By Bryce Aaron
The owners of a new nightclub in Pasadena are hoping to provide a safe space for LGBTQ residents in the southeast Houston suburb.
Toxic City Bar, at 4950 Spencer Highway, will host a drag show extravaganza on Wednesday nights, helmed by Pasadena’s own diva, Marlena Phillips.
The show, Marlena’s Lipstixx Ladies, is the brainchild of three close friends who recognized the lack of LGBTQ culture in the area.
“I envisioned a safe haven for our community that offered a quality show locally, where all of Pasadena and the local area can gather and have a good time and enjoy our amazing cast and special guests,” Phillips says. “I am so grateful that [Toxic City] Morgan and Krissy [Williams] shared my vision—and ran with it.”
Phillips recounts that an earlier incarnation of Lipstixx Ladies, at another venue in Pasadena, received a warm reception from patrons and staff, but was met by intolerance from some. “The club was supportive,” Phillips says. “We had a great crowd, and as the weeks went by, the show’s popularity grew—until the bar received an anonymous threat via their Facebook page that there would be violence directed toward the bar if we continued the shows.” In response to the threat, the venue opted to cancel the event.
Phillips recognized the parallels between this experience and those which have defined the LGBTQ movement. “I know Pasadena to be a better, more diverse and tolerant place than that, and anonymous Facebook bullies do not speak for this community,” Phillips says. “The people I meet every day who are loving, kind, and supportive do. The young gay kids who show up glittered and painted, singing along and taking part in the shows, these folks represent, for me, what this city is.”
Safety is a priority at Toxic City, and the bar has taken significant measures to protect all revelers, including numerous security staff.
“We’re branding Toxic City and Marlena’s Lipstixx Ladies, as a place and an event where you can come as you are, embrace the fabulous within, and express yourself joyfully,” Phillips says. “Our girls give an amazing show. They are all professionals in their own right, and there is something for everyone, from glitz and glam to nouveau club kid drag, and all points in between. We welcome everyone to be a part of it—wig and heels optional.”
What: Marlena’s Lipstixx Ladies
When: Wednesdays, 10 p.m.-midnight
Where: Toxic City Bar, 4950 Spencer Highway, Pasadena
18 to enter, 21 to drink