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Houston Activists Drop a Drag-Themed Wall-Calendar

Lupe Salas and Piero Arevalo's project benefits the Montrose Angels.

Houston drag calendar creators Piero Arevalo (l) and Guadalupe “Lupe” Salas (photos by Victor Contreras)

2022 looks like it might be a busy year. Pent-up demand to get out of the house and enjoy in-person gatherings and performances is going to make for a busy social calendar. 

And to keep track of that busy schedule, you’ll surely want to invest in a colorful wall calendar. The stars of Houston’s drag scene have been working hard to bring you just such a calendar—one that will add a little glamour to your office wall and also help support the Montrose Angels charity. 

Guadalupe “Lupe” Salas, 27, is a proud gay man known among local entertainers for his sewing circles and as the right hand to drag performer Reign LaRue. Salas can now add “calendar producer” to his credits after he came up with the idea to feature eleven drag queens and one drag king in a 2022 calendar.

“I brainstormed many different ideas to help raise money for the charity. I wanted to do something that was fun, inclusive, and different. A calendar was the perfect project to tackle. I pitched the idea to Montrose Angels, and they were fully on board. We quickly worked out the logistics, and it’s finally coming together!”

Piero Arevalo, 30, is the gay bar manager at Ripcord. He was one of the men who started the Montrose Angels charity.

“Travis Webb, Daniel Banda, and I came together to start a community emergency fund to help our fellow bartenders and bar patrons with any unexpected life-emergency expenses. No matter how proactive we all are, life throws us some curveballs that we might not be able to handle ourselves. We want to be able to help the community that supported us,” says Arevalo.

The drag-themed calendar features performers Hugh Dandy for July, Angelina DM Trailz for January, and Blackberri for February.

The calendar was shot by photographer Victor Contreras (@closeyoureyesphoto on Instagram), a Nicaraguan-born photographer who has been working in the LGBTQ community shooting private events and various photo-shoot assignments. Julio Briceño was the project’s videographer who helped record the promotional video. Each of the twelve local drag entertainers in the calendar was asked to put their personal “drag spin” on their chosen month. 

“We assigned each month a theme, and allowed the entertainers to choose their own month and execute it creatively on their own. What really makes this calendar special is that everyone volunteered their time to help bring it to life,” says Salas.

“These performers are so creative, so we are all excited for the final product. This calendar not only shows Houston’s diversity, but also our LGBTQ+ community’s diversity. Every month has a different theme and a look that the performers chose,” Arevalo adds.

Montrose Angels will be having a calendar-release fundraising event at ReBar on December 15 at 8 p.m. Copies of the calendar will be available to purchase for $25 each, with proceeds going to both the Angels’ community emergency fund and the Montrose Center. There will be performances by some of the drag stars featured in the calendar, and they will be raffling some exciting items.

“These drag artists are simply incredible. They are hard workers and fully dedicated to the art of drag. Houston has gotten to a point where there is a drag show every single day of the week—and amazing shows at that. It’s special because [Houston’s drag scene] is a melting pot of diversity. From alternative to pageant to comedy to Broadway, you will find all types of drag coexisting in the city,” Salas says.

“Every single one of them works so hard to put together a show and a look every week. From the outside looking in, you might think it’s easy. But these performers have spent years perfecting their craft,” Arevalo says.

Choosing just 12 entertainers for the calendar was a nearly impossible task. It was important for Salas to make sure the lineup celebrated the diversity of Houston drag.

“It was hard to choose just twelve. There are so many incredible entertainers in this city. We selected eleven drag queens and one drag king. They are a great representation of the current Houston drag scene,” Salas concludes. “On any given day, you can walk into any LGBTQ+ bar and more than likely see one of these entertainers performing. 

For more info, visit instagram.com/montroseangels.

This article appears in the December 2021 edition of OutSmart magazine.

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Ryan Leach

Ryan Leach is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine. Follow him on Medium at www.medium.com/@ryan_leach.
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