have appeared on its stage over the years came back to celebrate.
In the video below Candis Cayne, Sherry Vine, Jackie Beat, Shasta Cola Edie, Sweetie, Flotilla Debarge, Peppermint, Hedda Lettuce, Tina Burner, Bob the Drag Queen, Pixie Aventura, Al and Patty, Miss Cracker, Marti Cummings, Judy Darling, Destiny, Brenda Black, and Cole James sing the praises of the best little dive bar in NYC.
Says superstar trans actress Candis Cayne: “Barracuda taught me to be confident on stage. I can go anywhere in the world and be on stage – I know that whatever comes at me I can handle because of what I learned at Barracuda.”
Says Jackie Beat: “I learned how to put on a show. I learned how to deal with drunken crowds. I learned how to deal with the occasional sound system problems. I’m just saying: it’s like an obstacle course. A drag obstacle course.”
And from Zumanity star Christopher Kenney: “What I didn’t know was that I was honing a craft. For me at the time it was just fun. It was just dancing and singing. Years later, I got a job with Cirgqu du Soloiel, and I also got Broadway… And all these years later I look back at how I got there, and it was these shows.
Watch the tribute video (by Daniel Robinson) below.