[Local Haunts Pride edition] How alternative drag found a new home in San Antonio.

It was tough to fit in. It was quite the road growing up for myself. Needless to say for me growing up, Horror was always home for me. It was an escape from the reality of real-life Horror. Watching the news and seeing psychical violence was hard enough, but watching a monster break through the doors of a cabin with a machete. Well, that’s just entertainment.

It wasn’t until one fateful Halloween night that a new journey began for me. I was watching Rocky Horror picture show, watching Tim Curry gyrate, singing, dancing. It widens my vision of what wasn’t shock value, but only art. I found a new life.

However, though growing up, it was still somewhat taboo and not discussed. I felt a bit alone. Never really talking about it, yet there was room to talk about it if I found another soul to share. Horror has always been a comforting home accepting just about everyone. Juggalos, preps, scientists, writers hell even celebrities whom you wouldn’t expect to love Horror adored it.

I never found a home for the two. Maybe it was a fad, just perhaps a taboo fetish.  As I ventured off into drag, there was a whole other platform of expression and identity I yearned — a life where you can be yourself and be free. Was I home? Plenty of people and queens I met who liked Horror but not enough to give them another home.

That’s where Shawn Benet comes in. Shawn starting out doing simple alternative drag, has quickly established a base in San Antonio, Texas. My home town was creating Haus of Coven. A home to alternative drag where the norm was out of place and creativity ran amok in a chaotic realm of beauty. For you see Shawn’s idea of beauty and expression is one where there are no rules to drag. Incorporating the term “All Drag is valid” by one Paradox Rei. Shawn has established a home for basically anyone wanting to do drag and be themselves with the monthly installment shows Shawn Benet’s Madhouse. Going to shows, I felt relaxed and comfortable to be myself finally. Shawn has done a lot for the LGBTQ+ by creating and as much as I hate this term, it is right in this instance, “a safe space” for all members of the community.

I’m proud to know Shawn even have part of Haus of Coven working for a show my friend Lisa Rae and I put together. Given she was the brains of the operation, I was able to get them for the show for the premiere of American Guinea Pig: Song of Solomon.

With all the pride events going on, I’m glad to say that Shawn Benet’s MadHouse is my favorite local haunt to check out. The event will be free for everyone with even free parking. So check out some alternative drag, feel comfortable, and know Shawn has created a home for everyone with no restrictions on how to be or even look. Shawn is even responsible for bringing queens of the hit TV show Dragula. Which I’m happy to say season 3 will be out this year so one can only imagine what talent will grace the stage with Shawn and Haus of Coven

Posted by Jai Alexis

Associate Producer for the films Teacher Shortage, Violet. writer of the short film "The First" when he's not working he's eating Mexican food and watching The Golden Girls

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